Gary (Hin-Fai) Yam, PhD

Dr. Gary Yam is a Research Associate Professor of Ophthalmology, Corneal Regeneration Laboratory, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.

Dr. Yam attended the Chinese University of Hong Kong where he obtained his Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Oncology and Cancer Biology, Master’s degree in Oncology and Cancer Biology, and Bachelor’s degree in Biology, General.

Dr. Yam’s research interests include cell biology: corneal epithelium and stromal keratocytes and application in cell-based therapy for ocular surface disorders; stromal tissue engineering and bioscaffold: cell-tissue construct and applications; cell therapy for treatment of ocular defects; cell reprogramming and transdifferentiation; epigenetics; protein folding disorders and molecular chaperone-assisted protein refolding.

The Cornea Regeneration Lab focuses on the cornea, an organ that provides a visual portal to the world. The connective tissue of cornea (stroma) is extremely tough, and transparent to light. It also presents a significant biological barrier to infection. Globally, millions of patients have corneal opacification due to disease or trauma, hence vision loss. Dr. Yam’s work focuses on the biological processes that produce and maintain the unique tissue of corneal stroma as well as the pathological changes that occur during injury, wound healing, scarring and diseases. He and his team explore new designs to reverse the scarring process or replace the scarred cornea with bioengineered corneal tissue. Their lab has reported the use of stromal keratocytes and stromal stem cells to restore corneal transparency. These cell-based treatments produce tissue identical to that of the transparent corneal stromal tissue in animal models of corneal injury. Dr. Yam and others are developing GMP compliant Standard Operating Procedures for clinical trials in patients with corneal scarring, and also actively investigating the mechanism by which the stem cells induce tissue regeneration.

View a list of Dr. Yam’s publications here.