Photo of Dr. SanGiovanni


Dr. John Paul SanGiovanni serves in the Section on Nutritional Neurosciences in the Laboratory of Membrane Biophysics and Biochemistry at NIAAA. He is Associate Professor (Adjunct) in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular & Cellular Biology at the Georgetown Medical School.

He trained as a scholar and researcher in neuroscience, visual psychophysics, nutritional biochemistry, biostatistics, and epidemiologic research design at Harvard University, Brandeis University, and Boston College.  At present Dr. SanGiovanni is applying an integrative omics approach to the study conditionally essential brain-resident nutrients in their capacity to affect brain and retinal cellular signaling systems – systems known to act in atrophic and neovascular retinal diseases, substance use disorders, and schizophrenia.  He has active collaborations with research teams at Harvard Medical School, Harvard School of Public Health, McGill University, University of Montreal, University of Bristol and Universita Cattolica del S. Cuore.    

Dr. SanGiovanni has worked continuously in the field of retinal and brain science for over 30 years, holding positions at the Harvard Medical School (11.5 years), the International Nutrition Foundation (2 years), and The National Institutes of Health (19 years).  He served in key leadership roles as scientific project officer and analysis team leader for two multi-center phase III clinical trials funded at more than $25M each. These trials resulted in NIH-issued public statements on standards of care and FDA approvals (Preservision ®). Dr. SanGiovanni served as central leadership on the team contributing the first project to the NIH dbGaP data repository. He has served on numerous technical expert panels for AHRQ and NCCAM.  He has chaired the Members in Training Committee at ARVO.

Dr. SanGiovanni received the NIH Director's Award from Dr. Elias Zehouni in 2008 and Dr. Francis Collins in 2011 for his roles in large-scale genomics projects.  He received the Early Career Award from the International Society for the Study of Fatty Acids and Lipids (ISSFAL) in 2010 and was a finalist for the Sigma Xi Young Investigator Award the year before.

Dr. SanGiovanni has published in ScienceNature MedicineScience Translational Medicine JAMAPNASJ. Neurosci.Pediatrics, and American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.  As of February 2019, he has ~14,600 citations, an i10-Index of 53, and an h-Index of 37. He has seven works with over 400 citations, two works with over 2000 citations and one work with over 4000. His NIH biosketch may be accessed at: paul.sangiovanni.1/cv/134011/.


Selected Publications (2005--Present).

  • SanGiovanni JP, SanGiovanni PM, Sapieha P, De Guire V. Micro RNAs (miRNAs), single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), and age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine (in press).

  • The Telomeres Mendelian Randomization Collaboration. Mendelian randomization study of the association between telomere length and risk of cancer and non-neoplastic diseases.  JAMA Oncology. 2017 (in press)

  • Gong Y, Shao Z, Fu Z, Edin ML, Sun Y, Liegl RG, Wang Z, Liu C-H, Burnim SB, Meng SS, Lih FB, SanGiovanni JP, Zeldin DC, Hellström A, Smith LEH. Fenofibrate inhibits cytochrome P450 epoxygenase 2C activity to suppress pathological ocular angiogenesis. EBioMedicine. doi: 10.1016/j.ebiom.2016.09.025.  2016.

  • Liu C-H, Wang Z, Sun Y, SanGiovanni JP, Chen J.  Retinal expression of small non-coding RNAs in a murine model of proliferative retinopathy.  Scientific Reports. 2016 Sep 22;6:33947. doi: 10.1038/srep33947.

  • Gong Y, Fu Z, Edin M, Liu C-H, Wang Z, Fredrick T, Saba N, Morss P, Burnim S, Meng S, Lih F, Lee KSS, Moran E, SanGiovanni JP, Hellstrom A, Hammock B, Zeldin D, Smith L.  Cytochrome P450 oxidase 2C inhibition adds to ω-3 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids protection against retinal and choroidal neovascularization.  Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology. 2016. 36:1919–1927. doi: 10.1161/ATVBAHA.116.307558.

  • Hallahan B, Ryan T, Hibbeln JR, Murray IT, Glynn S, Ramsden CE, SanGiovanni JP, Davis JM. Efficacy of omega-3 highly unsaturated fatty acids in the treatment of depression. Br J Psychiatry. 2016 Apr 21;PubMed PMID: 27103682
  • SanGiovanni JP, Chen J, Smith LEH, Gupta A, Sapieha P, Lee PH. Netrin-1 – DCC Signaling Systems and Age-Related Macular Degeneration. PLOS ONE doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0125548. 2015
  • Sun Y, Liu C-H, SanGiovanni JP, et al. Nuclear receptor RORα regulates pathologic retinal angiogenesis by modulating Socs3 dependent macrophage polarization and inflammation. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2015 Aug 18;112(33):10401-6. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1504387112. 2015
  • Fu Z, Lofqvist CA, Shao Z, Sun Y, Joyal JS, Hurst CG, Cui RZ, Evans LP, Tian K, SanGiovanni JP, Chen J, Ley D, Hansen Pupp I, Hellstrom A, Smith LE.  Dietary ω-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids decrease retinal neovascularization by adipose-endoplasmic reticulum stress reduction to increase adiponectin. Am J Clin Nutr. 2015 Apr;101(4):879-88. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.114.099291. 2015
  • SanGiovanni JP, Rosen RB, Kaushal S.  Application and Interpretation of Genome-Wide Association Studies for Informing Pharmacogenomic Research -- Examples from the Field of Age-Related Macular Degeneration. Current Molecular Medicine 14(7):814-32. 2014.
  • SanGiovanni JP, Chew EY.  Clinical Applications of AMD genetics.  Cold Spring Harbor Perspectives in Medicine; 4(10). pii: a017228. doi: 10.1101/cshperspect.a017228. 2014..      
  • Koo E, Neuringer M, SanGiovanni JP.  Xanthophylls, HDL-Related Genes and AMD.  American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.100 Suppl 1:336S-46S.  doi: 10.3945/ajcn.113.071563. 2014.
  • Rezende FA, Lapalme E, Qian CX, Smith LE, SanGiovanni JP, Sapieha P. Omega-3 Supplementation Combined With Anti-Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor Lowers Vitreal Levels of Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor in Wet Age-Related Macular Degeneration.  Am J Ophthalmol. 2014 Aug 1. pii: S0002-9394(14)00472-3. doi: 10.1016/j.ajo.2014.07.036.
  • SanGiovanni JP, Lee PH. AMD-associated genes encoding stress-activated MAPK pathway constituents are identified by interval-based enrichment analysis. PLoS ONE 8(8): e71239. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0071239. 2013.
  • SanGiovanni JP, Neuringer MN. The promise of molecular genetics for investigating the influence of macular xanthophylls on advanced age-related macular degeneration.  Carotenoids and Retinal Disease. Chapter 6. Eds. Landrum JT and Nolan JM.  CRC Press. pp. 93-128. October, 2013.
  • SanGiovanni JP, Chen J, Sapieha P, Aderman CM, Stahl A, Clemons TE, Chew EY, Smith LEH. DNA sequence variants in PPARGC1A, a gene encoding a co-activator of the ω-3 LCPUFA-sensing PPAR-RXR transcription complex, are associated with NV AMD and AMD-associated loci in genes of the complement and VEGF signaling pathways. PLoS ONE. 8;e53155. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0053155. 2013.
  • SanGiovanni JP.  The putative role of long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids for prevention and treatment of retinal diseases.  The omega-3 fatty acid deficiency syndrome: opportunity for disease prevention, Nova Science Publishers. Inc. Chapter 14, pp. 277-294.  2013.
  • Chew EY, Clemons TE, SanGiovanni JP, et al.  Secondary Analyses of the Effects of Lutein/Zeaxanthin on Age-Related Macular Degeneration Progression: AREDS2 Report No. 3. JAMA Ophthalmology.  doi: 10.1001/jamaophthalmol.2013.7376.  2013.
  • Meyers KJ, Igo RP, Truitt B, Liu Z, Millen AE, Klein ML, Johnson EJ, Engelman CD, Karki CK, Blodi BA, Gehrs KM, Tinker L, Wallace RB, Robinson J, LeBlanc ES, Sarto GE, Bernstein PS, SanGiovanni JP, Iyengar SK. Genetic Evidence for Role of Carotenoids in Age-Related Macular Degeneration in the Carotenoids in Age-Related Eye Disease Study (CAREDS).  Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science. 29;55(1):587-99. doi: 10.1167/iovs.13-13216.
  • Chew EY, Clemons TE, SanGiovanni JP, et al. Lutein + zeaxanthin and omega-3 fatty acids for age-related macular degeneration: the Age-Related Eye Disease Study 2 (AREDS2) randomized clinical trial. Journal of The American Medical Association  doi:10.1001/jama.2013.4997. 2013.
  • Chew EY, Clemons TE, SanGiovanni JP, et al. Randomized Trial of Lutein/Zeaxanthin for Age-Related Cataract AREDS2 Report No. 4.  JAMA Ophthalmology doi:10.1001/jamaophthalmol.2013.4412.
  • SanGiovanni JP, Neuringer MN. The putative role of lutein and zeaxanthin as protective agents against age-related macular degeneration: promise of molecular genetics for guiding mechanistic and translational research in the field. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 96 (suppl); 1123S-33S. 2012.
  • Sapieha P, Stahl A , Chen J, Seaward MR, Willett KL, Krah NM, Dennison RJ, Connor KM, Aderman CM, Liclican E, Carughi A, Perelman D, Kanaoka Y, SanGiovanni JP, Gronert K, Smith LEH.  The 5-lipoxygenase metabolite 4-HDHA mediates specific anti-angiogenic effects of ω-3 PUFAs in proliferative retinopathy. Science Translational Medicine, 3(69):69ra12. Cover feature
  • Stahl A, Sapieha P, Chen J, Hua J, Krah N, Dennison R, Seaward M, Aderman C, Willett K, SanGiovanni JP, Guerin K, Smith LE. PPAR mediates a direct anti-angiogenic effect of 3-PUFAs in proliferative retinopathy. Circulation Research. 107; 495—500, 2010.
  • SanGiovanni JP, Chew EY, Johnson EJ. Lutein. Encyclopedia of Dietary Supplements, Second Edition, Marcel Dekker, Inc. pp 493—505. 2010.
  • SanGiovanni JP, Agrón E, Meleth AD, Reed GF, Sperduto RD, Clemons TE, Chew EY. Omega-3 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acid intake and 12-year incidence of neovascular age-related macular degeneration and central geographic atrophy: a prospective cohort study from the Age-Related Eye Disease Study. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 90;1601-1607, 2009.
  • SanGiovanni JP, Arking DE, Iyengar SK, Elashoff M, Clemons TE, Reed GF, Henning AK, Sivakumaran TA, Xu X, DeWan A, Agrón E, Rochtchina E, Sue CM, Wang JJ, Mitchell P, Hoh J, Francis PJ, Klein ML, Chew EY, Chakravarti A.  Mitochondrial DNA variants of respiratory Complex 1 that uniquely characterize haplogroup T2 are associated with increased risk of age-related macular degeneration. PLoS ONE 4(5): e5508. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0005508.
  • SanGiovanni JP, Agrón E, Clemons TE, Chew EY. Omega-3 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acid intake is inversely associated with 12-year progression to advanced AMD. Archives of Ophthalmology. 127; 110-112, 2009.
  • SanGiovanni JP, Mehta S, Mehta S. Variation in Lipid-Associated Genes as They Relate to Risk of Advanced Age-Related Macular Degeneration. World Review of Nutrition & Dietetics. 99;105-158, 2009.
  • SanGiovanni JP, Chew EY, Agrón E., Clemons TE, Davis MD, Ferris FL, Gensler G, Kurinij N, Lindblad A, Milton RC, Seddon JM, Sperduto RD for the AREDS Research Group. The Relationship of Dietary Lipid Intake with Incident Age-Related Macular Degeneration. AREDS Report Number 23.   Archives of Ophthalmology. 126(9); 1274-1279, 2008.
  • SanGiovanni JP, Chew EY, Clemons TE, Davis MD, Ferris FL, Gensler G, Kurinij N, Lindblad A, Milton RC, Seddon JM, Sperduto RD (listed as AREDS Research Group).  The Relationship of Dietary Carotenoids, Vitamin E, and Vitamin C with Age-related Macular Degeneration: A Case-Control Study in the Age-Related Eye Disease Study. AREDS Report Number 22. Archives of Ophthalmology. 125; 1225-1232, 2007.
  • Connor KM, SanGiovanni JP, Lofqvist C, Aderman CM, Chen J, Higuchi A, Hong S, Pravda E, Majchrzak S, Carper D, Hellstrom A, Kang JX, Chew EY, Salem N, Serhan CN, Smith LEH.  Increasing dietary ω-3 PUFA reduces pathological angiogenesis via regulation of local resolvins, protectins and TNFα. Nature Medicine. 13; 868-873, 2007.  Connor and SanGiovanni share primary authorship – cover feature.
  • National Institutes of Health State-of-the-Science Panel. National Institutes of Health State-of-the-Science Conference Statement: multivitamin/mineral supplements and chronic disease prevention. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 85; 257S-264S. 2007.
  • SanGiovanni JP, Chew EY, Clemons TE, Davis MD, Ferris FL, Gensler G, Kurinij N, Lindblad A, Milton RC, Seddon JM, Sperduto RD. The Relationship of Dietary Lipid Intake and Age-Related Macular Degeneration: A Case-Control Study in the Age-Related Eye Disease Study. AREDS Report Number 20.  Archives of Ophthalmology. 125; 671-679, 2007.
  • Chew EY, Ferris FL, SanGiovanni JP.  Epidemiologic Approach to Clinical Research: Design Strategies.  Duane’s Ophthalmology; Volume 5, Chapter 66. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. 2006.
  • Klein RJ, Zeiss C, Chew EY, Sackler RR,  Haynes C, Henning AK, SanGiovanni JP, Mane SM, Mayne ST, Bracken MB, Ferris FL, Ott J, Barnstable C, Hoh J. A mutation in the complement factor H gene is a likely cause of age-related macular degeneration. Science 308: 5720, 385-389, 2005. Cover feature.
  • SanGiovanni JP, Chew EY. The role of omega-3 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids in health and disease of the retina. Progress in Retinal and Eye Research 24: 87-138, 2005.




LMBB - Section on Nutrional Neuroscience   |  Lab Members