Interview with Dr. Ryan Kammeyer

RMMSC: Dr. Kammeyer, please tell us a bit about yourself and your background.

Ryan Kammeyer PicDr. Kammeyer: I’m originally from Fort Wayne, Indiana, and I completed my undergraduate degree at Purdue University. I did my Masters in Biomedical Engineering and decided I wanted to go to medical school. I liked being able to work with people on a day-to-day basis and making a direct difference in people’s lives.

When I started medical school at Indiana University, I thought I’d probably do something with pediatrics. I think I knew I wanted to do neurology after my first rotation. Then I did pediatrics and I loved that - I realized that pediatric neurology was probably my home. I worked with Dr. Grimes who specializes in multiple sclerosis at Indiana University. I loved the ability to help people who are having trouble walking or trouble seeing and being able to give therapies that help them. It was amazing to see people who had encephalitis and were in a coma respond to treatment, to gradually see them start remembering things, or being able to start talking to their family again. To help people gain back that loss and impact individuals and families in such fundamental ways was gratifying and rewarding.

I pursued a child neurology residency which included two years of general pediatrics, a pediatrics residency, then a year of adult neurology and two years of child neurology. Within that time, I started working with Dr. Teri Schreiner at Children’s Hospital Colorado and knew that’s what I wanted to do. Dr. Schreiner helped me work with the University to put together a fellowship that encompassed both adult and pediatric neuro-immunology. I’ve finished my fellowship and am very interested in auto-immune neurology, including auto-immune encephalitis, and neuro-rheumatologic disorders like neuro-psychiatric lupus.

RMMSC: What are you most interested in from a research perspective and a clinical perspective?

Dr. Kammeyer: I am very interested in studying neuro-psychiatric lupus and some of the neuro-rheumatologic disorders. I’m completing a retrospective study looking at differences between pediatric auto-immune encephalitis and infectious encephalitis. I’m also exploring how to differentiate, diagnose and start treatment at earlier time points for auto-immune encephalitis in kids. Additionally, I’m seeing a number of patients with Down syndrome regression disorder which is something that isn’t well understood, and there is possibly an immunologic component to it. I’m also working with the Pediatric MS Multi-Disciplinary Clinic with Dr. Schreiner at Children’s Hospital Colorado to bring comprehensive multi-disciplinary care to pediatric patients with MS and their families.

RMMSC: What do you like most about your job?

Dr. Kammeyer: The people – the patients, families, staff, and faculty that I work with. I like that I get to see staff that I have worked with for a long time and like being around and respect. I like being able to see the patients that I have worked with over the years and get to meet new faces too.

Working with pediatric population – both MS and autoimmune encephalitis patients – is also very unique. It involves a lot of discussions and planning with the family. Through that process, a lot of trust gets built up between the families and myself. It helps me to have that foundation of trust in one another – I know that if something changes or there is a new symptom that they will let me know about it right away so that we can provide the best possible care for their child

RMMSC: What do you enjoy doing outside of work?

Dr. Kammeyer: We have two young kids, ages 3 and a half and 15 months who keep us very busy. When our kids will allow us, we like to go hiking. My wife does not like snow sports, or rock climbing or things like that, so I am hoping to get my son into that sometime soon (he at least says he is excited), and that he can be my buddy for those things. We like to travel, but haven’t been able to too much recently. But when we can, we like traveling and seeing new sights.