Women in research

Neena B. Haider, PhD ― Life lessons

(2-part series)


Neena Haider, PhD, is an associate professor of ophthalmology at Harvard Medical School where she directs a cutting-edge genetics and gene therapy laboratory. Her work provides insight into understanding human health and the complex interactions of genes with the macro and the molecular environment.


Haider has made many seminal discoveries in her academic career, including being the first to develop a novel broad spectrum gene therapy to treat multiple forms of blindness. One of a few scientists to bring a study from bench to bedside, she has a U.S. patent issued and four FDA approvals for orphan disease designations (ODD) as well as EMA approval for broad spectrum gene therapy to treat rare retinal disease. These approvals are the first ever by both agencies for broad spectrum gene therapy to treat eye diseases and the product is now in seven clinical trials.


Recently, Haider faced her biggest medical challenge. In the first of this compelling two-part series, she sits down to talk about conquering her battle with cancer with Women in Eye and Vision Research (WEAVR) leadership committee members Margaret DeAngelis, PhD, and Malia Edwards, PhD. Listen to her incredible story of self-advocacy and resilience as she shares valuable lessons on balancing life through positive mindful wellness while maintaining a productive and successful career.


NOTE: The information provided in the following video is a personal journey and for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.



"Do self-exams and OFTEN...it saves lives."

― Neena B. Haider, PhD

In the second half of her Life Lessons series, Haider offers motivational advice particularly beneficial to young scientists. This includes facing work/life challenges, the benefits of mentorship, the importance of surrounding yourself with positive people and being the change you want to see in the world.





Interview by Margaret DeAngelis and Malia Edwards

Margaret M. DeAngelis, PhD, is a professor of ophthalmology at the University at Buffalo/The State University of New York and a member of the leadership committee for ARVO Foundation's Women in Eye and Vision Research (WEAVR).

Malia Edwards, PhD, is an assistant professor of ophthalmology at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and chair of the ARVO Foundation's WEAVR Leadership Committee.