Dr. Leah Byrne

Our Retina International World Congress (RIWC24) takes place from the 5th – 8th June 2024 in the Dublin Royal Convention Centre, in the heart of Dublin city centre.

Our Scientific Committee has been working relentlessly to secure an impressive lineup of outstanding speakers to shed light on this research area so as part of our Meet the Speaker series, we are delighted to announce one more distinguished speaker.

Dr. Leah Byrne holds the position of Assistant Professor in the Department of Ophthalmology, at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, with secondary appointments in the Departments of Neurobiology and Bioengineering.

We are delighted to have Dr. Leah Byrne with us at the Retina International World Congress to present on Friday, June 7, 9:45 AM – 10:00 AM about ‘CRISPR/Cas models for PRPF31-related IRDs’.

Image description: Headshot of Dr. Leah Byrne on a blue background image. Text: Retina International World Congress. Dublin Royal Convention Centre, Dublin, Ireland. RIWC24. DUBLIN: Targeting the Cure. JUNE 5-8, 2024. DR. LEAH BYRNE, Assistant Professor, Department of Ophthalmology, University of Pittsburgh. At the bottom of the image, there are the Fighting Blindness and Retina International logos.

The Byrne Lab develops gene therapies for Inherited Retinal Diseases (IRDs) to treat inherited blindness. They use multiple approaches including genome editing and optogenetics approaches. The Byrne lab also uses high throughput methods, guided by computational approaches, to engineer viral vectors with new abilities and improved capabilities to deliver therapeutic genes to the retina.

Dr. Byrne attended Hamilton College, Clinton, New York, where she received a BA in Neuroscience. Dr. Byrne was a J. William Fulbright Fellow at Karolinksa Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden. She then attended the University of California Berkeley, Berkeley, California, where she received a PhD in Neuroscience.

Prior to working at Pitt, Dr. Byrne was a Ruth L. Kirschstein NRSA Postdoctoral Fellow and Ford Foundation Fellow at the University of California Berkeley and the University of Pennsylvania. During this time, she engineered next-generation AAV viruses for gene therapy in the retina, developed high throughput methods for directed evolution of viral vectors, and created therapies for inherited retinal degenerations affecting photoreceptors and RPE.

Dr. Byrne has received a Research to Prevent Blindness Career Development Award, a Foundation Fighting Blindness Individual Investigator Award, and the 2023 University of Pittsburgh Office of Innovation Emerging Innovator Award. Dr. Byrne has served as an Associate Scientific Advisor for Science Translational Medicine, and was named an Emerging Vision Scientist, National Alliance for Eye and Vision Research. Dr. Byrne holds patents on viral vectors and methods for the development of viral vectors for gene therapy. Dr. Byrne is also the co-founder and chief scientific officer of Avista Therapeutics, a company working to develop gene therapies for retinal degeneration.

Stay tuned for more updates as we draw closer to this incredible gathering of the latest scientific research and innovation, set to take place in June 2024!

You can learn more about Dr. Leah Byrne here.