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

Human neural crest cells contribute to coat pigmentation in interspecies chimeras after in utero injection into mouse embryos.
Cohen MA, Wert KJ, Goldmann J, Markoulaki S, Buganim Y, Fu D, Jaenisch R, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 2016 Feb 113 6 1570-5
Neuroretinal hypoxic signaling in a new preclinical murine model for proliferative diabetic retinopathy.
Wert KJ, Mahajan VB, Zhang L, Yan Y, Li Y, Tosi J, Hsu CW, Nagasaki T, Janisch KM, Grant MB, Mahajan M, Bassuk AG, Tsang SH, Signal Transduct Target Ther 2016 1
Pathology and mechanism of eye diseases
Wert KJ, Kroeger H, Wu F, Tsang SH, Lin JH Ophthalmic Disease Mechanisms and Drug Discovery 2016 3-32
A Systematic Approach to Identify Candidate Transcription Factors that Control Cell Identity.
D'Alessio AC, Fan ZP, Wert KJ, Baranov P, Cohen MA, Saini JS, Cohick E, Charniga C, Dadon D, Hannett NM, Young MJ, Temple S, Jaenisch R, Lee TI, Young RA, Stem Cell Reports 2015 Nov 5 5 763-775
CAPN5 mutation in hereditary uveitis: the R243L mutation increases calpain catalytic activity and triggers intraocular inflammation in a mouse model.
Wert KJ, Bassuk AG, Wu WH, Gakhar L, Coglan D, Mahajan M, Wu S, Yang J, Lin CS, Tsang SH, Mahajan VB, Hum. Mol. Genet. 2015 Aug 24 16 4584-98
Silencing of tuberin enhances photoreceptor survival and function in a preclinical model of retinitis pigmentosa (an american ophthalmological society thesis).
Tsang SH, Chan L, Tsai YT, Wu WH, Hsu CW, Yang J, Tosi J, Wert KJ, Davis RJ, Mahajan VB, Trans Am Ophthalmol Soc 2014 Jul 112 103-15
Functional validation of a human CAPN5 exome variant by lentiviral transduction into mouse retina.
Wert KJ, Skeie JM, Bassuk AG, Olivier AK, Tsang SH, Mahajan VB, Hum. Mol. Genet. 2014 May 23 10 2665-77
Mid-stage intervention achieves similar efficacy as conventional early-stage treatment using gene therapy in a pre-clinical model of retinitis pigmentosa.
Wert KJ, Sancho-Pelluz J, Tsang SH, Hum. Mol. Genet. 2014 Jan 23 2 514-23
General pathophysiology in retinal degeneration.
Wert KJ, Lin JH, Tsang SH, Dev Ophthalmol 2014 53 33-43
Therapeutic margins in a novel preclinical model of retinitis pigmentosa.
Davis RJ, Hsu CW, Tsai YT, Wert KJ, Sancho-Pelluz J, Lin CS, Tsang SH, J. Neurosci. 2013 Aug 33 33 13475-83

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)