Associate Professor of Ophthalmology
Dr. Wang came to the US for advanced training in plant molecular biology. After postgraduate work on molecular biology of nitrogen fixation, she joined vision research in 1990 at the Wilmer Eye Institute, John Hopkins University School of Medicine. She came to UAB in 1995.
Dr. Wang's research team is studying the molecular mechanism of early retinal development, using the embryonic chick as a model system to answer questions with molecular biology, cell biology, genetics, and experimental embryology. Investigations, involving both in vitro and in vivo experimentation, emphasize the functional aspect of genes encoding bHLH and homeodomain proteins during cell fate determination. The ultimate goals are to identify factors that are critical for cell fate selection during retinal development and to employ them to trigger unidirectional transdifferentiation of non neuronal cells, such as pigment epithelium, into a particular type of retinal neurons, which may be used for cell replacement.
Our laboratory is interested in the molecular mechanisms underlying retinal development, because we believe such knowledge bears clinical implications as it might lead to genes capable of inducing the genesis of retinal neurons for tissue or cell replacement therapies. Our studies show that, in the chick retina, a bHLH gene, neuroD, plays an instrumental role in photoreceptor cell specification. When over-expressed in the developing retina, neuroD promotes the overproduction of photoreceptor cells.
Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University
Wilmer Eye Institute
Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine -- Vision Research