Dr. Sami Pederson is a masters’ student in clinical sciences and a second-year resident in comparative ophthalmology at CSU’s Veterinary Teaching Hospital. She graduated from Oregon State University with a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree in 2013, and completed a rotating internship as well as two ophthalmology internships before starting the residency program. Throughout veterinary school, Dr. Pederson was involved in various international, service, and wildlife projects, including multiple trips to Nicaragua and Morocco.
Following the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant disaster in 2011, a 30-kilometer radius was evacuated by people and is now scheduled for repopulation. Last year, the CSU Ophthalmology Service was contacted by the CVMBS Environmental Radiation and Health Sciences department regarding a research project evaluating the effect of radiation on the eye. Dr. Pederson traveled to Fukushima, Japan, for 10 weeks this summer to evaluate the prevalence of cataracts in wild boar and mice within the Fukushima Exclusion Zone. This will provide critical information regarding the safety of human return and establish protocols for future wildlife radiation studies. The goal is to ultimately compare the cataract prevalence in boars within the Fukushima Exclusion Zone to boars outside of the zone, and then correlate the prevalence to total body radiation doses. This correlation will then be applied to the predicted dose to be absorbed by humans moving back to their homes. This cataract study is part of a much larger collaboration, involving multiple departments at Colorado State University, as well as Fukushima University in Japan. Following residency, Dr. Pederson hopes to continue international research and collaborations.