Qi N. Cui, MD, PhD

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Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania
Department: Ophthalmology

Contact information
University of Pennsylvania
Stellar-Chance Laboratories
422 Curie Blvd. Room 305A
Philadelphia, PA 19104
BS (Molecular & Cellular Biology and Psychology)
University of Arizona, 2002.
PhD (Neurobiology and Anatomy)
University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry , 2009.
University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry , 2011.
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Description of Clinical Expertise

Dr. Cui specializes in the diagnosis and management of glaucoma. She cares for patients at the Perelman Center for Advanced Medicine (Scheie Eye Institute). She performs surgeries to treat both cataract and glaucoma, including minimally invasive glaucoma surgery (MIGS).

Description of Research Expertise

Research Interests:
The Cui lab seeks to understand glaucoma pathogenesis and identify effective treatments for this blinding disease.

ophthalmology; glaucoma; neuroinflammation; neuroprotection; oxidative stress; mitochondria; retinal ganglion cells; optic nerve; intraocular pressure; GLP-1 receptor agonists; iron chelation

Research Description:
Glaucoma is characterized by retinal ganglion cell loss and optic nerve degeneration. It is the leading cause of irreversible blindness projected to affect 112 million people by 2040. Elevated intraocular pressure is a well-known risk factor in this disease, and intraocular pressure reduction is the predominant therapy for slowing progression. Because glaucoma continues to progress in a significant number of patients despite intraocular pressure normalization, new therapies targeting different pathogenic mechanisms are urgently needed to prevent vision loss in these patients.

The Cui lab seeks to elucidate pathogenic mechanisms contributing to glaucoma and identify new and innovative therapies for glaucoma. My lab is actively evaluating GLP-1 receptors agonists, a class of diabetic and weight loss medication, as neuroprotective agents in glaucoma (Sterling et al. Cell Reports. 2020; Sterling et al. Br J Ophthalmol. 2021). In collaboration with the lab of Joshua Dunaief, we showed iron chelation is effective for rescuing retinal ganglion cells and promoting optic nerve axon survival in an animal model of glaucoma. Finally, we are characterizing a mouse with inherited deficits affecting the mitochondrial electron transport chain resulting in retinal ganglion cell loss as a model of normal tension glaucoma.

Additional information can be found at the lab website:

Twitter: @CuiLab

Selected Publications

Cui QN, Stein LM, Fortin SM, Hayes MR: The role of glia in the physiology and pharmacology of glucagon-like peptide-1: implications for obesity, diabetes, neurodegeneration and glaucoma. Br J Pharmacol 179(4): 715-726, Feb 2022.

Guo M, Schwartz TD, Dunaief JL, Cui QN: Myeloid cells in retinal and brain degeneration. FEBS J Sep 2021.

Sterling JK, Adetunji MO, Guttha S, Bargoud AR, Uyhazi K, Ross AG, Dunaief JL, Cui QN: GLP-1 Receptor Agonist NLY01 Reduces Retinal Inflammation and Neuron Death Secondary to Ocular Hypertension. Cell Reports 33(5): 108271, Nov 2020 Notes: doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2020.108271.

Sterling J, Hua P, Dunaief JL, Cui QN, VanderBeek BL.: Glucagon-like peptide 1 receptor agonist use is associated with reduced risk for glaucoma. Br J Ophthalmol Aug 2021.

Cui Qi N, Bargoud Albert R, Ross Ahmara G, Song Ying, Dunaief Joshua L: Oral administration of the iron chelator deferiprone protects against loss of retinal ganglion cells in a mouse model of glaucoma. Experimental eye research 193: 107961, Feb 2020.

Cui QN, Hays RD, Tarver ME, Spaeth GL, Paz SH, Weidmer B, Fellman RL, Vold SD, Eydelman M, Singh K.: Vision-Targeted Health-Related Quality-of-Life Survey for Evaluating Minimally Invasive Glaucoma Surgery. Am J Ophthalmol 229: 145-151, Apr 2021.

Cui Qi N, Gray Iga N, Yu Yinxi, VanderBeek Brian L: Repeated intravitreal injections of antivascular endothelial growth factors and risk of intraocular pressure medication use. Graefe's archive for clinical and experimental ophthalmology = Albrecht von Graefes Archiv fur klinische und experimentelle Ophthalmologie 257(9): 1931-1939, Sep 2019.

Li T, Le JT, Hays RD, Cui QN, Eydelman M, Spaeth G, Tarver ME, Singh K: Patient-reported outcomes measures and patient preferences for minimally invasive glaucoma surgical devices. Eye (London, England) 34(1): 205-210, Jan 2020.

Cui Qi N, Hsia Yen C, Lin Shan C, Stamper Robert L, Rose-Nussbaumer Jennifer, Mehta Nitisha, Porco Travis C, Naseri Ayman, Han Ying: Effect of mitomycin c and 5-flurouracil adjuvant therapy on the outcomes of Ahmed glaucoma valve implantation. Clinical & experimental ophthalmology 45(2): 128-134, Mar 2017.

Gudiseva Harini V, Pistilli Maxwell, Salowe Rebecca, Singh Larry N, Collins David W, Cole Brian, He Jie, Merriam Sayaka, Khachataryan Naira, Henderer Jeffrey, Addis Victoria, Cui Qi N, Sankar Prithvi S, Miller-Ellis Eydie, Chavali Venkata R M, Ying Gui-Shuang, Wallace Douglas, O'Brien Joan M: The association of mitochondrial DNA haplogroups with POAG in African Americans. Experimental eye research 181: 85-89, Apr 2019.

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Last updated: 01/24/2023
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