MU Eye Researcher Honored with Endowed Professorship

Krishna Sharma, PhD
Krishna Sharma receives the Beryl Ortwerth endowment in ophthalmology.

Krishna Sharma, PhD, professor and director of research in the Department of Ophthalmology at the MU School of Medicine, has been appointed the Beryl J. Ortwerth Distinguished Professor in Ophthalmology. Sharma was honored at a ceremony today, Wednesday, Nov. 16.

Sharma, a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, studies the mechanisms involved in the development of cataracts, a clouding of the lens in the eye. Discoveries made in his lab are advancing both the understanding of how cataracts develop and the aging process.

“Dr. Ortwerth served as a trusted mentor, and his guidance helped me develop into the ophthalmology researcher I am today,” Sharma said. “I am proud and honored to carry on his name through this endowed professorship.”

Sharma is the author of more than 75 peer-reviewed articles. He is an academic editor for the journals PLoS ONE and Aging and Disease. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in biology and chemistry, as well as master’s and doctoral degrees in biochemistry, all from the University of Mysore in India. He also is a Fellow of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology and past member of the National Advisory Eye Council.

As a testament to his life’s work, the professorship is given in honor of the late Beryl J. Ortwerth, Ph.D., who spent his career as a faculty member in the Department of Ophthalmology at the MU School of Medicine. Ortwerth died in November 2013 and committed a portion of his estate to support a researcher in the department through the professorship. The funds from this donation are used to award the most accomplished and promising faculty researchers and help them advance the department’s research mission.