Vision Science Research Community

Vision Science Research Community 2017-06-05T09:43:47+00:00

Vision Science Research Community


The Vision Science Research Community (VSRC) consists of vision scientists in the Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences department and basic science departments at University of Illinois at Chicago and nearby institutions, with the aim of encouraging collaborative and interdisciplinary research in visual sciences.

Listed alphabetically by last name:

Vinay Aakalu, MD, MPHDavid Freedman, PhDIris Kassem, MD, PhDMark Rosenblatt, MD, PhD, MBA
Dimitri Azar, MD, MBAKen-ichiro Fukuchi, MD, PhDYulia Komarova, PhDSteven Roth, MD
Eric Beyer, MD, PhDXiaoyi Gao, PhDYannek Leiderman, MD, PhDMahnaz Shahidi, PhD
Jin-Hong Chang, PhDRichard Gemeinhart, PhDAsrar Malik, PhDDeepak Shukla, PhD
Qing Chang, MD, PhDMichael Grassi, MDJason McAnany, PhDSatoru Suzuki, PhD
Dingcai Cao, PhDKyu-yeon Han, PhDHeather Moss, MD, PhDThasarat Vajaranant, MD
Michael Cho, PhDJohn Hetling, PhDDavid Pepperberg, PhDXiaojing Yang, PhD
Ali Djalilian, MDSandeep Jain , MDSekhar Reddy, PhDXincheng Yao, PhD
Lisa Ebihara, MD, PhDCharlotte Joslin, ODDaniel Roberts, OD, MS Hongyu Ying, PhD

 

 

Aakalu, Vinay, MD, MPH

Assistant Professor, Department of Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences
University of Illinois at Chicago

Dr. Aakalu is studying accessory lacrimal cell biology to establish the presence of precursor cells in accessory lacrimal gland tissue that may produce functional cells for treatment of dry eye disease.
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Dimitri Azar, MD, MBA

Dean, University of Illinois College of Medicine

Dr. Azar studies the mechanisms that contribute to corneal avascularity. His research focuses on the role of membrane type 1 matrix metalloproteinase (MT1-MMP) in corneal neovascularization, wound healing, as well as the balance between the upregulation of VEGF, the production of endostatin and neostatin14, and the cleavage of extracellular matrix components in the cornea.
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Eric Beyer, MD, PhD

Professor, Department of Pediatrics
University of Chicago

Dr. Beyer is elucidating the pathogenesis of cataracts and the role of lens fiber connexins in the survival and transparency of the lens. He conducts studies in transfected cell systems and in genetically-manipulated animals to examine the consequences of accumulation of mutant connexins.
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Dingcai Cao, PhD

Associate Professor, Department of Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences
University of Illinois at Chicago

Dr. Cao investigates the neural mechanisms that mediate visual processing and how visual function is affected by retinal diseases, including age-related macular degeneration (AMD), diabetic retinopathy, rod-cone dystrophies, and retinitis pigmentosa.
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Jin-Hong Chang, PhD

Assistant Professor, Department of Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences
University of Illinois at Chicago

Dr. Chang studies the role of endostatin and MMP-7-derived fragments of collagen XVIII in corneal neovascularization and lymphangiogenesis. He also studies the biology of small neostatin-7 blocking peptides that inhibit VEGF binding to its receptor.
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Qing Chang, MD, PhD

Assistant Professor, Department of Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences
University of Illinois at Chicago

Dr. Chang is investigating the cellular and molecular mechanisms of photoreceptor loss associated with inherited and age-related retinal diseases and developing translational regimens into genes/pathways-targeted photoreceptor neuroprotection.
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Michael Cho, PhD

Professor, Department of Bioengineering
University of Illinois at Chicago

Dr. Cho develops artificial cornea and iris by tissue engineering. Biomaterials and engineering designs are optimally combined to produce implantable ocular devices and tested for biocompatibility and biointegration in animal models. .
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Ali Djalilian, MD

Associate Professor, Department of Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences
University of Illinois at Chicago

Dr. Djalilian is studying the role of Notch signaling in the regulation of corneal epithelial growth and differentiation to understand the regulatory mechanisms leading to the development of new treatments for patients with disabling visual conditions involving the surface of the eye.
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Lisa Ebihara, MD, PhD

Associate Professor, Department of Physiology
Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine & Science

Dr. Ebihara studies the role of gap junctional communication in the lens to elucidate the functional properties of gap junctional proteins and to better understand the contribution of connexins (e.g., Cx 43, Cx46, and Cx50) in lens homeostasis and cataract development.
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David Freedman, PhD

Assistant Professor, Department of Neuroscience
University Chicago

Dr. Freedman investigates the brain mechanisms underlying learning and recognition using recordings from populations of neurons across a hierarchy of interconnected cortical areas involved in visual, cognitive, and visuo-motor functions, for better understanding of neurodegenerative diseases.
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Ken-ichiro Fukuchi, MD, PhD

Associate Professor, Department of Cancer Biology & Pharmacology
University of Illinois College of Medicine at Peoria

Dr. Fukuchi is exploring the mechanisms by which amyloid 2 protein is cleared from the brain and investigates the effectiveness of cytokine/chemokine gene therapy for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s, AMD, and glaucoma.
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Raymond Gao, PhD

Associate Professor, Department of Ophthalmology & Visual Science
University of Illinois at Chicago

Dr. Gao is mapping genes responsible for vision disorders, incorporating interdisclinplinary studies in genetics, statistics, and bioinformatics for studying glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, and age-related macular degeneration.
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Richard Gemeinhart, PhD

Associate Professor, Department of Biopharmaceutical Sciences

Dr. Gemeinhart is developing an approach a method of targeting cancer-related protease activity activated in a prodrug-like approach similar to the release of ECM-bound signaling molecules. He plans to apply his findings to eye related research.
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Michael Grassi, MD

Assistant Professor, Department of Ophthalmology & Visual Science
University of Illinois at Chicago

Dr. Grassi investigates the genes that regulate retinal vascular growth in development and diseasewith the aim of identifying pathways that are amenable to intervention with small molecule therapies.
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Kyu-yeon Han, PhD

Research Assistant Professor, Department of Ophthalmology & Visual Science
University of Illinois at Chicago

Dr. Han studies the function of matrix metalloproteinase protein in corneal neovascularization and its relationship to blindness. He has focused on the MT1-MMP and its associated proteins and substrates on the cell, specifically investigating the biological function of the exosomal Mt1-MMP from the corneal fibroblast in vitro and in vivo.
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John Hetling, PhD

Associate Professor, Department of Bioengineering
University of Illinois at Chicago

Dr. Hetling is developing a novel method for mapping spatial differences in retinal activitywith the use of an array of electrodes on the cornea and a full-field stimulus.
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Sandeep Jain , MD

Associate Professor, Department of Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences
University of Illinois at Chicago

Dr. Jain is investigating the molecular events that lead to proper patterning and re-innervation of the cornea following injury. He focuses on keratocyte-derived guidance cues to regenerating corneal axons.
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Charlotte Joslin, OD, PhD

Associate Professor, Department of Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences
University of Illinois at Chicago

Dr. Joslin evaluates differences in treatment adequacy that contribute to ovarian cancer survival racial disparities and is interested in applying developed methodologies to elucidate disparities in ocular disease treatments.
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Iris Kassem, MD, PhD

Assistant Professor, Department of Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences
University of Illinois at Chicago

Dr. Kassem investigates the effectiveness of different intraoperative therapies for fibrin membrane formation and inflammation after cataract surgery.
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Yulia Komarova, PhD

Assistant Professor, Department of Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences
University of Illinois at Chicago

Dr. Komarova is studying the role of microtubule end binding protein 3 (EB3) in retinal capillary leakage, to develop novel chemical probes against EB3 for treatment of diabetic retinopathy.
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Yannek Leiderman, MD, PhD

Assistant Professor, Department of Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences
University of Illinois at Chicago

Dr. Leiderman investigates the relationship between biological markers, including DNA, RNA and protein variation, and the risk or progression of vision loss in diabetic retinopathy.
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Asrar Malik, PhD

Distinguished Professor and Head
Department of Pharmacology

Dr. Malik studies the receptor-induced signaling pathways that regulate the barrier properties of endothelial and epithelial cells to provide insights into normal and pathological vasculature. He investigates the use of siRNA approaches and endothelial progenitor cells to treat vascular injury in the eye and lung.
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J. Jason McAnany, PhD

Assistant Professor, Department of Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences
University of Illinois at Chicago

Dr. McAnany studies the relationship between visual dysfunction and the underlying disease processes using psychophysical, electrophysical, and other noninvasive test procedures with the goal of developing novel methods for diagnosing and monitoring the progression of visual dysfunction.
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Heather Moss, MD, PhD

Assistant Professor, Department of Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences
University of Illinois at Chicago

Dr. Moss investigates the mechanisms of idiopathic intracranial hypertension with the aim of establishing physiologically based markers for determining peripheral vision outcomes.
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David Pepperberg, PhD

Searls-Schenk Professor of Ophthalmology
Department of Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences

Dr. Pepperberg is developing nanoscale neuromodulating platforms that can selectively attach to post-synaptic membrane receptors for modulating the receptor activity in response to light, as a means to restore visual signaling in retinal degenerative diseases.
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Sekhar Reddy, MD

Professor, Department of Pediatrics
University of Illinois at Chicago

Dr. Reddy deciphers the mechanisms underlying the development and progression of acute and chronic lung diseases in neonates and adults and is interested in correlating hyperoxia-induced retinal vasculopathy with lung injury and inflammation.
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Daniel Roberts, OD, MS

Professor, Illinois College of Optometry Clinical
Illinois College of Optometry

Dr. Roberts is conducting a study of the long anterior lens zonule ocular phenotype among probands and their family members to understand the heredity and genetics of this phenotype and whether the genetics may be related to the development of glaucoma and/or macular degeneration subtypes.
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Mark Rosenblatt, MD, PhD, MBA

Professor and Head, Department of Ophthalmology
University of Illinois at Chicago

Dr. Rosenblatt develops novel regenerative treatments for ocular surface and corneal disease, including programs in ocular surface tissue engineering, corneal epithelial stem cells, and the repair of corneal nerves and sensation after injury.
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Steven Roth, MD

Professor, Department of Neuroscience
University of Chicago

Dr. Roth investigates the molecular mechanisms by which neuronal cells are protected from ischemic injury with the aim of identifying molecular interventional targets for treatment of retinal ischemic diseases.
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Mahnaz Shahidi, PhD

Professor of Physics in Ophthalmology
Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences

Dr. Shahidi develops innovative imaging technologies to improve early diagnosis and understanding of the pathogenesis of retinal diseases.
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Deepak Shukla, PhD

Associate Professor, Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences
University of Illinois at Chicago

Dr. Shukla studies the viral and immunological basis of ocular diseases, herpes simplex virus pathogenesis, and the development of new anti-viral agents and vaccines.
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Satoru Suzuki, PhD

Professor, Department of Psychology
Northwestern University

Dr. Suzuki investigates cortical mechanisms that enable people to perceive coherent global forms from ambiguous stimulus using psychophysical, electrophysiological, and computational methods.
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Thasarat Vajaranant, MD

Assistant Professor, Department of Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences
University of Illinois at Chicago

Dr. Vajaranant examines the role of female sex hormones on aging of the optic nerve head and the development of glaucoma.
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Xiaojing Yang, PhD

Assistant Professor, Department of Chemistry
University of Illinois at Chicago

Dr. Yang employs an integrated approach of crystallography, spectroscopy, and biochemistry to study the structure and dynamics of melanopsin which plays important roles in circadian rhythm regulation and non-image-forming visual functions such as pupillary light reflex.
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Xincheng Yao, PhD

Associate Professor, Department of Chemistry
University of Illinois at Chicago

Dr. Yao develops functional optical coherence tomography and line-scan confocal microscopy for optophysiological monitoring using transient intrinsic optical signal changes correlated with retinal stimulation.
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Hongyu Ying, PhD

Assistant Research Professor, Department of Ophthalmology
University of Illinois at Chicago

Dr. Ying investigates the role of small interfering RNAs on ocular inflammation and fibrosis with the aim of developing novel therapeutic modalities following glaucoma surgery.
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