Professor Jose Sahel Receives Prestigious Award

On Tuesday February 20th, Professor Jose Alain Sahel, Co-chair of the Retina International Scientific and Medical Advisory Board (SMAB) received the Scientific Award as Part of the Rare Disease Europe Black Pearl Awards. Professor Sahel was recognized for his lifelong work striving to develop treatments for people living with Rare Eye Diseases.

José-Alain Sahel, M.D., is a distinguished professor, chairman of the Department of Ophthalmology, and The Eye and Ear Foundation Endowed Chair at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, and an adjunct professor of Robotics and Bioengineering at Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh. He is an emeritus professor of Ophthalmology at Sorbonne Université and was the founding director of The Vision Institute (Sorbonne Université, Inserm, CNRS) Paris, France (till 31 December 2020).

Prof Sahel delivering his acceptance speech.

Trained at Paris University Medical School, Louis Pasteur University in Strasbourg, and Harvard University, Dr. Sahel is a clinician-scientist conducting research on vision restoration focusing on cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying retinal degeneration and development of treatments for currently untreatable retinal diseases.

As the founder of the Vision Institute in Paris and the new Vision Institute in Pittsburgh, Dr. Sahel has conducted and overseen more than 80 clinical trials on retinal conditions, some of them within the most advanced areas of biomedical technologies (first in human trials in retinal implants, gene therapy, stem cell therapy, optogenetics).

Prof Sahel (left) with Avril Daly, CEO of Retina International (middle) and Prof Bart Leroy from the University of Ghent (right).

With over 700 peer-reviewed articles and 40 patents, he is a prolific researcher and has co-founded companies developing innovative vision restoration therapies. His esteemed memberships include the Académie des Sciences-Institut de France, the Académie des Technologies, the Association of American Physicians, the American Ophthalmology Society, the German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina and the National Academy of Inventors.

The EURORDIS Scientific Award recognizes Dr. Sahel’s excellence in scientific research in the field of rare diseases, with a primary focus on retinal diseases and inherited retinal degenerations. His pioneering efforts in research and his relentless pursuit of understanding the genetic and molecular foundations of these conditions have been truly outstanding.

Moreover, his collaboration with international organizations and institutions has played a pivotal role in advancing the diagnosis and treatment of rare eye diseases. His dedication has translated into meaningful improvements in the lives of patients worldwide, and for this, we would like to honor his ground-breaking achievement.

Congratulations Jose from all your friends at Retina International and thank you for your huge commitment to us over so many years!

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