Wei Wang, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences

Kentucky Lions Eye Center

Research Faculty


301 E. Muhammad Ali Boulevard, Louisville KY 40202
Telephone: 502-852-0733 Fax: 502-852-0691
E-mail: wei.wang@louisville.edu


Shandong Medical University, Shandong, China, 1993


Shandong Academy of Medical Science, China, 1998


Qingdao University, School of Medicine, Qingdao, China, 2003


Ophthalmology – Shandong Eye Institute & Hospital, China – 1993-1998


Postdoctoral Research Fellow: Department of Ophthalmology, Indiana University, School of Medicine, IN – 2004-2005
Postdoctoral Research Fellow: Department of Ophthalmology, University of Louisville, School of Medicine, KY – 2006-2010


Retinal degenerative diseases, such as age-related macular degeneration and retinitis pigmentosa, are a major cause of human blindness. Although promising therapies have arrived and are being explored, the ability to replace damage retinal tissue has not been achieved and many patients will need such interventions to recover or prevent the loss of vision. My research is focused on retinal regeneration using cell-based therapies (e.g. stems cells) or drug therapy.

We utilize various models of retinal degeneration and/or damage in species as small as mice and as large as pigs. Our most recent studies have involved the subretinal transplantation of embryonic retinal progenitor cells or induced PSC (pluripotent stem cells) in a minature swine model of the most common form of autosomal dominant retinitis pigmentosa – the Pro23His mutation of rhodopsin. Our evaluation techniques include clinical examination, retinal imaging, histology (light microscopy and immunohistology), electrophysiology (full-field ERG and multifocal ERG) and visual behavioral testing.

  1. Wang W, Lee SJ, Scott PA, Lu X, Emery D, Liu Y, Ezashi T, Roberts MR, Ross JW, Kaplan HJ, Dean DC. Two-Step Reactivation of Dormant Cones in Retinitis Pigmentosa.Cell reports. 2016; 15(2):372-85. PMID:27050517
  2. Wang W, Zhou L, Lee SJ, Liu Y, Fernandez de Castro J, Emery D, Vukmanic E, Kaplan HJ, Dean DC. Swine cone and rod precursors arise sequentially and display sequential and transient integration and differentiation potential following transplantation. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2014 Jan 15;55(1):301-9. doi: 10.1167/iovs.13-12600. PMID: 24327609
  3. Ross JW, de Castro JP, Zhao J, Samuel M, Walters E, Rios C, Bray-Ward P, Jones BW, Marc RE, Wang W, Zhou L, Noel JM, McCall MA, Demarco PJ, Prather RS, Kaplan HJ. Generation of an inbred miniature pig model of retinitis pigmentosa. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2012 Jan 13. PMID: 22247487
  4. Wang W, de Castro JF, Vukmanic E, Zhou L, Emery D, Demarco PJ, Kaplan HJ, Dean DC. Selective rod degeneration and partial cone inactivation characterize an iodoacetic acid model of Swine retinal degeneration. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2011 Oct 7; 52(11):7917-23. PMID: 21896868
  5. Wang W, Noel JM, Kaplan HJ, Dean DC. Circulating reactive oxidant causes apoptosis of retinal pigment epithelium and core photoreceptors in the mouse central retina. Ophthalmology and eye diseases. 2011: 3:45-54. PMID: 23861623
  6. Zhou L, Wang W, Liu Y, de Castro JF, Ezashi T, Telugu BP, Roberts RM, Kaplan HJ, Dean DC. Differentiation of induced pluripotent stem cells of swine into rod photoreceptors and their integration into the retina. Stem Cells. 2011, Jun; 29(6):972-80. PMID: 21491544
  7. Wei Wang, Douglas C. Dean, Henry J. Kaplan. Age-related macular degeneration (review). Discovery Medicine; 9(44): 13-5, 2010. PMID: 20102679
  8. Yongqing Liu, Ying Xin, Fei Ye, Wei Wang, Qingxian Lu, Henry J. Kaplan, and Douglas Dean. Taz-Tead1 links cell-cell contact to Zab1 expression, proliferation, dedifferentiation in retinal pigmented epithelial cells. Invest of Vision Science. 51(7): 3372-8, 2010. PMID: 20207963
  9. Liu Y, Gao L, Zuba-Surma EK, Peng X, Kucia M, Ratajczak MZ, Wang W, Enzman V, Kaplan HJ, Dean DC. Identification of small Sca-1(+), Lin(-), CD45(-) multipotential cells in the neonatal murine retina. Exp Hematol. 37(9):1096-107, 2009.PMID: 19539690
  10. Wei Fan, Xiaohong Li, Wei Wang, Junsong Mo, Henry J. Kaplan and N.G.F. Cooper. Early Involvement of Immune/Inflammatory Response Genesin Retinal Degeneration in DBA/2J Mice. Ophthalmology and Eye disease. 1: 1-19, 2009. PMID: 20352036
  11. Mo J.-S, Wei Wang, Henry J. Kaplan. Impact of Inflammation on Ocular Immune Privilege (Review). Chem Immunol Allergy. 92:155-65, 2007. PMID: 17264491
  12. Wenzheng Hu, Wei Wang, Xiaoxi. Qiao, et al. Lack of Spontaneous Neovascularization and Attenuated Response to Laser Induced Choroidal. Neovascularization in IGF–I Overexpression Transgenic Mice. Vision Research. 47; 776-782, 2007. PMID: 17275062
  13. Dong Xiaoguang, Wei Wang, Xie Lixin. Long-term outcome of combined penetrating keratoplasty and vitreoretinal surgery using temporary keratoprosthesis. Eye. 20 (1); 59-63, 2006. PMID: 15688054
  14. Wang Wei, Xie Lixin, Dong xiaoguang, et al. Transfer of endostatin gene for inhibition of retinal angiogenesis in mice. Zhonghua Yan Ke Za Zhi. 42(2):111-5, 2006.PMID: 16643724
  15. Niu Xiaoguang, Wei Wang, Xie Lixin. Inhibition of corneal neovascularization by liposomes mediated plasmid encoding human endostatin. Chinese Journal of Ophthalmology. 41(3):260-4. 2005.PMID: 15840371
  16. Wei Wang, Niu Xiaoguang, Xie Lixin, et al. Liposome mediated plasmids encoding human endostatin inhibits endothelial cell proliferation. Chinese Journal of Ophthalmology. 40(5):321-5. 2004. PMID: 15312627
  17. Yan Xiaoran, Dong Xiaoguang, Chen Nan, Wei Wang. Anti-proliferative effect of sustained drug delivery system of all-trans retinoic acid implant into rabbit’s vitreous cavity for treatment of proliferative vitreoretinopathy. Chinese Journal of Ophthalmology. 39(10): 621, 2003. PMID: 14766078