Lab Members

  • Ashley Zhou

  • Aykut Demirkol

  • Anders Steen Knudsen

  • Bruna Lopes da La Costa

    • PhD candidate in Biomedical Engineering
    • MS in Pharmaceutical Sciences, Federal University of Minas Gerais, Brazil, 2018

    I am highly motivated in translational research that will bring engineering designs to gene and protein delivery for the treatment of inherited retinal diseases. In 2018, I completed my Master’s degree in pharmaceutical sciences and during this training period I worked in several projects developing drug delivery systems for eye diseases. In September 2019, I started my PhD in the Biomedical Engineering Program at Columbia University. Since then, I have initiated projects on retinal disease modeling using iPSC derived retinal organoids, and am developing potential therapies for inherited retinal diseases, including gene-dependent and gene-independent therapeutic approaches. My long-term research aspirations are to apply genome engineering technology to treat patients suffering from genetic disorders leading to blindness.

    Bruna Lopes da La Costa
  • David Castillejos

  • Hannah Hu

    • PhD Student
  • Jimmy Duong

    • Statistician
  • Laura Jenny

    • Research Assistant / Clinical Research Coordinator
    • AB in Integrative Biology, Secondary in Global Health and Health Policy, Harvard University, 2021

    I received training in evolutionary biology and genetics at Harvard University where I studied Integrative Biology with a minor in Global Health and Health Policy. As a research coordinator, I help run our two on-going NIH-funded progression studies and I assist with projects in the lab.  I am passionate about genetics and excited to continue my training in translational medicine.

    Laura Jenny
  • Mohamed Sylla

  • Nicholas Nolan

    • PhD Candidate in Biomedical Engineering
    • BS in Biomedical Engineering, University of Miami, 2017
    • MS in Biomedical Engineering, Columbia University, 2022

    I am a third year PhD candidate with a focus on gene therapeutic reprogramming of the metabolome as a way to secondarily mitigate retinal degenerations such as retinitis pigmentosa or age-related macular degeneration. Outside of the lab, I enjoy mountain biking, cooking, playing guitar, and electronics.

  • Salvatore Marco Caruso

    • PhD Candidate in Biomedical Engineering
    • BS in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Johns Hopkins University, 2019
    • MS in Biomedical Engineering, Columbia University, 2022

    Having previously worked in the gene therapy industry as a process engineer, I developed a deep passion for translational research and returned to Columbia University to pursue a doctorate in biomedical engineering. My interests lie at the intersection of neurodegenerative diseases and genomic medicines. As a PhD candidate in Dr. Stephen Tsang’s lab, I work on several CRISPR gene editing projects including both an allele-specific single nucleotide variant (SNV) editing approach for autosomal dominant disorders and a prime editing strategy for the correction of PRPH2 splicing mutations.

    Salvatore Marco Caruso
  • Wen-Hsuan Wu

  • Wei Kiong Ngo, MD

    • Fellow
    • MBBS, National University of Singapore, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, 2009
    • MMed, Ophthalmology, National University of Singapore, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, 2016
    • FRCOphth, The Royal College of Ophthalmologists, United Kingdom, 2019

    Dr Wei Kiong Ngo is an Attending Physician at the National Healthcare Group Eye Institute (NHGEI) at Tan Tock Seng Hospital, Singapore. He graduated from the National University of Singapore, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine in 2009 and obtained his Masters of Medicine (Ophthalmology) in 2016. He served as Chief resident during Ophthalmology residency. Dr Ngo has authored and co-authored more than 40 publications in book chapters and peer-review journals. His clinical interests include Medical Retina, Applied Genetics, Cataract and General Ophthalmology.

    Wei Kiong Ngo, MD
  • Xuan Cui

    • Associate Research Scientist
    • Doctor of Medicine (PhD equivalent), Ophthalmology, 2019    
    • Bachelor of Medicine (MD equivalent), Clinical Medicine, 2012  

    Dr. Tsang’s laboratory specializes in discovering therapies for inherited retinal degenerations such as retinitis pigmentosa (RP), which is the most common type of inherited retinal dystrophy in developed countries. Under his mentorship, I work on several metabolomics projects that aimed to knock out the protein encoding genes in preclinical mouse models of PDE6-related RP. We aim to reprogram the glucose metabolism and restore the balance between RPE and photoreceptors, thus protecting against mutant PDE6-induced degeneration.

    Xuan Cui
  • Ya-Ju Chang (Lulu), PhD

    • Associate Research Scientist

    Designed, executed and evaluated cell-based, functional assays to monitor the functional progression of iRPE cells in patients with high-risk SNPs, and to better understand the underlying disease pathogenesis. Also, identified the therapeutic treatment of antioxidant agents and molecules on ARMS2/HTRA1-associated aging disease.

    Ya-Ju Chang (Lulu)
  • Yang Kong, MD, PhD

    • Postdoctoral Research Scientist

    My PhD study mainly focused on the mammalian genetics and genomics. Currently, my research encompasses the following aspects: 1. Allele-specific regulation of chloride channel in Bestrophinopathies; 2. Paradigm shifts in metabolic pathways in retinal degeneration; 3. Analyses and interpretations of molecular genetics related to clinical diagnoses and management.

    Yang Kong
  • Yao Li, MD

    • Associate Research Scientist in the Department of Ophthalmology
    Yao Li
  • Yong-Shi Li