Anders Näär, Ph.D., Awarded RPB Stein Innovation Award

January 22, 2016
Contact: Suzanne Day, Office of Communications

NaarBOSTON — Anders M. Näär, Ph.D., Professor of Cell Biology at Harvard Medical School and the Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center, has been awarded a Stein Innovation Award from Research to Prevent Blindness (RPB) in the amount of $300,000 over three years for his project studying the role of cholesterol accumulation in the eye. A pioneer in his field, Dr. Näär (in photo, right) is one of ten researchers at nine institutions nationwide to receive the award, which was established in 2014 to provide flexible funding to scientists pursuing leading edge research on blinding diseases.

With this support from RPB, Dr. Näär will collaborate with Patricia D’Amore, Ph.D., M.B.A., Professor of Ophthalmology and Pathology at Harvard Medical School, and Director of Research at Schepens Eye Research Institute of Massachusetts Eye and Ear, to examine microRNA regulation of lipid handling in age-related macular degeneration (AMD) – a leading cause of blindness in the elderly – and may identify novel regulators and new therapeutic targets. Dr. Näär brings expert knowledge in molecular and cell biology to this collaborative project.

“Dr. Näär is a leading expert on transcriptional and microRNA regulation of cholesterol/lipid homeostasis and excels in forming cross-disciplinary research collaborations that facilitate investigative avenues,” said Joan W. Miller, M.D., the Henry Willard Williams Professor and Chair of Ophthalmology at Harvard Medical School and Chief of Ophthalmology at Massachusetts Eye and Ear and Massachusetts General Hospital.. “I am confident that this new line of investigation will add important knowledge to our field and may ultimately lead to new therapeutic targets for AMD.”

About Research to Prevent Blindness
RPB is the world’s leading voluntary organization supporting eye research. Since it was founded in 1960, RPB has channeled hundreds of millions of dollars to medical institutions throughout the United States for research into blinding eye diseases. For information on RPB, RPB-funded research, eye disorders and the RPB Grants Program, please visit

About Massachusetts Eye and Ear
Mass. Eye and Ear clinicians and scientists are driven by a mission to find cures for blindness, deafness and diseases of the head and neck.  Now united with Schepens Eye Research Institute, Mass. Eye and Ear is the world's largest vision and hearing research center, developing new treatments and cures through discovery and innovation. Mass. Eye and Ear is a Harvard Medical School teaching hospital and trains future medical leaders in ophthalmology and otolaryngology, through residency as well as clinical and research fellowships.  Internationally acclaimed since its founding in 1824, Mass. Eye and Ear employs full-time, board-certified physicians who offer high-quality and affordable specialty care that ranges from the routine to the very complex.  U.S. News & World Report’s “Best Hospitals Survey” has consistently ranked the Mass. Eye and Ear Departments of Otolaryngology and Ophthalmology as top in the nation.  For more information about life-changing care and research, or to learn how you can help, please visit

About Harvard Medical School Department of Ophthalmology
The Harvard Medical School (HMS) Department of Ophthalmology ( is one of the leading and largest academic departments of ophthalmology in the nation. More than 350 full-time faculty and trainees work at nine HMS affiliate institutions, including Massachusetts Eye and Ear, Schepens Eye Research Institute of Massachusetts Eye and Ear, Massachusetts General Hospital, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston Children’s Hospital, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Joslin Diabetes Center/Beetham Eye Institute, Veterans Affairs Boston Healthcare System, VA Maine Healthcare System, and Cambridge Health Alliance. Formally established in 1871, the department has been built upon a strong and rich foundation in medical education, research, and clinical care. Through the years, faculty and alumni have profoundly influenced ophthalmic science, medicine, and literature—helping to transform the field of ophthalmology from a branch of surgery into an independent medical specialty at the forefront of science.