Associate Professor of Pharmacology & Pharmaceutical Sciences, School of Pharmacy; and Ophthalmology, USC Eye Institute, Keck School of Medicine
- Ocular Surface Disease
- Dry Eye
- Lacrimal Gland
- Inflammation and Immunology
- Sjögren syndrome
- Novel Ocular Drug Development
- Ocular Drug Delivery System
- Ion Transporters and Channels
- Stem Cell
- Regenerative Medicine
- Gene Therapy
- Biomedical Engineering
- Gap Junctions
Research OverviewCurrently, research in my laboratory focuses on the lacrimal gland’s role in dry eye/ocular surface disease, particularly the lacrimal duct system, its changes during inflammation and how the immune system affects it--a project being funded by NEI/NIH. Projects in my lab have been consistently supported by grants from NEI/NIH, Sjögren’s Syndrome Foundation, and Zumberge Research & Innovation Fund.
We're currently focusing on effects of the ion transporters/channels, particularly CFTR, NHE, NKCC, and aquaporins to the normal function of lacrimal gland, ocular surface, and their changes during diseased state. These molecules have been shown to be promising targets in developing novel drugs to increase tear secretion.
Another project is the relationship between lacrimal gland and changes in the ocular surface. Contact lens wear, LASIK, and eye drop use (particularly those with preservatives), have a significant impact on cornea and conjunctiva health. However, their roles in the lacrimal gland, an integral component in the ocular surface system, remain unknown. Research into this critical field have the potential to revolutionize our treatment strategy of dry eye and other ocular surface diseases.
Other projects involve in finding novel biomarkers of dry eye and innovative approaches to combat this debilitating disease, i.e., stem cell and regenerative medicine, gene therapy and biomedical enginnering.