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Diabetes can lead to multicellular responses in the retina, including vascular lesions, glial dysfunction, and neurodegeneration, all of which contribute to retinopathy. The molecular mechanisms underlying these cell type-specific responses, and the cell types that are sensitive to diabetes have not been fully elucidated during the initiation and early progression of diabetic retinopathy (DR). Using single cell transcriptomic analyses, we profiled the transcriptional changes induced by diabetes in different retinal cell types in diabetic rodent models. Retinal Müller glial cells were found to be one of the cell types that respond rapidly to diabetes at the transcriptional level. Interestingly, these cells increased the expression of protective genes, but failed to maintain these beneficial effects as the disease progressed. To boost this intrinsic protective effect, we developed novel CRISPR-based technique to achieve multiplexed gene activation of protective genes in vivo and proposed novel strategies for protecting the retina from diabetes-induced damage.


Sui Wang is an assistant professor in the Department of Ophthalmology at Stanford University. She received a BS degree in Biology from Fudan University, China (2004) and a PhD degree in Cell and Developmental Biology from Vanderbilt University, USA (2009). Between 2010 and 2016, Dr. Wang did her post-doctoral research with Dr. Connie Cepko at Harvard Medical School, Boston, USA. In 2017, Dr. Wang joined Stanford University as an assistant professor.

Dr. Wang’s research at Stanford ( primarily focuses on understanding the molecular mechanisms that underlie retinal development and diseases. Her lab utilizes genetic, genomic, and viral tools to uncover how different types of retinal cells respond to developmental cues and disease insults at the epigenomic and transcriptional levels.

Dr. Wang has received several awards, including the Pathway to Stop Diabetes career initiator award (American Diabetes Association, 2016-2021), McCormick and Gabilan Faculty Award (2017), and E. Matilda Ziegler Foundation for the Blind Award (2018). Her work had been published in high impact journals including Nature Cell Biology, PNAS and Developmental Cell.


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