Shermaine Low

Credentials: Cell Biology, Neurobiology and Anatomy
Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences
Medical College of Wisconsin

Position title: PhD student


Advisor: Shyam Chaurasia, PhD

Keywords: Retina, small leucine rich proteoglycan, decorin, angiogenesis, retinopathy of prematurity,
oxygen induced retinopathy

BS 2019, Biological Sciences, Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Singapore

Shermaine is investigating new therapeutic strategies for the treatment of one of the leading causes of childhood blindness in premature infants, retinopathy of prematurity (ROP). She seeks to develop novel therapeutic strategies to combat this sight-threatening disease. During development, retinal vasculature requires an optimal microenvironment and accessibility to the
complex extracellular matrix (ECM). Decorin (Dcn), a small leucine-rich proteoglycan, is an ECM structural protein suggested to play a significant role during retinal development. Dcn is involved in various biological functions, including the modulation of cellular development and angiogenesis. Shermaine further aims to describe the functional and mechanistic roles of Dcn in the maintenance of retinal vasculature. She also seeks to test its therapeutic potential in vivo using CRISPR-Cas9 knockout mouse models for functional studies and an oxygen-induced retinopathy (OIR) rat model of ROP for therapeutic studies. Successful management of ROP with Dcn may also provide discovery of new therapeutic alternatives for other retinal angiogenic diseases such as proliferative diabetic retinopathy and age-related macular degeneration.