School of Medicine

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  • Brian A. Wandell

    Brian A. Wandell

    Isaac and Madeline Stein Family Professor and Professor, by courtesy, of Electrical Engineering, of Ophthalmology and at the Graduate School of Education

    Current Research and Scholarly Interests Models and measures of the human visual system. The brain pathways essential for reading development. Diffusion tensor imaging, functional magnetic resonance imaging and computational modeling of visual perception and brain processes.

  • Biao Wang

    Biao Wang

    Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Ophthalmology

    Current Research and Scholarly Interests My research interests are to identify and to elucidate the key signaling pathways in Lowe Syndrome disease, and also to develop a targeted therapy for Lowe syndrome patients. So far, there is no treatment for Lowe syndrome. I have a broad background in cell biology, with specific training and expertise in protein trafficking and signaling pathways.

  • Sui Wang

    Sui Wang

    Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology

    Current Research and Scholarly Interests Our research focuses on understanding the molecular mechanisms that underlie retinal development and diseases. We utilize genetic and genomic tools to uncover how different types of retinal cells, including retinal neurons, glia and the vasculature, respond to developmental cues and disease insults at the epigenomic and transcriptional levels, and how they interact and collectively contribute to the integrity of the retina.

    1. Retinal cell fate specification.
    We are using genetic tools and methods, such as in vivo plasmid electroporation and CRISPR, to dissect the roles of cis-regulatory elements and transcription factors in controlling retinal cell fate specification.

    2. The multicellular responses elicited by diabetes in the retina.
    Diabetes can induce multicellular responses in the retina, including vascular lesions, glial dysfunction and neurodegeneration, all of which contribute to retinopathy. We are using diabetic rats as models to investigate the detailed molecular mechanisms underlying the diabetes-induced multicellular responses, and the disease mechanisms of diabetic retinopathy.

    3. Molecular tools that allow for cell type-specific labeling and manipulation in vivo.
    Cis-regulatory elements, such as enhancers, play essential roles in directing tissue/cell type-specific and stage-specific expression. We are interested in identifying enhancers that can drive cell type-specific expression in the retina and brain, and incorporating them into plasmid or AAV based delivery systems.

  • Katherine Jean Wert

    Katherine Jean Wert

    Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Ophthalmology

    Bio I have extensive knowledge of genetics and have focused my research on inherited genetic mutations that act as disease-causing alleles for retinal degenerative disorders. I am skilled in modeling these complex human diseases using both genetically engineered mouse models as well as human cell lines, including embryonic and induced pluripotent stem cells. I have used these model systems I’ve developed to test therapies via microinjections into the mouse (both in utero during embryogenesis and via the subretinal/intravitreal space in the eye). I initially focused my therapeutic studies on gene correction, both by gene editing (CRISPR/Cas9, TALEN, or ZFN) into the human cells or mouse blastocysts to correct genetic mutations or providing therapeutic agents as viruses (I have used both lentivirus and AAV). Recently, I am interested in utilizing my knowledge of nutrition and metabolic biology for metabolic rescue as a therapeutic for patients with inherited vitreoretinopathies regardless of their genetic mutations. Additionally, I have transplanted gene edited human cells into the mouse eye to test for both the functional ability of the human cells in a live context, and as a method of pre-clinical studies for therapeutic efficacy of human cell transplantation. My overall research goal is to discover and understand the genetic mechanisms underlying neuro-retinal disease, and to provide novel therapeutics for these complex degenerative disorders using gene therapy and genome engineering technologies, human stem cell transplantations, and metabolic rescue.