Pre-Natal Testing Pioneer Dr. James Macri ’65 to be Honored at LIU Post Commencement
Developed tests that detect spina bifida, anencephaly and Down syndrome
Morgan Lyle,Assistant Director of Public Relations
LIU Post, Long Island University
Brookville, N.Y. – Dr. James Macri, founder of NTD Labs on Long Island and pioneer of prenatal screening for birth defects and Down syndrome, will receive the Distinguished Alumni Award at the 54th Commencement exercises at LIU Post May 4.
After graduating from LIU Post in 1965, Dr. Macri earned a doctorate at NYU and embarked on three decades of research that would change prenatal care around the world. His work led to breakthroughs in the early detection of the profound birth defects spina bifida and anencephaly by measuring levels of alpha-fetal protein or AFP.
In the early 1980s, Dr. Macri and his colleagues discovered that the same substance, AFP, could be a marker for Down syndrome – not by its presence, but by its absence. He developed the first prenatal screening program in the world for Down syndrome, using simple, non-invasive blood tests.
He advanced these findings in the 1990s, developing ultrasensitive tests that made prenatal Down syndrome screening possible as early as the first trimester of pregnancy. These developments have enabled pregnant women and their doctors to choose the best course of care. They also have made it possible for doctors to rule out the same birth defects when testing determines they are not present, profoundly ressauring pregnant women at risk for these conditions.
Dr. Macri founded NTD Labs in 1983 and built the company into a leader in the field of genetic science. NTD Labs serves universities, medical centers, hospitals, laboratories, obstetricians and maternal fetal medicine specialists worldwide, providing risk assessment services and continuing its tradition of innovation in screening protocol research.
Prior to establishing NTD, Dr. Macri conducted research in academic and hospital settings. From 1978 through 1983, he was a professor at the School of Medicine at Stony Brook University. From 1973 through 1978, Dr. Macri served as director of research at the Nassau County Medical Center. He also was a member of the faculty at SUNY Downstate Medical Center. In 1974, Dr. Macri was honored as an Outstanding Alumnus of Long Island University.
He and his wife, Jane, live in Saxtons River, Vt., and in Manhattan. They have four children: Deanne and Sarah, both graduates of LIU Post; Jim, a graduate of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute; and Elizabeth, a graduate of Dartmouth College.
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