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 earned a PhD in Biology from Boston University in 1977 and pursued postdoctoral research in the Departments of Ophthalmology and Physiological Chemistry at Johns Hopkins, where she was appointed Assistant Professor in 1980. She returned to Boston in 1981 to join Judah Folkman in the Program in Vascular Biology at Boston Children’s Hospital, where she remains a Research Associate in the Department of Surgery. Dr. D’Amore rose to the rank of Associate Professor of Pathology (1989) and Professor of Ophthalmology (1998) at Harvard Medical School, assuming the Schepens Professorship as Director of Research at the Schepens Eye Research Institute of Mass. Eye and Ear in 2012. In 2014, she was appointed Professor of Pathology at Harvard Medical School, where she directs the Howe Laboratory and serves as Associate Chief for Ophthalmology Basic and Translational Research in the Department of Ophthalmology.
Dr. D’Amore is recognized internationally as an expert in vascular growth and development, working at the forefront of angiogenesis research for over three decades. Among her foremost contributions is the identification of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) as the elusive causative factor in ocular diseases characterized by over-exuberant blood vessel growth. These investigations proved fundamental in the rationale for development of anti-VEGF therapies, first approved for clinical use in 2004 and currently in use to treat various cancers, diabetic retinopathy, and age-related macular degeneration. Dr. D’Amore also developed the widely-used hyperoxic murine neonate model of retinopathy, enabling numerous basic scientific investigations of vascular development and preclinical studies of vascular-targeting agents. Her current research focuses on understanding the developmental dynamics and maturational stabilization of the microvasculature.
Dr. D’Amore has published more than 160 peer-reviewed papers, dozens of reviews, and is editor or co-editor of four books. She has received numerous honors, including the Alcon Research Institute Award, the Cogan Award and Proctor Medal from ARVO, the ASIP Rous-Whipple Award, the Endre A. Balazs Award from the International Society for Eye Research, and the António Champalimaud Vision Award, the highest distinction in ophthalmology and visual science. Most recently, she was elected as a Fellow of American Academy of Arts & Sciences, Medical Sciences.
This award recognizes an individual who has made an outstanding discovery or developed a concept that has been seminal to understanding of vascular biology or pathology.
The recipient receives a crystal plaque and a monetary award and will be asked to give a lecture at the Vascular Biology Meeting.