Kira L. Lathrop, MAMS

  • Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology
  • Co-director, Imaging Module
  • University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine
  • Swanson School of Engineering / Bioengineering

A Conversation With Ms. Lathrop


As Co-Director of the Core Imaging Module I am privileged to work with most of the basic science researchers in the department. Some of these interactions are directed toward training lab members so they can conduct their own experiments and get good images. In other instances, I become more closely involved in projects that involve more complicated problems requiring construction of custom analysis protocols and data collection. Working with such a wide variety of investigators gives me the opportunity to address a wide range of imaging challenges on different scales, with different models and using different imaging techniques.    

With the support of my colleagues and our Chairman, I have been able to initiate an independent imaging research project focused on visualizing the palisades of Vogt. In 2012 we demonstrated that this area can be visualized with optical coherence tomography. The palisades of Vogt form the corneal epithelial stem cell niche, a fibrovascular ridge found predominantly in the superior and inferior limbus. Without this region the eye is not able to maintain the constant renewal of the epithelium, which can lead to serious conditions like limbal stem cell disease and keratopathy. The goal of this research is to facilitate clinical management and tracking of patients with corneal epithelial stem cell disease and limbal depletion. This work has directly affected the surgical pathways of several pediatric and adult patients and has produced five peer-reviewed papers, several foundation grants and three patents.

Academic Affiliation

2014-present Assistant Professor, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Department of Ophthalmology and Swanson School of Engineering, Department of Bioengineering
2012-2014 Research Instructor, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Department of Ophthalmology and Swanson School of Engineering, Department of Bioengineering
2010-2012 Research Instructor, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Department of Ophthalmology 
2004-2010 Senior Research Specialist, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Department of Ophthalmology
2000-2004 Research Data Analyst, University of Illinois at Chicago School of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry Center for Cognitive Medicine
1998-2001 Senior Research Specialist, University of Illinois at Chicago School of Medicine, Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences
1997-1998 Project Coordinator, University of Illinois at Chicago School of Medicine, Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences
1995-1997 Research Assistant, University of Illinois at Chicago School of Allied Health Sciences, Department of Biomedical Visualization

Lab Personnel

Jessica Steele

Education & Training

  • 2020 PhD candidate, University of Pittsburgh, Institute for Clinical Research Education, Clinical and Translational Science
  • 1997 Masters of Associated Medical Sciences (MAMS) Biomedical Visualization University of Illinois at Chicago
  • 1987 BA Studio Art University of Illinois at Chicago

Representative Publications

  1. Yun H, Lathrop KL, Yang E, Sun M, Kagemann l, Fu V, Stolz DB, Schuman JS, Du Y. A Laser-Induced Mouse Model with Long-Term Intraocular Pressure Elevation. PloS One 2014 Sep 12;999):e107446. DOI: 10.1371/journal pone.0107446. ecollection 2014.
  2. Sanfilippo PG, Grimm JL, Flanagan JG, Lathrop KL, Sigal IA. Application of Elliptic Fourier Analysis to Describe the Lamina Cribrosa Shape with Age and Intraocular Pressure. Exp. Eye Res. 2014 Sep 2; 128C:1-7. DOI: 10.1016/jexer.2014.08.013 [Epub ahead of print]
  3. Ksander BR, Paraskevi EK, Wilson BJ, Saab KR, Guo Q, Ma J, McGuire SP, Gregory MS, Vincent WJB, Perez VL, Cruz-Guilloty F, Kao WWY, Call MK, Tucker BA, Zhan Q, Murphy GF, Lathrop KL, Alt C, Mortensen LJ, Lin CP, Zieske JD, Frank MH, Frank NY. ABCB5 is a Limbal Stem Cell Gene Required for Corneal Development and Repair. Nature 02 July 2014 DOI 10.1038/nature13426
  4. Syed-Picard FN, Du Y, Lathrop KL, Mann M, Funderburgh ML, Funderburgh JL. Dental Pulp Stem Cells: a New Cellular Resource for Corneal Stromal Regeneration. Stem Cells Trans Med 03Jun14 in press
  5. Yun H, Rowe AM, Lathrop KL, Harvey SA, Hendricks RL. Reversible nerve damage and cornea pathology in murine herpes simplex stromal keratitis J Virol. 2014 Jul 15;88(14):7870-80. DOI 10.1128/JVI.01146-14. Epub 2014 Apr 30.
  6. Lathrop KL, Steketee MB. Mitochondrial Dynamics in Retinal Ganglion Cell Axon Regeneration and Growth Cone Guidance. J Ocul Biol. 2013 Sep 21;1(2):9.
  7. Medina CA, Rowe AM, Yun H, Knickelbein JE, Lathrop KL, Hendricks RL. Azithromycin Treatment Increases Survival of High-Risk Corneal Allotransplants. Cornea 2013 May;32(5):658-66. PMID:23407315
  8. Fu J, Fang W, Zou J, Sun M, Lathrop K, Su G, Wei X. A Robust Procedure for Distinctively Visualizing Zebrafish Retinal Cell Nuclei Under Bright Field Light Microscopy. J Histochem Cytochem 2013 March;61(3);248-56. PMID:23204114
  9. Swamynathan S, Buela KA, Kinchington P, Lathrop KL, Misawa H, Hendricks RL, Swamynathan SK. Klf4 regulates the expression of Slurp1, which functions as an immunomodulatory peptide in the mouse cornea. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2012 Nov 8. doi:pii: iovs.12-10759v1. 10.1167/iovs.12-10759. (Epub ahead of print) Pubmed pmid: 23139280
  10. Thomas SM, Sahu B, Rapireddy S, Bahal R, Wheeler SE, Procopio EM, Kim J, Joyce SC, Contrucci S, Wany Y, Chiosea SI, Lathrop KL, Watkins S, Grandis JR, Armitage BA, Ly DH. Antitumor Effects of EGFR Antisense Guanidine-based Pep-tide Nucleic Acids in Cancer Models. ACS Biological Chemistry 2013 Feb15;8(2):345-352. PMID: 23113581
  11. Sigal IA, Flanagan JG, Lathrop KL, Tertinegg I, Bilonick R. Human Lamina Cribosa Insertion and Age. IOVS 2012 Oct 3;53(11):6870-9. doi: 10.1167/iovs. 12-9890. Print 2012 Nov PMID: 22956611
  12. Kenchegowda D, Harvey SA, Swamynathan S, Lathrop KL, Swamynathan SK. Critical Role of Klf5 in Regullating Gene Expression During Post-Eyelid Opening Maturation of Mouse Corneas. PloS One. 2012;7(9):e44771 epub 2012 Sept 14. PMID: 23024760
  13. Chan YR, Chen K, Duncan SR, Lathrop KL, Latouche JD, Logar A, Pociask DA, Wahlberg B, Ray P, Ray A, Pilewski JM, Kolls JK. Patients with cystic fibrosis have inducible IL-17(+)IL-22(+) memory cells in lung draining lymph nodes. J Allergy and Clinical Immunology 2012 Jul 11. PMID: 22795370
  14. Boote C, Du Y, Morgan SR, Harris J, Kamma-Lorger CS, Hayes S, Lathrop KL, Roh DS, Burrow MK, Hiller J, Terrill NJ, Funderburgh JL, Meek KM. Quantitative Assessment of Ultrastructure and Light Scatter in Mouse Corneal Debridement Wounds. IOVS May 2012 53:2786-2795; published ahead of print March 30, 2012, doi:10.1167/iovs.11-9305. PMID: 22467580
  15. Lathrop KL, Gupta D, Kagemann L, Schuman JS, SundarRaj N. Optical coherence tomography as a rapid, accurate, non-contact method of visualizing the palisades of Vogt. IOVS 11-8524; published ahead of print January 20, 2012, doi:10.1167/iovs.11-8524. PMID: 22266521
  16. Miller KV, Eisley KM, Shanks RMQ, Lahr RM, Lathrop KL, Kowalski RP, Noecker RJ. Recurrent enterococcal endopthalmitis seeded by an intraocular lens biofilm. J Cataract Refract Surg 2011; 37:1355-1359. PMID: 21700113
  17. Zhang G, Yanamala N, Lathrop KL, Zhang L, Klein-Seetharaman J, Srinivas H. Ligand-independent antiapoptotic function of estrogen receptor-{beta} in lung cancer cells. Mol Endocrinology 2010 Sep; 24(9):1734-47. PMID: 20660297
  18. Block ER, Tolino MA, Lozano JS, Lathrop KL, Sullenberger RS, Mazie AR, Klarlund JK. Free edges in epithelial cell sheets stimulate epidermal growth factor receptor signaling. Mol Biol Cell. 2010 Jul;21(13):2172-81. PMID: 20462956
  19. Silverstein, S.M., All, S.D., Kasi, R., Berten, S., Essex, B., Lathrop, K., & Little, D.M. Increased fusiform area activation in schizophrenia during processing of spatial frequency-degraded faces, as revealed by fMRI. Psychological Medicine. 2010 Jul;40(7):1159-69. PMID: 19895721
  20. Shukla MN, Rose JL, Ray R, Lathrop KL, Ray A, Ray P. Hepatocyte Growth Factor Inhibits Epithelial to Myofibroblast Transition in Lung Cells Via Smad7. Am J Respir Cell Mol Biol. Vol. 40, 643-653, June 2009. PMID: 18988920
  21. McKenna KC, Beatty KM, Bilonick RA, Schoenfield L, Lathrop KL, Singh AD. Activated CD11b+ CD15+ Granulocytes Increase in Blood of Uveal Melanoma Patients. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci 2009 Sep; 50(9):4295-4303. PMID: 19369244
  22. Sahu B, Chenna V, Lathrop KL, Thomas S, Zon G, Livak K, Ly D. Synthesis of Conformationally Preorganized and Cell-Permeable Guanidine-Based Gamma Peptide Nucleic Acids (gammaGPNAs). J Org. Chem. 2009 Jan 22. PMID: 19161276
  23. Zhang G, Xuwan L, Farkas AM, Parwani AV, Lathrop KL, Lenzner D, Land SR, Srinivas H. Estrogen Receptor Beta Functions through Non-genomic Mechanisms in Lung Cancer Cells. Molecular Endocrinology 2008 Dec 23. PMID: 19106194
  24. Zou J, Lathrop KL, Sun M, Wei X. Intact retinal pigment epithelium maintained by nok is essential for retinal epithelial polarity and cellular patterning in zebrafish. J Neurosci 2008 Dec 10;28(50):13684-95. PMID: 19074041
  25. Chen J, Guerriero E, Lathrop K, Sundarraj N. Rho/ROCK Signaling in Regulation of Corneal Epithelial Cell Cycle Progression. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci 2008 Jan;49(1):175-83. PMID: 18172090
  26. Yu JY, Kahook MY, Lathrop KL, Schuman JS, Noecker RJ. The effect of probe placement and type of viscoeleastic material on endoscopic cyclophotocoagulation laser energy transmission. Ophthalmic Surgery Lasers and Imaging Vol. 39 No.2 March/April 2008. PMID 18435337
  27. Kahook, MY, Lathrop KL, Noecker RJ. One-site versus two-site endoscopic cyclophotocoagulation. Journal of Glaucoma 9/2007 16:6. PMID 17873713
  28. Shanks RMQ, Stella NA, Kalivodal EJ, Doe MR, O’Dee DM, Lathrop KL, Guo FL, Nau GJ. A Serratia marcescens OxyR homolog mediates surface attachment and biofilm formation. J. Bact. Vol 189, No 20 p 7262-7272, Oct 2007. PMID: 17675374
  29. Cronin TH, Kahook MY, Lathrop KL, Noecker RJ. Accuracy and Performance of a Commercially Available Dosing Aid. Br J Ophthalmol. 2007 Apr;91(4):497-9. PMID: 16916873
  30. Prabhakaran K, Sheridan BS, Kinchington PR, Khanna KM, Decman V, Lathrop K, Hendricks RL.Sensory neurons regulate the effector functions of CD8+ T cells in controlling HSV-1 latency ex vivo.Immunity. 2005 Nov;23(5):515-25. Retraction in: Immunity. 2006 May;24(5):657. PMID: 16286019

Research Interests

Imaging, microscopy, image analysis and quantitation, the Palisades of Vogt, optical coherence tomography, imaging ethics

Research Grants

Lions Clubs of Western Pennsylvania
Western Pennsylvania Medical Eye Bank