People

Shyamanga Borooah – Principal Investigator

Profile on Shiley Eye Institute

Shyamanga Borooah, MBBS, MRCP (UK), MRCSEd, FRCOphth, PhD

Dr. Borooah completed his medical training at Imperial College London. He then undertook his clinical residency in Ophthalmology in South East Scotland before two clinical fellowships in Medical Retina and Uveitis, the last of which was at Moorfields Eye Hospital, London.

During his ophthalmology residency, Dr. Borooah developed an interest in the study of inherited diseases of the retina and in particular diseases of the retinal pigment epithelium.  He was funded by the Wellcome Trust to pursue a Ph.D. during which he generated a novel model of macular degeneration using human induced pluripotent stem cells from patients with a rare inherited form of macular degeneration.    He was then awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to continue post-doctoral studies at the University of California, San Diego to try to translate treatments for inherited retinal and macular disease.

In 2019, Dr. Borooah joined the faculty at the University of California, San Diego, ViterbiDepartment of Ophthalmology.  The main focus of Dr. Borooah’s research is to understand the disease mechanism causing clinical disease and by understanding this to develop novel treatments for disease. His lab uses stem cell and gene therapy/gene editing approaches for inherited retinal disease and macular degenerations. 

Dr. Borooah’s laboratory work allies well with his clinical work in treating patients with diseases of the retina which include age-related macular degeneration and inherited retinal degeneration. His clinical research uses multimodal imaging and analysis to better understand the natural history of the disease.  Additionally, Dr. Borooah is the Principle Investigator and Co-Investigator on a number of clinical trials including gene therapy trials for retinal disease.

His research is currently supported by a career development award from the Foundation Fighting Blindness and he regularly speaks at local and national meetings to better inform the public of progress about the development of treatments to save sight.

Kristyn Huffman – Senior Scientist

Kristyn Huffman

Kristyn Huffman joins the Borooah Lab in the Shiley Eye Institute with a BS in Molecular Biology and 7 years’ experience in ophthalmic research.

Her past work in ophthalmology includes porous silicon drug delivery systems to provide longer-lasting therapeutics for retinal diseases, creating animal models of retinal disease, and testing the safety and efficacy of a subretinal prosthesis. Kristyn’s curiosity drives her to understand how things work and she enjoys working closely with ophthalmologists that can guide the research to have a real impact on patients’ lives.

Out of the lab, Kristyn enjoys swimming, archery, and exploring nature with her family and dog.

Jacinta Lucero – Senior Scientist

Jacinta Lucero

Jacinta Lucero joined Dr. Borooah Lab 2022, and before that has spent a great deal of time working in Neuroscience at both The Scripps Research and The Salk Institute. Her scientific experience includes in vivo-culture of primary neuronal/glial cell, and
she has acquired a vast mastery of both molecular, and cellular biology techniques.

She aspires to contribute to the lab’s collective goal to advance a deeper understanding of various eye diseases, and patient health.

In her spare time, she enjoys running, hiking with friends, strength training, creating new recipes, and gardening.

Yoshi Unno – Undergraduate Researcher

Yoshi Unno

Yoshi is a fourth-year undergraduate student at UCSD with a major in General Biology. He is interested in pursuing a career in medicine, especially fascinated by the field of ophthalmology. He is eager to learn and gain exposure to the clinical and research experience in this field. 


He is currently working with Dr. Borooah to explore new applications of Multicolor imaging in identifying ischemic and non-ischemic BRVO.

Juan Arias – Undergraduate Researcher

Juan Arias

Juan is a Fourth-Year undergraduate student at UCSD majoring in Human Developmental Sciences with a specialization in Biology. He is actively pursuing a career as a physician with a keen interest in pediatric ophthalmology. He is currently gaining valuable experience in clinical research by working with Dr. Borooah to explore factors associated with Cystoid Macular Edema in cases of Retinitis Pigmentosa. Pain intervention methods involving intravitreal injections are also being investigated. He was recently awarded BUMMP funding for his clinical pain research study.


Outside of research, Juan enjoys hiking, rock climbing, and spending time with family and friends. 

Yasmin Yacoubian – Undergraduate Researcher

Yasmin Yacoubian

Yasmin is a third-year undergraduate student at UCSD majoring in Molecular and Cell Biology. She is interested in gaining basic research and clinical exposure in ophthalmology and understanding the clinical translation of scientific findings. The ultimate aim is to develop skills and gain knowledge, which will enable her to pursue a career in medicine.

Currently, she is working to optimize CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing in retinal pigment epithelium cells in order to develop novel gene editing treatments for an autosomal dominant inherited retinal disease (IRD). Yasmin received a Ledell Family Research Scholarship for Science and Engineering to support her work in the Borooah lab. 


Outside of the lab, Yasmin enjoys surfing, relaxing at the beach, and spending time with her sisters.

Sabrina Tuano – Undergraduate Researcher

Sabrina Tuano

Sabrina is currently a third-year undergraduate student at UCSD, majoring in Molecular and Cell Biology. She has an interest in ophthalmic research and aims to pursue a career in optometry with a specialization in pediatric care. She is currently a laboratory assistant in the Borooah lab and is using her time in the lab to explore translational research and better understand clinical practices in the field. 


Outside of school, she enjoys dancing, traveling, and spending time with friends and family.

Kaitlyn – Undergraduate Researcher

Kaitlyn

Kaitlyn is a second-year undergraduate at UCSD majoring in Human Biology. She is interested in learning laboratory techniques and gaining basic research experience as she pursues a career in optometry. Currently, she is spending her time in the lab imaging the retina of mouse eyes with light and electron microscopy.

In her free time, she enjoys reading, baking, and spending time with friends and family.