Sriganesh Ramachandra Rao MS, PhD

Sriganesh Ramachandra Rao

Sriganesh Ramachandra Rao

Assistant Professor

Department of Ophthalmology

Jacobs School of Medicine & Biomedical Sciences

Specialty/Research Focus

Apoptosis and cell death; Biomedical Imaging; Cell Metabolism; Cytoskeleton and cell motility; Developmental Biology; Genetics; Inflammation; Inherited Metabolic Disorders; Lipid Homeostasis; Lysosomal Storage Diseases; Models - cell and animal; Molecular and Cellular Biology; Molecular Basis of Disease; Neurobiology; Pathophysiology; Protein Function and Structure; Retina – retinal disease and therapy; Retinopathy; Team Science; Transgenic organisms; Translational Research; Vision science

Professional Summary:

The retinal cell biology and anatomy laboratory

The interests of our research group are:

1. Organelle trafficking dynamics in photoreceptor cells: Visual transduction in the retina is achieved through unique structural and functional adaptations of the photoreceptor cell. The compact architectural features of the photoreceptor cell pose unique challenges in organelle synthesis, packing, trafficking, and inter-organelle interaction. Our group is interested in cellular homeostatic processes such as endocytosis, lysosome trafficking and function, autophagy in photoreceptors. Defects in these critical processes are the molecular basis of several inherited and age-associated blinding diseases.

2. Lipid homeostasis in the retina: Cellular demand for lipids is met by local synthesis, import, or recycling. Our lab is interested in the retinal homeostatic mechanisms of an important class of lipids called isoprenoids. We study how important isoprenoids such as dolichol and cholesterol are synthesized in the retina. This work directly pertains to rare inherited metabolic disorders with associated visual system dysfunction, such as SLOS, RP59, and SRD5A3. We use genetic engineering, molecular biology, and biochemical approaches to model these complicated metabolic diseases. There are no currently available, effective therapeutic approaches to treat these devastating systemic disorders.

3. Geometric modeling of the retinal architecture: Our group studies the geometric properties associated with the spatial arrangement of neurons in the human retina. We model the packing properties of retinal neurons in normal and diseased conditions. This is an interdisciplinary, collaborative project that applies histochemistry, biochemistry, anatomy, microscopy, image analysis and processing, systems biology, discrete and computational geometry, combinatorial theorems, and graph theory approaches. The long-term goal of this project is to develop image analytical tools to aid early clinical diagnosis of diabetic retinopathy, age-related macular degeneration, and even retinitis pigmentosa.

Education and Training:

  • Fellowship, Knights Templar Pediatric Ophthalmology Postdoctoral Fellow, State University of New York, University at Buffalo (2023)
  • PhD, Biochemistry, State University of New York, University at Buffalo (2018)
  • MS, Biophysics, State University of New York, University at Buffalo (2012)
  • BS, Bachelor of Engineering, Biotechnology, MS Ramaiah Institute of Technology (VTU) (2010)

Awards and Honors:

  • Emerging Vision Scientist Program (2023)
  • Sigma Xi, Full Membership (2023)
  • XIXth International Symposium on Retinal degenerations (RD2021) - Travel Award (2021)
  • The Biochemistry Dissertation Research Recognition Award (2019)
  • Joseph M. and Eula C. Lawrence Travel Award (2015)

Research Centers:

  • Ira G. Ross Eye Institute Research Center

UB 2020 Strategic Strengths:

  • Health and Wellness Across the Lifespan

Journal Articles:

See all (11 more)

Professional Memberships:

  • Sigma Xi (2023–present)
  • The American Society for Cell Biology (2021–present)
  • American Association for the Advancement of Science (2018–present)
  • Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (2015–present)


  • "Compromised phagosome maturation underlies RPE pathology in whole animal and cell culture models of SLOS." Smith-Lemli-Opitz Scientific Symposium-2017, Covington, KY
  • "Dhdds ablation in photoreceptor and bipolar progenitor cells causes early-onset retinal degeneration." ARVO 2021 Annual Meeting, Virtual presentation
  • "Recent advances in SLOS retinal degeneration models." Smith-Lemli-Opitz Scientific Symposium- 2023, Seattle, WA

Service Activities:

  • Ad hoc Peer Reviewer; Aging, American Journal of Pathology, Applied Science, Autophagy, Biochemical Pharmacology, Cells, Experimental Eye Research, Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) Journal, FASEB Bioadvances, Free Radical Biology and Medicine, Frontiers Cell and Developmental Biology, International Journal of Molecular Sciences, Journal of Clinical Medicine, Journal of Lipid Research, Meta Gene, Molecular Neurobiology, Molecular Vision, Molecules, Nature Communications, PLOS One, Scientific Reports

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