Rajiv R. Mohan, PhD


University of Missouri bioscientist Dr. Rajiv Mohan is renowned for his contributions to eye research, including nanomedicine therapies to treat corneal diseases.

Each year, 1.5 million Americans are affected by eye injury or disease which damages the cornea. Mohan has identified minimally invasive ways to deliver treatments both topically and by injection. He has also invented a new method of using nanoparticles to introduce therapeutic genes to treat diseased corneas in animals. He hopes to translate the gene therapy to human medicine.

Another of Mohan’s areas of expertise is complications arising from laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis (LASIK) laser surgery. The frequently used procedure, while generally safe, can lead to dry eyes and small folds in the cornea. Mohan is looking at the molecular level to understand precisely how the cornea heals itself.

Mohan has published more than 100 peer-reviewed articles and has presented his work at national and international eye research conferences. In 2014, he was named a Silver Fellow by the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology, the largest eye and vision research organization in the world.

Dr. Rajiv Mohan is a professor of ophthalmology and molecular medicine at the School of Medicine and Ruth M. Kraeuchi Missouri Endowed Chair Professor in Veterinary Ophthalmology at the College of Veterinary Medicine. He is also director of MU’s Ophthalmology One-Health One-Medicine Research Program and director of resident research at the Mason Eye Institute.

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Academic Information

P. 573-884-1449

Research Interests

  • Corneal gene therapy
  • Corneal nanomedicine
  • Corneal wound healing
  • Refractive laser surgery (PRK, LASIK)
  • Corneal scarring and angiogenesis
  • Keratoconus
  • Glaucoma
  • Peritoneal Fibrosis and Laminitis

Areas of Expertise

  • Corneal gene therapy
  • Corneal nanomedicine
  • Corneal wound healing
  • Refractive laser surgery (PRK, LASIK)
  • Corneal scarring and angiogenesis
  • Keratoconus
  • Glaucoma
  • Peritoneal Fibrosis and Laminitis

Education & Training

Medical School

Lucknow University, India


Eye institution Cleveland Clinic

Awards & Honors

  • 2016: Best poster presentation award at the Phi Zeta Research day (May 6; Jessica Kitchell VM3 student)
  • 2016: “Gold Fellow” Award by the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO)
  • 2016: 3rd Place Best Paper award at the Phi Zeta Research day (May 6; Rayne Lim PhD graduate student)
  • 2016: People’s Choice Award at the Missouri Annual Life Science week (April 18; Lori Gutzmann PhD graduate student)
  • 2016: 3rd place best poster award in molecular and cellular biology at the Missouri Annual Life Science week (April 18; Rayne Lim PhD graduate student)
  • 2016: Research Career Scientist Award from the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (Feb 1)
  • 2016: Invited distinguished speaker at the Amity University, Lucknow, India. Title: Nanotechnology: Delivering innovation in curing blindness (Jan 18).
  • 2016: Invited Colloquium speaker at the National institution of Science Education and Research, Bhuneshwar, India. Title: Nanotechnology application in curing blindness (Jan 15).
  • 2015: 1st place Best Paper Award at the 22nd Mason Eye Research Day (Evan Olson MD, May 29)
  • 2015: 2nd place Best Paper Award at the 22nd Mason Eye Research Day (Michael Possin MD, May 29)
  • 2015: Best Missouri Foundation for Medical Research Award at VA Research day (Mike Fink DVM, Sept 5)
  • 2015: People’s Choice Award at the VA Research Week (Suneel Gupta PhD, Sept 5)
  • 2015: First place award at the Phi Zeta day for Resident and Graduate students (Mike Fink DVM, May 8)
  • 2015: Keynote Speaker at the Symposium on “Recent Trends in Vision and Ophthalmic Drug Delivery, University of Florida, Tampa, FL (September 23, 2015)
  • 2015: Invited distinguished speaker at the Delhi institution of Pharmaceutical Sciences and Research University of Delhi, India (May 29, 2015). Title: Nanomedicine For Corneal Blindness
  • 2015: Plenary Speaker at the VA-Annual Research Week 2015 for the symposium “Translating Nano- and Regenerative Medicine approaches to Advance Veterans’ Health Care” in James A Haley VA Hospital, Tampa, FL (May 20-21, 2015)
  • 2015: Distinguished speaker lecture at the Dean McGee Eye institution, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, Oklahoma City (Jan 22, 2015)
  • 2014: Distinguished guest lecture at the UPMC Eye Center, Louis J Fox Center for Vision Restoration and McGowan institution for Regenerative Medicine University of Pittsburgh (Dec 10, 2014)
  • 2014: Best Paper Award (2nd place) at the Table Rock Regional Round-up 4-state (MO, OK, KS, AK) ophthalmologists competition (Jonathan Tovey, Sept 23)
  • 2014: Best Basic Sciences Paper of the Year Award from the National Phi Zeta Society (Vet Ophthalmol. 2014;17:162-169)
  • 2014: Best Paper Award (1st place 21th Mason Eye Research Day (Evan Olson, May 30)
  • 2014: Best Paper Award (2nd place), 21th Mason Eye Research Day (Lisa Leishmann, May 30)
  • 2014: Zoetis Award for Research Excellence in Veterinary Medicine (May 13)
  • 2014: Newest and Most Innovative Research identified by the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) and featured in “Hot Topics” (May 4-8; Abstract # 1913444)
  • 2014: Mahatma Gandhi Pravasi Samman by the Non-resident Indian Welfare Society India (May 7)
  • 2014: Silver Fellow Designation by the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (May 5)
  • 2014: Invited lecture at the “Cancer prevention and Chemoprevention Symposium: State of the Art” at the University of Alabama at Birmingham Comprehensive Cancer Center and Dermatology Department
  • 2014: Poster won 1st place award in Medicine and Health category at Hernando County Regional Intel Science and Engineering Fair in Florida (Feb 5; Vasu Malhotra)
  • 2014: Received the “Overall Best in Show” award at Hernando County Regional Intel Science and Engineering Fair in Florida (Feb 5; Vasu Malhotra)


  • Gronkiewicz KM, Giuliano EA, Sharma A, Mohan RR. Molecular mechanisms of suberoylanilide hydroxamic acid in the inhibition of TGF-β1-mediated canine corneal fibrosis. Vet Ophthalmol. 2016;19:480-487.
  • Pahuja N, Kumar NR, Shroff R, Shetty R, Nuijts RM, Ghosh A, Sinha-Roy A, Chaurasia SS, Mohan RR, Ghosh A. Differential Molecular Expression of Extracellular Matrix and Inflammatory Genes at the Corneal Cone Apex Drives Focal Weakening in Keratoconus. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2016;57:5372-5382.
  • Marlo TL, Giuliano EA, Sharma A, Mohan RR. Development of a novel ex vivo equine corneal model. Vet Ophthalmol. 2016 Jul 29. doi: 10.1111/vop.12415.
  • Sharma A, Anumanthan G, Reyes M, Chen H, Brubaker JW, Siddiqui S, Gupta S, Rieger FG, Mohan RR. Epigenetic Modification Prevents Excessive Wound Healing and Scar Formation After Glaucoma Filtration Surgery. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2016;57:3381-3389.
  • Gronkiewicz KM, Giuliano EA, Sharma A, Mohan RR. Effects of topical hyaluronic acid on corneal wound healing in dogs: a pilot study. Vet Ophthalmol. 2016 Apr 7. doi: 10.1111/vop.12379
  • Lim RR, Tan A, Liu YC, Barathi VA, Mohan RR, Mehta JS, Chaurasia SS. ITF2357 transactivates Id3 and regulate TGFβ/BMP7 signaling pathways to attenuate corneal fibrosis. Sci Rep. 2016;6:20841.
  • Mohan RR, Morgan BR, Anumanthan G, Sharma A, Chaurasia SS, Rieger FG. Characterization of Inhibitor of Differentiation (Id) Proteins in Human Cornea. EER 2015. Exp Eye Res. 2016:146:145-53.
  • Gronkiewicz KM, Giuliano EA, Sharma A, Mohan RR. Development of a novel in vivo corneal fibrosis model in the dog. Exp Eye Res. 2016;143:75-88.
  • Jhanji V, Lim RR, Chaurasia SS, Mohan RR. Differential Early Cellular Events after Conventional and Inverted Side-cut Corneal LASIK Flaps using Femtosecond Laser. J. Ref Sur. In press.
  • Raikwar SP, Raikwar AS, Chaurasia SS, Mohan RR. Gene editing for corneal disease management. World J Transl Med 2016; 5:1-13.
  • Chaurasia SS, Lim RR, Lakshminarayanan R, Mohan RR. Nanomedicine approaches for corneal diseases. J Funct Biomater. 2015, 30:277-98.
  • Sharma A, Sinha NR, Mohan RR. Role of 5’TG3’-interacting factors (TGIFs) in Vorinostat (HDAC inhibitor)-mediated Corneal Fibrosis Inhibition. Mol Vis. 2015;21:974-84. eCollection 2015.
  • Shetty R, Sathyanarayanamoorthy S, Ramachandra RA, Arora V, Ghosh A, Srivatsa R, Pahuja N, Nuijts RMMA, Sinha-Roy A, Mohan RR, Ghosh A. Attenuation of lysyl oxidase and collagen gene expression in keratoconus patient corneal epithelium corresponds to disease severity. Mol Vis. 2015; 21:12-25.
  • Chaudhary K, Moore H, Tandon A, Gupta S, Khanna R, Mohan RR. Nanotechnology and adeno-associated virus-based decorin gene therapy ameliorates peritoneal fibrosis. Am J Physiol Renal Physiol. 2014; 307: F777-782.
  • Donnelly KS, Giuliano EA, Sharma A, Mohan RR. Suberoylanilide hydroxamic acid (vorinostat): its role on equine corneal fibrosis and matrix metalloproteinase activity. Vet Ophthalmol. 2014; 17 Suppl 1:61-68.
  • Fink MK, Giuliano EA, Tandon A, Mohan RR. Therapeutic potential of pirfenidone for treating equine corneal scarring. Vet Ophthalmol 2014 Jul 15. doi: 10.1111/vop.12194.
  • Mohan RR, Rodier JT, Tandon A, Sharma A Corneal gene therapy: Basic science and Translational prospective: Ocular Surf 2013, 11:150-164.
  • Tandon A, Sharma A, Rodier JT, Klibanov AM, Rieger FG III, Mohan RR. BMP7 gene transfer via gold nanoparticles into stroma inhibits corneal fibrosis in vivo. PLoS One. 2013;8:e66434.
  • Donnelly KS, Giuliano EA, Sharma A, Tandon A, Rodier JT, Mohan RR. Decorin-PEI nanoconstruct attenuates equine corneal fibroblast differentiation. Vet Ophthalmol. 2014; 17:162-169.
  • Phillips D, Sharma A, Klibanov AM, Mohan RR. Hybrid Gold Nanoparticles potent vector to deliver genes into normal and transformed Fuch’s dystrophy human corneal endothelial cells. Cornea. Under review.
  • Sharma A, Rodier JT, Tandon A, Klibanov AM, Mohan RR. Attenuation of corneal myofibroblast through nanoparticle-mediated soluble transforming growth factor-β type II receptor (sTGF-βRII) gene transfer. Mol Vis 2012; 18:2598-2607.
  • Tandon A, Tovey JCK, Waggoner MR, A, Sharma A, Cowden JW, Gibson DJ, Liu Y, Schultz GS, Mohan RR. Vorinostat: A potent agent to treat laser-induced corneal haze. J Refract Surg. 2012; 28:285-290.
  • Korampally M, Apperson SJ, Staley CS, Castorena JA, Thiruvengadathan R, Gangopadhyay K, Mohan RR, Ghosh A, Polo-Parada L, Gangopadhyay S. Transient pressure mediated intranuclear delivery of FITC-Dextran into chicken cardiomyocytes by MEMS-based nano thermite reaction actuator. Sensors and Actuators B: Chemical. 2012, 171-172, 1292-1296. (http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.snb.2012.06.081)
  • Liu J, Seet LF, Koh LW, Venkatraman A, Venkataraman D, Mohan RR, Praetorius J, Bonanno JA, Aung T, Vithana EN. Depletion of SLC4A11 causes cell death by apoptosis in an immortalized human corneal endothelial cell line. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2012; 53: 3270-3279.
  • Mohan RR, Tovey JCK, Sharma A, Tandon A. Gene Therapy in the Cornea: 2005-present. Progress in Retinal and Eye Research 2012; 31:44-64.
  • Bosiack AP, Giuliano EA, Gupta R, Mohan RR. Corneal Gene Therapy in veterinary medicine: A review. J Veterinary Science Technology 2012, S8 http://dx.doi.org/10.4172/2157-7579.S8-001
  • Bosiack AP, Giuliano EA, Gupta R, Mohan RR. Canine corneal fibroblast and myofibroblast transduction with AAV5. Vet Ophthalmol. 2012; 15:291-298.
  • Bosiack AP, Giuliano EA, Gupta R, Mohan RR. Efficacy and safety of suberoylanilide hydroxamic acid (Vorinostat) in the treatment of canine corneal fibrosis. Vet Ophthalmol. 2012; 15:307-314.
  • Mohan RR, Tovey JCK, Sharma A, Schultz GS, Cowden JW, Tandon A. Targeted decorin gene therapy delivered with adeno-associated virus effectively retards corneal neovascularization in vivo. PLoS One 2011; 6:e26432.
  • Kanwar JR, Sun X, Punj V, Sriramoju B, Mohan RR, Zhou SF, Chauhan A, Kanwar RK. Nanoparticles in the treatment and diagnosis of neurological disorders: Untamed dragon with fire power to heal. Nanomedicine 2012; 8:399-414.
  • Gupta R, Benjamin W. Yarnall, Elizabeth A. Giuliano, Jagat R. Kanwar, Dylan G. Buss, Mohan RR. Mitomycin C: a promising agent for the treatment of canine corneal scarring. Veterinary Ophthalmology. 2011; 14:304-3212.
  • Mohan RR, Tandon A, Sharma A, Cowden JW, Tovey JCK. Significant inhibition of corneal scarring in vivo with tissue-selective, targeted AAV5 decorin gene therapy. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2011; 52:4833-4841.
  • Mohan RR, Sinha S, Tandon A, Gupta R, Tovey JCK, Sharma A. Efficacious and safe tissue-selective controlled gene therapy approaches for the cornea. PLoS One. 2011; 6(4):e18771.
  • Mohan RR, Tovey JCK, Gupta R, Tandon A, Sharma A. Decorin biology, expression, function and therapy in the cornea. Mol. Med. 2011, 11:110-128.
  • Sharma A, Tandon A, Jonathan JCK, Gupta R, Robertson D, Fortune FA, Klibanov AM, Cowden JW, Mohan RR. Polyethyleneimine-conjugated gold nanoparticles: Gene transfer potential and low toxicity in the cornea. Nanomedicine: Nanotechnology, Biology and Medicine. 2011; 7(4):505-513.
  • Mohan RR, Sharma A, Cebulko TC, Tandon A. Vector-delivery techniques regulate AAV-mediated gene transfer in the cornea in vivo. Mol Vis 2010, 16:2494-2501.
  • Kanwar JR, Mohan RR, Kanwar RK, Roy K, Bawa R. Application of aptamer in nano delivery systems in cancer, eye and inflammatory diseases. Nanomedicine, 2010, 5:1435-1445.
  • Kitano A, Okada Y, Yamanda O, Shirai K, Mohan RR, Saika S. Therapeutic potential of Trichostatin-A to control inflammatory and fibrogenic disorders of ocular surface. Vis. 2010, 16:2964-2973.
  • Sharma A, Tovey JCK, Ghosh A, Mohan RR. AAV serotype influences gene transfer in corneal stroma in vivo. Exp Eye Res 2010, 91:440-448.
  • Tandon A, Tovey JCK, Sharma A, Gupta R, Mohan RR. Role of transforming growth factor-beta in corneal function, biology and pathology. Curr Mol Med. 2010, 10: 565-578.
  • Mohan RR, Gupta R, Mehan MK, Cowden JW, Sinha S. Decorin transfection suppresses profibrogenic genes and myofibroblast formation in human corneal fibroblasts. Exp Eye Res. 2010, 91:238-245.
  • Sharma A, Bettis DI, Cowden JW, Mohan RR. Localization of angiotensin converting enzyme in rabbit cornea and its role in controlling corneal angiogenesis in vivo. Mol Vis. 2010, 16:720-28.
  • Sharma A, Ghosh A, Hansen ET, Newman JM, Mohan RR. Transduction efficiency of AAV 2/6, 2/8 and 2/9 vectors for delivering genes in human corneal fibroblasts. Brain Research Bulletin. 2010, 81:273-78.
  • Buss D, Sharma A, Giuliano E, Mohan RR. Isolation and cultivation of equine corneal keratocytes, fibroblasts and myofibroblasts. Vet Ophthalmol. 2010, 13:37-42.
  • Sharma A, Ghosh A, Siddappa C, Mohan RR. Gene Therapy for the cornea, conjunctiva, and lacrimal gland. Encyclopedia of the Eye. 2010, 2:185-194.
  • Buss D, Sharma A, Giuliano EA, Mohan RR. Efficacy and safety of Mitomycin C as an agent to treat corneal scarring in horses using an in vitro model. Vet Ophthalmol. 2010, 13:211-218.
  • Buss D, Sharma A, Giuliano E, Mohan RR. Gene delivery in the equine cornea: a novel therapeutic strategy. Vet Ophthalmol. 2010, 13:301-306.
  • Thakkar MM, Engelmann SC, Sharma R, Mohan RR, Sahota P. Sleep-wakefulness in alcohol preferring (P) and non-preferring (NP) rats following binge alcohol administration. Neuroscience. 2010, 170:22-27.
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