Kiyoharu Joshua Miyagishima

National Eye Institute

National Institutes of Health

Kiyoharu Joshua Miyagishima
Staff Scientist

Kiyoharu J. Miyagishima is a staff scientist in the National Eye Institute, National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland. He received his undergraduate Electrical Engineering degree from the University of California San Diego, and a Ph.D. in Integrated Biology of Disease from the University of Southern California.

He has diverse industry and academic experience. From 2003-2005 he served as a production engineer for Gamma Medica Inc. where he assembled and tested single-photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) gamma cameras for preclinical imaging of small animals for drug development. During Dr. Miyagishima’s training in Alapakkam Sampath’s lab at the Zilkha Neurogenetic Institute (USC’s Keck School of Medicine) his research focus was on dark adaptation where he used tiger salamander and mouse models to elucidate the metabolic constraints that govern the recovery of visual sensitivity after photobleaching in rod photoreceptors.

He then moved to Hawaii to join the Biomedical R&D team at Oceanit Laboratories Inc. as a Senior Scientist. There he gained valuable experience in project management and grant writing and broadened his research interests and fostered innovation. While there, Dr. Miyagishima received SBIR funding to develop a multi-modality imaging device for combat casualty care associated with burn injuries.

In 2012 he was recruited to the NIH as a Staff Scientist to join the lab’s of Dr. Sheldon Miller and Dr. Wei Li. He is part of the team led by Dr. Kapil Bharti to develop an autologous cellular replacement therapy using patient-derived induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs). Dr. Miyagishima has also used iPSC technology to model and study patient-specific disease affecting the retinal pigment epithelium. In 2019 he was awarded a Department of Defense Vision Research Grant to develop a Targeted Treatment of Traumatic Optic Neuropathy Inspired by Neuroprotective Adaptations of Hibernation. He is also currently working on characterizing the role of a transcription factor that mediates survival in cold temperatures with the real-world application of prolonging the storage life of cellular therapies and organs for transplantation.