Alexander Marneros, MD, PhD
I am an Associate Professor at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH). I have a very active laboratory at MGH, where I also see patients. I am originally from Germany, where I obtained my MD from the University of Cologne. I obtained my PhD training as well as my postdoctoral training at Harvard Medical School, followed by residency training at Columbia University. I started my laboratory at MGH after my residency, supported by funding for AMD research from the NEI. I have a more than 20-year track record on utilizing novel genetic mouse models to elucidate the pathomechanisms in AMD. As a graduate student I identified a novel genetic mouse model that develops key clinical findings of dry AMD. During my postdoctoral training I could show that the growth factor VEGF-A is essential for the development and maintenance of the choroidal vasculature. Moreover, I could show that peptides with anti-angiogenic activities could inhibit AMD in mouse models. In my own laboratory, we identified a genetic mouse model that develops key aspects of human neovascular AMD. We utilized this mouse model to investigate the pathomechanisms that lead to neovascular AMD pathologies. We uncovered a critical role of the inflammasome for the manifestation of AMD, thereby demonstrating that the inflammasome activation that has been observed in human AMD is not just a disease marker, but actually contributes to the disease process that could be targeted therapeutically. Our work has provided a much more detailed understanding of how specific inflammasome components promote AMD in vivo.