Suzanne M Leal, PhD


I am a Professor in the Department of Neurology at Columbia University and Director of the Center for Statistical Genetics. I am also a Senior Research Associate at The Rockefeller University. I received a Master of Science degree in Biostatistics in 1989 and a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Epidemiology in 1994 from Columbia University. My interest lies in statistical genetics and genetic epidemiology. In addition to applied work, mapping disease/trait loci, I have worked extensively in developing methods to aid in gene identification and understanding disease etiology.

My research is currently supported by 10 grants from the NIH and a grant from the Department of Defense. I have published >170 peered reviewed articles and I am either sole, first or senior author on >65 of these articles. I am an associate editor for the American Journal of Human Genetics and PLoS Genetics and serve on the program committee for the American Society of Human Genetics. I previously was a member of the board of directors for the International Society of Genetic Epidemiology (2007-2013) and was also the President of this society in 2012.

I teach and organize courses in statistical genetics. For the past 19 years I have organized and taught the Advanced Gene Mapping Course which is held annually at The Rockefeller University. This course is supported by a grant from the NIH for which I am the principal investigator. I also organize and teach statistical genetic courses at the Max Delbrück Center in Berlin. In recent years, I have taught courses at Beijing University, Fudan University (Shanghai), Kyoto University, University of Helsinki, University of Toronto, University of Oslo, Erasmus University (Rotterdam), Max Planck Institute (Berlin) and Seoul National University. I am involved in training graduate students and postdoctoral fellows from Rice University and Baylor College of Medicine as well as mentoring a number of international pre-doctoral trainees.

Academic Appointments

  • Sergievsky Family Professor of Neurological Sciences (in Neurology and in the Gertrude H. Sergievsky Center)


  • Female

Credentials & Experience

Education & Training

  • MS, 1989 Biostatistics, Columbia University
  • PhD, 1994 Epidemiology, Columbia University
  • Fellowship: 1996 University of Tübingen


Research Interests:

  • Linkage analysis of human diseases
  • Whole-genome and candidate gene association studies
  • Development of new methods and software in gene mapping
  • Analysis of rare variant sequence data
  • Analysis of copy number variations