We are excited to present our Meet the Speaker series, which is an opportunity for us to introduce you to the remarkable lineup of speakers for RIWC24. Our Scientific Committee has been working relentlessly to secure an impressive lineup of outstanding speakers for RIWC24.
It is with great pleasure that we unveil our first speaker, Professor Jean Bennett.
Prof. Jean Bennett is the F. M. Kirby Professor of Ophthalmology in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and has spent the past three decades developing gene-based strategies for treating inherited retinal degenerations (IRDs).
Prof. Bennett was the scientific director of clinical studies at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia which led to the first FDA-approved gene therapy for a genetic disease-causing blindness. She helped develop the primary outcome measure for that trial that led in 2017 to the first US FDA-approved gene therapy product.
We are delighted to have Professor Bennett with us at the Retina International World Congress to present the topic of ‘Gene Therapies for Retinal Disease’, on our Scientific Day Friday, June 7, 2024.
Prof Jean Bennett full bio:
Jean Bennett joined University of Pennsylvania’s School of Medicine in 1992 and has spent the past 3 decades developing gene-based strategies for treating inherited retinal degenerations. She has run a true bench-to-bedside translational research program and, in the process, has trained hundreds of physician-scientists, many of whom are now leaders in translational research around the globe. She was the scientific leader of a team that translated reversal of blindness in animal models to demonstration of efficacy and safety of gene therapy in children and adults.
She was the scientific director of clinical studies at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia that led to first FDA-approved gene therapy for a genetic disease (blindness due to RPE65 deficiency, studies that were sponsored by a company that she co-founded (but in which she waived financial benefit), Spark Therapeutics). She helped develop the primary outcome measure for that trial that led in 2017 to the first US FDA-approved gene therapy product. This was subsequently approved by the European Medicines Agency. In 2023, Jean became Professor Emeritus but continues to develop gene-based therapies for blinding diseases at UPenn and with other biotechnology and academic groups.
Jean graduated from Yale College, received her PhD (Zoology, Cell and Developmental Biology) from University of California, Berkeley and her MD from Harvard Medical School. She then received post-graduate training at Yale University and Johns Hopkins in Human Genetics and Developmental Genetics. An internationally recognized expert in gene therapy, Dr. Bennett has authored more than 120 peer-reviewed papers. She has received many awards including the Smithsonian Ingenuity Award and was a Co-recipient of the Champalimaud Award, the Sanford Lorraine Cross Award, the Harrington Prize, and the Helen Keller Prize in Vision Research. She is a member of the National Academy of Medicine, National Academy of Science, the Association of American Physicians and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.