Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences at the Eye Institute

Ocular Immunology and Angiogenesis Laboratory at the Medical College of Wisconsin

The Ocular Immunology and Angiogenesis Lab, led by Dr. Shyam Chaurasia, is funded by NIH/NEI and focuses on the Molecular Basis of Eye Diseases for the development of a highly innovative basic and translational multidisciplinary research program in the identification and validation of novel biomarkers and targets to evaluate potential VEGF-independent Next Generation Precision therapeutics/Medicine to treat Ocular Fibrotic and Angiogenic Diseases (OFADs).


Research Overview

Dr. Chaurasia’s Ocular Immunology and Angiogenesis Lab uses state-of-the-art multimodal in vivo ocular imaging tools such as slit lamp microscopy, optical coherence tomography (OCT), and electroretinography (ERG) to clinically evaluate animal disease models for corneal and retinal degenerative diseases. The lab extensively employs cellular and molecular techniques in vitro using primary and ocular cell lines and ex vivo using rodent and pig eyes to screen compounds and perform pharmacokinetic studies to evaluate next-gen drugs for Ocular Fibrosis, Angiogenesis, and Chemical Toxicity. Dr. Chaurasia has 25+ years of experience in basic and translational vision sciences, evidenced by 120+ peer-reviewed research papers and 200+ scientific abstracts and presentations at the national and international level.
Chaurasia Lab_Research Intro

Research Areas

Role of S100 proteins in Diabetic Retinopathy

The S100 family of small Ca2+-binding proteins is involved in many inflammatory diseases, but their role in the retina is still unknown. Our preliminary studies identified for the first time a regulatory role of S100A9 protein in rodents and porcine retina along with human DR patients. The present study will evaluate the functional role of S100A9 in the retina and explore its possibility of being a novel VEGF-independent molecular target in DR pathogenesis.

Decorin Gene Therapy for Retinopathy of Prematurity

Decorin is a small leucine-rich proteoglycan that regulates the extracellular matrix and angiogenesis in many tissues, but its function in the retina remains unknown. Our pilot studies suggest a role for decorin in retinal structural integrity and microvasculature. The present study will characterize the functional role of Dcn in the retina and test the potential of AAV5-Dcn gene therapy for the treatment of retinopathy of prematurity using an established oxygen-induced retinopathy rat model.

Ossabaw minipig as a Translational Model for Diabetic Retinopathy

This is the first study to describe the ultrastructural neuronal and vascular changes in the retina of young Ossabaw pigs fed a Western diet, simulating early signs of diabetic retinopathy pathogenesis.

3D Characterization of Ultrastructural Retinal Changes with Focus Ion Beam-Scanning Electron Microscopy (FIB-SEM)

This study aims to quantify the 3D ultrastructure changes in the RPE cell damage, drusen volume and Bruch's membrane using FIB-SEM in the patients with age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

Ocular Immunology and Angiogenesis Lab Photos

RPE function_Chaurasia lab     
RPE Function     
Trypsin Digest-Retinal Microvasculature_Chaurasia lab
Trypsin Digest-Retinal Microvasculature

Ocular Immunology

Isolectin Staining_Chaurasia lab
Isolectin Staining     
Photoreceptors and RPE_Chaurasia lab
Photoreceptors and RPE 

Meet Our Team

Led by Lab Director and Principal Investigator Dr. Shyam Chaurasia, the team at the Ocular Immunology and Angiogenesis Laboratory specializes in ocular fibrotic and angiogenic diseases.


Shyam S. Chaurasia, MSc, PhD

Associate Professor of Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences; Associate Professor of Cell Biology, Neurobiology and Anatomy


Waylon Alvarado

Medical Student; Treasurer, SOMA


Sanjay Chakka

Postdoctoral Fellow


Scholastica Go

Year Entered MCW: 2021


Shermaine W.Y. Low

Graduate Student


Amer Mohiuddin

Student Worker


Utkarsh Reddy, PhD

Post Doctoral Fellow


Chris M. Skumatz

Animal & Laboratory Research Program Manager


Sibabalo Sokupa, BS

Research Technologist I


Anju Thomas

Research Associate I

Our Alumni

Rayne Lim, PhD
Nishant Sinha, PhD
Sangeeta Chaurasia, BSc, MA
Molly Beck, BS
Bina Mahaling, PhD
Khalid Al-Kirwi, MD
Sam Patterson, Undergraduate

Our Collaborators

Rajiv R. Mohan, University of Missouri
Mike Iuvone, Emory University
Arakasubhra Ghosh, Narayana Nethralaya, India
Michael Sturek, Indiana University
Peter Heegard, Denmark
VA Barathi, Singapore Eye Research Institute
Rajamani Lakshminarayanan, Singapore Eye Research Institute
Walter Huzniker, A*Star, Singapore
Candice Floyd, University of Utah

Get Involved

Support OIAL

The OIAL could not exist without the generosity and support of many foundations, federal agencies and individual donors. Funds donated to the program are used to acquire new equipment and research consumables, to help train students and fellows, to enable the presentation of our research findings at scientific meetings and to fund positions for support staff.

Donate Now

Join our Team

We are always looking for enthusiastic candidates with strong communication skills and lab experience. We encourage high school students, undergraduate students, graduate students, post doc, and medical students to browse our website and learn more about our research. We also have available positions for laboratory and animal technologists.

Current Openings

We do not have any open positions at this time. Please check back soon!

Resources for Interested Candidates

High School

Research Opportunity for Academic Development in Science (ROADS) program


Program for Undergraduate Research Experience (PURE)
Summer Program for Undergraduate Research (SPUR)


School of Graduate Studies (PhD Program)


Medical Student Summer Research Program (MSSRP)
Physician Scientist Pathway

Other area institutions
Marquette University, Milwaukee School of Engineering, University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee. These institutions offer collaborative undergraduate and graduate research programs.


We are fortunate to have a diverse array of funding sources for our research at the Eye Institute. We would like to acknowledge the National Institute of Health (NIH), the National Eye Institute (NEI), Research to Prevent Blindness, and the R.D. & Linda Peters Foundation for their long-term support of our research projects. We also gratefully thank the many other local and national foundations who have made contributions to advance our mission. Finally, we thank our patients for their philanthropic donations, which provide especially vital support for new projects and continued innovation. 

Recent Publications

Contact Us

Ocular Immunology and Angiogenesis Lab

(414) 955-2050