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Ocular Infammation & Immunology Research Group


Inflammation of the ocular surface following injury, infection or from chronic conditions takes a toll in the work place and in visual morbidity. Chronic inflammation associated infections are a major problem in Asia which often results in corneal blindness. Intraocular inflammation is another commonly seen condition associated with various other eye diseases.

The Ocular Inflammation and Immunology Research Group seeks to unveil the mechanisms and markers of major ocular inflammatory diseases with the goal of improving the current diagnostic and therapeutic approaches. The group is interested in both infectious and sterile inflammation, as well as ocular autoimmune disorders of the anterior and posterior segments of the eye, such as keratitis, pterygium, dry eye, uveitis, retinitis and inflammation associated with glaucoma and retinal diseases.


Our scientists and clinicians work at the forefront of ocular inflammation, furthering the understanding of inflammatory mechanisms and developing new diagnostics and therapeutics. Inflammation plays a significant role in many ocular diseases; understanding how the dysregulation of innate and adaptive immune responses leads to diseased ocular conditions is key. To combat inflammatory diseases in the eye, identification of diagnostic biomarkers and of potential targets for new therapeutics is underway with genetic-, proteomic- and cell-based approaches using human samples.


Ongoing Projects

  1. Targeting the inflammatory mechanisms in adenovirus infection and epidemic keratoconjunctivitis- Dr Nobuyo Yawata

  2. Development of biomarkers for corneal transplantation wound healing and severe corneal chemical and other injuries- A/Prof Jod S. Mehta/Dr Nobuyo Yawata

  3. Ocular surface inflammation: The role of T cells in dry eye- A/Prof Louis Tong

  4. Ocular surface inflammation: animal models- A/Prof Louis Tong

  5. Use of autologus plasma eye drops therapy for severe dry eye in Singapore- A/Prof Louis Tong

  6. Identification of the inflammatory mechanisms in fibrosis- Prof Roger Beuerman

  7. Proteomics study on ocular surface inflammatory diseases; S100 protein family as potential biomarkers- Prof Roger Beuerman

  8. Understanding the innate and adaptive immune mechanisms of CMV-related anterior uveitis- Prof Chee Soon Phaik, Dr Jay Siak, Dr Nobuyo Yawata

  9. Immunogenetics of CMV-related anterior uveitis- Prof Chee Soon Phaik, Dr Jay Siak, Dr Nobuyo Yawata

  10. Development of new diagnostics for Viral uveitis- Prof Chee Soon Phaik, Dr Jay Siak, Dr Nobuyo Yawata

  11. Standardisation of uveitis nomenclature for disease entities-formation of database for classification criteria for specific disease entities- Prof Chee Soon Phaik

  12. Validation of a Novel Micro-fluid Cytokine Analysis Platform for aqueous and vitreous humour in normal and eyes with Diabetic Retinopathy- Dr Kelvin Teo, Dr Marcus Ann, Dr Nobuyo Yawata


  1. Yawata N, Selva KJ, Liu YC, Tan KP, Lee AWL, Siak J, Lan W, Vania M, Arundhati A, Tong L, Li J, Mehta, JS, Yawata M. Dynamic change in natural killer cell type in the human ocular mucosa in situ as means of immune evasion by adenovirus infection. Mucosal Immunology 2015; doi:10.1038.

  2. Lim DSL, *Yawata N, Selva KJ, Li N, Tsai CY, Yeong LH, Ooi EE, Chong MK, Ng ML, Leo YS, Yawata M, and Wong SBJ. Type I IFN, TNF-α, and cell surface receptor engagement with dendritic cells synergize to enable NK cells to overcome dengue virus immune evasion. Journal of Immunology 2014; 193:5065-75. (*Joint first author)

  3. Chong PP, Chee HT, Rahman NAA, Yajima M, Chin FW, Lim CSY, Go ES, Chan CML, Yawata N, Yamamoto N. Prevalence and viral load of oncogenic human papillomavirus (HPV) in pterygia in multi-ethnic patients in the Malay Peninsula. Acta Ophthalmologica 2014; 92:e569-79.

  4. Tan AH, Chee SP. Malignant uveitis masquerade syndrome. Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2014 Oct 1;190(7):e24-5. doi: 10.1164/rccm.201309-1578IM. PubMed PMID: 25271756.

  5. Wong MH, Cheung GC, Chee SP. Posterior segment findings of ocular cytomegalovirus infection in immunocompetent patients. Graefes Arch Clin Exp Ophthalmol. 2014 Nov;252(11):1811-6. doi: 10.1007/s00417-014-2743-y. Epub 2014 Jul 24. PubMed PMID: 25056527.

  6. Ang M, Kiew SY, Wong WL, Chee SP. Discordance of two interferon-γ release assays and tuberculin skin test in patients with uveitis. Br J Ophthalmol. 2014 Dec;98(12):1649-53. doi: 10.1136/bjophthalmol-2014-305229. Epub 2014 Jul 7.PubMed PMID: 25001322.

  7. Ang M, Ng X, Wong C, Yan P, Chee SP, Venkatraman SS, Wong TT. Evaluation of a prednisolone acetate-loaded subconjunctival implant for the treatment of recurrent uveitis in a rabbit model. PLoS One. 2014 May 19;9(5):e97555. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0097555. eCollection 2014. PubMed PMID: 24842851; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4026472.

  8. Ang M, Wong WL, Kiew SY, Li X, Chee SP. Prospective head-to-head study comparing 2 commercial interferon gamma release assays for the diagnosis of tuberculous uveitis. Am J Ophthalmol. 2014 Jun;157(6):1306-14; 1314.e1-4. doi:10.1016/j.ajo.2014.01.031. Epub 2014 Feb 4. PubMed PMID: 24508163.
    9. Hedayatfar A, Hashemi H, Asgari S, Chee SP. Comparison of efficacy and ocular surface toxicity of topical preservative-free methylprednisolone and preserved prednisolone in the treatment of acute anterior uveitis. Cornea. 2014 Apr;33(4):366-72. doi: 10.1097/ICO.0000000000000039. PubMed PMID: 24351572.

  9. Tan N, Galvante PR, Chee SP. Endogenous Serratia marcescens endophthalmitis: an atypical presentation. Eye (Lond). 2014 Jan;28(1):108-9. doi: 10.1038/eye.2013.237. Epub 2013 Nov 1. PubMed PMID: 24177026; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3890763.

  10. Ang M, Wong WL, Li X, Chee SP. Interferon γ release assay for the diagnosis of uveitis associated with tuberculosis: a Bayesian evaluation in the absence of a gold standard. Br J Ophthalmol. 2013 Aug;97(8):1062-7. doi: 10.1136/bjophthalmol-2012-302199. Epub 2013 May 30. PubMed PMID: 23723411.

  11. Ang M, Sng CC, Chee SP, Tan DT, Mehta JS. Outcomes of corneal transplantation for irreversible corneal decompensation secondary to corneal endotheliitis in Asian eyes. Am J Ophthalmol. 2013 Aug;156(2):260-266.e2. doi: 10.1016/j.ajo.2013.03.020. Epub 2013 Apr 24. PubMed PMID: 23622566.

  12. Chee SP, Jap A, Ling EC, Ti SE. Cytomegalovirus-positive corneal stromal edema with keratic precipitates after penetrating keratoplasty: a case-control study. Cornea. 2013 Aug;32(8):1094-8. doi: 10.1097/ICO.0b013e318283c887. PubMed PMID: 23538617.

  13. Teo L, Seah LL, Choo CT, Chee SP, Chee E, Looi A. A survey of the histopathology of lacrimal gland lesions in a tertiary referral centre. Orbit.2013 Feb;32(1):1-7. doi: 10.3109/01676830.2012.736595. PubMed PMID: 23387446.

  14. Chee SP, Jap A. The outcomes of indocyanine green angiography monitored immunotherapy in Vogt-Koyanagi-Harada disease. Br J Ophthalmol. 2013 Feb;97(2):130-3. doi: 10.1136/bjophthalmol-2012-302538. Epub 2012 Dec 4. PubMed PMID: 23212203.

  15. Cheung CM, Vania M, Ang M, Chee SP, Li J. Comparison of aqueous humor cytokine and chemokine levels in diabetic patients with and without retinopathy. Mol Vis. 2012;18:830-7. Epub 2012 Apr 4. PubMed PMID: 22511846; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3327438.

  16. Yamane S, Lee AWL, Hanaoka N, Gonzalez G, Kaneko H, Ishida S, Kitaichi N, Ohno S, Koyanagi K, Aoki K, Fujimoto T, Yawata N, Watanabe H. Identification of contamination in the American Type Culture Collection stock of human adenovirus type 8 by whole genome sequencing. Journal of Virology 2013; 87:1285-1286. (IF5.1)

  17. Dick AD, Rosenbaum JT, Al-Dhibi HA, Belfort R Jr, Brézin AP, Chee SP, Davis JL, Ramanan AV, Sonoda K-H, Carreño E, Nascimento H, Salah-Berly S, Salek S, Siak J, Steeples L and the FOCUS International Consensus Group. Guidance on Noncorticosteroid Systemic Immunomodulatory Therapy in Noninfectious Uveitis: Fundamentals Of Care for UveitiS (FOCUS) Initiative. Ophthalmology. 2018 Jan 6. pii: S0161-6420(17)32446-6.

  18. Siak J, Mahendradas P, Chee SP. Multimodal Imaging in Anterior Uveitis. Ocul Immunol Inflamm. 2017 2017 Jun;25(3):434-446.

  19. Siak J, Kumaradas M, Chee SP. The Pattern of Uveitis in Sri Lanka. Ocul Immunol Inflamm. 2017;25(sup1):S63-S68.

  20. Siak J, Chee SP. Cytomegalovirus Anterior Uveitis following Topical Cyclosporine A.  Ocul Immunol Inflamm. 2018;26(1):90-93.

  21. Nguyen M, Siak J, Chee SP, Diem VQ. The Spectrum of Uveitis in Southern Vietnam. Ocul Immunol Inflamm. 2017;25(sup1):S100-S106.

  22. Siak J, Jansen A, Waduthantri S, Teoh CS, Jap A, Chee SP. The Pattern of Uveitis among Chinese, Malays, and Indians in Singapore. Ocul Immunol Inflamm. 2017;25(sup1):S81-S93.

  23. Hedayatfar A, Falavarjani KG, Soheilian M, Sadr NE, Modarres M, Parvaresh MM,  Naseripour M, Rohani M, Almasi M, Chee SP. Mycophenolate Mofetil for the Treatment of Multiple Sclerosis-associated Uveitis. Ocul Immunol Inflamm. 2016 Jul 5:1-7. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 27379567.

  24. Cytomegalovirus Retinitis and Uveitis. Cunningham ET Jr, Downes KM, Chee SP, Zierhut M. Ocul Immunol Inflamm. 2015;23(5):359-61. doi: 10.3109/09273948.2015.1090820.

  25. Current aspects on the management of viral uveitis in immunocompetent individuals. Pleyer U, Chee SP. Clin Ophthalmol. 2015 Jun 5;9:1017-28. doi:10.2147/OPTH.S60394. eCollection 2015.

  26. Diagnosis and treatment for ocular tuberculosis among uveitis specialists: the international perspective. Lou SM, Montgomery PA, Larkin KL, Winthrop K, Zierhut M, Rosenbaum JT; Uveitis Specialists Study Group. Ocul Immunol Inflamm. 2015 Feb;23(1):32-9. doi: 10.3109/09273948.2014.994784.

  27. Tuberculous uveitis. Cunningham ET Jr, Rathinam SR, Albini TA, Chee SP, Zierhut M. Ocul Immunol Inflamm. 2015 Feb;23(1):2-6. doi: 10.3109/09273948.2014.1004016.

  28. Relvas LJ, Caspers L, Chee SP, Zierhut M, Willermain F. Differential Diagnosis of Viral-Induced Anterior Uveitis. Ocul Immunol Inflamm. 2018 Jun 5:1-6. doi: 10.1080/09273948.2018.1468470. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 29869892.

  29. De Groot-Mijnes JDF, Chan ASY, Chee SP, Verjans GMGM. Immunopathology of Virus-Induced Anterior Uveitis. Ocul Immunol Inflamm. 2018;26(3):338-346. doi: 10.1080/09273948.2018.1439069. Epub 2018 Mar 15. PubMed PMID: 29543540.

  30. Waduthantri S, Zhou L, Chee SP. Intra-cameral level of ganciclovir gel, 0.15%  following topical application for cytomegalovirus anterior segment infection: A pilot study. PLoS One. 2018 Jan 29;13(1):e0191850. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0191850. eCollection 2018. PubMed PMID: 29377953; PubMed
    Central PMCID: PMC5788360.

  31. Dick AD, Rosenbaum JT, Al-Dhibi HA, Belfort R Jr, Brézin AP, Chee SP, Davis JL, Ramanan AV, Sonoda KH, Carreño E, Nascimento H, Salah S, Salek S, Siak J, Steeples L; Fundamentals of Care for Uveitis International Consensus Group. Guidance on Noncorticosteroid Systemic Immunomodulatory Therapy in Noninfectious  Uveitis: Fundamentals Of Care for UveitiS (FOCUS) Initiative. Ophthalmology. 2018 May;125(5):757-773. doi: 10.1016/j.ophtha.2017.11.017. Epub 2018 Jan 6. Review. PubMed PMID: 29310963.

  32. Agarwal A, Agrawal R, Gunasekaran DV, Raje D, Gupta B, Aggarwal K, Murthy SL,  Westcott M, Chee SP, Mccluskey P, Su Ling H, Teoh S, Cimino L, Biswas J, Narain S, Agarwal M, Mahendradas P, Khairallah M, Jones N, Tugal-Tutkun I, Babu K, Basu  S, Carreño E, Lee R, Al-Dhibi H, Bodaghi B, Invernizzi A, Goldstein DA, Herbort CP, Barisani-Asenbauer T, González-López JJ, Androudi S, Bansal R, Moharana B, Mahajan S, Esposti S, Tasiopoulou A, Nadarajah S, Agarwal M, Abraham S, Vala R, Singh R, Sharma A, Sharma K, Zierhut M, Kon OM, Cunningham E, Nguyen QD, Pavesio  C, Gupta V. The Collaborative Ocular Tuberculosis Study (COTS)-1 Report 3: Polymerase Chain Reaction in the Diagnosis and Management of Tubercular Uveitis: Global Trends. Ocul Immunol Inflamm. 2017 Dec 20:1-9. doi: 10.1080/09273948.2017.1406529. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 29261089.

  33. Chan NS, Ti SE, Chee SP. Decision-making and management of uveitic cataract. Indian J Ophthalmol. 2017 Dec;65(12):1329-1339. doi: 10.4103/ijo.IJO_740_17. Review. PubMed PMID: 29208813; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5742961.

  34. Chan NS, Chee SP, Caspers L, Bodaghi B. Clinical Features of CMV-Associated Anterior Uveitis. Ocul Immunol Inflamm. 2018;26(1):107-115. doi: 10.1080/09273948.2017.1394471. Epub 2017 Nov 27. PubMed PMID: 29172842.

  35. Anshu A, Tan D, Chee SP, Mehta JS, Htoon HM. Interventions for the management of CMV-associated anterior segment inflammation. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2017 Aug 24;8:CD011908. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD011908.pub2. Review. PubMed PMID: 28838031.

  36. Wakefield D, McCluskey P, Wildner G, Thurau S, Carr G, Chee SP, Forrester J, Dick A, Hudson B, Lightman S, Smith J, Tugal-Tutkun I; pre-treatment assessment Review panel. Inflammatory eye disease: Pre-treatment assessment of patients prior to commencing immunosuppressive and biologic therapy: Recommendations from  an expert committee. Autoimmun Rev. 2017 Mar;16(3):213-222. doi: 10.1016/j.autrev.2017.01.003. Epub 2017 Jan 27. Review. PubMed PMID: 28137477.

  37. Carr JM, Ashander LM, Calvert JK, Ma Y, Aloia A, Bracho GG, Chee SP, Appukuttan B, Smith JR. Molecular Responses of Human Retinal Cells to Infection with Dengue Virus. Mediators Inflamm. 2017;2017:3164375. doi: 10.1155/2017/3164375. Epub 2017 Nov 12. PubMed PMID: 29515292; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5829438.

  38. Ang M, Chee SP. Controversies in ocular tuberculosis. Br J Ophthalmol. 2017 Jan;101(1):6-9. doi: 10.1136/bjophthalmol-2016-309531. Epub 2016 Nov 4. Review. PubMed PMID: 27815270.

  39. Ang M, Vasconcelos-Santos DV, Sharma K, Accorinti M, Sharma A, Gupta A, Rao NA, Chee SP. Diagnosis of Ocular Tuberculosis. Ocul Immunol Inflamm. 2018;26(2):208-216. doi: 10.1080/09273948.2016.1178304. Epub 2016 Jul 5. PubMed PMID: 27379384.

  40. Chee SP, Chan SN, Jap A. Comparison of Enhanced Depth Imaging and Swept Source Optical Coherence Tomography in Assessment of Choroidal Thickness in Vogt-Koyanagi-Harada Disease. Ocul Immunol Inflamm. 2017 Aug;25(4):528-532. doi:  10.3109/09273948.2016.1151896. Epub 2016 Apr 12. PubMed PMID: 27070488.

  41. Jap A, Chee SP. The role of enhanced depth imaging optical coherence tomography in chronic Vogt-Koyanagi-Harada disease. Br J Ophthalmol. 2017 Feb;101(2):186-189. doi: 10.1136/bjophthalmol-2015-308091. Epub 2016 Apr 5. PubMed PMID: 27048179.

  42. Cao S, Chee SP, Yu HG, Sukavatcharin S, Wu L, Kijlstra A, Hou S, Yang P. Investigation of the association of Vogt-Koyanagi-Harada syndrome with
    IL23R-C1orf141 in Han Chinese Singaporean and ADO-ZNF365-EGR2 in Thai. Br J Ophthalmol. 2016 Mar;100(3):436-42. doi: 10.1136/bjophthalmol-2015-307366. Epub 2015 Dec 1. PubMed PMID: 26628628.

  43. Wong MH, Cheung GC, Chee SP, Mathur R. Exudative detachment as a masquerader  in hypoalbuminaemic patients. Clin Kidney J. 2014 Aug;7(4):406-10. doi: 10.1093/ckj/sft161. Epub 2014 Jan 12. PubMed PMID: 25852920; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4377793.



  • Prof Chee Soon Phaik

  • Prof Louis Tong

Team Members

  • Dr Nobuyo Yawata

  • Dr Siak Jyh Kuen Jay

  • Prof Roger Beuerman

  • Prof Jodhbir Mehta

  • Prof Tina Wong

  • Dr Seet Li Fong

  • Dr Liu Yu-Chi

  • Lim Xinru