Xinyi SU

Translational Retinal Research


Lab Location: #5-16   Email:   

Su Xinyi is a clinician-scientist. She practices ophthalmology as an Associate Consultant in Vitreo-retinal surgery at the National University Hospital (NUH), and holds an academic position as an Assistant Professor at the Department of Ophthalmology, National University of Singapore (NUS).  She graduated from the University of Cambridge in 2009 with an MBChir degree in Medicine and a PhD degree in Molecular Biology. Her thesis research was conducted with Ashok Venkitaraman (Ursulla Zoellner Professor in Cancer Research) at the Hutchinson MRC Cancer Cell Unit, where she developed a novel method to conditionally inactivate RAD51, an essential protein in homologous DNA recombination (HDR). This allowed her to dissect the role of recombination and replication within a single cell cycle, and suggested a model in which HDR occurs during G2, separate from DNA replication in the S phase. This work was published in Nature Structural Molecular Biology.  Xinyi is a Merit Award Winner of National Science Talent Search in 1999 during her ‘A’ levels, and a recipient of the National Science Scholarship from the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) for her MD/PhD studies in the UK. She joined IMCB in 2016 as a research-clinician to conduct independent research. Passionate about building bridges between science and medicine, Xinyi’s research interests are in translational research for retinal therapeutics.



miRNA based biomarkers for Diabetic Macular Oedema (DME)

Diabetic retinopathy (DR) is the leading cause of blindness among working adults globally. The current gold-standard treatment for DME involvs monthly intravitreal administration of anti-VEGF such as Avastin®, Eyelea® and Lucentis®. However, about 25% of DME patients experience only a moderate improvement in vision, whilst another 25% of DME patients show no response at all (non-responders). It takes many months (i.e multiple injections of up to 10 each year) to determine a need for switch in therapy. This belies a need to need to (1) Identify biomarkers for patient stratification and (2) Identify novel targets for disease therapeutics. In collaboration with MiRXES, we aim to develop a non-invasive tear-based miRNA kit to differentiate between responder and non-responder patients, as a tool to guide ophthalmologists in their clinical practice.

OrBID (OculaR BIomaterials and Device): A Biomaterials (polymer) platform providing clinical solutions for retinal disease

This program is aimed at developing a hydrogels-based biomaterials platform to solve unmet clinical needs in ophthalmology. Our focus is on developing polymers for vitreo-retinal applications, such as (i) Sustained intravitreal drug delivery, (ii) Vitreous substitutes: as internal tamponade agents after vitrectomy and (iii) Retinal cellular therapeutics: surgical adjuncts for subretinal RPE transplantation.

Sustained intravitreal drug delivery of biologics, in particular to the back of the eye, is the holy grail of ocular therapeutics. However a suitable drug delivery vehicle has remained elusive due to the lack of ideal biomaterials. Similarly, current agents used for medium and long-term tamponade after vitreo-retinal surgery, such as expansile gases and silicone oil, have been around since the 1960s. Despite their inherent limitations, they have not been replaced due to a lack of better alternatives. Lastly, stem cell transplantation is seen as the future of retinal therapeutics for vision recovery in treatment of AMD.  As this is an emerging field, there is still a lack of suitable vitreo-retinal surgical adjuncts for cell transfer and to augment functional cell integration after sub-macular stem cell delivery surgery.

We propose that hydrogels (hydrophilic polymers), which are optically clear and strongly resemble the natural vitreous, are promising alternatives to existing materials. Our collaborators at IMRE, Dr Loh Xian Jun has demonstrated in extensive publications, the ability to synthesize a wide range of proprietary functional, biodegradable and thermosensitive hydrogels. Of significance, we have demonstrated that our thermogel is able to retain its structure and tensile strength despite injection through a small bore needle as employed during vitreo-retinal surgery. We have also demonstrated preliminary proof of concept that our thermogel is an effective internal tamponade using a non-human primate retinal detachment surgery model, with no long-term toxicity to the retina.




Department: Xinyi SU

Name: Swathi LINGAM

Designation: Collaborator


Name: Hanumakumar BOGIREDDI

Designation: Research Assistant


Name: Teresa Binxia YANG

Designation: Senior Research Fellow


Name: Xinxin ZHAO

Designation: Senior Research Fellow



Su X, Tan SW Q, Parikh B, Tan A, Mehta M.N, Yeo SW, Li Q LJ, Han XY, Wong TY, Hunziker W, Luu C D, Owada Y, Barathi V.A, Zhang SS, Chaurasia SS.
“Characterization of Fatty Acid Binding Protein in the Murine Retina”
IOVS, 2016 Jun 1;57(7):3397-408.(IF: 3.466) 

Su X, Tan MJ, Li Z, Wong M, Rajamani L, Lingam G, Loh XJ. 
“Recent progress in using biomaterials as vitreous substitutes” 
 2015 Oct 12; 16(10): 3093-102. 

Su X*, Wong WL*, Li X, Cheung G, Ronald Klein, Cheng CY, Wong TY. 
Global Prevalence of age-related macular degeneration and disease burden projection for 2020 and 2040: a systemic review and meta-analysis. 
Lancet Global Heath. Vol 2. No. 2 Feb 2014 e106 (*co-first authors).

Su X*, Jiemin Liao*, Peng Chen et al.
Meta-analysis of genome-wide association studies in multi-ethnic Asians identifies two loci for age-related nuclear cataract. 
Human Molecular Genetics 2014 Nov 15;23(22):6119-28 (*co-first author) 

Su X
, Bernal JA, Venkitaraman AR. 
Cell-cycle coordination between DNA replication and recombination revealed by a vertebrate N-end rule degron-Rad51. 
Nat Struct Mol Biol 2008 Oct;15(10):1049-58 

Ayoub N, Rajendra E. Su X, Jeyasekharan AD, Mahen R and Venkitaraman AR. 
The carboxy-terminus of BRCA2 links the disassembly of RAD51 complexes to mitotic entry.
Current Biology 2009 Jul 14; 19(13):1075-85.

Kadam Pai P, Su XY, Miranda JJ, Soemantri A, Saha N, Heng CK, Lai PS. 
Ethnic variations of a retinoblastoma susceptibility gene (RB1) polymorphism in eight Asian populations.
J Genet 2003 Apr-Aug; 82(1-2):33-7