2018 Watanabe Award Winner Jean Bennett2021-08-18T17:53:27-04:00
Jean Bennett

Jean Bennett, MD, PhD

Jean Bennett, MD, PhD, received the Watanabe Award in 2018. That year, the theme for the Indiana Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute (CTSI) Annual Meeting was, “Celebrating 10 Years of Improving Health through Research.”

Bennett is the F. M. Kirby Professor of Ophthalmology at University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine. She is a physician-scientist with experience/expertise in molecular biology, vector development and gene therapy translational studies. She has developed gene transfer approaches to test treatment strategies for retinal degenerative and ocular neovascular diseases, to elucidate retinal differentiation pathways and to identify pathogenetic mechanisms that lead to blindness.

Bennett has established a true “from bench to bedside” program, and thus she is familiar with steps necessary to go from proof-of-concept all the way to those necessary for testing of safety and efficacy in humans with blinding disease. She was the scientific leader of a team that translated reversal of blindness in animal models to demonstration of efficacy and safety in children and adults. Her team was the first to enroll pediatric subjects with a non-lethal disease as gene therapy participants. The team completed both a Follow-on (re-administration) study and a Phase 3 registration gene therapy trial for congenital blindness, the first randomized, controlled, multi-center gene therapy Phase 3 gene therapy trial targeting a genetic disease. This work led to the first approved gene therapy drug for retinal disease worldwide and the first US FDA-approved recombinant virus-based gene therapy product to be delivered directly into a person.

VIDEO FROM 2018 – https://iu.mediaspace.kaltura.com/media/CTSI+Annual+Meeting+2018/1_uwxng2jg

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