Hu Huang, PhD


Dr. Hu Huang's primary focus involves the study of the retina (a metabolically active tissue that senses light). Dysregulation of metabolism results in retinal cell dysfunction and miscommunication, subsequent cell death and vision loss. Dr. Huang, PhD, is investigating retinal cell metabolism and communication, as well as their abnormalities in retinal diseases such as diabetic retinopathy. Dr. Huang is also investigating chemokine regulation of immune cell (e.g., microglia and macrophage) activation and migration to the outer retina (photoreceptor and retinal pigment epithelium). This research is relevant to pathological conditions such as age-related macular degeneration and retinitis pigmentosa.

Academic Information

Assistant Professor


1 Hospital Dr
Columbia, MO 65212
United States

P. 573-882-9899

Research Interests

  • Diabetic retinopathy
  • Macular degeneration
  • Retinitis pigmentosa
  • Endothelial metabolism
  • Pathological angiogenesis
  • Neuro-inflammation
  • Innate immune signaling
  • Cytokine and chemokine
  • Neuroglia cells

Areas of Expertise

  • Angiogenesis
  • Blood retinal barrier
  • Retinal degeneration
  • Retinal cell biology

Education & Training

Post-Graduate School

PhD, Shanghai Institute of Biochemistry

Postdoctoral Fellowship

Johns Hopkins University

Awards & Honors

  • Active NIH/NEI R01 Research Grant
  • NIH/NEI Travel Grant (ARVO, Florida)
  • BrightFocus Foundation-MD Research Award
  • Wilmer Research Grant Award, Johns Hopkins University
  • Knights Templar Eye Foundation Research Fellowship Award


  • Huang H, Saddala, MS, Fan L. Pathway-focused gene interaction analysis reveals the regulation of TGFβ, pentose phosphate pathway and antioxidant defense system by placental growth factor in human retinal endothelial cells: implication in diabetic retinopathy. Under review
  • Saddala MS, Lennikov A, Huang H. Comparative TMT-based proteomics and transcriptome analysis reveal pentose phosphate pathway and antioxidant defense systems are regulated by placental growth factor in human retinal endothelial cells. Under review.
  • Saddala MS, Lennikov A, Mukwaya A, Huang H. Transcriptome-wide identification of gene targets by blocking L-type voltage-gated calcium channels in microglial cells. Under review.
  • Lennikov A, Mukwaya A, Saddala MS, Fan L, Sandro D, Huang H. Synergistic interactions of PlGF and PlGF/VEGF heterodimers with canonical NFκB signaling contribute to blood-retinal barrier breakdown in early diabetic retinopathy. Under review.
  • Saddala MS, Lennikov A, Mukwaya A, Huang H. Anti-inflammatory and anti-angiogenic effects of novel L-VGCC blockers in microglia cell culture and ocular angiogenesis models. Under review.
  • Saddala MS, Lennikov A, Huang H. RNA-Seq reveals expression profile of genes involved in retinal degeneration in Pde6c mutant Danio rerio. Revision Submitted
  • Huang H, Lennikov A, Saddala M, Grab JD, Gozal, D, Khalyfa, A, Fan F. Placental growth factor negatively regulates endothelial cell barrier function through suppression of glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase and anti-oxidant defense systems. FASEB J. 2019: 33(12). DOI: 10.1096/fj.201901353.
  • Lennikov A, Saddala MS, Mukwaya A, Tang S, Huang H. Autoimmune-mediated retinopathy in CXCR5-deficient mice as the result of accumulation of age-related macular degeneration associated proteins. Front Immunol. 2019:10:1903. doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2019.01903.
  • Saddala MS, Huang H. Identification of novel inhibitors for TNF-α, TNF receptor-1 and TNF-α, TNF receptor-1 complex using pharmacophore-based approaches. J Transl Med. 2019: 17(1):215.
  • Cao X, Li W, Liu Y, Huang H, Ye C. The anti-inflammatory effects of Cxcr5 in the mouse retina following acute ocular hypertension. Biomed Res Int. 2019: 3487607. doi: 10.1155/2019/3487607.
  • Saddala MS, Lennikov A, Anthony M, Huang H. Transcriptome-wide analysis of differentially expressed chemokine receptors, SNPs and SSRs in the age-related macular degeneration. Human Genomics. 2019.13:15.
  • Saddala MS, Lennikov A , Grab DJ, Liu G, Tang S, Huang H. Proteomics reveals ablation of PlGF increases antioxidant and neuroprotective proteins in the diabetic mouse retina. Sic Rep. 2018. 8(1):16728. doi: 10.1038/s41598-018-34955-x.
  • Bee YS, Chen J, Tsai P, Sheu S, Lin H, Huang H, Liu G and Tai M. Inhibition of experimental choroidal neovascularization by a novel peptide derived from calreticulin anti-angiogenic domain. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2018, 19, 2993; doi:10.3390/ijms19102993.
  • Tsai CH, Wang PY, Lin IC, Huang H, Liu GS, Tseng CL. Ocular Drug Delivery: Role of Degradable Polymeric Nanocarriers for Ophthalmic Application. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2018,19,2830; doi:10.3390/ ijms19092830.
  • Huang H, Liu Y, Wang L, Li W. Age-related macular degeneration phenotypes are associated with increased tumor necrosis-alpha and subretinal immune cells in aged Cxcr5 knockout mice. Plos One. 2017;12(3):e0173716.
  • Liu Y, Huang H, Sun G, et al. Gene expression profile of extracellular matrix and adhesion molecules in the normal corneal stroma. Curr Eye Res. 2016; 21:1-8.
  • Huang H, He J, Johnson D, et al. Deletion of placental growth factor prevents diabetic retinopathy and is associated with Akt activation and HIF1alpha-VEGF pathway inhibition. Diabetes. 2015; 64(1):200-12.
  • He J, Wang H, Liu Y, Li W, Kim D, Huang H. Blockade of vascular endothelial growth factor receptor 1 prevents retinal inflammation and vascular leakage in diabetic retinopathy. J Ophthalmol, 2015; 605946.
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