Jennifer Kang-Mieler

  • Professor of Biomedical Engineering


Post-doctoral research, Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, University of Illinois at Chicago

Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering, Northwestern University

M.S. in Applied Mathematics, Northwestern University

B.A. in Mathematics, Northwestern University

Research Interests

Ocular drug delivery systems, retinal imaging, biomarkers, retinal hemodynamics and electrophysiology

Current Projects:

1. Sustained Treatment with Anti-VEGF agents for Retinal diseases -Drug Delivery System (STAR-DDS):  My laboratory has created a Sustained Treatment with Anti-VEGF agents for Retinal diseases -Drug Delivery System (STAR-DDS) which utilizes biodegradable drug loaded-microspheres embedded into a biodegradable thermo-responsive hydrogel. The advantages of STAR-DDS are numerous and include easy injection into the vitreous via a small gauge needle.  We have demonstrated that both ranibizumab and aflibercept can be released in a controlled manner for ~6 months.  To our knowledge, STAR-DDS is the first system to demonstrate a sustained release of anti-VEGF for 6 months. We also demonstrated that the released anti-VEGF (ranibizumab or aflibercept) are bioactive for the release duration.  Building from our STAR-DDS, we are exploring other clinical applications.

2. Image-based Biomarkers of Diabetic Retinopathy:  Various biomarkers based on genetic, biochemical, and structural factors have been investigated with variable success in early detection of diabetic retinopathy. However, currently, there is no biomarker that is applicable and effective in the clinical setting. Since the retinal vessels are early and prevalent targets of diabetic damage, sensitive identifiers of structural blood vessel changes hold great potential as biomarkers. Though recent advances in retinal imaging tools have allowed better examination of vessel characteristics, there is a great need for enhanced detection sensitivity and quantitative means to analyze the images. Utilizing tracer kinetic modeling and fluorescein video-angiography (FVA), we have developed a quantitative method to analyze retinal vascular permeability and volumetric blood flow changes.  We demonstrated that we can apply our method to both animals and human subjects (normal and diabetic).

3. Development of Nitric Oxide (NO) Sensor and Investigation of NO in Diabetic Retinopathy:  Even though NO plays an important role in the retina, there was no means to measure the intraretinal NO level.  To address this limitation, we developed a dual NO and ERG electrode. Utilizing ERG signals, we can estimate the retinal depth of NO recordings and convert the NO current to the NO concentration.  Using our dual NO/ERG sensor, we were able to map intraretinal NO distribution in the normal retina and diabetic retina. There was a strong inverse correlation between NO and blood glucose in experimental diabetic retinopathy.  To our knowledge, our study is the first to measure the direct concentration of intraretinal NO in diabetic animals.   

4. Development of Quantitative Retinal Assessment Tools:

a.Development of the SLO vascular imaging technique to assess retinal blood velocityDevelopment and application of scanning laser ophthalmoscope vascular imaging technique to assess retinal blood flow non-invasively.  This technique is used to examine the involvement of nitric oxide (NO), vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), and anti-VEGF in retinal blood flow in vascular retinal diseases such as diabetic retinopathy, AMD, and retinal vein/arterial occlusions.

b.Development of Algorithms to Quantify ERG Components: Development of algorithms to quantify electroretinogram (ERG) components obtained in vivo and application of the technique to evaluate the effects of various pharmacological agents and drug delivery systems on retinal cellular function. 

Professional Affiliations & Memberships

1998-Present Member of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology

1998-Present Member of the Biomedical Engineering Society

2001-Present Member of the International Society for Clinical Electrophysiology of Vision

2004-Present Member of the American Society for Engineering Education

2006-Present Member of the International Society on Oxygen Transport to Tissue

2007-Present  Member of the Association for Ocular Pharmacology and Therapeutics

2010-Present  Member of the Macula Society

2010-Present  Member of the Retina Society

2013-Present   Member of the American Society of Retina Specialists

2013-Present  Member of the Society for Women Engineers

2014-Present  Member of the Dowling Society

2016-Present  Member of the Pan-American Association of Ophthalmology

2018-Present  Member of the International Retinal Imaging Society


  • Fellow of Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (FARVO-Silver)
  • Pan-American Association of Ophthalmology (PAAO) and Retina Research Foundation (RRF) Paul Kayser Global Award
  • Asia-Pacific Academy of Ophthalmology (APAO) Achievement Award
  • Fellow of Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (FARVO-Gold)
  • Club Jules Gonin and Retina Research Foundation Award
  • Inverness Women’s Club Scholarship, Undergraduate Scholarship
  • Walter P. Murphy Fellowship, Graduate Fellowship, Northwestern University
  • Teaching Assistant Fellow Program, Searle Center for Teaching Excellence, Northwestern University
  • General Electric Faculty of the Future Intern Fellowship, General Electric and McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science, Northwestern University
  • National Eye Institute Travel Fellowship Grant, Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) and National Eye Institute
  • Committee on Institutional Cooperation Women in Science and Engineering
  • Initiative Travel Grant
  • Nelson Fellowship Award, Nelson Foundation and the Department of Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences, University of Illinois at Chicago
  • Whitaker Foundation Fellow


For a complete list of publications, see Dr. Kang-Mieler's ORCID profile

Selected Publications

  1. Kang Derwent, J. and Linsenmeier, R.A. (2000) Effects of hypoxemia on the a- and b-waves of the electroretinogram in the cat retina.  Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science 41(10): 3634-3642
  2. Kang Derwent, J.J. and Linsenmeier, R.A. (2001a) Intraretinal analysis of the a-wave of the electroretinogram (ERG) in dark-adapted intact cat retina.   Visual Neuroscience 18(3): 353-363
  3. Kang Derwent, J.J. and Linsenmeier, R.A. (2001b) Hypoglycemia increases the sensitivity of the cat electroretinogram to hypoxemia.  Visual Neuroscience 18(6): 983-993
  4. Kang Derwent, J.J., Qtaishat, N.M. and Pepperberg, D.R.  (2002) Excitation and desensitization of mouse rod photoreceptors in vivo following bright adapting light.  Journal of Physiology 541.1: 201-218
  5. Kang Derwent, J.J., Derlacki, D.J., Hetling, J.R., Fishman, G.A., Birch, D.G., Grover, S., Stone, E.M. and Pepperberg, D.R.  (2004) Dark adaptation of rod photoreceptors in normal subjects, and in patients with Stargardt disease and an ABCA4 mutation. Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science 45(7): 2447-2456
  6. Kang Derwent, J.J., Padnick-Silver, L., McRipley, M., Giuliano, E., Linsenmeier, R.A. and Narfström, K. (2006)  The Electroretinogrm (ERG) Components in Abyssinian Cats with Hereditary Retinal Degeneration.  Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science 47: 3673-3682.
  7. Lorentz, K., Zayas-Santiago, A., Tummala, S. and Kang Derwent, J.J. (2008)  Scanning Laser Ophthalmoscope-particle tracking method to assess blood velocity during hypoxia and hyperoxia.  Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology 614, 253-261.
  8. Zayas-Santiago, A. and Kang Derwent, J.J. (2009)  Preservation of intact adult rat photoreceptors in vitro: study of dissociation techniques and the effect of light.  Mol Vis 15:1-9.
  9. Tummala, S.R., Benac, S., Tran, H., Vankawala, A., Zayas-Santiago, A., Appel, A. and Kang Derwent, J.J. (2009).  Effects of inhibition of neuronal nitric oxide synthase on basal retinal blood flow regulation.  Exp Eye Res 89, 801-809.
  10. Drapala, P.W., Brey, E.M., Mieler, W.F., Venerus, D.C., Kang Derwent, J.J. and Perez-Luna, V. (2010).  Role of Thermo-responsive and poly(ethylene glycol) diacrylate cross-link density on protein release from poly(n-isopropylacrylamide) hydrogels.  J Biomater Sci Polym Ed 2011;22:59-75.
  11. Turturro, S.B., Guthrie, M.J., Appel, A., Drapala, P., Brey, E.M., Perez-Luna, V., Mieler, W.F. and Kang-Mieler, JJ. (2011). The effects of cross-linked thermo-responsive PNIPAAm-based hydrogel injection on retinal function.  Biomaterials 32, 3620-3626.
  12. Drapala, P.W., Jiang, B., Chiu, Y-C, Mieler, W.F., Brey, E.M., Kang-Mieler, J.J. & Perez-Luna, V.H. (2014)  The effect of glutathione as chain transfer agent in PNIPAAm-based thermo-responsive hydrogels for controlled release of proteins.  Pharmaceutical Research 31: 742-753 [Epub 2013]
  13. Guthrie, M.J. & Kang-Mieler, J.J.  (2014)  Dual electroretinogram/nitric oxide carbon fiber microelectrode for direct measurement of nitric oxide in the in vivo retina.  IEEE Transactions of Biomedical Engineering  61(3):611-9  [Epub Sept 2013]
  14. Guthrie, M.J., Osswald, C.R., Valio, N.L., Mieler, W.F.  & Kang-Mieler, J.J. (2014) Objective Area Measurement of Choroidal Neovascularization from Fluorescein Angiography in a Laser-Induced Rat Model.  Microvascular Research 91, 1-9 [Epub Dec 2013]
  15. Guthrie, M.J, Osswald, C.R. & Kang-Mieler, J.J. (2015) Inverse relationship between the intraretinal concentration of bioavailable nitric oxide and blood glucose in early experimental diabetic retinopathy.  Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science  56:37-44
  16. Tichauer, KM, Guthrie, M, Hones, L, Sinha, L, St. Lawrence, K, Kang-Mieler, JJ (2015) Quantitative retinal blood flow mapping from fluorescein videoangiography using tracer kinetic modeling.  Optics Letters 40: 2169-2172.
  17. Osswald, C.R. & Kang-Mieler, J.J. (2016) Controlled and extended in vitro release of bioactive anti-vascular endothelial growth factors from a microsphere-hydrogel drug delivery system.  Current Eye Research  Jan 14:1-7 [Epub 2016]
  18. Osswald, C.R., Guthrie, M.J., Avila, A., Valio Jr., J.A., Mieler, W.F. & Kang-Mieler, J.J. (2017) In vivo efficacy of an injectable microsphere-hydrogel ocular drug delivery system. Current Eye Research Sept 42(9): 1293-1301 [Epub May 2017]
  19. Liu, W., Lee, B-S, Mieler, W.F. & Kang-Mieler, J.J.  (2019) Biodegradable microsphere-hydrogel ocular drug delivery system for controlled and extended release of bioactive aflibercept in vitro.  Current Eye Research 44: 264-274 (online publication Oct 2018)
  20. Liu, W., Borrell, M.A., Venerus, D.C., Mieler, W.F. & Kang-Mieler, J.J. (2019) Characterization of biodegradable microsphere-hydrogel ocular drug delivery system for controlled and extended release of ranibizumab. Trans Vis Sci Tech. 8(1): 12,
  21. Dosmar, E., Liu, W., Patel, G., Rogozinski, A., Mieler, W.F. & Kang-Mieler, J.J.  (2019) Controlled release of vancomycin from a thermoresponsive hydrogel system for the prophylactic treatment of post-operative acute endophthalmitis.  Trans Vis Sci Tech. 8(3) (online publication June 2019)
  22. Kim, S., Kang-Mieler, J.J., Liu, W., Wang, Z., Yiu, G., Teixeira, L.B.C., Mieler, W.F. & Thomasy, S.M.  (2020) Safety and biocompatibility of aflibercept-loaded microsphere thermos-responsive hydrogel drug delivery system in a nonhuman primate model.  Trans Vis Sci Tech 9(3): 30.
  23. Liu, W., Tawakol, A.P., Rudeen, K.M., Mieler, W.F. & Kang-Mieler, J.J. (2020) Treatment efficacy and biocompatibility of biodegradable aflibercept-loaded microsphere-hydrogel drug delivery system.  Trans Vis Sci Tech  9(11): 13,


Book Chapters:

  1. Kang-Mieler J.J. and Mieler, W.F.  “Thermo-responsive hydrogel.” Retinal Pharmacotheraphy.  New York: Saunders Elsevier, 2010.
  2. Kang-Mieler, J.J., Kiernan, D.F. and Mieler, W.F. “Drug delivery to the posterior segment” Chapter 45, Volume 3 Duane’s Ophthalmology, 2011
  3. Kang-Mieler, J. J. and Mieler, W.F.  “Thermo-responsive hydrogels for ocular drug delivery” Nguyen DQ, Do D, Farah Mieler WF, Rodrigues EB (eds): Retinal Pharmacotherapeutics. Developments in Ophthalmology. Basel: S. Karger AG, 2015, vol 55, pp 104-111 DOI:10.1159/000434694
  4. Kang-Mieler, J.J., Rudeen, K.M, Liu, W. & Mieler, W.F. “Ocular Drug Delivery Systems” Chang, A, Mieler, W. & Oji, M. (eds): Macular Surgery: Current Trends and Controversies.  Springer Nature, 2020.


Ocular drug delivery systems, retinal imaging, retinal hemodynamics and electrophysiology