Eleonora (Nora) Lad, M.D., Ph.D.
Dr. Lad is a clinician scientist and retinal ophthalmologist with the primary goal of developing novel strategies for early diagnosis and treatment of age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Her academic career goal is to translate her doctoral training in neuroscience on neuroregenerative strategies for Parkinson’s disease into developing innovative diagnostic and therapeutic approaches for AMD. She currently serves as associate professor of ophthalmology at Duke University Medical Center, director of grading at Duke University Reading Center, and as part of the faculty at Duke Institute for Brain Sciences.
Dr. Lad’s research interests include: visual function testing in dry AMD with the goal of establishing functional endpoints for clinical studies in earlier stages of AMD; investigating the role of neuroinflammation (macrophages/microglia) and abnormal protein aggregates in the pathogenesis of AMD and developing relevant treatments; and elucidating the use of novel retinal imaging biomarkers for early diagnosis of AMD, including through use of artificial intelligence (machine and deep learning).
She has served as the primary investigator for investigator-initiated and Phase 1 through 3 clinical trials at the Duke Eye Center and as director of grading for retina clinical trials at Duke Reading Center. Currently, she is also fulfilling the role of international lead principal investigator for the Apellis Phase 3 OAKS study for geographic atrophy secondary to AMD. Dr. Lad advises industry sponsors on novel, approvable visual function assessments in the context of clinical trials for retinal disease, with particular expertise in dry AMD (intermediate and GA) and retinal degeneration/retinitis pigmentosa. She has assisted with clinical trial protocol design, site certification, data analysis, and presentations to regulatory agencies such as the FDA and EMA.
Dr. Lad was awarded the VA Clinical Science Research and Development I01 Merit Award, the Mentored Patient-Oriented Research Career Development (K23) Award from the National Eye Institute, the 2016 ARVO/Alcon Early Career Clinician-Scientist Research Award, Research to Prevent Blindness Ernest & Elizabeth Althouse Special Scholar Award, Duke Health Scholar, and a number of foundation grants. She is a member of Macula Society, Retina Society, Ryan (previously Beckman) Initiative for Macular Research, American Academy of Ophthalmology, Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology, International Society for Eye Research, Society of Heed Fellows, Society for Neuroscience and American Society for Neural Therapy and Repair.