Eric Yin-Shan Ng, Ph.D.

Harvard Medical School

Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology

Schepens Eye Research Institute of Massachusetts Eye and Ear

Assistant Scientist


Research Summary

Center/Research Area Affiliation

Biography

Dr. Ng's research is focused on drug discovery and development, as well as disease mechanisms at a preclinical level. His expertise lies in cell and molecular biology, molecular genetics, and animal model and assay development. Dr. Ng has significant experience applying basic experimental techniques and analyses to drive translational research. His current research projects include investigating the neuroprotective function of endogenous VEGF-A in ischemia- and inflammation-driven retinopathies and glaucoma; identifying novel targets for anti-angiogenesis and anti-inflammation in neovascular AMD, diabetic retinopathy, and retinopathy of prematurity; and characterizing a novel anti-inflammatory strategy for peripheral vascular disease.

Download his CV or biosketch [PDF] for more information.

Education

B.A., Biology, Boston University (1991)
M.A., Biotechnology, Boston University (1992)
Ph.D., Cell and Developmental Biology, Harvard Medical School (2000)

Postgraduate Training

Postdoctoral Fellowship, Vascular Biology, Schepens Eye Research Institute of Mass. Eye and Ear (2000-2003)
Research Fellowship, Harvard Ophthalmology (2000-2003)

Honors

2017: Harvard Medical School Leadership Development for Physicians and Scientists
2004: Inventor Achievement Award, Eyetech Pharmaceuticals
2003: Business and Science Award, Eyetech Pharmaceuticals
1998: Student Prize, Xth International Vascular Biology Meeting
1995-1996: John Stauffer Fellow, Harvard Medical School
1993-1994: Cancer Research Award Fellowship, Cutaneous Biology Research Center, Mass General Hospital

His Story

When Dr Ng was a child, he became fascinated with how medications can make patients feel better so quickly. His interest in drug research grew during graduate school as he learned more about how drugs work. He was particularly excited by the new class of molecular therapeutics being developed that had been based on disease mechanism research and rational drug design. Because he had studied the biology of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), he had the opportunity to help develop the first anti-VEGF therapeutic for age-related macular degeneration (AMD) at Eyetech Pharmaceuticals soon after graduate school. Being able to witness how this drug was helping patients with blinding eye diseases, while simultaneously applying his knowledge to drug discovery and development, validated his passion for translational vision research.

Today, he continues to study basic disease mechanisms for AMD and other blinding ocular diseases, and he aims to develop new and better therapeutic approaches. Current projects in his laboratory include validating novel targets for wet AMD and developing engineered VEGF for retinal neuroprotection. He strongly believes that his findings will contribute to the development of the next-generation of therapies for various blinding diseases.

Projects

Research Interests

  • Neuroprotective function of endogenous VEGF-A in ischemic- and inflammation-driven retinopathies, as well as glaucoma
  • Novel targets for anti-angiogenesis and anti-inflammation in neovascular AMD, diabetic retinopathy and retinopathy of prematurity
  • Characterizing a novel anti-inflammatory strategy for peripheral vascular disease

Novel Therapeutic Target for Choroidal Neovascularization

Dr. Ng aims to validate the functional role of toll-like receptor 2 (TLR2), a component of the innate immune system, in choroidal neovascularization (CNV) pathogenesis, and to evaluate TLR2 as a novel, effective, and safe therapeutic target for the treatment of CNV. His data suggest that activation of TLR2, expressed by the retinal pigment epithelium, induces inflammation that can drive CNV development. Also, the TLR2 pathway is separate from VEGF in CNV pathogenesis. Combination treatment with anti-TLR2 and anti-VEGF results in additive therapeutic effects in animal models of CNV. Dr. Ng is currently evaluating the therapeutic effects of targeting the TLR2 and its signal pathway for inhibiting CNV.

Novel Therapeutic for Diabetic Retinopathy

Strong evidences suggests that vascular inflammation driven by vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) contributes to the pathogenesis of diabetic retinopathy. Dr. Ng's research supports a role for the heparin-binding domain of VEGF in inducing inflammation in diabetic retinopathy. The goal of this project is to determine the therapeutic potential of targeting the heparin-binding domain of VEGF for inhibiting vascular inflammation associated with diabetic retinopathy. Dr. Ng is currently developing novel approaches to block the pro-inflammatory activity of the heparin-binding domain of VEGF aiming at developing a new therapy for diabetic retinopathy.

Proof of Concept Interventional Study with Engineered VEGF for Retinal Neuroprotection

Strong evidence supports a critical role for endogenous VEGF in retinal neuroprotection during various stress conditions and in diseases like glaucoma. The goal for this project is to develop an engineered VEGF molecule that has potent neuroprotection activity, but lacks the undesirable activities (such as inducing inflammation, vascular permeability, and angiogenesis). Dr. Ng has created the first set of engineered VEGF molecules and is currently testing their neuroprotective activities in neuronal cells in culture and also their effects on vascular endothelial cells and vessels.

Current Research Funding

2015-2017
Bright Focus Foundation Macular Degeneration Research Grant
TLR2 as a novel therapeutic target for CNV pathogenesis
2016-2017 Grimshaw-Gudewicz Charitable Foundation AMD Research Grant
Microbial activation of TLR2 and oxidized lipids: a potential mechanism for CNV pathogenesis
2016-2017 U.S. Department of Defense PRMRP Discovery Award
Developing a novel therapeutic for diabetic retinopathy by targeting the heparin-binding domain of VEGF: anti-inflammation and protection of the diabetic retina
2017 Edwin S. Webster Foundation AMD Research Grant
Using the FDA-approved drug troglitazone to develop a novel pharmacotherapy for AMD

Publications

H-index

21 (Google Scholar, as of September/2017)

Selected Publications

Dr. Ng has published more than 30 peer-reviewed articles and 1 book chapter. Below is a list of selected publications. View his publications on PubMed.

  1. Carmeliet P, Ng YS, Nuyens D, Theilmeier G, Brusselmans K, Cornelissen I, Ehler E, Kakkar VV, Stalmans I, Mattot V, Perriard JC, Dewerchin M, Flameng W, Nagy A, Lupu F, Moons L, Collen D, D'Amore PA, Shima DT. Impaired myocardial angiogenesis and ischemic cardiomyopathy in mice lacking the vascular endothelial growth factor isoforms VEGF164 and VEGF188. Nature medicine. 1999; 5(5):495-502.
  2. Ng YS, Rohan R, Sunday ME, Demello DE, D'Amore PA. Differential expression of VEGF isoforms in mouse during development and in the adult. Dev Dyn. 2001 Feb;220(2):112-212001;220(2):112-21.
  3. Nishijima K, Ng YS, Zhong L, Bradley J, Schubert W, Jo N, Akita J, Samuelsson SJ, Robinson GS, Adamis AP, Shima DT. Vascular endothelial growth factor-A is a survival factor for retinal neurons and a critical neuroprotectant during the adaptive response to ischemic injury. American Journal of Pathology. 2007;171(1):53-67.
  4. Nagai N, Ju M, Izumi-Nagai K, Robbie SJ, Bainbridge JW, Gale DC, Pierre E, Krauss AH, Adamson P, Shima DT, Ng YS. Novel CCR3 Antagonists Are Effective Mono- and Combination Inhibitors of Choroidal Neovascular Growth and Vascular Permeability. American Journal of Pathology. 2015;185(9):2534-49.

Laboratory

Current Members of Dr. Ng’s Laboratory

Senior Post-doctoral Research Fellow
Ashley Mackey, Ph.D.

Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Franco Rossato, Ph.D.

Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Yu Su, M.D., Ph.D.

Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Junhui Shen, M.D., Ph.D.