Research Interest

  • Embryonic and induced pluripotent stem cells
  • Gene therapy
  • Genetic mechanisms underlying ocular neurodegeneration
  • Genome engineering
  • Human stem cell transplantations
  • Inherited retinal degenerations
  • Metabolism and metabolic reprogramming
  • Mouse models of ocular disease
  • Retinitis Pigmentosa


Featured Publications LegendFeatured Publications

Replenishment of TCA cycle intermediates provides photoreceptor resilience against neurodegeneration during progression of retinitis pigmentosa.
Rowe AA, Patel PD, Gordillo R, Wert KJ, JCI Insight 2021 Jul
Phenotypic variance in Calpain-5 retinal degeneration.
Tang PH, Chemudupati T, Wert KJ, Folk JC, Mahajan M, Tsang SH, Bassuk AG, Mahajan VB, Am J Ophthalmol Case Rep 2020 Jun 18 100627
Metabolite therapy guided by liquid biopsy proteomics delays retinal neurodegeneration.
Wert KJ, Velez G, Kanchustambham VL, Shankar V, Evans LP, Sengillo JD, Zare RN, Bassuk AG, Tsang SH, Mahajan VB, EBioMedicine 2020 Feb 52 102636
CAPN5 genetic inactivation phenotype supports therapeutic inhibition trials.
Wert KJ, Koch SF, Velez G, Hsu CW, Mahajan M, Bassuk AG, Tsang SH, Mahajan VB, Hum. Mutat. 2019 Aug
Insights into Retinal Development Using Live Imaging in Female Carriers of Choroideremia.
Wert KJ, Bakall B, Bassuk AG, Tsang SH, Mahajan VB, Ophthalmic Surg Lasers Imaging Retina 2019 May 50 5 e158-e162
Metabolite therapy guided by liquid biopsy proteomics delays retinal degeneration
Wert KJ, Velez G, Vijayalaksmi K, Shankar V, Sengillo JD, Zare RN, Bassuk AG, Tsang SH, Mahajan VB Biorxiv 2019
In Vivo Expression of Mutant Calpains in the Eye Using Lentivirus.
Wert KJ, Mahajan VB, Methods Mol. Biol. 2019 1915 233-247
Extracellular superoxide dismutase (SOD3) regulates oxidative stress at the vitreoretinal interface.
Wert KJ, Velez G, Cross MR, Wagner BA, Teoh-Fitzgerald ML, Buettner GR, McAnany JJ, Olivier A, Tsang SH, Harper MM, Domann FE, Bassuk AG, Mahajan VB, Free Radic. Biol. Med. 2018 08 124 408-419
Establishment of human pluripotent stem cell-derived pancreatic ß-like cells in the mouse pancreas.
Ma H, Wert KJ, Shvartsman D, Melton DA, Jaenisch R, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 2018 04 115 15 3924-3929
Cytotoxic Escherichia coli strains encoding colibactin isolated from immunocompromised mice with urosepsis and meningitis.
Bakthavatchalu V, Wert KJ, Feng Y, Mannion A, Ge Z, Garcia A, Scott KE, Caron TJ, Madden CM, Jacobsen JT, Victora G, Jaenisch R, Fox JG, PLoS ONE 2018 13 3 e0194443

Honors & Awards

  • BrightFocus Foundation Travel Award
  • The Takashi Murachi Award for the outstanding presentation by a post-doctoral trainee at the FASEB Summer Research Conference
  • NIH/NCI F32CA196065 (PI)
  • Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research Director’s Fellowship Allowance
  • The Bernard F. Erlanger Award for Excellence in Research
  • Columbia University Graduate Student Advisory Council Travel Grant
  • New York Academy of Sciences Fellow Teaching Credential
  • American Society of Human Genetics (ASHG)/Charles J. Epstein Trainee Award for Excellence in Human Genetics Research – Finalist
  • B. Dobli Srinivasan, M.D. Award, Best Resident/Fellow Basic Science Research Paper
  • March of Dimes Scholarship
  • Marija Dokmanovic Chouinard Award for Excellence in Research
  • Burroughs-Wellcome Fund Travel Grant
  • B. Dobli Srinivasan, M.D. Award, Best Resident/Fellow Clinical Research Paper

Professional Associations/Affiliations

  • Stanford University School of Medicine (2017-2019)
  • Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research/MIT (2014-2017)
  • Columbia University Graduate School of the Arts and Sciences/Institute of Human Nutrition (2009-2013)
  • Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons/Institute of Human Nutrition (2008-2009)