BALA AMBATI

Bal Ambati
e-mail: bala.ambati@utah.edu
Associate Professor of Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences

The Ambati lab
Neurobiology of Disease
B.A. 1991, New York University; M.D. 1995, Mount Sinai SOM; Ph.D. 2008, Medical College of Georgia; M.B.A. 2010, University of Utah

RESEARCH:

Ocular Angiogenesis and Corneal Research

Dr. Bala Ambati devotes a significant portion of his time to research endeavors investigating the molecular mechanisms of angiogenesis, the growth of new blood vessels, in the cornea. His laboratory group has solved the long-outstanding mystery of what keeps the cornea normally free of blood vessels, identifying the protein sVEGFR-1 as the prime mediator of this essential requirement for clear vision. His team has applied this knowledge in developing novel inhibitors targeting the key mediator of angiogenesis, VEGF, specifically sequestering this linchpin molecule within cells, complementing the existing anti-VEGF arsenal.

Dr. Ambati hopes to build collaborative research programmes within Moran and on-campus with a view towards continued development of anti-angiogenic agents, understanding the mechanisms of alternative splicing controlling sVEGFR-1, and advancing drug delivery to the eye. With respect to clinical research, Dr. Ambati is committed to constant analysis of results of cornea transplants, LASIK, cataract extraction, and other anterior segment procedures with a view towards optimization of patient outcomes.

As a physician-investigator, Dr. Ambati is experienced in cornea transplants, cataract extraction, keratoprosthesis (artificial cornea), LASIK, and other complex procedures of the cornea and anterior segment of the eye. Dr. Ambati devotes a significant portion of his time to research endeavors investigating the molecular mechanisms of angiogenesis, the growth of new blood vessels, in the cornea. Photo of Bala Ambati, M.D. His laboratory group has solved the long-outstanding mystery of what keeps the cornea normally free of blood vessels, identifying the protein sVEGFR-1 as the prime mediator of this essential requirement for clear vision. His team has applied this knowledge in developing novel inhibitors targeting the key mediator of angiogenesis, VEGF, specifically sequestering this linchpin molecule within cells, complementing the existing anti-VEGF arsenal. Dr. Ambati hopes to build collaborative research programmes within Moran and on-campus with a view towards continued development of anti-angiogenic agents, understanding the mechanisms of alternative splicing controlling sVEGFR-1, and advancing drug delivery to the eye. Dr. Ambati's laboratory published a key paper in Nature in 2006 defining the basis of the cornea's natural avascularity, which was selected as a 2006 Signaling Breakthrough of the Year by Science. With respect to clinical research, Dr. Ambati is committed to constant analysis of results of cornea transplants, LASIK, cataract extraction, and other anterior segment procedures with a view towards optimization of patient outcomes.

Selected Publications:

Kaur, H., Persaud, S., Singh, N., Ambati, B.K., and Wilson, S. PDGFR-beta intraceptors can inhibit PRK-induced corneal myofibroblast conversion. Exp Eye Res, in press.

Albuquerque, R.J., Hayashi, T., Cho, W.G., Kleinman, M.E., Dridi, S., Takeda, A., Baffi, J.Z., Yamada, K., Kaneko, H., Green, M.G., Chappell, J., Wilting, J., Weich, H.A., Yamagami, S., Amano, S., Mizuki, N., Alexander, J.S., Peterson, M.L., Brekken, R.A., Hirashima, M., Capoor, S., Usui, T., Ambati, B.K., and Ambati, J. (2009) Alternatively spliced vascular endothelial growth factor receptor-2 is an essential endogenous inhibitor of lymphatic vessel growth. Nat Med, Sep;15(9):1023-1030. Epub 2009 Aug 9. PubMed PMID: 19668192.

Kaur, H., Chaurasia, S.S., de Medeiros, F.W., Agrawal, V., Salomao, M.Q., Singh, N., Ambati, B.K., and Wilson, S.E. (2009) Corneal stroma PDGF blockade and myofibroblast development. Exp Eye Res, May;88(5):960-965.

Singh, S., Edelhauser, H., Grossniklaus, H., Ambati, B.K., and Kompella, U. (2009) Selectively Targeting Nanoparticles with Flt Anti-VEGF intraceptors can inhibit laser induced choroidal neovascularization. Gene Therapy, 16:645-659.

Chandrasekaran, V., Ambati, J., Ambati, B.K., and Taylor, W.E. (2007) Molecular docking and analysis of interactions between VEGF and SPARC. J Mol Graph Model, 26:775-782.

Jani, P., Singh, N., Jenkns, C., Suthar, T., Yun, M., Raghava, S., Kompella, U., and Ambati, B.K. (2007) Nanoparticles expressing intraceptors can inhibit injury-induced corneal vascularization. Invest Ophthal Vis Sci, 48:2030-2036.

Singh, N., Higgins, E., Suthar, T., Jani, P., and Ambati, B.K. (2007) A unique homologous siRNA targeting VEGF inhibits and regresses injury-induced corneal neovascularization. Cornea, 26(1):65-72.

Ambati, B.K., Nozaki, M., Singh, N., Sakurai, E., Jani, P., et al. (2006) Corneal avascularity is due to soluble VEGFR-1. Nature, 443:993-997.

Singh, N., Jani, P., Suthar, T., Amin, S., and Ambati, B.K. (2006) Flt-1 intraceptors induces the unfolded protein response, apoptotic factors, and regression of murine injury-induced corneal neovascularization. Inv Ophth Vis Sci, 47:4787-4793.

Singh, N., Macnamara, E., Rashid, S., Ambati, J., Kontos, C.D., and Ambati, B.K. (2005) Systemic soluble Tie2 expression inhibits and regresses corneal neovascularization. Biochem Biophys Res Commun, 332:194-199.

Singh, N., Amin, S., Richter, E., Jani, P., Dong, Z., Ambati, J., Wang, J., Kaur, R., and Ambati, B.K. (2005) Flt intraceptors inhibit hypoxia-induced VEGF secretion and injury-induced corneal neovascularization. Inv Ophth Vis Sci, 46:1647-1652.

Ambati, B.K., Joussen, A.M., Anand, A., Adamis, A.P., and Ambati, J. (2003) Inhibition of corneal neovascularization by genetic ablation of CCR2. Cornea, 22:465-467.

Ambati, J., Anand, A., Fernandez, S., Sakurai, E., Lynn, B.C., Kuziel, W.A., Rollins, B.J., and Ambati, B.K. (2003) An animal model of age-related macular degeneration in senescent Ccl-2- or Ccr-2-deficient mice. Nat Med, 9:1390-1397.

Ambati, B.K., Ambati, J., Joussen, A.M., Anand, A., and Adamis, A. (2003) Sustained inhibition of corneal neovascularization by genetic ablation of CCR5. Inv Ophth Vis Sci, 44:590-593.

Ambati, B.K., Anand A., Joussen, A.M., et al. (2002) Angiostatin inhibits and regresses corneal neovascularization. Arch Ophth, 120:1063-1068.