Research Summary

Center/Research Area Affiliations

Research Summary

Dr. Aiello focuses his clinical and research interests on eliminating vision loss due to diabetic retinopathy and other related retinopathies. His research aims to determine the underlying biochemistry and molecular mechanisms of these diseases, then develop and test novel therapeutic interventions through rigorous translational and clinical trial research. The pioneering work of Dr. Aiello demonstrated the role of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) in diabetic retinopathy and other retinal disorders, as well as the therapeutic potential of VEGF inhibitors in these conditions. Dr. Aiello and colleagues at the Joslin Diabetes Center also published the first evidence that protein kinase C-beta (PKC-beta) is involved in vascular leakage in diabetic retinopathy in part mediating the VEGF pathway.

Dr. Aiello is recognized internationally for his leadership in diabetic retinopathy research. In 2002, he helped found and then served as the inaugural chair of the Diabetic Retinopathy Clinical Research Network (, a national collaborative network dedicated to facilitating multicenter clinical research for diabetic retinopathy, diabetic macular edema, and related disorders. Funded by the National Eye Institute, now includes over 150 centers nationwide representing academic medical institutions and private practice groups.

Selected Publications

Aflibercept, Bevacizumab, or Ranibizumab for Diabetic Macular Edema. The Diabetic Retinopathy Clinical Research Network. N Engl J Med. 2015 Feb 18. [Epub ahead of print]

Peripheral Lesions Identified on Ultrawide Field Imaging Predict Increased Risk of Diabetic Retinopathy Progression over 4 Years. Silva PS, Cavallerano JD, Haddad NM, Kwak H, Dyer KH, Omar AF, Shikari H, Aiello LM, Sun JK, Aiello LP. Ophthalmology. 2015 Feb 19. pii: S0161-6420(15)00046-9.

Automated retinal image analysis for diabetic retinopathy in telemedicine. Sim DA, Keane PA, Tufail A, Egan CA, Aiello LP, Silva PS. Curr Diab Rep. 2015 Mar;15(3):14.

Neural Retinal Disorganization as a Robust Marker of Visual Acuity in Current and Resolved Diabetic Macular Edema. Sun JK, Radwan S, Soliman AZ, Lammer J, Lin MM, Prager SG, Silva PS, Aiello LB, Aiello LP. Diabetes. 2015 Jan 29. pii: db140782. [Epub ahead of print]

Disorganization of the retinal inner layers as a predictor of visual acuity in eyes with center-involved diabetic macular edema. Sun JK, Lin MM, Lammer J, Prager S, Sarangi R, Silva PS, Aiello LP. JAMA Ophthalmol. 2014 Nov;132(11):1309-16

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BA Biochemistry cum laude, University of Pennsylvania

PhD Biochemistry, Boston University School of Medicine

MD, Boston University School of Medicine

Postgraduate Training

Transitional Internship, Framingham Union Hospital, Framingham, MA

Residency (Ophthalmology), Wilmer Ophthalmological Institute, Johns Hopkins Hospital and University, Baltimore, MD

Research Fellowship (Ophthalmology), Joslin Research Laboratories, Joslin Diabetes Center, Boston, MA

Vitreoretinal Fellowship, Beetham Eye Institute, Joslin Diabetes Center, Boston, MA

Academic Appointments

Instructor in Ophthalmology, Harvard Medical School

Research Associate, Joslin Diabetes Center, Harvard Medical School

Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology, Harvard Medical School

Investigator, Joslin Diabetes Center, Harvard Medical School

Associate Professor of Ophthalmology, Harvard Medical School

Senior Investigator, Joslin Diabetes Center, Harvard Medical School

Professor of Ophthalmology, Harvard Medical School

Selected Honors

Dr. Aiello has received more than 45 national and international awards and honors, including the Alcon Research Institute Award, the ARVO/Pfizer Ophthalmics Translational Research Award, the Award of Merit in Retina Research from the Retina Society, the Senior Achievement Award from the American Academy of Ophthalmology, the Charles Schepens Award in Research, the Outstanding Foreign Investigator Award from the Japan Society of Diabetic Complications; the Novartis Award in Diabetes, the David Rumbough Award for scientific excellence from the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, and the Montgomery Medal from the Ireland Royal College of Surgeons. The Research to Prevent Blindness Foundation has awarded Dr. Aiello the Dolly Green Scholar Award, the Special Research Scholar Award, and the Lew R. Wasserman Merit Award; and the Macula Society has presented Dr. Aiello with the Rosenthal Foundation Award and the Paul Henkind Memorial Award. Dr. Aiello was a 2014 co-recipient of the Antonio Champalimaud Vision Award, the highest distinction in ophthalmology and vision research.