RYOJI YANAI, M.D., Ph.D.
Dr. Yanai received his M.D. and Ph.D. from Yamaguchi University, where he conducted his residency in ophthalmology. He went on to complete a corneal fellowship at Yamaguchi with Teruo Nishida, M.D., D.Sc., from whom he learned how to apply basic science knowledge to unresolved clinic problems.
Dr. Yanai has published several reports on the cellular mechanisms behind corneal wound healing and neurotrophic keratopathy, with much of his research focused on corneal physiology and morphology. He now studies the pathogenesis of hypoxia, as well as the molecular pathways for an adaptive response to hypoxia in the epithelium. A particular area of interest is the role played by cytokines in such adaptive processes, including intracellular signal transduction to alter barrier function. Currently, Dr. Yanai’s research centers on the application of a translational profiling approach for the comparative analysis of developmental ocular angiogenesis. Using BAC transgenic mice, he created an atlas of retinal gene expression related to eye development and diseases at the cellular level, including disorders in astrocytes, endothelial cells, macrophages, and neurons. In the future, Dr. Yanai hopes to develop a greater understanding of the molecular factors that regulate ocular angiogenesis of neurovascular unit. He also is interested in a new therapeutic application of omega-3 long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LCPUFAs), especially for the treatment of neovascular eye diseases such as age-related macular degeneration.