David Schlessinger, Ph.D.

Scientist Emeritus

Laboratory of Genetics and Genomics


251 Bayview Boulevard
Suite 100
Baltimore, MD 21224



Research Topics

The Human Genetics Section program, now absorbed in the Laboratory of Genetics and Genomics, is designed to study embryonic and developmental events critical for the aging of specialized mammalian cells and concomitant aging-related phenomena.


Dr. Schlessinger received his Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1960. Following postdoctoral training at the Pasteur Institute in Paris, he joined Washington University in St. Louis, where he served as Professor of Molecular Microbiology, Genetics, and Microbiology in Medicine until his move to NIA in September, 1997. He has contributed both to microbial and human genome studies. He has served as President of the American Society for Microbiology in 1995, and as the Director of the Human Genome Center at Washington University from 1987-97. During his tenure as Center director, he oversaw the development of the X chromosome map and of much related technology, with the concomitant finding of a number of disease genes. He was the Chief of the Laboratory of Genetics at NIA from 1997 until 2017, and is currently a volunteer at NIA and advisor to the SardiNIA population study that he pioneered starting in mid-2001.

Selected Publications

  1. Sima J, Yan Z, Chen Y, Lehrmann E, Zhang Y, Nagaraja R, Wang W, Wang Z, Schlessinger D. Eda-activated RelB recruits an SWI/SNF (BAF) chromatin-remodeling complex and initiates gene transcription in skin appendage formation. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2018;115(32):8173-8178.
  2. Orlov NV, Coletta C, van Asten F, Qian Y, Ding J, AlGhatrif M, Lakatta E, Chew E, Wong W, Swaroop A, Fiorillo E, Delitala A, Marongiu M, Goldberg IG, Schlessinger D. Age-related changes of the retinal microvasculature. PLoS One. 2019;14(5):e0215916.
  3. Butler TJ, Estep KN, Sommers JA, Maul RW, Moore AZ, Bandinelli S, Cucca F, Tuke MA, Wood AR, Bharti SK, Bogenhagen DF, Yakubovskaya E, Garcia-Diaz M, Guilliam TA, Byrd AK, Raney KD, Doherty AJ, Ferrucci L, Schlessinger D, Ding J, Brosh RM. Mitochondrial genetic variation is enriched in G-quadruplex regions that stall DNA synthesis in vitro. Hum Mol Genet. 2020;29(8):1292-1309.
  4. Piras D, Masala M, Delitala A, Urru SAM, Curreli N, Balaci L, Ferreli LP, Loi F, Atzeni A, Cabiddu G, Racugno W, Ventura L, Zoledziewska M, Steri M, Fiorillo E, Pilia MG, Schlessinger D, Cucca F, Rule AD, Pani A. Kidney size in relation to ageing, gender, renal function, birthweight and chronic kidney disease risk factors in a general population. Nephrol Dial Transplant. 2020;35(4):640-647.
  5. Pelosi E, Omari S, Michel M, Ding J, Amano T, Forabosco A, Schlessinger D, Ottolenghi C. Constitutively active Foxo3 in oocytes preserves ovarian reserve in mice. Nat Commun. 2013;4:1843.

Related Scientific Focus Areas

This page was last updated on Tuesday, August 17, 2021