Stem Cell Biology & Glaucoma Laboratory

Principal Investigator

Yiqin Du, MD, PhD
Associate Professor of Ophthalmology
University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine

Lab Personnel

Isabelle Billig, PhD, Translation Research Project Manager
Moira Geary
Ajay Kumar, PhD, Postdoctoral Associate
Enzie Andrew E. Yang, Research Technician


Research Interests

Glaucoma is the leading cause of irreversible blindness throughout the world and the second leading cause of blindness overall in the USA. Increased resistance to aqueous humor outflow through the trabecular meshwork (TM) results in elevated intraocular pressure (IOP), the most important risk factor for glaucoma. Reduced TM cellularity is observed with age and correlates with increased outflow resistance and elevated IOP. Current therapies for control of IOP involve pharmacological reduction of aqueous production and surgical enhancement of outflow. But lowering of intraocular pressure by biological modification of TM function has remained elusive. Our research is currently focused on: identifying characteristics of trabecular meshwork stem cells in vitro and in vivo; investigating how the stem cells function in animal models of glaucoma; studying stem cell-based therapy for glaucoma using TM stem cells or other types of stem cells for autologous transplantation.

Select Recent Publications

  1. Zhou Y, Xia X, Yang E, Wang Y, Marra KG, Ethier CR, Schuman JS, Du Y. Adipose-derived stem cells integrate into trabecular meshwork with glaucoma treatment potential. FASEB J. 2020 May;34(5):7160-7177. doi: 10.1096/fj.201902326R. PMID:32259357
  2. Tian YI, Zhang X, Torrejon K, Danias J, Gindina S, Nayyar A, Du Y, Xie Y. A bioengineering approach to Schlemm's canal-like stem cell differentiation for in vitro glaucoma drug screening. Acta Biomater. 2020 Mar 15;105: 203-213.  PMID:31982588
  3. Xiong S, Xu Y, Wang Y, Kumar A, Peters DM, Du Y. α5β1 Integrin Promotes Anchoring and Integration of Transplanted Stem Cells to the Trabecular Meshwork in the Eye for Regeneration. Stem Cells Dev. 2020 Mar 1;29(5):290-300. PMID:31854234
  4. Kumar A, Xu Y, Du Y. Stem Cells from Human Trabecular Meshwork Hold the Potential to Develop into Ocular and Non-Ocular Lineages After Long-Term Storage. Stem Cells Dev. 2020 Jan 1;29(1):49-61. PMID:31680626
  5. Kumar A, Xu Y, Yang E, Wang Y, Du Y. Fidelity of long-term cryopreserved adipose-derived stem cells for differentiation into cells of ocular and other lineages. Exp Eye Res. 2019 Dec;189:107860. PMID:31655040
  6. Castro A, Du Y. Trabecular Meshwork Regeneration - A Potential Treatment for Glaucoma. Curr Ophthalmol Rep. 2019 Jun;7(2):80-88. PMID:31316866
  7. Wang Y, Osakue D, Yang E, Zhou Y, Gong H, Xia X, Du Y. Endoplasmic Reticulum Stress Response of Trabecular Meshwork Stem Cells and Trabecular Meshwork Cells and Protective Effects of Activated PERK Pathway. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2019 Jan 2;60(1):265-273. PMID:30654386
  8. Yun H, Wang Y, Zhou Y, Wang K, Sun M, Stolz DB, Xia X, Ethier CR, Du Y. Human stem cells home to and repair laser-damaged trabecular meshwork in a mouse model. Commun Biol. 2018 Dec 6;1:216. PMID:30534608
  9. Kumar A, Xu Y, Yang E, Du Y. Stemness and Regenerative Potential of Corneal Stromal Stem Cells and Their Secretome After Long-Term Storage: Implications for Ocular Regeneration. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2018 Jul 2;59(8):3728-3738. PMID:30046814
  10. Funderburgh JL, Funderburgh ML, Du Y. Stem Cells in the Limbal Stroma. Ocul Surf. 2016 Apr;14(2):113-20. PMID:26804252

Contact Information

Yiqin Du, MD, PhD
910 EEINS, 203 Lothrop Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15213