The research in Professor Gong's lab has been directed to study molecular and cellular mechanisms that control vertebrate organgenesis and diseases, mainly, the eye development and diseases, by using multidiscipline techniques from the fields of molecular and cellular biology, genetics, biochemistry, and electrophysiology etc. We are interesting in the studies of identification and characterization of novel genetic factors that play essential roles in the development and diseases of the eye as well as the studies of using these disease models to develop novel biological and or chemical tools to diagnose, prevent and/or cure related eye diseases.
We have generated or identified many mouse mutant lines that developed different eye diseases like retinal degeneration, vitreous defects, lens cataracts, corneal dystrophies etc. from a screening of an ENU-induced mouse mutagenesis program by clinical examinations using an indirect ophthalmoscope and a slit lamp, as well as gene-knockout and transgenic approaches. Their ocular phenotypes are characterized morphologically and biochemically. Defined genetic mutations are subjected to chromosomal mapping of their mutations using a genome wide mapping strategy. The goal of the studies is to identify the genes that play essential role(s) in normal eye development as well as in diseases. Some of the mouse mutations are very likely to be the models for related human eye diseases. Therefore, we’d like to use these models to develop novel biological or chemical tools to diagnose, prevent and/or cure related eye diseases.
Current projects are mainly focusing on the studies of development and diseases that are related to retina, lens and vasculature in the eye.