Ophthalmology Experts

Xin Zhang

Associate Professor of Ophthalmic Sciences (in Oph
Columbia University?Medical Center
United States of America


As a part of the CNS, the retina shares many of the architectural, cellular and connective features with the rest of the brain. Because of its accessibility, the retina is an excellent model that allows detailed molecular analysis and direct therapeutic interventions. The main focus of our research is the mechanism of cell signaling during eye development. By combining biochemistry and mouse genetics, we are studying the molecular mechanism of FGF signaling in the patterning and differentiation of neural retina, examining its intracellular targets and the cross talks with other signaling pathways. In adult retina, FGF was one of the first neurotropic factors found to promote the survival of photoreceptors. We are investigating the neuroprotective mechanism of FGF signaling, aiming to develop it as therapeutic agent to prevent retinal degeneration. In addition, we are interested in cell surface proteoglycans, which are membrane proteins covalently linked with glycosaminoglycan chains. Since the function of these glycoproteins is largely unexplored in the retina, this presents an exciting opportunity for new discoveries. Our recent work has identified the critical role of retinal proteoglycans in astrocyte migration and angiogenesis. This sets the stage for us to further explore the function of proteoglycans in mediating the neural-glial-endothelial interactions in the eye. 

Research Interest

Cell Specification and Differentiation Cellular/Molecular/Developmental Neuroscience Glial Development and Pathology Neural Degeneration and Repair 

Global Experts from United States of America

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