Joan W. Miller, M.D.

Harvard Medical School

David Glendenning Cogan Professor of Ophthalmology
Chair, Department of Ophthalmology

Massachusetts Eye and Ear

Chief of Ophthalmology
Co-Director, Angiogenesis Laboratory
Co-Director, Laser Research Laboratory
Co-Director, Retina Research Institute
Senior Scientist

Massachusetts General Hospital

Chief of Ophthalmology

Research Summary

Center/Research Area Affiliations

Research Summary

Dr. Miller’s clinical and research interests focus on retinal disorders, including age related macular degeneration (AMD), diabetic eye disease, and macular telangiectasia (MacTel). She and her colleagues at Mass. Eye and Ear pioneered the development of photodynamic therapy (PDT) using verteporfin (Visudyne®), the first pharmacologic therapy for AMD. Dr. Miller also identified the role of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) in ocular neovascularization, forming the scientific basis of current antiangiogenic therapies for intraocular vascular diseases (including neovascular AMD and diabetic eye disease). Dr. Miller continues investigations to elucidate the pathophysiology of vision loss and improve therapies for retinal diseases.

Current projects

Characterization and treatment of early and intermediate AMD: Dr. Miller aims to address the significant unmet need for improving phenotyping and treatments for early and intermediate AMD. Studies with Dr. Deeba Husain are designed to identify biomarkers capable of distinguishing subjects with AMD. Together with Dr. John B. Miller, Dr. Miller is investigating novel imaging techniques for detailed visualization of retinal structure, as this may be a relevant early marker for disease onset and allow for improved monitoring of disease progression. Dr. Miller also collaborates with Dr. Demetrios Vavvas to study statins as a possible treatment for early/intermediate AMD.

Neuroprotective therapies for retinal disease: Dr. Miller studies the mechanisms of photoreceptor and retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) cell death with the goal of developing new strategies for preserving vision. Together with Dr. Demetrios Vavvas, Dr. Miller aims to elucidate the mechanisms of photoreceptor cell death and to identify potential therapeutic targets through genetic, molecular, and cellular studies.

Structure-function correlation and imaging: Dr. Miller is working with Dr. Deeba Husain and Dr. John B. Miller to examine new testing methods combining retinal structure and visual function to better detect early visual defects.

The MacTel Project: Dr. Miller is an investigator in a collaborative research effort to identify the causes and appropriate treatments for this idiopathic condition. Mass. Eye and Ear served as a site for the Phase II ciliary neurotrophic factor (CNTF) trial for MacTel with Dr. Miller as an Investigator.

Select Publications

For a complete list of publications, please see her CV.

  1. Laíns I, Kelly RS, Miller JB, Silva R, Vavvas DG, Kim IK, Murta JN, Lasky-Su J, Miller JW, Husain D. Human Plasma Metabolomics Study across All Stages of Age-Related Macular Degeneration Identifies Potential Lipid Biomarkers. Ophthalmology. 2018 Feb; 125(2):245-254. doi: 10.1016/j.optha.2017.08.008. Epub 2017 Sep 12. PubMed ID PMID: 28916333.
  2. Miller JW, Bagheri S, Vavvas DG. Advances in Age-related Macular Degeneration Understanding and Therapy. US Ophthalmic Rev. 2017 Fall;10(2):119-130. doi 10.179225/USOR.2017.10.02.119. PubMed ID PMID: 29142592.
  3. Laíns I, Miller JB, Park DH, Tsikata E, Davoudi S, Pierce J, Silva R, Chen TC, Kim IK, Vavvas D, Miller JW, Husain D. Structural Changes Associated with Delayed Dark Adaptation in Age-Related Macular Degeneration. Ophthalmology. 2017 Sep; 124(9):1340-1352. doi: 10.1016/j.ophtha.2017.03.061. Epub 2017 May 10. PubMed ID PMID: 28501377.
  4. Vavvas DG, Daniels AB, Kapsala ZG, Goldfarb JW, Ganotakis E, Loewenstein JI, Young LH, Gragoudas EG, Eliott D, Kim IK, Tsilimbaris MK, Miller JW. Regression of some high-risk features of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) in patients receiving intensive statin treatment. EBioMedicine. 2016 Feb 4;5:198-203. doi:10.1016/j.ebiom.2016.01.033. eCollection 2016 Mar. PubMed PMID: 27077128; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4816836.
  5. Miller JW. VEGF: From Discovery to Therapy: The Champalimaud Award Lecture. Transl Vis Sci Technol. 2016 Mar 11;5(2):9. eCollection 2016 Mar. PubMed PMID: 26981331; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4790434.

View a complete list of publications on pubmed.gov »

View publications on Google Scholar »

Biosketch

Education

  • 1980: S.B., Life Sciences, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • 1981–1985: M.D., cum laude, Harvard Medical School

Postgraduate Training

  • 1985–1986: Internship, Medicine, Newton-Wellesley Hospital
  • 1986–1989: Residency, Ophthalmology, Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary
  • 1989–1991: Fellowship, Vitreoretinal Surgery, Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary
  • 1989–1991: Research Fellowship, Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary

Professional Memberships (select)

  • 1984–present: Massachusetts Medical Society   
  • 1987–present: American Medical Association
  • 1989–present: Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) (2013–2016: Member, ARVO Foundation Board of Governors)
  • 1991–present: American Board of Ophthalmology    
  • 1992–present: American Academy of Ophthalmology (2002–2005: Retina Panel, Preferred Practice Patterns)
  • 1992–present: American Association for the Advancement of Science
  • 1993–present: Research to Prevent Blindness 
  • 1994–present: New England Ophthalmological Society (2013–2014: President)
  • 1995–present: Retina Society
  • 1995–present: Macula Society (2016–present: Treasurer) 
  • 1998–present: Club Jules Gonin
  • 2002–present: Alcon Research Institute
  • 2007–present: Women in Retina
  • 2007–present: Women in Ophthalmology (2007–present: Nominating Committee)
  • 2008–present: American Ophthalmological Society
  • 2009–present: Women in Eye and Vision Research (2009–present: Leadership Committee)
  • 2012–present: Heed Ophthalmic Foundation (2012–present: Board of Directors)
  • 2013–present: Academia Ophthalmologica Internationalis, Chair LXVIII
  • 2015–present: National Academy of Medicine
  • 2017-present: Dowling Society

Honors (select)

  • 1999: Rosenthal Award, Macula Society
  • 2002: Retina Research Award, Club Jules Gonin
  • 2006: ARVO/Pfizer Award
  • 2009: J. Donald Gass Medal, Macula Society
  • 2010: Joseph B. Martin Dean’s Leadership Award for the Advancement of Women Faculty, Harvard Medical School
  • 2011: Paul Henkind Memorial Award, Macula Society
  • 2012: Edward Jackson Memorial Lectureship, American Academy of Ophthalmology 
  • 2000: "Best of What's New" Award (Visudyne), Popular Science
  • 2000: "Top Products of 2000" Award (Visudyne), Business Week
  • 2012: Pinnacle Award for Achievement in the Professions, Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce
  • 2012: Boston's Best Doctors, Boston Magazine
  • 2013: Honoree, ARVO Foundation for Eye Research
  • 2014: António Champalimaud Vision Award
  • 2015: Mildred Weisenfeld Award for Excellence in Ophthalmology
  • 2018: Lucien Howe Medal, American Ophthalmological Society
  • 2018: Gertrude D. Pyron Award, American Society for Retinal Specialists and Retina Research Foundation
  • 2018: Charles L. Schepens, MD, Award, American Academy of Ophthalmology, Retina Research Foundation, and Schepens International Society

Editorial Roles (select)

  • 2005–2013: Editorial Board, JAMA Ophthalmology (formerly Archives of Ophthalmology)
  • 2013-present: Editorial Board, Ophthalmology
  • 2016–present: Editorial Board, Ophthalmology Retina
  • 2017–present: Advisory Board (Editorial Team), Sensory Systems Research, EBioMedicine

Teaching (select)

  • 2005: Co-Director, Residents Course (biennial), Harvard Medical School
  • 2010: Co-Director, Department of Ophthalmology Biennial Symposium on Age-Related Macular Degeneration (biennial)
  • Harvard Medical School
  • 2012–2012: Program Co-Director, Retina Subspecialty Day, American Academy of Ophthalmology (In conjunction with the American Society of Retina Specialists, the Macula Society, the Retina Society, and Club Jules Gonin)
  • 2017: Course Director, Heidelberg Engineering 15th Annual International Spectralis Symposium

Other Professional Roles/Advisory Boards

  • 2011–2015: Alcon Research Council
  • 2012–present: Consultant, KalVista Pharmaceuticals, Ltd.
  • 2013–2014: Consultant, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
  • 2013–2014: Consultant, ISIS Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
  • 2013–2014: Consultant, Imagen Biotech, Inc.
  • 2013–present: Scientific Advisory Board, ONL Therapeutics, LLC
  • 2013–2015: Scientific Advisory Board, MacuLogix, Inc.
  • 2014: Consultant, Biogen, Inc.
  • 2014–present: Board Member, National Alliance for Eye and Vision Research (NAEVR) / Alliance for Eye and Vision Research (AEVR)
  • 2014–2016: Consultant, Amgen, Inc.
  • 2017–2018: Consultant, Genentech, Inc./Roche
  • 2018: PDT Advisory Board, Bausch+Lomb

Patents

  • Miller JW, Young LHY, Gragoudas ES, inventors; Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, assignee. Angiographic method using green porphyrins in primate eyes. United States Patent US 5,707,986. January 13, 1998.
  • Levy J, Miller JW, Gragoudas ES, Hasan T, Schmidt-Erfurth U, inventors; The General Hospital Corporation, Quadra Logic Technologies, Inc., Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, assignees. Use of green porphyrins to treat neovasculature in the eye. United States Patent US 5,798,349. August 25, 1998.
  • Miller JW, Gragoudas ES, inventors; Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, assignee. Use of green porphyrins to treat neovasculature in the eye. United States Patent US 6,225,303. May 1, 2001.
  • Miller JW, Gragoudas ES, inventors; Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, assignee. Use of green porphyrins to treat neovasculature in the eye. United States Patent US 6,610,679. August 26, 2003.
  • Miller JW, Gragoudas ES, Renno RZ, inventors; Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, assignee. Methods and compositions for treating conditions of the eye. United States Patent US 7,125,542. October 24, 2006.
  • Iliaki E, Adamis AP, Miller JW, Gragoudas ES, inventors; Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, assignee. Treatment of ocular disorders. United States Patent US 7,419,666. September 2, 2008.
  • Adamis AP, Miller JW, Gragoudas ES, Mescher MJ, Dube CE, Borenstein JT, Weinstein MG, Miller RA, Hansberry ML; Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, The Charles Stark Draper Laboratory, Inc., assignees. Implantable Drug Delivery Device and Use Thereof. United States Patent US 7,563,255. July 21, 2009.
  • Gragoudas ES, Poulaki V, Miller JW, inventors; Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, assignee. Methods and compositions for treating conditions of the eye. United States Patent US 7,803,375.
  • Zacks D, Miller JW, inventors; Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, assignee. Methods for preserving the viability of photoreceptor cells by anti-FAS-ligand/anti-FAS-receptor antibodies. United States Patent US 7,811,832. October 12, 2010.
  • Poulaki V, Miller JW, Gragoudas ES, inventors; Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, assignee. Methods and compositions for treating conditions of the eye. United States Patent US 8,658,633. January 4, 2014.
  • Iliaki I, Adamis A, Miller JW, Gragoudas ES, inventors; Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, assignee. Treatment of ocular disorders. United States Patent US 8,987,219. March 24, 2015.
  • Vavvas D, Trichonas G, Miller J, Murakami Y, inventors; Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, owner. Methods and compositions for preserving photoreceptor and retinal pigment epithelial cells. United States Patent US 9,492,432. November 15, 2016.