December 2016
Volume 57, Issue 15
Open Access
Lecture  |   December 2016
Introducing Joan W. Miller, the 2015 Recipient of the Weisenfeld Award
Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science December 2016, Vol.57, 6910. doi:10.1167/iovs.15-18205
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      Evangelos S. Gragoudas; Introducing Joan W. Miller, the 2015 Recipient of the Weisenfeld Award. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2016;57(15):6910. doi: 10.1167/iovs.15-18205.

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      © ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)

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It is my great pleasure to introduce Joan Miller, the 2015 recipient of the Weisenfeld Award. 
Joan Whitten Miller was born in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, and conducted undergraduate studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). She received her medical degree and ophthalmology residency training from Harvard Medical School, and completed fellowships in ophthalmology research and vitreoretinal surgery at Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary. In 2003, Joan became the first female physician to achieve the rank of professor of ophthalmology at Harvard Medical School, and the first woman to chair the Department of Ophthalmology. She is also the first woman appointed as chief of ophthalmology at both Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary and Massachusetts General Hospital. Joan is codirector of the Angiogenesis Laboratory at Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary and a vitreoretinal physician in the Retina Service. 
Joan is an internationally recognized expert on retinal disorders, including AMD, macular disorders, and diabetic retinopathy. Working together in the 1990s, we developed photodynamic therapy with verteporfin (Visudyne), the first AMD treatment approved by the US Food and Drug Administration and drug regulatory agencies worldwide. Joan also is recognized for codiscovering the role of VEGF in eye disease and demonstrating the therapeutic potential of VEGF inhibitors. This work formed the scientific basis of antiangiogenic ophthalmic therapies, which are widely used to prevent vision loss in AMD and other retinal diseases by blocking abnormal blood vessel growth and leakage. Joan continues to elucidate the pathophysiology of vision loss and to improve therapeutic options for retinal disease. Current studies focus on the genetics of AMD, strategies for early intervention in AMD, and neuroprotective therapies for retinal disease. 
Joan has authored more than 170 peer-reviewed papers and 60 book chapters or review articles. She is a coeditor of the third edition of Albert and Jakobiec's Principles and Practice of Ophthalmology, an editorial board member of the journal Ophthalmology, and a named inventor on 10 US patents and 5 Canadian patents. She is a Gold Fellow of ARVO and has received numerous awards, including the Rosenthal Award, J. Donald M. Gass Medal, and Paul Henkind Memorial Award (all from the Macula Society); the Retina Research Award (Club Jules Gonin); the Alcon Research Institute Award; the ARVO/Pfizer Ophthalmic Translational Research Award; the Founder's Award (American Society of Retinal Specialists); the Joseph B. Martin Dean's Leadership Award for the Advancement of Women Faculty (Harvard Medical School); the Suzanne Veronneau-Troutman Award (Women in Ophthalmology); and the Senior Achievement Award (American Academy of Ophthalmology [AAO]). Joan delivered the 2012 Edward Jackson Lecture for AAO. In 2013, she was elected to the Academia Ophthalmologica Internationalis. For her contributions to the development of antiangiogenic retinal therapies, Joan was a corecipient of the 2014 António Champalimaud Vision Award, one of the highest distinctions in ophthalmology and visual science. In receiving the 2015 Mildred Weisenfeld Award for Excellence in Ophthalmology, one of ARVO's highest honors, Joan became the first woman to receive this award, which recognizes distinguished scholarly contributions to the clinical practice of ophthalmology. 
Joan and her husband, John, live in Winchester, Massachusetts. John, a construction attorney, specializes in domestic and international engineering procurement and public-private partnerships in global infrastructure. Their eldest son, John, is a graduate of MIT and University of Michigan Medical School, and is now a vitreoretinal surgeon at Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary and an instructor in ophthalmology at Harvard Medical School. Their second son, Douglas, graduated from Harvard College, where he was cocaptain of the basketball team; he now works in construction management and is a vice president of Schernecker Property Services. Their daughter, Mary, graduated from Harvard College and University of Michigan Law School, and is now a law clerk. 
Please join me in welcoming Joan Miller to present her 2015 Weisenfeld Lecture. 
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