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Bliss O'Bryhim

Bliss Hartnett O'Bryhim portrait
2015 Graduate

Professional Background

Vitreoretinal Disease and Surgery Fellow, Department of Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO July 2019 - Current.

Opthalmology Residency, Washington University, St. Louis, MO June 2016-June 2019.

Preliminary Year, St Lukes Hospital. Kansas City, MO July 2015

I am interested in retinal vascular disorders from both clinical and research perspectives. I completed my doctoral thesis in the laboratory of R.C. Andrew Symons, MBBS, PhD through the Molecular and Integrative Physiology Department and the Department of Ophthalmology. My research identified a gene related to susceptibility to retinopathy of prematurity using a murine disease model. In subsequent experiments, I showed that peripheral dopamine (i.e., outside of the central nervous system) inhibits recruitment of bone marrow-derived endothelial progenitor cells to the retina during the process of revascularization, and that this inhibition is associated with worsened disease outcome. This is especially intriguing not only because it may offer a new pharmacotherpeutic target to prevent retinopathy of prematurity and similar diseases such as diabetic retinopathy, but also because it suggests that neonates who receive dopamine therapeutically for hypotension should receive heightened ophthalmic screening. 

I remained active in clinical research throughout residency. Under the mentorship of Rajendra Apte, M.D., Ph.D., we used novel imaging techniques such as optical coherence tomography angiography (OCTA) to describe retinal findings in systemic vascular diseases. We additionally used OCTA as to describe novel findings in the foveal avascular zone of individuals with biomarkers for Alzheimer's Disease prior to the onset of clinically detectable cognitive changes.

As a clinical fellow in vitreoretinal surgery, I am continuing my major project on OCTA findings in pre-clinical Alzheimer's Diseases. I am additionally working with collegues in other specialties to characterize retinal vascular changes in several pediatric deaseases such as Wolfram and Cantu Syndromes.

Outside of research, I was very active in campus organizations and student government. I greatly enjoy teaching and have additionally worked within the School of Medicine as a Supplemental Instructor and USMLE Step 1 Preparatory Course Director.

Research Focus: retinal vascular diseases, retinopathy of prematurity, angiogenesis, endothelial progenitor cells

 Mentor:  R.C. Andrew Symons, MB BS, PhD., and Jeff Radel, Ph.D., Ophthamology, & Molecular and Indregrative Physiology

KU School of Medicine

University of Kansas Medical Center
M.D.-Ph.D. Physician Scientist Program
Mail Stop 3062
1123 Delp Pavilion

3901 Rainbow Boulevard
Kansas City, Kansas 66103