Gary (Hin-Fai) Yam, PhD

  • Research Associate Professor of Ophthalmology
  • Corneal Regeneration Laboratory
  • University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine

A Conversation With Dr. Yam


Dr Gary Yam obtained his PhD degree from Department of Anatomy, CUHK, Hong Kong, and had his postdoctoral trainings in Department of Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences, CUHK and Department of Pathology, University of Zurich, Switzerland. His research interests include ocular cell biology (including stem cells), gene function, histopathology. Currently, his work is focused on the cell-based, tissue-engineering, and cell-free approaches for corneal scar management and recovery of corneal transparency in animal models of corneal opacities. He has contributed more than 130 research articles, and 12 reviews in international journals [h-index 25 (Web of Science) and 35 (Google Scholar)]. He received different awards including the Achievement Award (2018, 2019) of The Asia-Pacific Academy of Ophthalmology, Alfred Vogt Prize (2007) of The Swiss Ophthalmology Society, and Young Scientist Awards by The Society for Histochemistry (2003 and 2005) and The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (2003). He serves in the editorial board of Histochemistry and Cell Biology, Life, and Int J Mol Sci, and reviewers for more than 20 international journals and research grants.

Personnel in Corneal Regeneration Lab

Moira L Geary, Research Specialist (Animal modeling)
TianbingYang, Research Specialist (Molecular)
Elizabeth Rubin, Student Researcher

Academic Affiliation

2020 - Present – Research Associate Professor – Ophthalmology, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine

2020 - Present – Adjunct Principal Investigator - Singapore Eye Research Institute

2012 - 2019 – Principal Investigator - Singapore Eye Research Institute

2014 - 2019 – Assistant Professor - Duke-National University of Singapore (NUS) Graduate Medical School

2006 - 2012 – Assistant Professor - Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences, Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK), Hong Kong SAR

Education & Training

  • Postdoctoral Fellow – Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences, CUHK, Hong Kong SAR
  • Postdoctoral Fellow – Div Cell & Molecular Pathology, Department of Pathology, University of Zurich, Switzerland

Representative Publications

Research Interests

The Corneal Regeneration laboratory focuses on the cornea, an organ that provides a visual portal to the world. The connective tissue of cornea (stroma) is extremely tough, and transparent to light. It also presents a significant biological barrier to infection. Globally, millions of patients have corneal opacification due to disease or trauma, hence vision loss. Our work focuses on the biological processes that produce and maintain the unique tissue of corneal stroma as well as the pathological changes that occur during injury, wound healing, scarring and diseases. We explore new designs to reverse the scarring process or replace the scarred cornea with bioengineered corneal tissue. Our lab has reported the use of stromal keratocytes and stromal stem cells to restore corneal transparency. These cell-based treatments produce tissue identical to that of the transparent corneal stromal tissue in animal models of corneal injury. We are developing GMP compliant Standard Operating Procedure for clinical trials in patients with corneal scarring. We are also actively investigating the mechanism by which the stem cells induce tissue regeneration, including exosomes, cytokines, and microRNAs.