The Power List 2021 – Power List
Professor of Ophthalmology, Harvard Medical School, Boston Children’s Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
Her nominator wrote this about her: “Lois Smith is a research superstar in ophthalmology overall and paediatric ophthalmology in particular. A clinician-scientist with decades of experience caring for young patients and teaching ophthalmologists at every level of training, Smith’s basic science work in ROP led to the development of the first mouse model of proliferative retinopathy. That key development led to an explosion in our understanding of the mechanism of ROP, including the role of VEGF in normal retinal vessel development and the potential for VEGF suppression to modulate disease progression.
She has further introduced the world to the potential benefits of supplementation of IGF1 and omega-3 fatty acids in preterm infants, which is showing benefits not just for the ocular health but also for the growth and brain development of this highly vulnerable population. More recently, she has discovered that drugs that enhance mitochondrial function (such as long acting FGF21) decrease neovascularization in diabetic mouse models, as well as ROP and retinitis pigmentosa models, potentially opening a new door for effective medical treatment of these blinding conditions.
For all of these efforts in clinic and lab, Smith is also a consummate mentor, having trained a generation of highly productive post-doctoral fellows, with her accomplishments recently recognized by the Boston Children’s Hospital 2019 Post-Doctoral Association Mentoring Award. With her achievements and impact, Lois Smith has been and remains one of the most influential women in the field of ophthalmology.”