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Karl H. Hagen Professorship in Ophthalmology

School of Medicine

Established in 1998 by Karl H. Hagen

HagenKarlKARL H. HAGEN, who developed age-related macular degeneration (AMD) in 1993, was a philanthropist and pioneer who did not allow his vision impairment to keep him from endowing one of the nation’s first professorships in the field of macular degeneration. He made generous contributions in the form of planned gifts, including a 30-acre parcel of land in Suitland, Maryland, where he grew up, to underwrite research efforts that might help others suffering from the same retinal disease. His giving may be quantifiable but his impact remains immeasurable.

Mr. Hagen, a man who came from a background of few material advantages, lived life to the fullest, spending his time enjoying art, music, dancing, travel, and hard work. A self-taught artist and musician, Mr. Hagen had a lifelong interest in watercolor painting and spent many years playing the saxophone with dance bands while employed for nearly four decades as a foreman of the sign-painting department at the Potomac Electric Power Company.

Mr. Hagen spent the last nine months of his life at the Sunrise assisted-living facility in Falls Church, Virginia, where caretakers said he was “a friend to everyone.” He would regale his friends with stories of his exotic travels, from a three-month cross-country trip in his Model A Ford during the Depression to his adventures in Japan, New Zealand, Bora Bora and other far-off places. His caretakers said, “He was a very special man to everyone here,” noting how he shared with others the magnifying screen that Wilmer physicians had given him for his AMD.

Before his passing in 1999, Mr. Hagen expressed the hope that his gifts would hasten the development of treatments for those who suffer from macular degeneration, thereby sparing others the emotional pain he experienced. The Wilmer Eye Institute is forever grateful to Mr. Hagen because his generosity substantially advances our ability to combat this major cause of blindness.


Held by Jiang Qian

JIANG QIAN, MS, PhD, is the director of the Wilmer Bioinformatics Group and Bioinformatics core facility. He is a professor of ophthalmology at the Wilmer Eye Institute, focusing on computational modeling of retinal development and disease. He also holds a joint appointment at the Johns Hopkins Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Dr. Qian received his PhD in physical chemistry from Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany. He then completed postdoctoral training on bioinformatics at Yale University.

Dr. Qian is a pioneer in ocular informatics who has made substantial and innovative contributions to his field. Specifically, his group develops and applies bioinformatics approaches to study gene regulation and signaling networks, with particular attention to the mammalian retina. Understanding the molecular basis of tissue specific gene regulation and signaling will contribute to better prevention, diagnosis and treatment of retinal diseases, such as macular degeneration.

Dr. Qian has published more than 120 papers in prestigious and specialized journals, including Cell, Nature Reviews Genetics and Molecular Systems Biology. His research is supported primarily by federal funding agencies, including the National Institutes of Health, as well as private funding agencies.