Zhigang He, MD, PhD, a Professor of Neurology and Professor of Ophthalmology at Harvard Medical School and a researcher at Boston Children’s Hospital, has been elected to the prestigious National Academy of Medicine (NAM). Established by the National Academy of Sciences, 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.
Dr. He is being recognized for his breakthrough discoveries regarding the mechanisms of axon regeneration and functional repair after central nervous system injuries. His work provided foundational knowledge and identified novel molecular targets for restorative therapies to treat spinal cord injury, stroke, glaucoma, and other neurodegenerative disorders.
In addition to his research role at The F.M. Kirby Neurobiology Center at Boston Children’s Hospital, Dr. He is Director of the Boston Children’s Hospital Viral Core, which aims to provide technological resources to academic investigators interested in the development and use of viral based vectors. He is also a principal investigator at the Harvard Stem Cell Institute.
Dr. He earned his medical degree from Nanjing Medical College in Nanjing, China, before completing his PhD in genetics at the University of Toronto. Dr. He then completed a postdoctoral research fellowship at the University of California, San Francisco, with Marc Tessier-Lavigne, PhD. Dr. He joined Harvard Medical School’s Department of Neurology in 1999 as an Assistant Professor and was promoted to Professor in 2012. Dr. He joined the Department of Ophthalmology in 2016.
Dr. He has received numerous awards, including the 2020 Greenberg End Blindness Visionary Prize, the 2019 Reeve-Irvine Research Medal, and has been named a Klingenstein Fellow in Neuroscience, a John Merck Scholar, and a McKnight Scholar.
With a current membership of more than 2,200, 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, health care, and public health and who are committed to volunteer service in activities of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.