Principal Investigator

Nathan Ravi, PhD, MD, MBA, FAAO

Dr. Ravi is a Professor in the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences (DOVS) and in Energy, Environmental & Chemical Engineering (EECE), and a Faculty Scholar at the Institute for Public Health (IPH). Dr. Ravi is also a full time VA physician, currently serving at the St. Louis VA Medical Center – John Cochran Division, where he was Chief of Staff from 2006 – 2010. During his tenure at WU and the VA, he has mentored numerous undergraduate, graduate, and post-graduate students and junior faculty in ophthalmology and engineering. In 1999, he was the recipient of the prestigious “Teacher of the Year” award.


Paul D. Hamilton

Paul has been working in scientific research for 43 years and has expertise in scientific writing, molecular biology, tissue culture, animal surgery, histology, toxicity testing, synthetic chemistry and polymer characterization.  He is a co-author on > 60 peer review journal articles.  He has been working with the Dr. Ravi for over 20 years.  Before joining Dr. Ravi’s lab, Paul worked in molecular oncology research for 20 years. Since joining Dr. Ravi’s group he worked extensively on a project to develop intra-ocular hydrogel prosthesis capable of auto-focusing so that one may not have to wear glasses, bifocals, or contact lenses.  He also worked as an integral member in the development of hydrogel vitreous substitutes. This research focused on understanding and mimicking the natural vitreous and utilizing recent advances in soft condensed matter physics.

Fun fact: Paul spent 15 years of his young life growing up in India.

Liya Yuan

Ying-Bo Shui, MD, PhD

Ying-Bo Shui, MD, PhD,  has collaborated with Dr. Ravi for over 15 years. She acts as an eye surgeon for large animal studies. She performed many vitrectomies and glaucoma surgeries for different projects.

Postdoctoral Researchers

Amine Laradji, PhD

Dr. Laradji joined Dr. Ravi’s lab in August 2018 as a postdoctoral research associate. He earned his BS degree in chemical engineering from The National Polytechnic School of Algiers and his PhD degrees in Chemistry from the University of Georgia in Athens, Georgia. He has expertise in organic chemistry, polymer chemistry, nanoparticles synthesis and their surface modification, formulating polymer-based biomaterials, and advanced materials characterization.

Dr. Laradji is currently working on formulating synthetic vitreous substitutes that can mimic the essential properties of the natural vitreous. He also works on formulating stimuli-responsive polymer-based nanogels to deliver therapeutics to the retina.

Dhruv Mitroo, PhD

Dhruv’s background and expertise revolve around atmospheric aerosols, the chemical transformations they undergo, and the risks they pose towards humans. Dhruv began working in this field since his undergraduate days, and is continuing since. Currently, he works with Dr. Ravi and Dr. Ben Kumfer (EECE) in the development and characterization of a burn pit simulator in an effort to study adverse health effects of military burn pit emissions.

Dhruv enjoys the outdoors. He moved to St. Louis in 2011, with a ~2 year gap while he completed his first postdoctoral appointment in Miami, and loves this city for its vibrant development and overall inclusion. He enjoys practicing Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and hopes to become a black belt in the sport.

Durgesh Nandini Das, PhD

Dr. Das joined in January 2020 as a postdoctoral research associate. During her PhD, she deciphered how polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) induce cellular disorders, autophagic and apoptotic cell death. She did her postdoctoral training in the field of pulmonary biology from University of Health Science Center, Texas, USA. She gained experience in lung remodeling after injury, allowing her to address additional questions on the regulation of gene expression when exposed to toxic particles. In the Ravi Lab, she will be focusing on the emerging role of nanomaterial toxicity in apoptosis and autophagy related pathways.

She enjoys Painting and Traveling.