Janey L. Wiggs, MD, PhD, Paul Austin Chandler Professor of Ophthalmology at Harvard Medical School, Associate Chief of Ophthalmology Clinical Research and Associate Director of the Howe Laboratory at Massachusetts Eye and Ear, is the 2018 recipient of the Dr. David L. Epstein Award, an honor given by the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO). Dr. Wiggs will receive the award at the ARVO Annual Meeting this May in Honolulu, Hawaii.
This annual award is given in honor of Dr. David L. Epstein, a globally recognized leader in the glaucoma field who passed away in 2014. Because Dr. Epstein’s ultimate goal was to cure glaucoma, this award is designed to both perpetuate his mission and to support other researchers in continuing the cause. Dr. Wiggs studies genetic risk factors of glaucoma. Her research, which has been continuously funded by the National Eye Institute (NEI) for more than 25 years, has been instrumental in advancing our understanding of the biology of glaucoma and has led to the development of diagnostic screening and prevention strategies for the disease.
“We are incredibly proud of Dr. Wiggs’ exceptional accomplishments and very pleased that she is being recognized with the prestigious Dr. David L. Epstein award,” said Joan W. Miller, MD, chief of ophthalmology at Mass. Eye and Ear and Mass General, and chair of the Harvard Department of Ophthalmology. “Her pioneering research in ocular genomics has led to the discovery of multiple genetic and environmental risk factors for this vision-robbing disease; our hope is that—one day— these advancements will help pave the way for the development of precision medicine for glaucoma and benefit people worldwide.”
Dr. Wiggs currently investigates several specific sub-conditions of glaucoma, such as adult and juvenile onset primary open angle glaucoma. In conjunction with these studies, her laboratory has developed a registry of more than 2,000 early and adult onset glaucoma patients. She is also a member of eyeGENE, a genotyping project designed to study inherited ocular diseases.
Outside of her research, Dr. Wiggs treats patients with advanced or complex glaucoma and genetic ocular disorders. She also holds several leadership roles at Mass. Eye and Ear/Harvard Department of Ophthalmology, including Vice Chair for Clinical Research, Co-Director of the Glaucoma Center of Excellence and Associate Director of the Ocular Genomics Institute.
“Dr. Epstein was my mentor when I was a glaucoma fellow, and his teaching had a major impact on my career development,” Dr. Wiggs said. “I am honored and delighted to receive this award.”