Jing Wang, PhD


Assistant Professor
Module 1 Director, P30 Vision Research Core
Department of Cellular Biology and Anatomy
James and Jean Culver Vision Discovery Institute

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Education & Training

Post-doc Retinal Biology: Augusta University, Augusta, GA, 2013-2015
Post-doc Molecular Biology: Peking University, Beijing, China, 2004-2006
PhD: China Agricultural University, Beijing, China, 2004
M.S: Wuhan Polytechnic University, Wuhan, China, 2001
B.A: Wuhan Polytechnic University, Wuhan, China, 1998



  • Travel Award for the Harvard Biennial International Symposium on AMD


  • Career Starter Award (2020-2022) from Knights Templar Eye Foundation


  • “Communication” distinction from Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology


  • “Communication” distinction from Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology
  • Young Investigator Travel Award by NEI for Association for Ocular Pharmacology and Therapeutics


  • Award from National Natural Science Foundation of China (2011-2013)


  • Award from National Basic Research Program of China (2009-2013)
  • Award from National Natural Science Foundation of China (2009-2012)


  • Award from “Taihu” National Basic Research Program of China (2008-2012)
  • Youth Innovation Award from Chinese Academy of Sciences (2008-2010)


  • Young faculty Award from Chinese Academy of Sciences (2007-2009)
  • Marie Curie Scholarship Award by European Cell Death Organization


Title: Targeting Sigma 1 receptor as a novel therapy for limiting neurovascular injury in ROP

Type: R01

Agency: NIH/NEI

Period: 09/01/2023-05/31/2028

Role: Principle Investigator


Title: Center Core Grant for Vision Research

Type: P30

Agency: NIH/NEI

Period: 09/01/2020-8/31/2025

Role: Module 1 Director of the core (PI: Dr. Yutao Liu)

Research Interest

My research interest focuses on retinal neurovascular biology and mechanisms of immune, neuron and vascular interaction that control retinal neurovascular function during health and disease. Ischemic retinopathies, such as retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) and age-related macular degeneration (AMD), are blinding ocular disorders that damage the vasculature and neurons of the retina. However, the existing treatments for neovascularization, which is invasive, have multiple side effects and limited recovery. Our research seeks to develop novel strategies by creating a favorable retinal environment for cell survival, vascular repair and revascularization. One leading research project of our group investigates the role of sigma 1 receptor (Sig1R), a unique molecular chaperone, in normal retinal vascular development, and immune, neuron and vascular protection in ROP. The potential translational significance is exceptional as success of our work could lead to novel treatment of neuronal and vascular aspects of ROP.


Selected Publications

(*, corresponding author)

Wang J, Barwick, SR, Xiao H, Smith SB. Evaluation of the role of Sigma 1 receptor and Cullin3 in retinal photoreceptor cells. Free Radic Biol Med. 2023, 205:214-223.


Barwick SR, Siddiq MS, Wang J, Xiao H, Marshall B, Perry E, Smith SB. Sigma 1 Receptor Co-Localizes with NRF2 in Retinal Photoreceptor Cells. Antioxidants (Basel). 2021 Jun 19; 10(6):981.


Navneet S, Zhao J, Wang J, Mysona B, Shannon B, Bollinger K, Smith SB. Hyperhomocysteinemia-induced death of retinal ganglion cells: the role of Müller glial cells and NRF2. Redox Biology. 2019, 24:101199.


Wang J, Zhao J, Cui X, Mysona BA, Navneet S, Saul A, Ahuja M, Lambert N, Gazaryan IG, Thomas B, Bollinger KE, Smith SB. The molecular chaperone sigma 1 receptor mediates rescue of retinal cone photoreceptor cells via modulation of NRF2. Free Radic Biol Med. 2019, 134:604-616.


Wang J*, Smith SB. A novel mechanism of Sigma 1 receptor neuroprotection: modulation of miR-214-3p. Adv Exp Med Biol. 2019, 1185:463-467.


Smith SB, Wang J, Cui X, Mysona BA, Zhao J, Bollinger KE. Sigma 1 receptor: A novel therapeutic target in retinal disease. Prog Retin Eye Res. 2018, 67:130-149.


Wang J, Saul A, Cui X, Roon P, Smith SB. Absence of Sigma 1 Receptor accelerates photoreceptor cell death in a murine model of retinitis pigmentosa. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2017 Sep 1; 58(11):4545-4558.


Wang J, Saul A, Roon P, Smith, SB. Activation of the molecular chaperone, sigma 1 receptor, preserves cone function in a mouse model of inherited retinal degeneration. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A.2016, 113(26): E3764-3772.   


Wang J, Shanmugam AK, Markand S, Zorrilla E, Ganapathy V, Smith SB. Sigma 1 receptor regulates the oxidative stress response in primary retinal Müller glial cells via NRF2 signaling and system xc-, the Na+-independent glutamate-cystine exchanger. Free Radic Biol Med. 2015, 86:25-36. 


Shanmugam A, Wang J, Markand S, Perry RL, Tawfik A, Zorrilla E, Ganapathy V, and Smith SB. Sigma Receptor 1 activation attenuates release of inflammatory cytokines MIP1γ, MIP2, MIP3α and IL12 (p40/p70) by retinal Müller glial cells. J Neurochem. 2015, 132 (5): 546-558.


Wang J, Aung L HH, Prabhakar B S, Li PF. The mitochondrial ubiquitin ligase plays an anti-apoptotic role in cardiomyocytes by regulating mitochondrial fission. J Cell Mol Med.2016, 20(12):2278-2288.


Shan Q, Wang J*, Huang F, Lv X, Ma M, Du Y. Augmented atherogenesis in ApoE-null mice co-exposed to polychlorinated biphenyls and 2, 3, 7, 8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin. Toxicol Appl Pharmacol. 2014, 276(2):136-146.


Wang J,* Yu S, Jiao S, Lv X, Ma M, Du Y. κ-Selenocarrageenan prevents microcystin-LR-induced hepatotoxicity in BALB/c mice. Food Chem Toxicol.2013, 59:303-310.


Wang J, Wu S, Jin X, Li M, Chen S, Teeling JL, Perry VH, and Gu J. Retinoic acid-inducible gene-I mediates late phase induction of TNFα by lipopolysaccharide. J Immunol. 2008, 180(12): 8011-8019.


Wang J*, Lv X, Hu X, Shi J. Ceramide induces apoptosis via a peroxisome proliferators-activated receptor γ-dependent pathway. Apoptosis, 2006, 11(11): 2043-2052.


Publications Link