Jean Bennett, MD, PhD

faculty photo
F.M. Kirby Professor of Ophthalmology
Department: Ophthalmology
Graduate Group Affiliations

Contact information
310 Stellar-Chance Labs
422 Curie Blvd.
Philadelphia, PA 19104
Office: 215-898-0915
B.S. (Honors Biology)
Yale University , 1976.
Ph.D. (Zoology; Cell and Developmental Biology)
University of California at Berkley, 1980.
Harvard University, 1986.
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Description of Research Expertise

Research Interests
- Molecular genetics of retinal degenerations.
- Gene therapy-mediated treatment of ocular disease.

Key words: Retina, Neovascularization, Neuronal Degeneration, Gene Therapy, Viral Vector, AAV, Lentivirus, Adenovirus, Vision, Animal Models, Eye, Immune Response.

Description of Research
Jean Bennett studies the molecular genetics of inherited retinal degenerations with the idea of using this knowledge to develop rational approaches for treatment of these diseases. Target diseases include retinitis pigmentosa and age-related macular degeneration. Studies in her laboratory range from identifying the molecular bases of retinal degenerations, generating animal models for these diseases, evaluating novel vectors for retinal gene transfer, characterizing immune responses to gene transfer, developing novel gene-based approaches for reversal of sensory loss, and rescuing vision in animal models through gene based treatments. Dr. Bennett was one of the first investigators to use viral vectors to deliver transgenes to specific cells in the retina and also led the first team to demonstrate proof-of-principle of ocular gene therapy. She has developed a number of strategies for gene therapy-mediated treatments for retinal disease. Besides the eye, projects in Dr. Bennett's laboratory target other diseases/organs suffering from mutations in cilia proteins, including the ear (cochlea) and the kidney (renal tubular epithelium). Dr. Bennett's work leads naturally to translational research. For example, a study conducted in her lab and with collaborators at UPenn, Cornell and University of Florida led to a remarkable reversal of blindness in a canine model of a blinding disease affecting infants. This treatment is currently being tested in human clinical trials at several different Centers. Dr. Bennett is Scientific Director for the Phase I/II human clinical trial evaluating the safety and efficacy of gene transfer in Leber congenital amaurosis (LCA) due to RPE65 mutations. This trial is being carried out at The Children's Hospital of PHiladelphia (CHOP). This was the first study to report the exciting efficacy results in all twelve subjects, including 5 children.

Rotation Projects
Gene therapy for an inherited retinal degeneration; Gene therapy for retinal neovascularization; Generation of a mouse model for an inherited macular degeneration; Gene therapy for Leber Congenital Amaurosis, Gene Therapy for autosomal recessive Stargartd Disease; Gene Therapy for Choroideremia; Immune response to subretinal readministration of gene therapy vectors; Identification of novel genes causing retinal degeneration; Gene Therapy for Usher's Syndrome (blindness and deafness)

Lab personnel:

Aaron Black
Jeannette Bennicelli
Ik Joon Chang
Daniel Chung
Rob Collin (visiting from Rabhoud University, The Netherlands)
Therese Cronin
Arkady Lyubarsky
Jessica Morgan
Albert Maguire
William M. Maguire
Mihaela Petrova
Pyroja Sulaiman
Mohammed Toure
Zhangyong Wei

Selected Publications

Aleman Tomas S, Han Grace, Serrano Leona W, Fuerst Nicole M, Charlson Emily S, Pearson Denise J, Chung Daniel C, Traband Anastasia, Pan Wei, Ying Gui-Shuang, Bennett Jean, Maguire Albert M, Morgan Jessica I W: Natural History of the Central Structural Abnormalities in Choroideremia: A Prospective Cross-Sectional Study. Ophthalmology Dec 2016.

Bennett Jean: Institutional Conflict of Interest. JAMA ophthalmology 134(11): 1334-1335, Nov 2016.

MacLaren Robert E, Bennett Jean, Schwartz Steven D: Gene Therapy and Stem Cell Transplantation in Retinal Disease: The New Frontier. Ophthalmology 123(10S): S98-S106, Oct 2016.

Ramachandran Pavitra S, Lee Vivian, Wei Zhangyong, Song Ji Yun, Casal Giulia, Cronin Therese, Willett Keirnan, Huckfeldt Rachel, Morgan Jessica I W, Aleman Tomas S, Maguire Albert M, Bennett Jean: Evaluation of Dose and Safety of AAV7m8 and AAV8BP2 in the Non-Human Primate Retina. Human gene therapy Oct 2016.

Bennett J, Wellman J, Marshall KA, McCague S, Ashtari M, DiStefano-Pappas J, Elci OU, Chung DC, Sun J, Wright JF, Cross DR, Aravand P, Cyckowski LL, Bennicelli JL, Mingozzi F, Auricchio A, Pierce EA, Ruggiero J, Leroy BP, Simonelli F, High KA, Maguire AM: Safety and durability of effect of contralateral-eye administration of AAV2 gene therapy in patients with childhood-onset blindness caused by RPE65 mutations: a follow-on phase 1 trial. Lancet 388(10045): 661072, Aug 2016.

Duong Thu T, Vasireddy Vidyullatha, Mills Jason A, Bennett Jean: Retinas in a Dish Peek into Inherited Retinal Degeneration. Cell stem cell 18(6): 688-9, Jun 2016.

Mei X, Chaffiol A, Kole C, Yang Y, Millet-Puel G, Clérin E, Aït-Ali N, Bennett J, Dalkara D, Sahel JA, Duebel J, Léveillard T: The Thioredoxin Encoded by the Rod-Derived Cone Viability Factor Gene Protects Cone Photoreceptors Against Oxidative Stress. Antioxid Redox Signal 24(16): 909-23, June 2016.

Palfi A, Chadderton N, O'Reilly M, Nagel-Wolfrum K, Wolfrum U, Bennett J, Humphries P, Kenna P, Millington-Ward S, Farrar J: Corrigendum to "Efficient gene delivery to photoreceptors using AAV2/rh10 and rescue of the Rho-/- mouse". Molecular therapy. Methods & clinical development 3: 16032, May 2016.

Garanto Alejandro, Chung Daniel C, Duijkers Lonneke, Corral-Serrano Julio C, Messchaert Muriël, Xiao Ru, Bennett Jean, Vandenberghe Luk H, Collin Rob W: In vitro and in vivo rescue of aberrant splicing in CEP290-associated LCA by antisense oligonucleotide delivery. Human molecular genetics Apr 2016 Notes: Epub ahead of print.

Shah Neepa, Damani Mausam R, Zhu Xiaosong Sonia, Bedoukian Emma C, Bennett Jean, Maguire Albert M, Leroy Bart P: Isolated maculopathy associated with biallelic CRB1 mutations. Ophthalmic genetics Page: 1-4, Apr 2016 Notes: Epub ahead of print.

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Last updated: 07/13/2021
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