Leo Am Kim, M.D., Ph.D.


Leo Am Kim, M.D., Ph.D.


Schepens Eye Research Institute

Instructor in Ophthalmology
Harvard Medical School




FAX: 617-912-0128
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  • M.D., Ph.D., 2005, Yale University School of Medicine,  Medical Scientist Training Program
  • 2011, Harvard University School of Public Health, Boston, MA Program in Clinical Effectiveness
  • 2009 - 2011,  USC Doheny Eye Institute, Los Angeles, CA Clinical Instructor in Ophthalmology Faculty Fellow in Retina and Vitreous Surgery
  • 2006 - 2009, USC Doheny Eye Institute, Los Angeles, CA Resident in Ophthalmology
  • 2005 - 2006, Harbor-UCLA Hospital, Torrance, CA Preliminary Internship in Internal Medicine


Leo Am Kim, M.D., Ph.D. is a research scientist, physician and educator whose primary academic goals include the integration of basic science as it applies to the understanding of human disease, direct patient care, and the education and training of students, residents, and fellows.

Dr. Kim is a member of the Harvard-Vision Clinical Scientist Development Program, and his work is devoted towards the basic understanding of the mechanisms of vitreo-retinal disease. As a clinician, Dr. Kim has developed extensive experience in the management of retinal diseases due to retinal toxicity, age-related macular degeneration, as well as other retinal diseases due to aberrant angiogenesis. 

Dr. Kim's work has been based on the underlying mechanisms of retinal toxicity. Specifically, his research is focused on the cell death mechanisms of the retinal pigment epithelium when exposed to the commonly used breast cancer drug tamoxifen. He has discovered and published on the presence of multiple cell death pathways mediated by tamoxifen toxicity, and this work has highlighted possible methods to protect cells against tamoxifen toxicity. This work was recently announced to be the most read paper in Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science. Intriguingly, these cell death mechanisms have been found in common in other disease such as Age-related Macular Degeneration. Further work in this area will be to develop a mouse model of drug induced retinal toxicity. 

Other areas of research interests for Dr. Kim include: 

  • Research to understand the fundamental mechanisms of Age-Related Macular Degeneration, and the effect of drusen on retinal oxygenation. 
  • Evaluation of patients with severe proliferative diabetic retinopathy (PDR) as well as surgical specimens (fibrovascular membranes; FVMs) obtained from patients with severe PDR. 
  • Evaluating the genetics of severe PDR, and performing whole exome sequencing, testing the common disease rare variant hypothesis. 
  • Examining the role of lymphangiogenesis in orbital tissue.