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Trainees at the Wilmer Eye Institute

Trainees at the Wilmer Eye Institute

Gianni Castiglione

Gianni Castiglione, Ph.D. - Duh Lab

About: "I use comparative genomics to explore protein structure function (RHO, ARR-1,NRF2,KEAP1) relationships with photoreceptor oxidative stress and retinal degeneration. Evolution-guided discovery forms the foundation of my goal to design novel therapeutics for human eye disease by reverse-engineering natural variation within non-human protein systems."
Xitiz Chamling

Xitiz Chamling, Ph.D. - Zack Lab

About: "Using hiPSC-derived oligodendrocytes and retinal ganglion cells as models to study oligodendrocyte cell development, maturation, & mechanisms by which they myelinate CNS neurons; Created reporter-ES cell lines for drug screens to identify neuroprotective & myelination promoting molecules.
Outside of the lab: "I enjoy hiking, trying new foods, and watching movies."
Elizabeth Couser

Elizabeth Couser, Ph.D., LMSW - Swenor Lab

About: Ocular pathology of Alzheimer’s disease and effect on function and behavior; Visual disturbances in dementia; Ophthalmic care for cognitively impaired older adults. Outside of the lab: "I enjoy spending time with my two children."
Arupratan Das

Arupratan Das, Ph.D. - Zack Lab

About: "I work on differentiated human retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) to understand RGC neuroprotection mechanisms for optic neuropathies. My focus is to understand mitochondrial homeostasis mechanism in RGCs for above research." Outside of the lab: "I love spending time with my kids, friends, playing soccer and swimming."
Sayantan Datta

Sayantan Datta, Ph.D., - Handa Lab

About: Mitochondrial dysfunction and oxidative stress in retinal pigment epithelial cells (RPE) in Age-related macular degeneration (AMD): PINK1, Nrf2: mitophagy, ROS, evolution, cellular heterogeneity Outside of the lab: "Loves dark humor and dark rum but not dark chocolate; Likes running and sleeping but not in that order; Has interest in pun, fun and everything else under the sun (but also the moon).
Raquel Formica

Raquel Formica, M.D. - Campochiaro Lab

About: Developing treatments for 2 major cause of blindness: DME and AMD, focusing on mechanisms of blood vessel development. Applying basic science in the design of a new clinical therapy Outside of the lab: "I enjoy travelling, reading, sports, watching movies and spending time with family."
Tianshun Gao

Tianshun Gao, Ph.D. - Qian Lab

About: Research on genetic enhancer regulation and scATAC-seq in single cells
Jordana Gilbert-Honick

Jordana Gilbert-Honick, Ph.D. Candidate - Grayson Lab

About: "I am interested in tissue engineered skeletal muscle and promoting nerve infiltration into regenerating muscle within volumetric muscle loss defects." Outside of the lab: "I enjoy hiking, kayaking, drawing, and crocheting."
Xinxing Guo

Xinxing Guo, M.D., Ph.D. - Dana Center for Preventive Ophthalmology

About: Public health epidemiology and clinical investigations on common eye diseases; low vision services, patient care outcome improvements, population/school-based studies examining prevalence of ocular pathology and associations with systemic outcomes; Vision for Baltimore; Eye Determinants of Cognition (EyeDOC); Electronic adVisory fOr Low Vision rEferral (EVOLVE).
Thuy M Hoang

Thuy M Hoang, Ph.D. Candidate - Ensign and Hanes Labs

About: Women’s health and disease prevention: cervicovaginal mucus barrier against HIV in women with a common condition called bacterial vaginosis (BV). Women with BV are at greater risk for HIV acquisition/transmission, preterm birth and other obstetrics and gynecological conditions; Improved drug formulations for the prevention of preterm birth and HIV (as pre-exposure prophylaxis).
Ming-Wen Hu

Ming-Wen Hu, Ph.D. - Qian Lab

About: "I am interested in algorithms and NGS data analysis. Current projects include developing algorithms for single-cell data (scRNA-seq and scATAC-seq) and transcriptome analysis for EMT in RPE cells."
Yogita Kanan

Yogita Kanan, Ph.D. - Campochiaro Lab

About: Drug discovery, ID compounds that 1) prevent or slow photoreceptor death in retinal degeneration, determine MoA and 2) prevent blood vessel neovascularization and/or leakiness, determine MoA. Outside of the lab: "I love reading, dancing, music, travelling, meeting people and working out."
Arathy Kartha

Arathy Kartha, Ph.D. - Dagnelie Lab

About: "I am interested in low vision rehabilitation. Currently, I am working on functional vision in people with ultra low vision. I am interested in developing protocols and outcome measures for vision rehabilitation in people with ultra low vision, that can improve their quality of life and independence." Outside of the lab: "I enjoy music, reading, travel, photography and spending time with my family."
Byung-Jin Kim

Byung-Jin Kim, Ph.D. - Zack Lab

About: "My research is focused on retinal degeneration mechanisms in photoreceptors, retinal ganglion cells and other retinal cell types in association with cellular kinase pathways. I’m using various in vivo rodent models with pharmacological inhibitors and conditional transgenic models to define potential role of their targets."
Arina Korneva

Arina Korneva, Ph.D. - Quigley Lab

About: "I am interested in biomechanics of soft tissues (ocular, vascular). Current projects include inflating mouse eyes, digital correlation, and understanding cellular mechanosensing in glaucoma." Outside of the lab: "I enjoy biking, coloring, traveling up and down the East coast."
PJ Krohl

PJ Krohl, Ph.D. Student - Spangler Lab

About: "I am working on combining protein display platforms to discover antibodies against GPCRs via directed evolution. I also work on a drug delivery system to selectively target cells overexpressing cancer antigens." Outside of the lab: "I enjoy snowboarding, weight lifting, and baseball."
Natalie Livingston

Natalie Livingston, Ph.D. Student - Mao Lab

About: "I work on developing biomaterials to guide regenerating axons into distinct channels based on their functional subtype. The goal is to eventually be able to improve the specificity of the nerve-prosthesis interface." Outside of the lab: "I enjoy hiking, going to museums, and watching movies."
Wathsala Nillushi G. H. M. Liyanage

Wathsala Nillushi G. H. M. Liyanage, Ph.D. - Kannan Lab

About: "I work on design and synthesis of covalently-linked dendrimer bioconjugates (proteins, peptides, antibodies, etc.) for applications in advanced drug delivery systems."
Shuntaro Ogura

Shuntaro Ogura, M.D., Ph.D - Lutty Lab

About: "My goal is to elucidate the role of choroidal mast cells in age-related macular degeneration and to develop novel treatments." Outside of the lab: "I enjoy traveling and spending time with my family."
Sean Ponce

Sean Ponce, Ph.D. Student - Zhang Lab

About: Developing mass spectrometry-based analytical technologies to investigate protein structures; how post-translational modification, specifically glycosylation and phosphorylation, can spatially and temporally modulate, coordinate and regulate protein function in response to physiological and pathological states. Outside of the lab: "Outside of packing columns and changing pump oil, I can be found biking, surfing, at art exhibits and enjoying craft beer."
Celine Portal

Celine Portal, Ph.D. - Iomini Lab

About: "My goal is to elucidate the role of the primary cilium in the development of the cornea and the Meibomian glands." Outside of the lab: "I’m a salsa dancer at Latin Vintage Dance Company."
Josh Porterfield

Josh Porterfield - Kannan Lab

About: "The focus of my research is manipulating nanoparticle transport properties to access and treat different cell populations in diseases of the eye (AMD, glaucoma), brain (Cerebral Palsy), and liver (NAFLD)." Outside of the lab: "I am quite the film buff and also love traveling (Morocco on the left). I get away whenever the research allows…so rarely."
Divya Rao

Divya Rao - Suk Lab, Hanes Lab, Center for Nanomedicine

About: "My research is focused on designing non-viral DNA nanoparticles to confine gene expression in desired tissues for brain tumors and various neurodegenerative diseases."
Lexi Rindone

Lexi Rindone, Ph.D. Student - Grayson Lab

About: Developing quantitative imaging methods to characterize the regenerative microenvironment in 3D-printed bone grafts; Enable targeted therapeutics to enhance vascularized bone regeneration for personalized treatment of large craniofacial bone injuries.
Madhuparna Roy

Madhuparna Roy, Ph.D. - Jun Lab

About: "I am focused on molecular mechanisms of Corneal dystrophy diseases and developing non-surgical treatment strategies. Working on corneal dystrophies caused by TCF4 and TGFBI mutations, using a CRISPR/Cas9 based gene therapy approach." Outside of the lab: "When I am not working, I like to travel, try different cuisines and watch science fiction movies."
Yuan Rui

Yuan Rui - Green Lab

About: "I am interested in developing biomaterials for the therapeutic delivery of genetic drugs such as siRNA, miRNA, and CRISPR/Cas9." Outside of the lab: "I enjoy baking, running, and hanging out with my cat."
Roksana Sadeghi

Roksana Sadeghi - Dagnelie Lab

About: "I am interested in translational neuro-engineering. My PhD project is to understand the visual perception of blind subjects with visual implants and how to enhance the implants’ systems to improve subjects’ quality of life." Outside of the lab: "I enjoy hiking and playing piano."
Sumitra Sengupta

Sumitra Sengupta, Ph.D. - Mumm Lab

About: "I use high-throughput drug screening in living zebrafish models of retinal diseases to understand how stem cells respond to retinal cell loss and, in the process, identify compounds that enhance regenerative capacities; potential restorative therapeutics for patients." Outside of the lab: "I enjoy meeting people and trying different cuisines."
Anjali Sharma

Anjali Sharma, Ph.D. - Kannan Lab

About: Next generation nanomedicine to address unmet medical needs; site-specific targeted therapies to treat CNS and ocular disorders; multitasking nanomaterials to target specific cell populations (neurons, microglia and astrocytes); targeting mitochondria of injured cells to treat oxidative stress in neurological and ocular disorders.
Siddharth Shenoy

Siddharth Shenoy, Ph.D. - Suk Lab, Hanes Lab

About: Using muco-inert nanoparticles to characterize the microstructural properties of samples from patients with cystic fibrosis and COPD; diagnose, study disease progression and evaluate risks; Creating artificial mucus hydrogel to study bacterial colonization and neutrophil migration on microstructural properties. Outside of the lab: "I like to 3D print, create gadgets/tinker, cook, hike and volunteer in the community."
Srujan Singh

Srujan Singh, Ph.D. Student - Sami Lab, Grayson Lab

About: "A longstanding challenge in the field of tissue engineering is the mismatch between the rates of scaffold degradation and tissue remodeling. To address this, I develop protease sensitive polymers which recapitulate the native extra-cellular matrix micro-environment to serve as a 3D printable scaffold material for bone regeneration applications." Outside of the lab: "I like to travel, hike and go on wildlife safaris. I also like to cook and try out new recipes."
Srinivasa R. Sripathi

Srinivasa R. Sripathi, Ph.D. - Zack Lab

About: "Using transcriptomics and proteomics to dissect iPS/ES derived RPE dedifferentiation. Utilizing CRISPR/Cas9 generated fluorescent reporter lines, I perform high content drug screening to identify molecules that inhibit RPE epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT) and rescue RPE from AMD-associated oxidative stressors mediated cell death. Outside of the lab: "I enjoy working out and watching movies."
Julia Szeto

Julia Szeto, Res. Specialist - Pitha Lab

About: Novel surgery interventions for glaucoma— Animal care and logistics; Mapping human scleral fibroblasts— Immunofluorescence confocal microscopy Outside of the lab: "I love to spend free time with my family, which includes my husband Greg, daughter Sophia, and corgi Ein. I also love travel and want to get back into ballet as a hobby."
Varshini Varadaraj

Varshini Varadaraj, MBBS, MPH - Dana Center for Preventive Ophthalmology

About: Health services research, access to eye care services in underserved communities, and aging and vision; trends in eye care access and use, trends in employment by sensory disability status using nationally available data, and the functional outcomes of vision impairment in older adults.
Hannah Vaughan

Hannah Vaughan, Ph.D. Student - Green Lab

About: "My projects are focused on developing polymer nanoparticles for nucleic acid delivery. I’m interested in various methods of nanoparticle targeting, particularly to achieve cancer-specific gene delivery. Much of my work is focused on hepatocellular carcinoma." Outside of the lab: "I enjoy running, skiing, and spending time with friends and family."
Wei Wang

Wei Wang, Ph.D. - Jun Lab

About: Primary research interest: corneal endothelial diseases. Using a combination of cell biology, molecular biology, biochemistry, and tissue engineering to develop a cell-based, tissue engineering approach to treat corneal endothelial disorders. Outside of the lab: "I enjoy traveling and hiking."
Xiaokun Wang

Xiaokun Wang, Ph.D. - Elisseeff Lab

About: Areas of research include: biosynthetic artificial cornea, new approaches for corneal crosslinking, collagen-based thin carrier for corneal endothelial cells, immunomodulatory reagent to promote corneal wound healing and reduce corneal haze formation. Outside of the lab: "I enjoy running, swimming, hiking or any activities in the sun, sometimes also can be a couch potato watching movie for a whole weekend."
Claire Wenger

Claire Wenger, Ph.D. Student - Zack Lab

About: Interested in gene expression changes as stem cells differentiate into retinal cells; therapeutic target genes for retinal diseases; Development of human stem cell-derived retinal organoids; combining RNA-seq and lineage tracing at the single-cell level. Outside of the lab: "I enjoy traveling, hiking, trying new restaurants, and reading."
David White

David White, Ph.D. - Mumm Lab

About: Microglia regulation of Müller glia regenerative potential; Immunomodulator-enhanced retinal regenerative kinetics; dendrimer-based targeting of microglia; In vivo time-lapse imaging; Zebrafish ‘avatars’ of retinoblastoma, glioblastoma, and uveal melanoma. Outside of the lab: "I enjoy scuba diving, motorcycles, and other generally dangerous stuff."
David Wilson

David Wilson - Green Lab

About: "I am interested in algorithms and NGS data analysis. Current projects include developing algorithms for single-cell data (scRNA-seq and scATAC-seq) and transcriptome analysis for EMT in RPE cells." Outside of the Lab: "I enjoy reading, running, cycling and subjecting my cat to walks in the park."
Tony Wu

Tony Wu, Ph.D. Student - Kannan Lab

About: "I am working on dendrimer-based nanocarriers for systemic delivery of biologics in treating ocular and neurodegenerative diseases." Outside of the lab: "I love to explore the city in search of good food."
Liyun Zhang

Liyun Zhang, Ph.D. - Mumm Lab

About: "I am interested in new therapies for retinal degenerative diseases. Currently, I am working on the whole organism high-throughput drug discovery for retinitis pigmentosa, and the disease modeling using CRISPR/Cas9 genome targeting." Outside of the lab: "I enjoy traveling, swimming, reading and music."
Hannah Zierden

Hannah Zierden, Ph.D. Candidate - Ensign Lab

About: "I develop novel muco-inert nanoparticles for women’s health issues, with a focus on using these particles to prevent and better understand mechanisms of inflammation-induced preterm birth." Outside of the lab: "enjoy scuba diving, traveling, and quilting.
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