Stem Cell Biology & Glaucoma Laboratory

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

Lab Personnel

Andrew E. Yang (Research Technician)
Zoey Yi Zhou (Graduate Student)

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. Yiqin Du*, Danny Roh, Mary Mann, Martha Funderburgh, James Funderburgh, Joel Schuman. Multiple stem cells from trabecular meshwork become phagocytic TM cells. (*Corresponding author) Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2012; 53: 1566-1575.
  2. Craig Boote*, Yiqin Du*, Sian R. Morgan , Jonathan Harris , Christina S. Kamma-Lorger , Sally Hayes , Kira L. Lathrop, Danny S. Roh, Michael K. Burrow, Jennifer Hiller , Nicholas J. Terrill , James L. Funderburgh, Keith M. Meek. Quantitative Assessment of Ultrastructure and Light Scatter in Mouse Corneal Debridement Wounds. (*contributed equally to this work). Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2012; 53: 2786-2795.
  3. Jian Wu, Yiqin Du, James L Funderburgh, William R Wagner. The engineering of organized human corneal tissue through the spatial guidance of corneal stromal stem cells. Biomaterials 2012, 33: 1343-1352.
  4. Yiqin Du, Danny Roh, Martha Funderburgh, Mary Mann, Kacey Marra, Peter Rubin, Xuan Li, James Funderburgh. Adipose-Derived Stem Cells Differentiate to Keratocytes in vitro. Mol. Vis. 2010;
  5. Yiqin Du, Eric Carlson, Martha L. Funderburgh, Naxin Guo, David E. Birk, Winston W. Kao, James L. Funderburgh. Stem Cell Therapy Restores Transparency to Defective Murine Corneas. Stem Cells. 2009, 27 (7): 1635-1642.
  6. Yiqin Du, Nirmala Sundarraj, Martha L. Funderburgh, Stephen A. Harvey, David E. Birk, James L. Funderburgh. Secretion and Organization of a Cornea-like Tissue in vitro by Stem Cells from Human Corneal Stroma. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2007; 48: 5038-5045. PMCID: PMC2874676.
  7. Yanling Ma, Yongsheng Xu, Zhifeng Xiao, Wei Yang, Chun Zhang, E Song, Yiqin Du, Lingsong Li. Reconstruction of chemically burned rat corneal surface by bone marrow-derived human mesenchymal stem cells. Stem Cells. 2006; 24: 315 - 321.
  8. Yiqin Du, Martha L Funderburgh, Mary M Mann, Nirmala SundarRaj, James L Funderburgh. Multipotent Stem Cells in Human Corneal Stroma. Stem Cells. 2005; 23: 1266-1275.
  9. Martha L. Funderburgh, Yiqin Du, Mary M. Mann, Nirmala SundarRaj, James L Funderburgh. PAX6 Expression Identifies Progenitor Cells for Corneal Keratocytes. FASEB J. 2005; 19: 1371-1373.
  10. Yiqin Du, Jing Chen, James L Funderburgh, Xiuan Zhu, Lingsong Li. Functional reconstruction of rabbit corneal epithelium by human limbal cells cultured on amniotic membrane. Mol Vis. 2003; 9:635-643

Contact Information

Yiqin Du, MD, PhD
S750 BST South, 3500 Terrace Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15261