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Ocular Inflammation & Immunology

Inflammation of the ocular surface following injury, infection or from chronic conditions such as Stevens-Johnson syndrome takes a toll in the work place and in visual morbidity. Chronic inflammation associated infections is a major problem in Asia which often result in corneal blindness. Intraocular inflammation is another commonly seen condition associated with various other eye diseases.

The Ocular Inflammation and Immunology Research Group seeks to unveil the mechanisms and markers of major ocular inflammatory diseases with the goal of improving current diagnostic and therapeutic approaches. The group is interested in both infectious and sterile inflammation as well as ocular autoimmune disorders of the anterior and posterior segments of the eye, such as keratitis, pterygium, dry eye, uveitis, retinitis and inflammation associated with glaucoma and retinal diseases.


Our scientists and clinicians work at the forefront of ocular inflammation, furthering the understanding of inflammatory mechanisms and developing new diagnostics and therapeutics. Inflammation plays a significant role in many ocular diseases. Understanding how dysregulation of innate and adaptive immune responses leads to diseased ocular conditions is key. To combat inflammatory diseases in the eye, identification of diagnostic and predictive biomarkers and of potential targets for new therapeutics is underway with genetic-, proteomic- and cell-based approaches using human samples.



Ongoing Projects

  1. Targeting the inflammatory mechanisms in adenovirus infection and epidemic keratoconjunctivitis- Dr Nobuyo Yawata

  2. Development of biomarkers for corneal transplantation wound healing and severe corneal chemical and other injuries- A/Prof Jod S. Mehta/Dr Nobuyo Yawata

  3. Ocular surface inflammation: The role of T cells in dry eye- A/Prof Louis Tong

  4. Ocular surface inflammation: animal models- A/Prof Louis Tong

  5. Use of autologus plasma eye drops therapy for severe dry eye in Singapore- A/Prof Louis Tong

  6. Identification of the inflammatory mechanisms in fibrosis- Prof Roger Beuerman

  7. Proteomics study on ocular surface inflammatory diseases; S100 protein family as potential biomarkers- Prof Roger Beuerman

  8. Understanding the innate and adaptive immune mechanisms of CMV-related anterior uveitis- Prof Chee Soon Phaik, Dr Jay Siak, Dr Nobuyo Yawata

  9. Immunogenetics of CMV-related anterior uveitis- Prof Chee Soon Phaik, Dr Jay Siak, Dr Nobuyo Yawata

  10. Development of new diagnostics for TB-related uveitis- Prof Chee Soon Phaik, Dr Jay Siak, Dr Nobuyo Yawata

  11. Standardisation of uveitis nomenclature for disease entities-formation of database for classification criteria for specific disease entities- Prof Chee Soon Phaik

  12. Validation of a Novel Micro-fluid Cytokine Analysis Platform for aqueous and vitreous humour in normal and eyes with Diabetic Retinopathy- Dr Kelvin Teo, Dr Marcus Ann, Dr Nobuyo Yawata

  1. Yawata N, Selva KJ, Liu YC, Tan KP, Lee AWL, Siak J, Lan W, Vania M, Arundhati A, Tong L, Li J, Mehta, JS, Yawata M. Dynamic change in natural killer cell type in the human ocular mucosa in situ as means of immune evasion by adenovirus infection. Mucosal Immunology 2015; doi:10.1038.
  2. Lim DSL, *Yawata N, Selva KJ, Li N, Tsai CY, Yeong LH, Ooi EE, Chong MK, Ng ML, Leo YS, Yawata M, and Wong SBJ. Type I IFN, TNF-α, and cell surface receptor engagement with dendritic cells synergize to enable NK cells to overcome dengue virus immune evasion. Journal of Immunology 2014; 193:5065-75. (*Joint first author)
  3. Chong PP, Chee HT, Rahman NAA, Yajima M, Chin FW, Lim CSY, Go ES, Chan CML, Yawata N, Yamamoto N. Prevalence and viral load of oncogenic human papillomavirus (HPV) in pterygia in multi-ethnic patients in the Malay Peninsula. Acta Ophthalmologica 2014; 92:e569-79.
  4. Tan AH, Chee SP. Malignant uveitis masquerade syndrome. Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2014 Oct 1;190(7):e24-5. doi: 10.1164/rccm.201309-1578IM. PubMed PMID: 25271756.
  5. Wong MH, Cheung GC, Chee SP. Posterior segment findings of ocular cytomegalovirus infection in immunocompetent patients. Graefes Arch Clin Exp Ophthalmol. 2014 Nov;252(11):1811-6. doi: 10.1007/s00417-014-2743-y. Epub 2014 Jul 24. PubMed PMID: 25056527.
  6. Ang M, Kiew SY, Wong WL, Chee SP. Discordance of two interferon-γ release assays and tuberculin skin test in patients with uveitis. Br J Ophthalmol. 2014 Dec;98(12):1649-53. doi: 10.1136/bjophthalmol-2014-305229. Epub 2014 Jul 7.PubMed PMID: 25001322.
  7. Ang M, Ng X, Wong C, Yan P, Chee SP, Venkatraman SS, Wong TT. Evaluation of a prednisolone acetate-loaded subconjunctival implant for the treatment of recurrent uveitis in a rabbit model. PLoS One. 2014 May 19;9(5):e97555. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0097555. eCollection 2014. PubMed PMID: 24842851; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4026472.
  8. Ang M, Wong WL, Kiew SY, Li X, Chee SP. Prospective head-to-head study comparing 2 commercial interferon gamma release assays for the diagnosis of tuberculous uveitis. Am J Ophthalmol. 2014 Jun;157(6):1306-14; 1314.e1-4. doi:10.1016/j.ajo.2014.01.031. Epub 2014 Feb 4. PubMed PMID: 24508163.
  9. Hedayatfar A, Hashemi H, Asgari S, Chee SP. Comparison of efficacy and ocular surface toxicity of topical preservative-free methylprednisolone and preserved prednisolone in the treatment of acute anterior uveitis. Cornea. 2014 Apr;33(4):366-72. doi: 10.1097/ICO.0000000000000039. PubMed PMID: 24351572.
  10. Tan N, Galvante PR, Chee SP. Endogenous Serratia marcescens endophthalmitis: an atypical presentation. Eye (Lond). 2014 Jan;28(1):108-9. doi: 10.1038/eye.2013.237. Epub 2013 Nov 1. PubMed PMID: 24177026; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3890763.
  11. Ang M, Wong WL, Li X, Chee SP. Interferon γ release assay for the diagnosis of uveitis associated with tuberculosis: a Bayesian evaluation in the absence of a gold standard. Br J Ophthalmol. 2013 Aug;97(8):1062-7. doi: 10.1136/bjophthalmol-2012-302199. Epub 2013 May 30. PubMed PMID: 23723411.
  12. Ang M, Sng CC, Chee SP, Tan DT, Mehta JS. Outcomes of corneal transplantation for irreversible corneal decompensation secondary to corneal endotheliitis in Asian eyes. Am J Ophthalmol. 2013 Aug;156(2):260-266.e2. doi: 10.1016/j.ajo.2013.03.020. Epub 2013 Apr 24. PubMed PMID: 23622566.
  13. Chee SP, Jap A, Ling EC, Ti SE. Cytomegalovirus-positive corneal stromal edema with keratic precipitates after penetrating keratoplasty: a case-control study. Cornea. 2013 Aug;32(8):1094-8. doi: 10.1097/ICO.0b013e318283c887. PubMed PMID: 23538617.
  14. Teo L, Seah LL, Choo CT, Chee SP, Chee E, Looi A. A survey of the histopathology of lacrimal gland lesions in a tertiary referral centre. Orbit.2013 Feb;32(1):1-7. doi: 10.3109/01676830.2012.736595. PubMed PMID: 23387446.
  15. Chee SP, Jap A. The outcomes of indocyanine green angiography monitored immunotherapy in Vogt-Koyanagi-Harada disease. Br J Ophthalmol. 2013 Feb;97(2):130-3. doi: 10.1136/bjophthalmol-2012-302538. Epub 2012 Dec 4. PubMed PMID: 23212203.
  16. Cheung CM, Vania M, Ang M, Chee SP, Li J. Comparison of aqueous humor cytokine and chemokine levels in diabetic patients with and without retinopathy. Mol Vis. 2012;18:830-7. Epub 2012 Apr 4. PubMed PMID: 22511846; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3327438.
  17. Yamane S, Lee AWL, Hanaoka N, Gonzalez G, Kaneko H, Ishida S, Kitaichi N, Ohno S, Koyanagi K, Aoki K, Fujimoto T, Yawata N, Watanabe H. Identification of contamination in the American Type Culture Collection stock of human adenovirus type 8 by whole genome sequencing. Journal of Virology 2013; 87:1285-1286. (IF5.1)

Co-Heads: Prof Chee Soon Phaik, A/Prof Louis Tong

Team Members: Dr Nobuyo Yawata, Dr Siak Jyh Kuen, Prof Roger Beuerman, A/Prof Jodhbir Mehta, A/Prof Tina Wong, Dr Seet Li Fong, Dr Liu Yu-Chi, Kaing Woon, Jessie Lim Kia Hui, Xinru Lim

Contact us:
Prof Chee Soon Phaik at,
A/Prof Louis Tong at