Abstract # P103 Rapidly Progressive Cataract and Iris Atrophy During Treatment of Acanthamoeba Keratitis

Herz, Natasha
Baylor Ophthalmology Program
Houston, TX, United States of America

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About the Presenter:
Natasha Herz began her undergraduate studies at Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, OK after receiving the Regentís and Valedictorian scholarships, as well as a music scholarship for flute. While at ORU, she was elected Outstanding Biology Senior, served as the Vice President of Activities for the National Honors Society, and nationally represented the Oklahoma Gamma Chapter of Alpha Epsilon Delta Pre-Medical Honors Society. In June of 1996, she was selected as a fellow at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, to conduct research on nuclear protein response to mitochondrial damage. The following December, she graduated summa cum laude from ORU with a bachelor of science in biology.

Before starting medical school, Natasha spent six months with the U.S. Department of Energy as a research fellow. She worked in the Environmental Sciences Division at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory on monitoring toxic lithium levels in the local ground water, which resulted from buried nuclear waste. Her research was used to formulate a natural disaster response plan to handle large levels of toxic waste that could potentially be released into local waters. This plan was presented at the annual Oak Ridge National Laboratory Research Symposium in 1997.

The following year, Natasha enrolled at the University of Oklahoma College of Medicine where she received the Dr. E.M. Gullatt Scholarship for exceptional academic record. She also received the Janet M. Glasgow Memorial Achievement Citation for women graduating in the top 10 percent, and she was elected to the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society. During her senior year, Natasha performed research on the prognostic indicators of visual outcome in 119 traumatic cataracts. She presented this research at the 2002 Dean McGee Eye Institute annual alumni day. Throughout medical school, Natasha enjoyed volunteering in Christmas charities and acting as a youth sponsor for the New Hope United Methodist Church. She spent her remaining free time playing city league volleyball and she helped lead the womenís medical intramural football team to three consecutive championships. Natasha received her Doctor of Medicine with distinction in June, 2002.

Natasha has spent her internship and residency with the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, TX since July 2002. In December 2005, her research on modulation of sensory photophobia in essential blepharospasm with chromatic lenses was published in Ophthalmology. Various stages of this project have been presented at the 41st Baylor Annual Alumni Day, the 2005 annual ARVO meeting, and the 2005 annual AAO meeting where it was selected for best poster award. Natasha received the Everett L. Goar Award for first place in resident research presentations at the 42nd Baylor Annual Alumni Day. She currently serves as a resident representative for the Baylor Ophthalmology Educational Committee and as the Cullen Eye Institute wet lab coordinator.

Natasha plans to enter private practice after completing her cornea fellowship at Baylor in June, 2007. She also hopes to someday serve as an adjunct professor of Ophthalmology.

Natasha Herz, MD
Kirk Wilhelmus, MD, Alice Matoba, MD, Dan Jones, MD

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