By using experimental tools in genetics, molecular and cellular biology, biochemistry, and tissue engineering, we investigate the underlying mechanisms of eye growth and disease development to understand how the eyeball focuses light and forms a clear image.

Current research topics include:

  • Lens development and cataract formation: To study what functional roles are played by intercellular gap junction channels, genetic factors, and signaling molecules in lens development and cataract formation. This project aims to elucidate new insights about how lens cell morphogenesis and homeostasis are maintained for lens growth and transparency during development, and to provide innovative approaches for delaying age-related cataracts - a leading cause of blindness in the world.

  • Function and regulation of retinal pigment epithelium (RPE): To study how intracellular and intravesicular pH homeostasis is regulated by Na+/H+ exchangers (NHE) in RPE. The goal of this project is to understand how dysfunctional RPE, one of the key factors causing age-related macular degeneration (AMD), leads to retinal degeneration - the death of photoreceptors, and to develop novel methods for maintaining or regenerating RPE. AMD is a leading cause of blindness in the western world including the US.

  • Signal transduction in retinal and choroidal endothelial cells: To study the roles of surface receptors of low-density lipoprotein receptor families including Lrp5 and VLDLR in retinal angiogenesis. This project aims to explore mechanisms controlling vascular endothelial cells in development and diseases.


Xiaohua Gong
PhD, Professor, Principal Investigator

Chun-Hong Xia
PhD, Associate Researcher

Mei Li
PhD, MD, Gene Delivery Specialist

Guannan Zhao
PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow

Bin Kong
PhD Student

Yuxing Li
PhD Student

Rachel Li
BS, Research Assistant

Sarah Chu
BS, Research Assistant


William Han
Undergraduate Research Student

Miranda Chen
Undergraduate Research Student

Jessica Wang
Undergraduate Research Student

Kim Duong
Undergraduate Research Student