Dr José-Alain Sahel is currently the Director of Institut de la Vision and the Laboratory of Excellence "LIFESENSES: senses for a lifetime". He is Professor of Ophthalmology at Pierre and Marie Curie University Medical School, Paris, France and Cumberlege Professor of Biomedical Sciences at the Institute of Ophthalmology, University College London, UK. He chairs the Department of Ophthalmology at the Quinze-Vingts National Ophthalmology Hospital (CHNO) and at the Rothschild Ophthalmology Foundation, and coordinator of the Ophthalmology Clinical Investigation Centre (CIC) and the National Reference Centre for Retinal Dystrophies and Rare Retinal Diseases.
Dr Sahel oversees the research centre that functions in synergy with CHNO and whose primary focus is understanding the mechanisms associated with eye diseases, and conception and evaluation of innovative treatments. Institut de la Vision comprises more than 18 principal investigators and more than 250 staff members focused on developing novel therapeutic strategies for ocular diseases. José Sahel founded Institut de la Vision as a site for translational research on treatments for currently untreatable inherited (such as retinitis pigmentosa) and age-related retinal diseases (such as age-related macular degeneration and vascular eye disease), with the aim of identifying therapeutic clues. Besides research on developmental biology, functional genomics, physiology and therapeutics (e.g. stem cells, gene therapy, pharmacology, and artificial retina), his laboratory conducts research on the development of high resolution in vivo cellular imaging, relevant biomarkers and disease models in an environment adductive to industrial partnerships. José Sahel and his collaborators discovered the protein Rod-derived Cone Viability Factor (RdCVF), a molecule secreted by rod photoreceptors that protects the viability and longevity of the cone photoreceptors. In CIC, he oversees more than 25 clinical trials, some of them within the most advanced areas of biomedical technologies worldwide, such as retinal implant in inherited retinal degenerations, gene therapy in Stargardt disease… Dr Sahel coordinates a large scale European Research programs on retinal functional genomics, neuroprotection, ageing, and therapy, and a network of more than 80 European clinical trial centres on retinal diseases.
Dr Sahel published over 300 peer-reviewed articles in specialty and general audience peer-reviewed journals. He has been the recipient of numerous awards, including Foundation Fighting Blindness Trustee Award, Alcon Research Institute Award for Excellence in Vision Research, Grand Prix NRJ-Neurosciences-Institut de France, CNRS Medal of Innovation, ), Jules Gonin lecture, the Prize of the of the Retina Research Foundation... Dr Sahel was elected as a Member of the Academy of Sciences, Institut de France. He sits on more than ten editorial boards, including the Journal of Clinical Investigation, Science Translational Medicine, and JAMA Ophthalmology.