Mara Lorenzi, MD
Mass. Eye and Ear
Senior Scientist, Emerita (Schepens Eye Research Institute)
After 28 years with Schepens Eye Research Institute of Mass. Eye and Ear, Dr. Lorenzi retired in December 2016. During her time in the department, her research focused on understanding the pathogenesis of diabetic retinopathy. Dr. Lorenzi was the George and Frances Levin Scholar in Diabetic Retinopathy, and directed the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation (JDRF) Center for Diabetic Retinopathy at the Schepens Eye Research Institute. Dr. Lorenzi’s work introduced in the field of diabetic complications seminal concepts that launched and fueled the research onto the cellular and molecular processes underlying the damage of blood vessels in diabetes. In particular, the concepts of “Glucose Toxicity” for vascular cells and of “Memory” of the past effects of high glucose and diabetes on cells and tissues, have found validation in several subsequent clinical trials. Her studies on the cellular and molecular biology of human diabetic retinopathy have identified processes and mechanisms – apoptosis, microthrombosis, and complement activation – now used to explain the histological hallmarks of this diabetic complication. More recently she focused on the identification of early abnormalities of retinal vessels that can serve a role as biomarkers of risk and/or accelerators of progression of diabetic retinopathy. Among the many researchers trained in Dr. Lorenzi’s laboratory, several are now Professor at Harvard Medical School, other academic institutions in Boston, and throughout the world. Dr. Lorenzi served in multiple Advisory Panels of the US National Institutes of Health (NIH), the JDRF, the American Diabetes Association, and the European Association for the Study of Diabetes related to the Complications of Diabetes. Dr. Lorenzi practiced Medicine as a Diabetes specialist with the Diabetes Center at the Massachusetts General Hospital, where she maintains a position as Consultant in Medicine; and is Visiting Professor at the Universita’ Vita-Salute San Raffaele, Milan, Italy.
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