Alumni and Faculty Elected to the National Academy of Medicine

October 21, 2019

Several faculty and alumni have been elected to the prestigious National Academy of Medicine (NAM). Congratulations to alumnus and part-time faculty member Anthony Adamis, MD; faculty member Elizabeth Engle, MD; and alumna Julia Haller, MD. 

Established by the National Academy of Sciences, the NAM is a national resource for independent, scientifically informed analysis and recommendations on health issues. The NAM serves alongside the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering to address critical issues in health, medicine, and related policy and to inspire positive action across sectors. 

With a current membership of more than 2,000, the NAM elects no more than 90 national and 10 international members each year. New members are elected by current active members through a selective process that recognizes eminent professionals who have made major contributions to the advancement of the medical sciences, healthcare, and public health and who are committed to volunteer service in activities of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 

Anthony Adamis, MD

A pioneer in the development of novel ophthalmic therapies, Dr. Adamis is Senior Vice President of Development Innovation at Genentech, where he is responsible for late-stage development programs in long-acting anti-vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) drug delivery for a wide range of angiogenic diseases.

He is best known for his co-discovery of the role of VEGF in ocular disease, including diabetic retinopathy and age-related macular degeneration (AMD). This groundbreaking research was conducted in the 1990s under the mentorship of Judah Folkman at Boston Children’s Hospital, shortly after he joined the Harvard Ophthalmology faculty. 

In 2002, he joined Eyetech Pharmaceuticals, where he led the team that succeeded with obtaining FDA approval for pegaptanib (Macugen®)—the first anti-VEGF drug to treat wet AMD. In 2009, he joined Genentech, where his team obtained FDA approval for ranibizumab (Lucentis®) for the treatment of retinal vein occlusion, diabetic macular edema, diabetic retinopathy, and myopic choroidal neovascularization. 

In recognition of his significant scientific achievements toward the development of anti-VEGF therapies, Dr. Adamis was a co-recipient of the 2014 Antonio Champalimaud Vision Award, the highest distinction in ophthalmology and visual science.

Elizabeth Engle, MD

A Professor of Ophthalmology and Neurology at Harvard Medical School, Dr. Engle is one of the world’s leading authorities on the genetics of eye movement disorders. She is Associate Director of the Harvard Ophthalmology Ocular Genomics Institute and a Senior Associate in Neurology, Ophthalmology, and Medicine at Boston Children's Hospital.

Her ground-breaking research has uncovered the clinical features and genetic causes of rare forms of congenital strabismus and ptosis and led to the definition of a new category of human malformation syndromes, known as congenital cranial dysinnervation disorders. Dr. Engle has identified the genes mutated in multiple complex strabismus syndromes and demonstrated that these disorders can result from errors in the growth and development of motor neurons (brain cells that guide movement) and their cranial nerves as they extend from the brainstem to the eye muscles. Her studies of these orphan disorders have dramatically advanced our knowledge not only of these specific disorders, but also of steps critical to human motor neuron and brainstem development. 

Julia Haller, MD

A graduate of Harvard Medical School, Dr. Haller is currently Ophthalmologist-in-Chief of Wills Eye Hospital, where she holds the William Tasman, MD, Endowed Chair. She also serves as Professor and Chair of the Department of Ophthalmology at Sidney Kimmel Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University and Thomas Jefferson University Hospitals, and Co-Director of the Wills Vision Research Center at Jefferson.

A clinician scientist specializing in retina, Dr. Haller was one of the first physicians in the United States to perform early intravitreal injections of anti-VEGF medications. She has also contributed to several pioneering trials for new therapies to treat blindness, including the development of the ARGUS II chip for retinitis pigmentosa and gene therapy. 


See also: Alumni, Awards, Faculty