Joe Leigh Simpson

Joe Leigh Simpson, MD

Joe Leigh Simpson, MD

Joe Leigh Simpson, MD
Wallace H Coulter Distinguished Professor in Bioinstrumentation and Biomeasurement
Member, National Academy of Science, Institute of Medicine


Founding Chair Joe Leigh Simpson, M.D. received his medical education and training at Duke University (M.D., 1968). He subsequently trained in Obstetrics and Gynecology (residency) and in Pediatrics (pediatrics) at Cornell University Medical College (New York City), and took laboratory training in cytogenetics. Prior to accepting his current position at FIU he was at Brooke Army Medical Center (1973-75), Northwestern University (Associate Professor and Professor, 1975-86), University of Tennessee Memphis (Chair and Professor, 1986-94), and Baylor College of Medicine (Chair and Professor, 1994-2007). He is certified in medical genetics as well as in obstetrics and gynecology.

Dr. Simpson has played leadership roles in many professional organizations. He was 1993-1994 President of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, 1994-1998 President of the International Society of Prenatal Diagnosis, 1998-1999 President of the Society for Gynecologic Investigation, 2007-09 President of the American College of Medical Genetics, 2006-09 President of the Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis International Society and 2007-2010 Treasurer of the International Federation of Fertility Societies (IFFS). He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, Institute of Medicine (IOM). He serves on numerous committees, including the NICHD Board of Scientific Counselors (2005-09) and the March of Dimes Scientific Advisory Committee.

Dr. Simpson has written 15 major books and over 700 articles and chapters. His research encompasses many areas of genetic prenatal diagnosis and reproductive genetics. He has received NIH and March of Dimes support for clinical trials on prenatal genetic diagnosis, multiple conferences, basic work on recovering fetal cells from maternal blood, and K-12 faculty mentoring training awards. Current studies include genetics of sex differentiation and especially genetics of premature ovarian failure for which several causative mutations (FIGLA, NOBOX) have been found. This work is in collaboration with colleagues at Shandong University, Jinan, China. Work in prenatal genetic diagnosis focuses on recovery of intact fetal cells and cell-free DNA from maternal blood for definitive noninvasive prenatal genetic diagnosis; the first detection of fetal trisomy in maternal blood was made by Dr. Simpson and colleagues. Other work in prenatal genetic diagnosis involves preimplantation genetic diagnosis, namely single cell diagnostics. FIU Dr. Simpson is working with Dr. Helen Tempest, Dr. Renee Martin and FIU faculty in the College of Engineering and Computer Sciences to develop nanoscale devices that can detect exposure to toxins unspecified with respect to nature and magnitude.