Patricia D'Amore, PhD, MBA, the Charles L. Schepens Professor of Ophthalmology at Harvard Medical School and Vice Chair of Basic and Translational Research at Harvard Ophthalmology, has been awarded the 2020 Earl P. Benditt Award from the North American Vascular Biology Organization (NAVBO) in recognition of her numerous contributions to the understanding of vascular development and growth. At a special webinar last month, Dr. D’Amore presented the Benditt Lecture entitled, “Understanding capillary growth and pathology using the retina as a model system.”
Dr. D’Amore is an internationally recognized expert of vascular growth and development, and has been at the forefront of angiogenesis research for over three decades. Among her foremost transformative contributions is the identification of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) as the elusive “Factor X” that causes pathological blood vessel growth in blinding neovascular eye diseases. These investigations formed the scientific foundations of anti-VEGF therapies, which were first approved for clinical use in 2004 and are currently used to treat various cancers and intraocular vascular diseases such as diabetic retinopathy and age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Dr. D’Amore also developed a widely used mouse model of oxygen-induced retinopathy, which has served as the cornerstone of many basic scientific investigations of vascular development and preclinical studies of vascular-targeting agents.
More recently, Dr. D’Amore has been studying the role of a novel cell surface glycoprotein, called endomucin, in the regulation of angiogenesis and her laboratory has uncovered a critical role for this molecule in the action of VEGF, providing a novel target for anti-angiogenesis therapy. In addition, she is examining the role of impaired lipid handling on the pathogenesis of AMD with a goal of identifying therapeutics that could be used for early intervention/prevention.
She has published more than 175 peer-reviewed papers, 72 reviews, and is editor or co-editor of four books. She is the recipient of numerous awards and honors including the Alcon Research Institute Award, the Cogan Award from ARVO, the Rous-Whipple Award from the American Society of Investigative Pathology, the Endre A. Balazs Award from the International Society for Eye Research, and the Proctor Medal from ARVO. For her contributions to the development of anti-angiogenic therapy for retinal disease, Dr. D’Amore was a co-recipient of the 2014 António Champalimaud Vision Award, the highest distinction in ophthalmology and visual science. Most recently, she received the 2019 Shining Example Award from her alma mater, Regis College, and was elected as a Fellow of American Academy of Arts & Sciences, Medical Sciences.