Skip to Main Content

Women in Medicine and Science at Upstate

This guide provides information on female pioneers associated with Upstate and its predecessor institutions who left lasting impacts on medicine and science. Please check back regularly as we will continue to add influential women to this guide.

Mary Fowkes MD

Dr. Mary FowkesDr. Fowkes, MD, Ph.D., was a neuropathologist and a professor of pathology as well as the director of neuropathology and of autopsy services at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York. Dr. Fowkes did autopsies of COVID-19 patients early in the pandemic. She was born in Clayton, NY, on November 1, 1954, and raised in Syracuse where she resided for many years, earning her BS degree at the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF) in 1977. Dr. Fowkes received her MD and Ph.D. degrees in anatomy and cell biology from SUNY Upstate Medical University in 1999. She completed her pathology residency in Boston at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center of Harvard University in 2003. Then she had fellowships in neuropathology at New York University Medical Center in forensic pathology at the office of New York City’s chief medical examiner. After her city fellowship, Dr. Fowkes joined the Icahn School as an assistant professor of pathology in 2006 and remained on the faculty until her death. She was named Mount Sinai’s director of neuropathology in 2012 and its director of autopsy service in 2014. Dr. Fowkes was a Governor of the College of American Pathologists, former President of the New York State Society of Pathologists, and a distinguished graduate and adjunct professor in Environmental and Forest Biology at SUNY ESF.

Dr. Fowkes performed autopsies in New York that found blood clots in vital organs, suggesting how much the virus spreads through the body. Her wide-ranging research included a recent focus on recurrent meningiomas, slow-growing benign brain tumors. Dr. Fowkes died of a heart attack on November 15, 2020, in Katonah, NY aged 66 years.

Resources on Mary Fowkes MD


  1. Mary: Autopsies Save Lives (link), Mount Sinai Podcasts <Real, Smart People> 
  2. Message from the President (Mary Fowkes, MD, Ph.D.) (link), New York State Society of Pathologists Newsletter, Winter 2018 


  1. Andrew Green, Mary Fowkes, The Lancet, Volume 397, Issue 10270, 2021, Page 191, ISSN 0140-6736, (
  2. Dr. Mary Fowkes, 66, Dies; Helped Science Understand the Pandemic (link), New York Times, December 2020 
  3. In Memoriam: Mary E. Fowkes, MD, PhD (link), CAP Today, January, 2021 

Bibliography - Publications

 1. Bryce C, Grimes Z, Pujadas E, et al. Pathophysiology of SARS-CoV-2: the Mount Sinai COVID-19 autopsy experience. Modern pathology. 2021;34(8):1456-1467. doi:10.1038/s41379-021-00793-y

2. Ramos da Silva S, Ju E, Meng W, et al. Broad Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 Cell Tropism and Immunopathology in Lung Tissues From Fatal Coronavirus Disease 2019. The Journal of infectious diseases. 2021;223(11):1842-1854. doi:10.1093/infdis/jiab195

3. Borczuk AC, Salvatore SP, Seshan SV, et al. COVID-19 pulmonary pathology: a multi-institutional autopsy cohort from Italy and New York City. Modern pathology. 2020;33(11):2156-2168. doi:10.1038/s41379-020-00661-1

4. Paniz‐Mondolfi A, Bryce C, Grimes Z, et al. Central nervous system involvement by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus‐2 (SARS‐CoV‐2). Journal of medical virology. 2020;92(7):699-702. doi:10.1002/jmv.25915

Upstate Health Sciences Library Resources on Mary Fowkes MD

 1. Fowkes ME. The role of a 70 kDa intermediate chain in flagellar outer row Dynein assembly. Published online 1999.