Thaddeus Dryja is a graduate of Yale College (BA, chemistry) and Yale University School of Medicine (MD). He completed an internship in medicine (Waterbury Hospital, Connecticut), a residency in ophthalmology (Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary) and fellowships in ophthalmic pathology and molecular genetics (both at Harvard Medical School). In 1983, he joined the ophthalmology faculty at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary and at Harvard Medical School. He studied the molecular genetics of hereditary eye diseases while practicing general ophthalmology and ophthalmic pathology. In 1993 he became the Cogan Professor of Ophthalmology at Harvard. His research discoveries included finding compelling evidence for the recessive nature of oncogenic mutations at tumor suppressor genes like the retinoblastoma gene, the identification and cloning of the retinoblastoma gene, and the identification of 16 different genes responsible for retinitis pigmentosa and other forms of retinal degeneration and retinal dysfunction. In 2006 Dr. Dryja joined the Novartis Institutes for Biomedical Research where he was the Head of Translational Medicine in Ophthalmology (2006-2009) and then the Vice President and Head of Ophthalmology research (2009-2017). In 2017 he retired from Novartis and returned to Harvard, working currently as an attending eye pathologist at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear.

Research Interests

Search for novel biochemical pathways and disease mechanisms that can lead to the discovery of therapies for ocular diseases, especially age-related macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, retinitis pigmentosa, uveitis, and dry eye.

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Primary Section

Section 41: Medical Genetics, Hematology, and Oncology