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From Childhood Blindness to Age-related
Macular Degeneration: Genes, Eye Disease,
and Prospects for Therapy

Paul Sieving, M.D., Ph.D.
National Eye Institute
National Institutes of Health

Tuesday, October 16, 2007
Photo of Steven M. Holland

Dr. Sieving came to NIH from the University of Michigan Medical School where he was the Paul R. Lichter Professor of Ophthalmic Genetics and was the founding Director of the Center for Retinal and Macular Degeneration in the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences. He has held his current position since 2001.

Dr. Sieving is known internationally for studies of human progressive blinding genetic retinal neurodegenerations, including retinitis pigmentosa, and rodent models of these conditions. His laboratory study of pharmacological approaches to slowing degeneration in transgenic animal models led to the first human clinical therapy trial of ciliary neurotrophic factor (CNTF) for retinitis pigmentosa, which was published in the March 2006 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. He also successfully treated X-linked retinoschisis in a mouse model using gene transfer which restored retinal function. He maintains a clinical practice for patients with these and other genetic forms of retinal diseases, including Stargardt juvenile macular degeneration.

After undergraduate work in history and physics, Dr. Sieving studied nuclear physics at Yale Graduate School from 1970-73, and then attended Yale Law School from 1973-74. He received his M.D. from the University of Illinois Medical School in 1978 and obtained a Ph.D. in bioengineering from the University of Illinois Graduate School in 1981. Dr. Sieving completed an ophthalmology residency at the University of Illinois Eye and Ear Infirmary in Chicago. After post-doctoral study of retinal physiology from 1982-1984 at the University of California, San Francisco, he completed a clinical fellowship in 1985 at Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary.

He served as Vice Chair for Clinical Research for the Foundation Fighting Blindness from 1996-2001. He is on the Bressler Vision Award Committee and serves on the jury for the annual $1,000,000 Award for Vision Research of the Champalimaud Foundation, Portugal. He was elected to membership in the American Ophthalmological Society in 1993 and the Academia Ophthalmologica Internationalis in 2005. He received an honorary Doctor of Science from Valparaiso University in 2003 and was named one of The Best Doctors in America in 1998, 2001 and 2005. Dr. Sieving received the RPB Senior Scientific Investigator Award, 1998; the Alcon Award, Alcon Research Institute, 2000; and the 2005 Pisart Vision Award from the New York Lighthouse International for the Blind. In 2006, Dr. Sieving was elected to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences, one of the highest honors in the fields of medicine and health.

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