Lily L. Wong, PhD

  • Assistant Professor of Research, Deptartment of Ophthalmology, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center (OUHSC)
  • Systems Manager, NEI/DMEI Cellular Imaging Core Facility

Special Interests

  • Cerium oxide nanoparticles as antioxidants in preserving vision using rodent retinal degeneration models
  • Role of microglia in retinal neovascularization and retinal degeneration


  • PhD, Biology, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA
  • Postdoctoral Training, Cell and Developmental Biology, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA
  • Postdoctoral Training, Dept. of Surgery, Div. of Anatomy, University of California, San Diego, San Diego, CA

Research Summary

Scientists have expanded the use of nanomaterials from industrial applications to biomedical research in the past decade. Nanomaterials have unique functions different from their bulk forms because of their minute size (6000X smaller than the thickness of a human hair). Our research uses nanoceria (cerium oxide nanoparticles) to treat rodent models of degenerative blinding diseases such as age-related macular degeneration, retinitis pigmentosa, and diabetic retinopathy. We show that nanoceria slow the disease progression of these blinding diseases. These animals retain their vision longer. Because nanoceria act as regenerating antioxidants when applied to the eye, frequent dosing is not necessary. We also know that they are harmless when applied to healthy rat eyes. We are working to develop nanoceria as ophthalmic therapeutics to treat a broad spectrum of degenerative blinding diseases before cures become available for each of these intractable diseases. These projects are conducted in collaborations with Dr. Sudipta Seal at the University of Central Florida. 

Recent Publications


Book Chapter:

Wong, L.L. 2016. Chapter 3: Cerium Oxide Nanoparticles-associated Oxidant and Antioxidant Effects and Mechanism. In “Rare Earth Elements in Human and Environmental Health: At Crossroads between Toxicity and Safety”, edited by Pagano, G., Pan Stanford Publishing. Available in November 2016.

Wong, L.L. and McGinnis, J.F. 2014. Nanoceria as bona fide Catalytic Antioxidants in Medicine: what we know and what we want to know…Adv Exp Med Biol. 2014;801:821-8. Wong2014CeNPMiniReview.pdf

Research Articles:

Wong, L.L., Pye, Q.N., Chen, L., Seal, S., McGinnis, J.F. 2015. Defining the Catalytic Activity of Nanoceria in the P23H-1 Rat, a Photoreceptor Degeneration Model. PLoS ONE 10(3): e0121977. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0121977

Wong, L.L., Hirst, S.M., Pye, Q.N., Reilly, C.M., Seal, S., McGinnis, J.F. 2013. Catalytic Nanoceria are Preferentially Retained in the Rat Retina and are not Cytotoxic after Intravitreal Injection. PLoS ONE 8(3): e58431.

Zhou, X., Wong, L.L. (co-first author), Karakoti, A.S., Seal, S., and McGinnis, J.F. 2011. Nanoceria Inhibit the Development and Promote the Regression of Pathologic Retinal Neovascularization in the Vldlr knockout mouse. PLoS ONE 6 (2): e16733.

Kong, L., Cai, X., (co-first author), Zhou, X., Wong, L.L., Karakoti, A.S., Seal, S., and McGinnis, J.F. 2011. Nanoceria extend photoreceptor cell lifespan in tubby mice by modulation of apoptosis/survival signaling pathways. Neurobiology of Disease 42: 514-523.

Wong, L.L. and Rapaport, D.H. 2009. Defining Retinal Progenitor Cell Competence in Xenopus laevis by Clonal Analysis. Development 136:1707-1715. DOI: 10.1242/dev.027607. (Cover Photo for May 15, 2009, Volume 136, Issue 10)

Funding Sources

Curriculum Vitae
 Wong CV

Meet Dr. Wong


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