Advisory Board

Professor Kang Zhang

The PhysOrg article First gene associated with dry macular degeneration found said

In a study that underscores the important role that individual genetic profiles will play in the development of new therapies for disease, a multi-institutional research team — led by Kang Zhang, MD, PhD professor of ophthalmology and human genetics at Shiley Eye Center at the University of California, San Diego, School of Medicine — has made two important discoveries related to age-related macular degeneration (AMD), the leading cause of blindness in adults over the age of 60.
Zhang and the research team have discovered the link between dry AMD and a key molecule that alerts the immune system to the presence of viral infections, a molecular protein called toll-like receptor (TLR)3.
“Because of speculation among scientists that viral infections provoke the inflammation that increases the risk of macular degeneration, we tested for associations between AMD and TLR3, which is known to support innate immunity and host defense,” said Zhang.

Kang Zhang, MD, Ph.D. obtained his MD with Magna Cum Laude honors from the Harvard Medical School and MIT joint MD program and his Ph.D. in genetics from Harvard University. He completed his residency in ophthalmology at Wilmer Eye Institute at Johns Hopkins University and his retina fellowship at the University of Utah. He was a member of the faculty at Johns Hopkins University from 1999–2000, Cleveland Clinic Foundation from 2000–2002, and University of Utah from 2002–2008. He is currently Professor of Ophthalmology and Human Genetics at University of California San Diego.
Kang’s honors include the Burroughs Wellcome Fund Clinical Scientist Award in Translational Research; the Lew R. Wasserman Merit Award from Research to Prevent Blindness; Macula Society membership; American Society of Clinical Investigation membership; the Charles Schepens Award for Excellence in Retina Research; and the Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions Clinician Scientist Award.
His research focuses on novel disease gene targets and therapies in macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, and inherited retinal degenerations. He has numerous grants from the National Institute of Health and other foundations and he holds 3 patents.
Kang has published or coauthored more than 70 peer reviewed manuscripts in top journals including Science, New England Journal of Medicine, Nature, Nature Genetics, Nature Medicine, Cell, PNAS, and JCI — covering a wide range of topics in genetics, molecular biology, and clinical trials in ophthalmology.
He coauthored Vascular Development in the Retina and Inner Ear: Control by Norrin and Frizzled-4, a High-Affinity Ligand-Receptor Pair, Transcription Factors Sp1 and Sp3 Alter Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor Receptor Expression through a Novel Recognition Sequence, Recurrent 17 bp duplication in PITX3 is primarily associated with posterior polar cataract (CPP4), Spectrum and Frequency of FZD4 Mutations in Familial Exudative Vitreoretinopathy, Expression of wild type and mutant ELOVL4 in cell culture: subcellular localization and cell viability, and Elovl4 mRNA distribution in the developing mouse retina and phylogenetic conservation of Elovl4 genes.
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