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The John H. Ware III Professor in Alzheimer’s Research, Deptartment of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine; Director, Center for Neurodegenerative Disease, University of Pennsylvania

Virginia Man-Yee Lee studies how misfolded proteins spread throughout the brain in neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease. Lee evolved the “tau hypothesis” that tau tangles inhibit neurons from firing in Alzheimer’s disease. She has found similar entanglements associated with other neurodegenerative disorders. By studying the evolution of tau pathology, Lee is creating a road map to clarify the common mechanisms of neurodegeneration.

In recognition of her work, ranked her among the world’s top 100 scientists and the No. 2 female scientist.

Watch Dr. Lee recount how she bumbled along in her career, dropped out of music school and, ultimately, how she challenged stereotypes of what a Chinese woman in the 1950s–1960s could accomplish in “A Winding Life Through Science.