Medical Field: Ophthalmology
Award: Finalist
Country: Serbia
Year: 2022
Research Work: The Relative Preservation of the Central Retinal Layers in Leber Hereditary Optic Neuropathy
Published in: Journal of Clinical Medicine

For me, being a clinician and researcher means dedicating myself to a path of continuous learning and professional development, as well as gaining new experiences, tackling various challenges and attaining academic achievements.

Sanja Petrović Pajić, MD, MSc, completed her medical degrees at the University of Belgrade in Serbia. After completing her fellowship at the Eye Clinic of the University Medical Centre Ljubljana in Slovenia, she is now an ophthalmologist and vitreoretinal and cataract surgeon in Belgrade at the Eye Diseases Clinic of the University Clinical Centre of Serbia.

She has always known she wanted to be a doctor and has dedicated her medical career to clinical practice and research. Seeing her patients with serious diseases motivates her to do even more research and through valuable information from the patient reach a breakthrough that will help them in the future. 

The majority of her research has been devoted to locating potential clinical indicators for inherited visual neuropathies such as Leber hereditary optic neuropathy (LHON). It is a severe neurodegenerative disorder characterized by a sudden visual acuity loss in previously healthy young people with the majority of patients becoming legally blind.

In everyday clinical practice, it is often hard to distinguish between the LHON and other optic neuropathies, especially in the chronic phase of the disease. My research identified some novel structural biomarkers of the LHON which could help distinguish between the LHON and optic atrophies without an identified cause. The results of this research could help clinicians to reach diagnosis easier and faster which would lead to earlier treatment and genetic counselling of LHON patients.

Sanja Petrović Pajić, MD, MSc, does everything for patients. And the energy for that comes from her two children, who make even the hardest days easier. Being a finalist for IMA is a great honor and reenergizes her research team to step up their further research efforts.