Sunny Lee Lab

Dr. Lee’s Lab

Hand drawn Diagram of Parts of Eye

Principal Investigator

Sun Young (Sunny) Lee, MD, PhD
Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology
Adjunctive Assistant Professor of Physiology
Member, Oklahoma Center of Neuroscience
Office: Dean McGee Eye Institute, 608 Stanton L. Young Blvd, DMEI PB-#447
Oklahoma City, OK 73104

Research Summary

The role of reactive gliosis in Proliferative vitreoretinopathy (PVR).

In acute injury of the retina such as retinal detachment or ocular trauma, proliferative vitreoretinopathy (PVR), an excessive retinal gliosis in complex with inflammatory, excessive wound healing and remodeling processes, is a major barrier of surgical repair, leading to blindness despite the tremendous technological advancement in modern retinal surgery. The complex process of PVR formation has not been completely understood until now and currently, there is no subsiding or complete treatment available. Our ultimate goal is to explore the first initiatory event in PVR, focusing on reactive retinal gliosis, handling human tissue samples, primary cultured retinal cell lines, and mouse animal models of PVR. We use various laboratory techniques, including protein assay, immunohistochemical stain, and gene expression analysis. We are also using single-cell RNA seq, single-cell mass cytometry and imaging mass cytometry collaborating with Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation (OMRF).

Modification of proliferative gliosis in advanced age-related macular degeneration (AMD). 

Disciform scars form the advanced stage of exudative AMD in which the retinal tissue is replaced by fibrotic scar tissue. Disciform scars lead to marked destruction of all retinal layers associated with severe vision loss. Our lab seeks a therapeutic approach in this advanced form of AMD via modifying proliferative gliosis.

The role of reactive gliosis and neuroretinal degeneration in Diabetic Retinopathy.

Our goal in this project is to elucidate the metabolic role of Müller gila in early advanced diabetic retinopathy and its links to chronic inflammation, hypoxia, and cellular proliferation.

Lab Information

Investigator’s Publication

Investigator’s Google Scholar

Current Lab Members

Gopa Kumar Gopinadhan Nair, PhD
Post-Doctoral Fellow

Dr. Gopa Kumar received his Ph.D. degree in Biochemistry (2015) from the Mahatma Gandhi University, India. His graduate work focused on the radioprotective effects of nanoparticle based drug combinations in tumor animal models. His current research interest is on the exosomal trafficking of proteins and their potential benefits in the ophthalmic disease’ treatments.

Dimitrios Pollalis, MD
Research Fellow

Dr. Pollalis graduated from National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Faculty of Medicine on 2018 and has a general interest in surgical retinal research.

Project Members

Will Surbeck, BS
Medical Student at OUHSC – Class 2023

Farzad Jamshidi Sunny Lee Lab Member

Farzad Jamshidi, MD, PhD
Ophthalmology Resident at DMEI – Class 2022

Austin LaGrow Sunny Lee Lab Member

Austin LaGrow, BS
Medical Student at OUHSC (Ophthalmology Resident at DMEI – Class 2024)

Stephanie Schatzman Sunny Lee Lab Member

Stephanie Schatzman
Medical Student at OUHSC – Class 2020

Previous Lab Members

Apryl Saunders, MS
Junior Research Technician

Michael Drake, BS
Senior Research Technician

Research Opportunities

We are always welcome to work with motivated, open-minded, and creative individuals from a diverse background and various stages of their career who want to make a contribution to vision research and ultimately patient care. If you are interested in joining Sunny Lee Lab, please send your CV with a cover letter expressing your research interest and career goals.