Bascom Palmer Eye Institute of the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine is pleased to announce that Meher Saleem has received a Research to Prevent Blindness (RPB) Medical Student Eye Research Fellowship that will allow her to take a year off from medical school to pursue a research project at Bascom Palmer.
Saleem earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Miami, graduating magna cum laude with a double major in chemistry and studio art. She has performed research with Carl Schulman, M.D., Ph.D., MSPH, FACS, senior associate dean for research operations at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. Saleem has also worked with Andrew Lee, M.D., chair of the Department of Ophthalmology at the Houston Methodist Blanton Eye Institute, to study neuro-ophthalmology, and with Aruoriwo Oboh-Weilke, M.D., assistant professor of ophthalmology at Georgetown University School of Medicine, to study herpetic keratitis and pseudophakic monovision.
Currently between her third and fourth years of medical school at Georgetown, Saleem is performing research in the laboratory of Sanjoy K. Bhattacharya, Ph.D., at Bascom Palmer. The lab has found altered phospholipid levels in the glaucomatous trabecular meshwork, in association with decreased levels and activity of the flippase ATP8B2. Meher is studying the effect of ATP8B2 in the trabecular meshwork. Her project involves knocking out ATP8B2 with CRISPR/Cas9 in trabecular meshwork cells and inserting ATP8B2 into unilamellar vesicles to define the specificity of ATP8B2.
Promising Research into Achieving Intraocular Pressure Homeostasis
“There are several medications currently available for lowering intraocular pressure (IOP). However, achieving long-term IOP homeostasis in eyes with pathologic tissue remains elusive,” said Dr. Bhattacharya, a professor of ophthalmology, graduate program director of the Master of Science in Vision Science and Investigative Ophthalmology, speaker on the Medical Faculty Council, and founding director of the Miami Integrative Metabolomics Research Center. “Meher’s work will bring insight into the molecular compositional changes in glaucoma and bring us a step closer to achieving IOP homeostasis.”
“The success of the research program at Bascom Palmer Eye Institute has been made possible by the magnanimous and continued support of RPB through the unrestricted grant as well as individual grants,” said Eduardo C. Alfonso, M.D., director of the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute and the Stanley J. Glaser Chair in Ophthalmology. “We are profoundly grateful for RPB’s support in our prolific scholarly production. We envision the relationship between RPB and Bascom Palmer Eye Institute as a long-term collaboration aiming to advance ophthalmic knowledge, improve sight, and prevent blindness through innovative vision research.”
Since its founding in 1960, RPB has channeled more than $387 million into eye research. As a result, RPB has been identified with nearly every major breakthrough in vision research in that time. For information on RPB’s grant programs, listings of RPB institutional and individual grantees, and findings generated by these awards, visit www.rpbusa.org.