Singh receives additional NIH funding for Zika virus-induced glaucoma research

Pawan Singh, PhD

Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology Pawan Singh, PhD, has received an additional $149,000 grant to supplement his NIH-funded research into how Zika virus can cause glaucoma in babies born from a mother infected during pregnancy and to test a potential drug to treat the condition.

Singh’s research team is studying Zika virus infection in pregnant and neonatal mice to decipher the disease mechanisms and discover new ways to fight the virus-induced congenital infection. In addition, Singh’s lab also investigates the role of innate immunity and ways to diagnose and treat glaucoma, a devastating ocular complication and one of the leading causes of blindness in our aged population.

The team also plans to test the effectiveness of two FDA-approved medications that have been shown in studies to decrease Zika virus infection in the placental cells of pregnant mice infected with Zika virus.

“We hope that the babies who get infected through their moms during pregnancy will not be born with elevated intraocular pressure, and we could protect these newborns from congenital glaucoma development, Singh said. “If successful in preclinical testing these therapies can be tested in humans.”

The full $2.04 million grant, from The National Eye Institute (NEI) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), runs through August 2026.