Raju V.S. Rajala, PhD

M.G. McCool Professor of Ophthalmology
Edith Kinney Gaylord Presidential Professor
Professor of Physiology
Adjunct Professor of Cell Biology
Mentoring Faculty, Oklahoma Center for Neuroscience

Special Interests

  • Phosphoinositide Signaling in the Neuroprotection of the Retina
  • Retina/RPE Metabolism and Metabolic Reprogramming
  • Lipid Nanotechnology
  • Neuroprotective Survival Pathways Regulated by Receptor and Non-receptor Tyrosine Kinases and Receptor and Non-receptor Tyrosine Phosphatases
  • Cross Communication Between Rhodopsin and Tyrosine Kinase/Phosphatase Signaling in Photoreceptors



  • PhD: Biochemistry, Andhra University, India
  • Postdoctoral Training: Molecular Biology, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Canada

Research Summary

The principal thrust of Dr. Rajala’s current research is to redefine our understanding of neurodegenerative diseases of the retina. Light-sensing photoreceptor cells in the retina are terminally differentiated, thus once they are lost, and they cannot regenerate, making the development of potential therapies infinitely more challenging. As a result, currently available treatments can only delay vision loss; they cannot prevent it. Our aims involve developing innovative approaches to prevent visual loss through manipulation of metabolic reprogramming, use of lipid-nanotechnology, stem-cell implantation, and activation of endogenous neuroprotective pathways. Translational application of our work to Phase I human studies is our ultimate goal. Our research also focuses on the parallels between cancer metabolism and photoreceptor degenerative diseases. We are examining the role of pyruvate kinase M2, a critical enzyme of a cell’s respiratory pathway; and how modulating the activity of this enzyme would be beneficial for photoreceptor survival.


Meet Dr. Rajala