2020 29th Annual Richard C. Troutman MD DSC (HON) Prize: Dr. Pooja Khamar 

Dr. Pooja Khamar is currently employed as a consultant and lead trainer in cataract and refractive services at Narayana Nethralaya Eye Institute. In addition to her clinical role, she is actively working as a clinical and translational scientist at GROW Lab (Genes, Repair & Regeneration in Ophthalmic Workstation) and IBMS (Imaging Biomechanics and Mathematical Modelling Solutions). She defended her PhD dissertation on wound healing in refractive surgery at Maastricht University, the Netherlands, in November 2019.

Dr. Khamar’s areas of interest include cataract and refractive surgery—specifically comparing and understanding the outcomes of refractive surgery and keratoconus disease from a molecular and imaging (tomography and biomechanics) perspective, areas of phakic IOLs, customized lasers, optics, and dry eye.

With keen interest in connecting bench to clinics, Dr. Khamar’s passion is to bridge the gap between basic science and clinics and ultimately to improve the quality of life for patients. Being a dynamic personality and a hard worker, she works toward giving back her acumen to society. She has numerous research publications in peer-reviewed journals and has been an invited faculty at conferences across the globe. She has been a recipient of awards at national and international podia.

Belief as a Clinician and a Translational Scientist

Translational research is not for the faint-hearted. The constant churning, with teaching, researching, publishing, and competing for limited sources of funding—coupled with pursuing career aims and ambitions—can seem challenging. It is also a deeply satisfying and exhilarating endeavor, especially when the fruits of the experimental laboratory are translated into improved health care delivery to our patients.

Translational research has a central and pivotal role in harnessing significant discoveries in biomedical science for the benefit of our patients. To the sceptics who ask, “Where is the evidence that translational research matters?” we would answer, “As with Sir Christopher Wren’s monuments, the evidence is all around us.”

“If you want something you have never had, then you have to do something that you have never done.”