EYECARE Bascom Palmer Receives Research to Prevent Blindness Medical Student Eye Research Fellowship By Staff Monday, May 16, 2022 12:15 AM Meher Saleem. MIAMI, Fla.—Bascom Palmer Eye Institute of the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine announced 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 and to devote that time to pursue a research project at Bascom Palmer. Saleem earned a bachelor of arts degree from the University of Miami, magna cum laude, with a double major in chemistry and studio art.She has performed research with Carl Schulman, MD, PhD at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. She has also worked with Andrew Lee, MD at the Houston Methodist Blanton Eye Institute to study neuro-ophthalmology and with Aruoriwo Oboh-Weilke, M.D. at Georgetown to study herpetic keratitis and pseudophakic monovision. Saleem is currently between her third and fourth year of medical school at the Georgetown University School of Medicine. She is performing research in the laboratory of Sanjoy K. Bhattacharya, PhD 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. “There are several medications currently available for lowering intraocular pressure (IOP). However, achieving long-term IOP homeostasis in eyes with pathologic tissue remains elusive. Meher’s work will bring insight into the molecular compositional changes in glaucoma and bring us a step closer to achieving IOP homeostasis” said Dr. Bhattacharya. Dr. Bhattacharya is a professor of ophthalmology, graduate program director of Master of Science in Vision Science and Investigative Ophthalmology (MVSIO), speaker on the Medical Faculty Council, and founding director of the Miami Integrative Metabolomics Research Center. 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.