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Top Yale Neuropathologist Gives Poetry Reading at the University of Bridgeport

By Jillian Anderson
On April 13, 2012

Poet and Yale School of Medicine Neuropathologist, Dr. Laura Manuelidis, who is best known for her theory on the causes of "Mad Cow" disease and the corresponding human disease, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, lectured and read her own poetry in the ABC Art Gallery on March 22,2012 for the University of Bridgeport's Necessary Voices Lecture Series. Dr. Manuelidis discussed her views on the intertwining of poetic and scientific knowledge and how both have inspired her career.

Dr. Manuelidis began the talk by explaining the atmosphere at the time of her youth. She read some of her first poetry from the age of 17, reflecting back on the beatnik culture she saw herself a part of in the 1960s. Dr. Manuelidis described herself as having been inspired by the strong sense of interconnectedness in nature and the history of people where she fulfilled her medical school requirements in Bangladesh and by the culture back home in the United States back in the early 1960s while she studied poetry for her undergraduate degree. She studied poetry first, at Sarah Lawrence College. Later, after deciding that poetry wouldn't pay the bills, she attended Yale School of Medicine and graduated in 1967.

As a person with a deeply rooted love of the humanities and sciences, Dr. Manuelidis is a well-rounded woman. She currently heads the neuropathy department at Yale University's School of Medicine where she studies the origins of dementia and other neurodegenerative diseases.  She has published a wide range of work published in various journals, as well as poetry in Reflections (Yale Divinity School magazine), Connecticut Review, Innisfree Poetry, Oxford Poetry and The Nation.

Dr. Manuelidis read poetry of a diverse range of topics from nature and medicine to political and feminist works; her verses span decades and describe the changing world from her uniquely brilliant perspective. Comparisons and contrasts between science and religion were made often in her poetry as she described light as the center and beginning of both the religious and scientific worlds. Although the comparison between science and religion is often considered controversial in recent days Dr. Manuelidis ardently admitted, "it's always worth taking the risk to be true."

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