Pawan Singh, PhD


The primary research interest of Dr. Singh’s laboratory is to study host-pathogen interaction and to discover novel therapies to treat ocular infectious disease. In one of his NIH-funded projects, Dr. Singh’s team is investigating the role of the Zika virus (ZIKV) in congenital glaucoma. ZIKV is an emerging viral pathogen that causes microcephaly and leads to severe ocular complications in newborns born to ZIKV-infected mothers.

Although the ocular manifestations of ZIKV primarily are reported to affect the posterior segment of the eye resulting in chorioretinal atrophy, withering of the retina and choroid, and optic nerve abnormalities, several clinical case reports showed the involvement of the anterior segment resulting in congenital glaucoma. Glaucoma is the second-leading cause of blindness worldwide and is primarily considered as a genetic and age-related disease that has not been reported among infants exposed to infection during gestation, until recent ZIKV epidemics. Recently, using mouse models of ZIKV infection, Dr. Singh’s team discovered that ZIKV can cause an increase in intraocular pressure, retinal ganglion cell loss, and damage to the optic nerve (PMCID: PMC6506617), a hallmark of glaucoma. Dr. Singh’s laboratory uses both in vitro and in vivo (neonatal and pregnancy models of infections) models to decipher the molecular mechanism of the disease and to test novel therapies for these devastating complications of the eye.

Another area of Dr. Singh’s research is to investigate the role of innate immune components in the pathobiology of glaucoma and to develop neuroprotective therapies to treat this disease. Dr. Singh uses cutting-edge and high throughput “omics” technologies (such as transcriptomics, metabolomics) to study the role of host immune components in the pathogenesis of glaucoma and to discover metabolic markers that could be either used as a disease biomarker or tested as a therapeutic target. In addition, he is using an AAV-mediated gene therapy approach to test neurotrophic agents for neuroprotective therapies.

Dr. Singh’s research interest is also to develop recombinant antibodies or vaccine candidates for the treatment of infectious diseases. Using phage display technology, he has developed a recombinant ScFv antibody against Staphylococcal superantigen, SEB (PMCID: PMC3008221). Dr. Singh’s team aims to develop recombinant antibodies and vaccine candidates that can be used either as diagnostics or therapeutics for SARS-CoV-2 and other Staphylococcal superantigens that cause lethal diseases in humans.

Singh lab

Academic Information

Assistant Professor
P. 573-882-2869

Research Interests

  • Ocular Infectious Diseases
  • Glaucoma
  • Congenital Glaucoma
  • Ocular Viral Infections
  • Host-Pathogen Interaction
  • Innate Immunity and Inflammation
  • Blood Retinal Barrier
  • Neuroprotection
  • Gene Therapy
  • Transcriptomics, Metabolomics and Disease Biomarkers Discovery
  • Antibody Engineering
  • Vaccine Candidates

Areas of Expertise

  • Mouse model development for ocular infectious disease (bacterial, fungal, viral)
  • Intravitreal injections
  • Gene therapy
  • Retinal cell culture
  • Site directed mutagenesis
  • Gene cloning, expression and protein purification
  • Antibody development/ engineering

Education & Training


2012-2017: Postdoctoral Fellowship, Wayne State University School of Medicine, Detroit, USA
2011: PhD, Jiwaji University/ Defense Research & Development Establishment, Gwalior, India
2006: MS, Nagpur University, Nagpur, India

Awards & Honors

  • 2021: NEI/NIH R01 Research Award (2021-2026)
  • 2021: Foster Ocular Immunology Society Travel Award for ARVO 2021
  • 2020: Topical Advisory Panel/ Topic editor: Journal Pathogens (MDPI)
  • 2019: NEI/NIH Travel Award for ARVO 2019
  • 2018: Eversight Centre for Eye & Vision Research Grant Award
  • 2018, 2017 & 2014: Best Paper Presentation Award, Vision Workshop, Kresge Eye Institute (KEI), Wayne State University School of Medicine.
  • 2016: Alliance for Vision Research Grant Award
  • 2016: KEI-TRIG Intramural Research Grant Award
  • 2014: Fight For Sight Postdoctoral Fellowship Research Grant Award
  • 2013: Young investigator Award in Microbiology by Dr. Raniyah Ramadan Foundation, ARVO 2013, Seattle, Washington.
  • 2013-Present: Editor, International Journal of Ophthalmology and Eye Sciences
  • 2010: Young Scientist Award, M.P. Council of Science & Technology, India.
  • 2010 & 2008: Best Poster Presentation Award, Association of Microbiologist of India.

Professional Memberships

  • 2014: Member, American Society for Microbiology (ASM)
  • 2012-Present: Member for ARVO
  • 2010: Life member of the Association of Microbiologists of India
  • 2008: Member Antibody Engineering Society


Selected Publications

  • Sukhvinder Singh, Pawan Kumar Singh, AlokkumarJha, Poonam Naik, Joveeta Joseph, Shailendra Giri, Ashok Kumar.
    Integrative metabolomics and transcriptomics identifies itaconate as an adjunct therapy to treat ocular bacterial infection.
    Cell Reports Medicine. 2021. 2(5), 100277. doi:
  • Pawan Kumar Singh, Sukhvinder Singh, Robert Emery Wright III, Ramandeep Rattan, and Ashok Kumar.
    Aging, but not sex and genetic diversity, impacts the pathobiology of bacterial endophthalmitis
    Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences (IOVS), 2020. 61,5. doi:
  • Bruce G. Rottmann, Pawan Kumar Singh, Sneha Singh, Sanjay G. Revankar, Pranatharthi H. Chandrasekar, Ashok Kumar.
    Evaluation of susceptibility and innate immune response in C57BL/6 and BALB/c mice during Candida albicans endophthalmitis. Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences (IOVS). 2020, 61(11):31. doi:
  • Ajay Kumar, Pawan Kumar Singh, Kezhong Zhang, and Ashok Kumar.
    Toll-like receptor 2 (TLR2) engages endoplasmic reticulum stress sensor IRE1α to regulate retinal innate responses in S. aureus endophthalmitis.
    The FASEB journal. 2020. doi:
  • Rebecca Francis†, Pawan Kumar Singh†, Sneha Singh, Shailendra Giri, Ashok Kumar.
    Glycolytic inhibitor 2-deoxyglucose suppresses inflammatory response in innate immune cells and experimental staphylococcal endophthalmitis.
    Experimental Eye Research. 197:108079. doi: († First author/equal contribution).
  • Sneha Singh, Pawan Kumar Singh, Hamid Suhail, V. Arumugaswami, Phil E. Pellett, Shailendra Giri, Ashok Kumar.
    AMP-Activated Protein Kinase Restricts Zika Virus Replication in Endothelial Cells by Potentiating Innate Antiviral Responses and Inhibiting Glycolysis.
    Journal of Immunology. 2020. 1;204 (7):1810-1824. doi:
  • Neha Gupta†, Pawan Kumar Singh†, Sanjay G. Revankar, Pranatharthi H. Chandrasekar, Ashok Kumar.
    Pathobiology of Aspergillus Fumigatus Endophthalmitis in Immunocompetent and Immunocompromised Mice.
    Microorganisms. 2019. 7(9), 297. († First author/equal contribution).
  • Pawan Kumar Singh#, Ramesh B. Kasetti, Gulab S. Zode, Anju Goyal, Mark S. Juzych, Ashok Kumar.
    Zika Virus (ZIKV) infects Trabecular Meshwork (TM) and causes Trabeculitis and Glaucomatous Pathology in Mouse Eyes.
    mSphere. 2019. 4(3). doi: (# Corresponding Author).
  • Pawan Kumar Singh, Sneha Singh, Dustin Farr, and Ashok Kumar.
    Interferon-stimulated gene 15 (ISG15) restricts Zika virus replication in primary human corneal epithelial cells.
    Ocular Surface. 2019. S1542-0124(19)30018-7. doi:

Find a complete list of Dr. Singh's publications