DoctorsBiju B. Thomas, PhD

Biju B. Thomas, PhD

Biju B. Thomas, PhD

Title: Assistant Professor of Research Ophthalmology

Department: Ophthalmology

Clinical Specialty: Retinitis Pigmentosa, Age-Related Macular Degeneration    

Research Topics:

Brain-Stem Electrophysiology (Superior Colliculus Recording)
Visual Behavioral Testing
Electric Stimulation of the Visual System
Neural Plasticity
Stem Cell-Based Therapies

Biography and Education

Research Interests:

The laboratory of Biju B. Thomas, PhD focuses on developing new treatment strategies for preventing blindness and/or restoring vision based on drug delivery, small molecules, prosthesis and cell replacement therapies. Dr. Thomas has designed instruments and techniques for visual behavioral testing in rodents which were successfully implemented in various research projects. Dr. Thomas plays a major role in the ongoing stem cell project funded by the California Institute of Regenerative Medicine (CIRM). This stem cell therapy replaces lost retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) cells through transplantation of functionally polarized hESC-derived RPE cell monolayers.

Dr. Thomas has extensive expertise on several scientific and technological disciplines relevant to retinal transplantation research, including subretinal implantation surgeries in rodents, electrophysiolgical testing of visual function in rodents based on ERG, mfERG and brain stem electrophysiology. Electrophysiological mapping of the superior colliculus (brain-stem electrophysiology), a state-of-the-art technology, is used to measure very low level (scotopic) light responses from the retina in rats and mice.


  • University of Kerala, India, PhD, Behavioral Neuroscience, Department of Zoology, 1997
  • University of Louisville, KY, Postdoctoral Fellowship, Dept. of Ophthalmology, Retinal Transplant Program, 2001



  • Young Investigator Travel Grant Award to Attend the Retinal Degeneration Meeting (RD 2004), Perth, Australia, 2004
  • Cash Award and Merit Certificate from Mahatma Gandhi College, Trivandrum, Kerala, India for Securing Top Mark for M. Sc., 1988


  1. Seiler MJ, Lin RE, McLelland BT, Mathur A, Lin B, Sigman J, De Guzman AT, Kitzes LM, Aramant RB, Thomas BB. Vision Recovery and Connectivity by Fetal Retinal Sheet Transplantation in an Immunodeficient Retinal Degenerate Rat Model. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2017 Jan;58(1):614-30.
  2. Koss MJ, Falabella P, Stefanini FR, Pfister M, Thomas BB, Kashani AH, Brant R, Zhu D, Clegg DO, Hinton DR, Humayun MS. Subretinal Implantation of a Monolayer of Human Embryonic Stem Cell-Derived Retinal Pigment Epithelium: A Feasibility and Safety Study in Yucatan Minipigs. Graefes Arch Clin Exp Ophthalmol.2016 Aug;254(8):1553-65.
  3. Thomas BB, Zhu D, Zhang L, Thomas PB, Hu Y, Nazari H, Stefanini F, Falabella P, Clegg DO, Hinton DR, Humayun MS. Survival and Functionality of Hesc-Derived Retinal Pigment Epithelium Cells Cultured as a Monolayer on Polymer Substrates Transplanted in Rcs Rats. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2016 May 1;57(6):2877-87.
  4. Zhang L, Liu L, Philip AL, Martinez JC, Guttierez JC, Marella M, et al. Long-term evaluation of Leber’s hereditary optic neuropathy-like symptoms in rotenone administered rats. Neuroscience letters. 2015;585:171-6. Epub 2014/12/08. doi: 10.1016/j.neulet.2014.12.004. PubMed PMID: 25481764; PubMed Central PMCID: PMCPmc4295626.
  5. Ribeiro RM, Oregon A, Diniz B, Fernandes RB, Koss MJ, Charafeddin W, et al. In vivo detection of hESC-RPE cells via confocal near-infrared fundus reflectance. Ophthalmic surgery, lasers & imaging retina. 2013;44(4):380-4. Epub 2013/07/26. doi: 10.3928/23258160-20130715-09. PubMed PMID: 23883533.
  6. Diniz B, Thomas PB, Thomas BB, Hu Y, Ribeiro R, Ahuja A, et al. Subretinal Implantation of Retinal Pigment Epithelial Cells Derived From Human Embryonic Stem Cells: Improved Survival When Implanted as a Monolayer. 2013;54(7):5087-96. doi: 10.1167/iovs.12-11239. PubMed PMID: 23833067; PubMed Central PMCID: PMCPmc3726243.
  7. Hu Y, Liu L, Lu B, Zhu D, Ribeiro R, Diniz B, et al. A novel approach for subretinal implantation of ultrathin substrates containing stem cell-derived retinal pigment epithelium monolayer. Ophthalmic research. 2012;48(4):186-91. Epub 2012/08/08. doi: 10.1159/000338749. PubMed PMID: 22868580.
  8. Thomas BB, Shi D, Khine K, Kim LA, Sadda SR. Modulatory influence of stimulus parameters on optokinetic head-tracking response. Neuroscience letters. 2010;479(2):92-6. Epub 2010/05/22. doi: 10.1016/j.neulet.2010.05.031. PubMed PMID: 20488227; PubMed Central PMCID: PMCPmc3995157.
  9. Seiler MJ, Aramant RB, Thomas BB, Peng Q, Sadda SR, Keirstead HS. Visual restoration and transplant connectivity in degenerate rats implanted with retinal progenitor sheets. The European journal of neuroscience. 2010;31(3):508-20. Epub 2010/01/29. doi: 10.1111/j.1460-9568.2010.07085.x. PubMed PMID: 20105230; PubMed Central PMCID: PMCPmc2875871.
  10. Marella M, Seo BB, Thomas BB, Matsuno-Yagi A, Yagi T. Successful amelioration of mitochondrial optic neuropathy using the yeast NDI1 gene in a rat animal model. PloS one. 2010;5(7):e11472. Epub 2010/07/16. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0011472. PubMed PMID: 20628600; PubMed Central PMCID: PMCPmc2900204.
  11. Victor KK, Thomas BB, Kofane TC. Painleve-integrability of a (2+1)-dimensional reaction-diffusion equation: exact solutions and their interactions. Physical review E, Statistical, nonlinear, and soft matter physics. 2009;79(5 Pt 2):056605. Epub 2009/06/13. PubMed PMID: 19518580.
  12. Seiler MJ, Thomas BB, Chen Z, Wu R, Sadda SR, Aramant RB. Retinal transplants restore visual responses: trans-synaptic tracing from visually responsive sites labels transplant neurons. The European journal of neuroscience. 2008;28(1):208-20. Epub 2008/07/30. doi: 10.1111/j.1460-9568.2008.06279.x. PubMed PMID: 18662343.
  13. Seiler MJ, Thomas BB, Chen Z, Arai S, Chadalavada S, Mahoney MJ, et al. BDNF-treated retinal progenitor sheets transplanted to degenerate rats: improved restoration of visual function. Experimental eye research. 2008;86(1):92-104. Epub 2007/11/07. doi: 10.1016/j.exer.2007.09.012. PubMed PMID: 17983616; PubMed Central PMCID: PMCPmc3074939.
  14. Chan LH, Ray A, Thomas BB, Humayun MS, Weiland JD. In vivo study of response threshold in retinal degenerate model at different degenerate stages. Conference proceedings : Annual International Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society Annual Conference. 2008;2008:1781-4. Epub 2009/01/24. doi: 10.1109/iembs.2008.4649523. PubMed PMID: 19163026.
  15. Thomas BB, Seiler MJ, Aramant RB, Samant D, Qiu G, Vyas N, et al. Visual functional effects of constant blue light in a retinal degenerate rat model. Photochemistry and photobiology. 2007;83(3):759-65. Epub 2006/11/23. doi: 10.1562/2006-09-19-ra-1044. PubMed PMID: 17115798.
  16. Thomas BB, Samant DM, Seiler MJ, Aramant RB, Sheikholeslami S, Zhang K, et al. Behavioral evaluation of visual function of rats using a visual discrimination apparatus. Journal of neuroscience methods. 2007;162(1-2):84-90. Epub 2007/02/10. doi: 10.1016/j.jneumeth.2006.12.010. PubMed PMID: 17289151; PubMed Central PMCID: PMCPmc3074943.
  17. Qiu G, Seiler MJ, Thomas BB, Wu K, Radosevich M, Sadda SR. Revisiting nestin expression in retinal progenitor cells in vitro and after transplantation in vivo. Experimental eye research. 2007;84(6):1047-59. Epub 2007/04/25. doi: 10.1016/j.exer.2007.01.014. PubMed PMID: 17451684.
  18. Peng Q, Thomas BB, Aramant RB, Chen Z, Sadda SR, Seiler MJ. Structure and function of embryonic rat retinal sheet transplants. Current eye research. 2007;32(9):781-9. Epub 2007/09/21. doi: 10.1080/02713680701530597. PubMed PMID: 17882711.
  19. Thomas BB, Aramant RB, Sadda SR, Seiler MJ. Retinal transplantation. A treatment strategy for retinal degenerative diseases. Advances in experimental medicine and biology. 2006;572:367-76. Epub 2007/01/26. PubMed PMID: 17249598.
  20. Thomas BB, Arai S, Ikai Y, Qiu G, Chen Z, Aramant RB, et al. Retinal transplants evaluated by optical coherence tomography in photoreceptor degenerate rats. Journal of neuroscience methods. 2006;151(2):186-93. Epub 2005/09/01. doi: 10.1016/j.jneumeth.2005.07.004. PubMed PMID: 16129495.
  21. Thomas BB, Aramant RB, Sadda SR, Seiler MJ. Light response differences in the superior colliculus of albino and pigmented rats. Neuroscience letters. 2005;385(2):143-7. Epub 2005/06/14. doi: 10.1016/j.neulet.2005.05.034. PubMed PMID: 15950381.
  22. Seiler MJ, Sagdullaev BT, Woch G, Thomas BB, Aramant RB. Transsynaptic virus tracing from host brain to subretinal transplants. The European journal of neuroscience. 2005;21(1):161-72. Epub 2005/01/19. doi: 10.1111/j.1460-9568.2004.03851.x. PubMed PMID: 15654853.
  23. Thomas BB, Seiler MJ, Sadda SR, Coffey PJ, Aramant RB. Optokinetic test to evaluate visual acuity of each eye independently. Journal of neuroscience methods. 2004;138(1-2):7-13. Epub 2004/08/25. doi: 10.1016/j.jneumeth.2004.03.007. PubMed PMID: 15325106.
  24. Thomas BB, Seiler MJ, Sadda SR, Aramant RB. Superior colliculus responses to light – preserved by transplantation in a slow degeneration rat model. Experimental eye research. 2004;79(1):29-39. Epub 2004/06/09. doi: 10.1016/j.exer.2004.02.016. PubMed PMID: 15183098.
  25. Arai S, Thomas BB, Seiler MJ, Aramant RB, Qiu G, Mui C, et al. Restoration of visual responses following transplantation of intact retinal sheets in rd mice. Experimental eye research. 2004;79(3):331-41. Epub 2004/09/01. doi: 10.1016/j.exer.2004.05.013. PubMed PMID: 15336495.
  26. Thomas BB, Oommen MM, Ashadevi. Constant light and blinding effects on reproduction of male South Indian gerbils. The Journal of experimental zoology. 2001;289(1):59-65. Epub 2001/02/13. PubMed PMID: 11169493.
  27. Thomas BB, Oommen MM. Blinding induces copulatory activity among inactive males of South Indian gerbils. Curr Science. 2000;78:1136-8.
  28. Thomas BB, Oommen MM. Reproductive biology of South Indian gerbil (Tatera indica cuvieri) under laboratory conditions. Mammalia. 1999;63:341-7.
  29. Thomas BB, Oommen MM. Olfactory bulbectomy-induced changes in the reproductive behaviour of the south Indian gerbil, Tatera indica cuvieri. Indian journal of experimental biology. 1999;37(3):296-9. Epub 2000/01/21. PubMed PMID: 10641161.
  30. Thomas BB, Oommen MM. Effect of photic changes and olfactory impairment on reproduction in female south Indian gerbil. Indian journal of experimental biology. 1999;37(12):1201-4. Epub 2000/06/24. PubMed PMID: 10865888.
  31. Thomas BB, Oommen MM. Reproductive behaviour of South Indian gerbil Tatera indica cuvieri with a note on the role of postejaculatory copulations. Acta Theriologica. 1998;43.
  32. Thomas BB, Oommen MM. Male, female burrow occupancy pattern of the South Indian gerbil Tatera indica cuvieri. The Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society. 1997;94:149-51.
  33. Thomas BB, Oommen MM. Reproductive behavioural variation in male South Indian gerbil (Tatera indica cuvieri) and its relevance to pregnancy success in females. Indian Journal Comparative Animal Physiology. 1995;13:61-5.