Dr. Menaka Thounaojam

Menaka Thounaojam, PhD

Assistant  Professor



Dr. Thounaojam is trained in epigenomic studies and retinal disease, including retinal inflammation and vascular dysfunction (RNV and diabetic retinopathy). Dr Thounaojam is particularly interested in understanding how prematurity or neonatal factors contribute to retinopathy of prematurity (ROP). Her NIH-RO3 from NICHD evaluated the role of various bile acids for the treatment and prevention of complications in the preterm infant. She has been recently investigating the role of bile acids, gut microbiome, and their correlation in the complication of prematurity. She collaborates with basic and clinician-scientists and many members of the VDI. She is also actively involved in the training of undergraduate, graduate, and medical students at Augusta University. She has been Associate Editor of Frontiers in Medicine journal (Ophthalmology section) since 2020. She has been guest editor of special issues of Biomolecules journal on Ischemic Retinopathies. She also serves as an Editorial board member and a reviewer of various journals, including Scientific Reports, Journal of Clinical Medicine, Oxidative and Cellular Longevity. 

Research Arena

Dr. Thounaojam's research interest focuses on the specific contribution of miRNA and gut microbiome in the pathogenesis of ischemic retinopathies including diabetic retinopathy and retinopathy of prematurity.

Key research areas:

  • Role of growth hormone receptors in diabetic retinopathy.

  • Role of gut microbiome, bile acids and their correlation in regulation of retinopathy of prematurity.

  • MicroRNA-mediated modulation of retinal neovascularization and diabetic retinopathy.

Educational Background

BS Zoology Handique Girls College, Gauhati University, Assam, India (2005)
MS Zoology The M.S. University of Baroda, Gujarat, India (2007)
PhD Zoology Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda, Gujarat, India (2011)
Post-doc Neuroinflammation National Brain Research Centre, Gurgaon, India (2014)
Post-doc Cancer Immunotherapy Mehhary Medical College, Nashville, TN (2015)
Post-doc Diabetic Retinopathy Augusta University, Augusta, Georgia (2018)