Praveen Joseph Susaimanickam, PhD
Credentials: Waisman Center (VCRGE)
Position title: Postdoctoral Researcher
Advisor: David Gamm, MD, PhD
Keywords: Photoreceptor development, cone-rod specification, stem cells, retinal organoids, reporter lines, CRISPR-Cas9-based gene editing
PhD 2020, University of Hyderabad, India
Dr. Susai Manickam’s current research interest is to understand the developmental events in photoreceptor generation, specification, and maturation. He uses various cone-rod reporter lines to better understand the molecular events and identity factors that are crucial for rod-cone specification and maturation. Previously, he worked to establish relevant developmental model systems to evaluate the effect of patient-specific mutations in retinal degeneration conditions using patient-specific iPSCs, CRISPR-Cas9-based gene-edited isogenic lines and zebrafish knock out models. He and a collaborator were also the first to obtain corneal organoids from human iPSCs that could be used for ocular surface reconstruction surgeries. Additionally, he was actively involved in a study to validate the safety and efficacy of hiPSC-derived retinal pigment epithelium cell therapy in RCS blind rats and identifying a suitable promoter for retinal gene therapy applications.