Lois E. H. Smith M.D., Ph.D. is an ophthalmologist and clinician/scientist at Boston Children’s Hospital and Professor of Ophthalmology at Harvard Medical School. Her basic research work is in retinal neovascularization, both basic mechanism and treatment including diabetic retinopathy, retinopathy of prematurity, age-related macular degeneration and retinitis pigmentosa. She is the recipient of the Friedenwald award, the Alcon Research Institute award, the Silverman award, and the Bressler Prize.
Her early work defined oxygen-induced retinopathy where she showed VEGF is necessary for ischemia-induced proliferative retinopathy helping establish the basis for current anti-VEGF treatment. She defined the role of growth hormone and IGF-1 in retinopathy. She has shown that omega-3 fatty acids are critical to retinopathy and that increasing the omega-3 /omega-6 ratio in retina can inhibit pathological angiogenesis. She has focused more recently on metabolic function in photoreceptors, which are the most metabolically active cell in the body, driving neovascularization. Although photoreceptors have been thought to use only glucose as fuel she has shown that lipids are also a fuel source and manipulation of lipids can be used to suppress retinopathy.