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Gladys Ko

Associate Professor

Curriculum Vitae

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Phone: (979) 845-1797

Mailstop: 4458

Department: VIBS

Photo of Ko, Gladys


  • Ph.D. Neuroscience in Biomedical Sciences, Kent State U. affiliated w/ N.E. Ohio U Col. Med. 1996
  • M.S. Anatomical Sciences, National Yang-Ming Medical College, Taiwan. 1991
  • B.S. Biology, National Chang-Kung University, Taiwan. 1989


  • Cell Biology
  • Toxicology
  • Neuroscience

Interdisciplinary Activities

  • Neuroscience
  • Toxicology

Scholarly Interests

Diabetic retinopathy (DR) is the leading cause of blindness among the American working population with a projected prevalence of more than 11 million patients by 2030 in the US. Once the disease starts, it cannot be stopped simply by controlling the blood glucose (glycemic) levels strictly through diets and exercise. While DR is a disorder with two major problems, the vascular complications and the neural retina degeneration, the current treatments mainly target the vascular complications without treating the neural retina. The first-line gold standard treatments for DR is regular injections with anti-VEGF agents into the eyes. However, roughly 30% of DR patients do not respond well to these treatments. Often these non-responders are identified months after the treatments have started. Therefore, discovering new ways to treat or prevent DR are a major health issue, which is also the research focus in our laboratory. Interestingly, diabetic patients with retinitis pigmentosa, a congenital blindness with degenerated retinal photoreceptors, rarely develop DR. This suggests that the neural retina, especially the photoreceptors contribute to the development of DR. Our laboratory has been investigated the molecular mechanisms that regulate photoreceptor physiology over 11 years. More specifically, we have been investigating how metabolism and energy expenditure of photoreceptors are regulated throughout the course of 24 hours. We employ different techniques, including electroretinogram (ERG) recordings, fundus angiography, electrophysiological patch-clamp recordings, various biochemical and molecular assays, and cellular imaging, and now focus on how early diabetic conditions trigger changes in photoreceptors that might lead to DR. In addition, we have recently discovered a new bioactive peptide, peptide Lv. This peptide not only regulates photoreceptor physiology, it also modulates cardiovascular functions. We now further elucidate the molecular mechanisms of peptide Lv's bioactivities, as well as its other unknown function.


Peptide Lv augments L-type voltage-gated calcium channels through vascular endothelial growth factor receptor 2 (VEGFR2) signaling.
Shi L, Ko S, Ko ML, Kim AJ, Ko GY.
Biochim Biophys Acta. 2015 Feb; 1853(5):1154-1164.
PMID: 25698653 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]
High-Fat Diet-Induced Retinal Dysfunction
Chang RC, Shi L, Huang CC, Kim AJ, Ko ML, Zhou B, Ko GY.
Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. . 2015 Apr; 56(4):2367-80.
PMID: 25788653 []
Chicken embryos as a potential new model for early onset type I diabetes.
Shi L, Ko ML, Huang CC, Park SY, Hong MP, Wu C, Ko GY.
J Diabetes Res. 2014 ; 2014:354094.
PMID: 25133191 [PubMed - in process]
Circadian phase-dependent effect of nitric oxide on L-type voltage-gated calcium channels in avian cone photoreceptors
Ko ML, Shi L, Huang CC, Grushin K, Park SY, Ko GY..
J Neurochem. 2013 Jul; doi: 10.1111/jnc.12384.
PMID: 23895452 []
Calcineurin serves in the circadian output pathway to regulate the daily rhythm of L-type voltage-gated calcium channels in the retina.
Huang CC, Ko ML, Vernikovskaya DI, Ko GY.
J Cell Biochem. 2012 Mar; 113(3):911-22.
PMID: 22371971 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Identification of Peptide lv, a novel putative neuropeptide that regulates the expression of L-type voltage-gated calcium channels in photoreceptors.
Shi L, Ko ML, Abbott LC, Ko GY.
PLoS One. 2012 ; 7(8):e43091.
PMID: 22912796 [PubMed - in process]
Cardiac-specific mutation of Clock alters the quantitative measurements of physical activities without changing behavioral circadian rhythms.
Ko ML, Shi L, Tsai JY, Young ME, Neuendorff N, Earnest DJ, Ko GY.
J Biol Rhythms. 2011 Oct; 26(5):412-22.
PMID: 21921295 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Cardiac-Specific Mutation of Clock Alters the Quantitative Measurements of Physical Activities without Changing Behavioral Circadian Rhythms.
Ko ML, Shi L, Tsai JY, Young ME, Neuendorff N, Earnest DJ, Ko GY.
J Biol Rhythms. 2011 Oct; 26(5):412-22.
PMID: 21921295 [PubMed - in process]
Neuron adhesion and strengthening.
Rocha A, Jian K, Ko GK, Liang H.
J Applied Physics. 2010 ; 108:024702-1-5.
Circadian profiles in the embryonic chick heart: L-type voltage-gated calcium channels and signaling pathways.
Ko ML, Shi L, Grushin K, Nigussie F, Ko GY.
Chronobiol Int. 2010 Oct; 27(9-10):1673-96.
PMID: 20969517 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Rhythmic expression of microRNA-26a regulates the L-type voltage-gated calcium channel alpha1C subunit in chicken cone photoreceptors.
Shi L, Ko ML, Ko GY.
J Biol Chem. 2009 Sep; 284(38):25791-803.
PMID: 19608742 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Inhibitory effect of somatostatin-14 on L-type voltage-gated calcium channels in cultured cone photoreceptors requires intracellular calcium.
Jian K, Barhoumi R, Ko ML, Ko GY.
J Neurophysiol. 2009 Sep; 102(3):1801-10.
PMID: 19605612 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Circadian regulation of ion channels and their functions.
Ko GY, Shi L, Ko ML.
J Neurochem. 2009 Aug; 110(4):1150-69.
PMID: 19549279 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Circadian controls outweigh acute illumination effects on the activity of extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) in the retina.
Ko ML, Shi L, Ko GY.
Neurosci Lett. 2009 Feb; 451(1):74-8.
PMID: 19111596 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Retinoschisin, a new binding partner for L-type voltage-gated calcium channels in the retina.
Shi L, Jian K, Ko ML, Trump D, Ko GY.
J Biol Chem. 2009 Feb; 284(6):3966-75.
PMID: 19074145 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Phosphatidylinositol 3 kinase-Akt signaling serves as a circadian output in the retina.
Ko ML, Jian K, Shi L, Ko GY.
J Neurochem. 2009 Mar; 108(6):1607-20.
PMID: 19166512 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Circadian regulation of retinoschisin in the chick retina.
Ko ML, Liu Y, Shi L, Trump D, Ko GY.
Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2008 Apr; 49(4):1615-21.
PMID: 18385082 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
The expression of L-type voltage-gated calcium channels in retinal photoreceptors is under circadian control.
Ko ML, Liu Y, Dryer SE, Ko GY.
J Neurochem. 2007 Oct; 103(2):784-92.
PMID: 17683482 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Tyrosine phosphorylation of cGMP-gated ion channels is under circadian control in chick retina photoreceptors.
Chae KS, Ko GY, Dryer SE.
Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2007 Feb; 48(2):901-6.
PMID: 17251493 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Circadian and cAMP-dependent modulation of retinal cone cGMP-gated channels does not require protein synthesis or calcium influx through L-type channels.
Ko GY, Ko M, Dryer SE.
Brain Res. 2004 Sep; 1021(2):277-80.
PMID: 15342277 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Circadian regulation of cGMP-gated channels of vertebrate cone photoreceptors: role of cAMP and Ras.
Ko GY, Ko ML, Dryer SE.
J Neurosci. 2004 Feb; 24(6):1296-304.
PMID: 14960600 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Circadian phase-dependent modulation of cGMP-gated channels of cone photoreceptors by dopamine and D2 agonist.
Ko GY, Ko ML, Dryer SE.
J Neurosci. 2003 Apr; 23(8):3145-53.
PMID: 12716922 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

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