About RGI

About the Founder

Remembering Yury Verlinsky

Dr. Yury Verlinsky, the founder of Reproductive Genetic Innovations, passed away on July 16, 2009 in Chicago, IL, USA from colon cancer. Dr. Verlinsky was 66 years old. The founding father of Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD) and embryo analysis prior to in-vitro fertilization (IVF), Verlinsky used his polar body biopsy technique to detect potential birth defects in offspring. It is now accepted worldwide as the standard for the most efficient and effective means of analyzing the chromosomal status of an embryo.

Verlinsky was a giant in the field because he transformed P.G.D. into a routine procedure that has enabled innumerable couples to conceive children free of genetic disease.
Read the article on The New York Time web site

Dr. Yury Verlinsky was the first in the nation to introduce the (now often used) technique for early prenatal diagnosis, known as chorionic villus sampling (CVS). Known for his groundbreaking work in the field of prenatal genetics, Yury was the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Reproductive Genetic Innovations (RGI) in Chicago, which he opened in 1990. He had established an International network of Centers in this field and became the founder of the Preimplantation Genetics Diagnosis International Society. Dr. Verlinsky was a renowned expert in preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD), and pioneered the polar body biopsy and removal technology that is widely used during PGD today. Due to his research, RGI became recognized as the leading genetics Innovations for the prevention of genetic disease through PGD, whether the disease is caused by a single gene defect such as cystic fibrosis or chromosomal issues, which include Down syndrome.

Verlinsky used his polar body biopsy technique to detect potential birth defects in offspring. It is now accepted worldwide as the standard.
Read full Wikipedia article

In 2000, Verlinsky introduced tissue compatibility testing (HLA matching) prior to pregnancy. This quickly became a 'miracle practice' for saving lives through cord blood or stem cell transplantation of a newborn to a sibling with a lethal genetic or acquired disease, such as leukemia. Since that time, over 250 children have been treated through this procedure. Dr. Verlinsky was also the first to introduce pre-pregnancy diagnosis for common late onset disorders, such as Alzheimer disease, and certain types of cancers, including colon cancer. It remains a sad irony that he became a victim to the latter, yet during his illness he was able to initiate a novel research project for developing cellular therapy for cancer, which, unfortunately, was not far enough along to benefit him.

In 1989 Verlinsky had gotten the idea for pre-implantation genetic screening while viewing a 1935 Joan Miro painting in a Jerusalem art gallery.
Read the article on Los Angeles Times web site

Yury's final contribution to the scientific community is the establishment of the world's first bank of human embryonic stem cells with genetic disorders. This bank of stem cells currently represents the unique in vitro model for developing cellular therapy for many lethal and debilitating diseases. Throughout his career, Yury published more than 200 professional papers as well as five books as guides for training, education and practice in preimplantation genetics.

Verlinsky: Right now, we do pre-implantation genetic diagnosis for more than hundred different genetic conditions, single gene disorders.
Read full interview on PBS web site

Dr. Verlinsky was born September 1, 1943, in Siberia. He obtained his Ph.D. in Cytogenetics and Embryology from Kharkov University and immigrated to the United States in 1979 with his family. Dr. Yury Verlinsky, who made his home in Chicago (IL), is survived by his wife, son, and three grandchildren.