Reza Dana, M.D., M.Sc., MPH

Harvard Medical School

Claes H. Dohlman Professor of Ophthalmology
Vice Chair for Academic Programs
Director, Harvard-Vision Clinical Scientist Development Program
Co-Director, Cornea Center of Excellence
Member, Committee on Immunology

Massachusetts Eye and Ear

Director, Cornea and Refractive Surgery Service
Associate Chief for Academic Programs

Schepens Eye Research Institute of Massachusetts Eye and Ear

W. Clement Stone Clinical Research Scholar
Senior Scientist, Laboratory of Immunology

Research Summary

Center/Research Area Affiliations

Biography

Dr. Reza Dana is an internationally recognized expert in corneal disorders and ocular inflammation. He conducts both basic and translational research in the field of corneal and transplantation immunology. He studies the molecular and cellular mechanisms of ocular inflammation with applications to autoimmunity, transplantation, dry eye disease, and angiogenesis.

A Gold Fellow of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO), he has authored more than 320 peer-reviewed articles and over 120 reviews and book chapters, and has presented more than 200 invited and named lectures worldwide. His published work has been cited more than 19,000 times and has an h-index of 72. Dr. Dana's translational research has led to several successful physician-sponsored IND applications to the FDA. His research is supported by several NIH and U.S. Department of Defense grants.

Dr. Dana has trained more than 75 clinical fellows, and 110 postdoctoral fellows and students in his laboratory from over 30 countries to date, the significant majority holding full-time academic positions in ophthalmology and vision research. He is recipient of the Harvard Medical School A. Clifford Barger Excellence in Mentoring Award, ARVO’s Cogan Award (2003) and ISER’s Endre A. Balazs Prize (2016), and Friedenwald Award (2018).

Download his CV [PDF] for more information.

Education

B.A., Johns Hopkins University (1985)
M.P.H., Johns Hopkins University (1989)
M.D., Johns Hopkins University (1989)
M.Sc., Health Care Management, Harvard University (2005)

Postgraduate Training

Internship: Greater Baltimore Medical Center (1989-1990)
Residency: Illinois Eye & Ear Infirmary (1990-1993)
Clinical Fellowship in Cornea and External Diseases: Wills Eye Hospital (1993-1994)
Clinical Fellowship in Immunology and Uveitis: Massachusetts Eye And Ear (1994-1995)
Research Fellowship in Ocular and Transplantation Immunology: Schepens Eye Research Institute, Harvard Medical School (1994-1996)

Honors

2018: Friedenwald Award, Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO)
2017: Streilein Lecture, 30th Biennial Cornea Conference
2017: Senior Achievement Award, American Academy of Ophthalmology
2017: Plenary Address, 121st Meeting of the Japanese Ophthalmological Society
2016: Endre A. Balazs Prize, International Society for Eye Research
2016: Mooney Lecture, Irish College of Ophthalmologists, Rep. Ireland
2016: Elected, Academia Ophthalmologica Internationalis
2016: Roger Meyer Lecture, University of Michigan Kellogg Eye Center
2015: Keynote Address and Certificate of Honor, European Association for Vision and Eye Research
2015: Kersley Lecture, British Ocular Surface Society, London, England
2014: Thygeson Lecture, Ocular Microbiology and Immunology Group
2014: A. Clifford Barger Excellence in Mentoring Award, Harvard Medical School
2013: Keynote Speaker, European Society of Ophthalmology (SOE), Copenhagen, Denmark
2013: Gold Fellow, ARVO
2013: Senior Scientific Investigator Award, Research to Prevent Blindness
2012: Mentoring Award, European Young Investigator Network for Ocular Surface Inflammation
2012: LSU Chancellor’s Award in Neuroscience and Ophthalmology
2011: Joaquin Barraquer Lecture, Spanish Congress of Ophthalmology
2011: David Easty Lecturer, Bowman Club, Royal College of Surgeons, Edinburgh
2009: Research to Prevent Blindness Lew R. Wasserman-Merit Award
2008: Alcon Research Institute Award
2006: Service Recognition Award, American Academy of Ophthalmology
2005: Research to Prevent Blindness Physician Scientist-Merit Award
2004: Keynote Address, 28th All-Japan Cornea Conference, Yonago, Japan
2004: Alta Lecturer and visiting professorship, Univ. California San Francisco
2003: Dohlman Lecturer, Boston Biennial Cornea Conference
2003: Cogan Award, Association for Research In Vision and Ophthalmology
2002: Fry Memorial Lecturer, Wills Eye Hospital Biennial Cornea Conference
2002: Kronfeld Memorial Lecturer, Illinois Eye & Ear Infirmary
2002: Achievement Award, American Academy of Ophthalmology
1999: Research to Prevent Blindness William & Mary Greve Special Scholar
1996: Clinical Scientist Career Award (K08), National Institutes of Health

His Story

Academic Appointments and Accomplishments

Upon finishing his training at Mass Eye and Ear, and The Schepens Eye Research Institute and Harvard Medical School, Dr. Dana started as an Instructor in the Department of Ophthalmology at Harvard Medical School (HMS) in 1995 and was promoted to Assistant Professor in 1997 (concomitant with his appointment as Assistant Scientist at Schepens Eye Research Institute of Mass. Eye and Ear). In 2000, he was promoted to Associate Professor at HMS, and to Associate Scientist at the Institute. In 2002, he was named W. Clement Stone Scholar and, in 2004, Senior Scientist at the Institute. In 2006, he became Director of the Cornea and Refractive Surgery Service of Mass. Eye and Ear and in 2007 was named the Claes Dohlman Chair in Ophthalmology at HMS. In 2008, he became Vice Chair and Associate Chief of Ophthalmology for Academic Programs.

Dr. Dana has served as Editor of the Eye and Systemic Disease volume of The Principles and Practice of Ophthalmology and as member of the faculty of the American Academy of Ophthalmology’s Basic Clinical and Science Course where he was responsible for content in Cornea and External Diseases book, and as Senior Editor of the Encyclopedia of the Eye. Dr. Dana is also Associate Editor of IOVS, and is on the editorial board of the journals Cornea and The Ocular Surface among others, and served as an Associate Examiner of the American Board of Ophthalmology. He is a Gold Fellow of ARVO.

Research and Clinical Interests

Dr. Dana is an ophthalmologist and immunologist whose principal research interest is in determining the molecular and cellular regulation of corneal and ocular surface immunity. His laboratory focuses on the role of cytokines and chemokines in the induction of antigen-specific corneal immunity, activation of antigen-presenting cells, and the interface of hemangiogenesis and lymphangiogenesis in inflammation. Other areas of active research include the dysfunction of regulatory T cells in autoimmunity,and dry eye disease, and high-risk corneal transplantation. In addition, his group has broadened its focus to include novel animal models for high-risk corneal stem cell transplantation, keratoprosthesis and biosynthetic corneal constructs.

Dr. Dana leads one of the most active translational programs in ophthalmology. As of last count, 50+ prospective investigator-initiated studies were being performed by the Cornea Center faculty. Studies have focused on novel strategies to manage high-risk corneal and stem cell transplants, pathological corneal angiogenesis, dry eye, graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) and in vivo corneal immuno- and neuro-imaging. These studies have been facilitated by nine successful FDA Investigational New Drug (IND) approvals received since 2008.

Dr. Dana has delivered more than 200 invited and named lectures worldwide, and has received multiple awards, including the Friedenwald Award from the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO), the Endre Balazs Prize from International Society for Eye Research, Research to Prevent Blindness (RPB) William and Mary Greve Special Scholar Award, RPB Physician-Scientist Merit Award, RPB Lew Wasserman Merit Award, the RPB Senior Investigator Award, the Achievement Award of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, the Cogan Award of ARVO, the Louisiana State University Chancellor’s Award in Neuroscience and Ophthalmology, and the Alcon Research Institute Award, among many others.

Teaching and Mentoring

A Harvard Medical School Clifford Barger Excellence in Mentoring Award recipient, Dr. Dana has focused extensively on teaching both clinical and basic researchers, which includes postdoctoral research fellows, clinical fellows and residents, medical students, and graduate students enrolled in various Harvard Medical School curricula. He has served as primary mentor to more than 110 laboratory trainees from 32 countries, as well as more than 75 clinical fellows. A strong advocate for clinical scientists in bridging the wide gap between basic science and clinical applications, he directs the Harvard-Vision Clinical Scientist Development Program—funded by the NIH K12 mechanism—with the express intent of recruiting, training, and retaining the brightest young minds to Harvard to contribute to our research efforts. He has served as PI/Director for this program since its inception at Harvard Ophthalmology in 2004.

Q and A with Dr. Dana

What are the main issues in ocular inflammation?

Inflammation is one of the most common and evolutionarily conserved responses in the body. Injury (mechanical or chemical), infection, surgery, toxin exposure, allergy, and the growth of many cancers all lead to inflammation. Inflammation is a common in the eye, and often results from conditions such as allergic eye disease, contact-lens intolerance, or dry eye. Sometimes the inflammatory response is severe enough to endanger sight. Since the eye is constantly exposed to the outside world, potentially harmful and immunogenic materials land on it frequently. Most of the time, the eye can deal with these insults in a way that neutralizes or clears them in a manner that is not threatening to sight (say through the tears or antibodies in the tear film). However, sometimes inflammation can lead to profound changes in eye tissues, leading to scarring, accumulation of fluids, and other pathological changes (such as growth of new blood vessels), which are not compatible with good vision.

How common are ocular inflammatory disorders, and why should we be concerned about this? Inflammation is extremely common. In fact, it is not even conceivable for a healthy normal person not to have some degree of an inflammatory response in the eye virtually every several weeks or so. Whether it is something that lands on our eye surface, a contact lens that irritates our eye, an allergic response, or irritation from soap or shampoo, inflammation occurs and often (but not always) leads to a red eye. Most of these cases, of course, resolve rapidly with or without medicines.

If inflammation becomes severe and/or chronic, it can jeopardize vision. In particular, autoimmune conditions, like lupus or rheumatoid arthritis, can pose a significant risk to vision—the same processes that can lead to joint disease can also cause havoc with intraocular tissues. Another problem is that the medicines currently available have two major limitations: first, they have suboptimal efficacy—they simply do not work very well in cases of severe eye inflammation. Second, these non-specific medications, in particular steroids, are fraught with many complications, including opportunistic infections, tissue thinning and atrophy, and the development of glaucoma and cataract. Therefore, there is a real and pressing need for better and more effective treatment strategies for ocular inflammatory disorders.

There is a lot of talk about inflammation and immunity playing a role in chronic eye diseases. What is that about?

In years past, if the tissue wasn’t red, swollen, and painful, it wasn’t recognized as inflammation. This antiquated and erroneous concept has now given way to a more precise understanding of the role that inflammation and immunity can play in a wide array of disorders, including aging, cancer, blood vessel growth, transplant rejection, and many chronic disorders, (cardiovascular diseases and macular degeneration).

Two principles are now understood: first, cells that are derived from the bone marrow and comprise our lymphocytes (white blood cells) play a critical role in the induction, amplification, and maintenance of inflammation in many chronic conditions that afflict our bodies, including our eyes. Second, even cells that are not traditionally thought of as being “immune cells,” such as those that make up our epithelial tissues or blood vessels, can—under certain conditions—act similarly to white blood cells by secreting factors that promote inflammation. So we now understand inflammation as much more than just the role of antibodies and lymphocytes in response to acute challenges like infection.

What are the main issues in the cornea field?

The current hot topics are corneal transplantation and dry eye disease. Corneal transplantation is by far the most common type of tissue transplantation; indeed there are more corneal transplants performed than all other forms of grafts (heart, kidney, pancreas, lung, bone marrow) combined; nearly 40,000 cases are performed annually. Corneal transplantation is important since it is the ultimate cure for blinding corneal disease—the second most common reason for vision loss in the world (a fact that is often overlooked in the United States and Western Europe, where the number of older adults has increased significantly, resulting in more prevalent chronic conditions, such as macular degeneration).

There are two main issues that now plague corneal transplantation: first, the current treatments to prevent or treat rejection are not very good. In fact they have barely changed in over 50 years. Second, there is an acute shortage of adequate corneas for transplantation. There are millions of people blind from corneal disease worldwide, but currently less than 5% of these are getting appropriate treatment because there are just not enough donor tissues or eye banks.

In dry eye, the issues are different. First, dry eye is rarely a cause of blindness, but it does lead to significant disability in many people, as well as loss of work time and normal functionality. Second, the numbers: there are well over 10 million people in the United States alone with significant dry eye disease, and tens of millions more who occasionally have dry eye problems, so the magnitude of the problem is huge. Third, in dry eye there are few treatments available that really do much besides marginally improving symptoms. One of the main discoveries in the past decade is that inflammation appears to play an important role in sustaining the disease mechanisms in dry eye. And so there is a lot of interest now in figuring out exactly how inflammation and immunity contribute to dry eye, and consequently coming up with new therapeutic targets.

What is the problem with the current approaches to treating corneal transplant rejection?

Corneal transplants do well in recipients who may have corneal scarring, but without accompanying inflammation or blood vessel ingrowth (the cornea normally has no blood or lymph vessels). However, when the host bed (the place where the new cornea will be placed) is inflamed (which accounts for nearly one-third of all transplants performed), the fate of corneal transplants becomes worse than that of solid organ grafts. The numbers reflect this clearly: with the use of topical steroids (which can, and often do, cause cataracts and glaucoma), corneal transplants survive nearly 90% of the time if performed in uninflamed eyes. However, if an eye that is inflamed, say from alkali injury or infection, undergoes corneal transplantation, well over 50% of these grafts are rejected even if we place these patients on strong, systemic immunosuppressive medications. This is far worse than survival rates for heart and kidney grafts.

Tell us about some of the new ways being developed in your lab to address the issues raised above in relation to corneal conditions.

We have a broad program in corneal and ocular-surface inflammation research. My lab’s main interest is in figuring out, at the molecular level, how immune and inflammatory cells are recruited; how do they get into tissues, and then how do they leave the eye tissues to get into lymphoid tissues (such as our lymph nodes) to activate our T cells to induce immune responses? These are fundamental issues in a wide array of immune and inflammatory states, from transplantation to dry eye to allergy. We are also keenly interested in the interface of inflammation with the growth of blood and lymph vessels. Lymphatics (lymph vessels) are critical for movement of antigens and immune cells from the tissues to lymphoid tissues, as they are also for cancer metastasis. We have done a fair amount of work understanding how cells in the cornea contribute to lymphatic growth.

Other interests in the lab are focused on ways of reducing the cell damage and death that result from transplantation and injury. We have had a nice collaboration with the lab of Andrius Kazlauskas, developing new ways of affecting (suppressing) corneal cell death for applications in transplantation. Another project is focused on the contribution of the cornea itself in modulating inflammation. The cornea is a unique tissue that plays a very important role, through cell membrane-expressed as well as secreted factors, in suppressing immunity, and we are very interested in dissecting how it performs these unique tasks.

Finally, we have an active program developing and testing new targets in dry eye. We see a lot of potential in making important contributions here.

What do you see on the horizon?

As I have indicated above, the need for developing new strategies in preventing and treating eye-surface disease is huge. The currently available therapies leave much to be desired; they either don’t work very well, or have too many unacceptable side-effects, or compliance is a problem because patients don’t like using them (for example, they may burn). In many ways, the future is already upon us, in the sense that in this decade there will be a lot more discovery about how, specifically (at the molecular level), diseases are induced and then sustained. The growth of molecular biology on the one hand, and biotechnology on the other, has provided us with unprecedented opportunities. Already, we are faced with a situation where our preclinical (on cell and animal models) and clinical testing of new scientific paradigms is far behind what is known about disease pathogenesis. The hurdles that stand between discovery science and the art of drug development are many, and difficult, ones. These include: a fall in the number of clinician-scientists, the growing gap between the PhD “basic scientists” and MD “pure clinicians”, the divide between important discoveries (made and published) and what the pharmaceutical industry is aware of and able to develop, and also regulatory hurdles.

What does the Schepens Eye Research Institute of Mass. Eye and Ear environment offer in terms of research?

The environment that we have here at the Institute and in Harvard Ophthalmology allows us unique opportunities to make important inroads in responding to these hurdles. These institutions are leading the way in recruiting, training and hopefully retaining clinician-scientists in vision research. We are fostering numerous mechanisms for optimizing the interaction between clinicians and lab researchers. Finally, ongoing efforts to enhance the exchange of information with our industry partners—so that our discoveries are propelled forward, potentially into clinical applications—are a must if we are to make meaningful contributions to how our patients, our families, and our friends, are treated in years to come.

Projects

Research Interests

  • Molecular and cellular mechanisms of inflammation as they pertain to the ocular surface and anterior segment pathologies, including dry eye, allergy, wound healing responses, and transplant rejection

Identification of Novel APC Populations

Our studies let to several novel and unexpected discoveries. My lab was the first to discover several distinct populations of uniformly MHC class II— highly immature APCs (including epithelial Langerhans cells and stromal myeloid CD11c+ dendritic cells) in the central cornea (IOVS 2002, J Leuk Bio 2003), breaking a longstanding dogma that the cornea was devoid of functional antigen-presenting cells. We also showed that these immature/precursor myeloid populations can mature to acquire high levels of costimulatory molecules CD40 and CD80, as well as MHC class II expression as they egress the eye through selective upregulation of specific receptors to prime naïve T cells under conditions of inflammation. This discovery had practical implications, as it demonstrated how the cornea itself (including corneal transplants) can contribute to immunity through resident APC, a process known as ‘direct sensitization,’ particularly in states of high tissue inflammation (J Immunology 2004).

APC-Lymphatic Interactions

To determine precisely where and how corneal APC interact with T cells, we embarked on a series of investigations that established the local draining lymph nodes as the site of allosensitization (IOVS 2001; J Exp Med 2002). Remarkably, before these studies, the field was almost exclusively focused on APC-T cell interactions in the spleen. Subsequent studies showed that APC localization in these draining lymphoid tissues is reliant on a novel function of the VEGFR-3 receptor, known to be a growth factor for lymphatic and budding blood vessel endothelia. We determined that this receptor is acquired by mature MHC class IIhi dendritic cells in the cornea, and mediates their chemotactic mobilization into lymphatics, thereby allowing their egress from the inflamed eye. We also showed that blockade of this pathway can suppress the trafficking of APC from the eye to regional lymph nodes and suppress the induction of immunity to ocular antigens (Nature Medicine 2004). The identification of this novel role for VEGFR-3 in APC mobilization received considerable attention since subsquent work by others showed a similar mechanism to be operative for certain epithelial cancers and peritumor cells for gaining access to the lymphatic system for systemic spread.

Regulation of Corneal Angiogenesis and Lymphangiogenesis

Our studies on VEGFR-3 function stumbled us onto entirely unexpected insights into how corneal avascularity is maintained. We found high constitutive ‘ectopic’ expression of non-signaling VEGFR-3 by the corneal epithelium, and described how this “sink” mechanism for binding VEGF-C/D prevents their ligation of their receptors VEGFR-2/3, thereby functioning as a critical mechanism for maintaining corneal avascularity and regulating immunity (PNAS 2006). More recently, we have shown that this regulatory function can be subverted by IL-17 binding to epithelial cells, which have functional IL-17R signaling, inducing over-expression of VEGF-D by epithelial cells (Blood 2011).

Failure of Immunoregulatory Mechanisms in Inflammation

We have determined that Foxp3+ regulatory T cells (Tregs) become dysfunctional in hosts prone to reject allografts as well as in chronic ocular surface disease (J Immunology 2009). Our work has uncovered mechanisms that regulate Treg plasticity and regulatory breakdown in highly inflamed microenvironments, identifying different Treg phenotypes (Sci Reports 2016). We have identified Treg plasticity as a key factor in loss of allotolerance, and have defined novel strategies to (i) enhance Treg homing to the immune synapse (J Immunology 2014) and (ii) promote Treg expansion (Transplantation 2016) for induction of graft tolerance.

Dry Eye Disease (DED) Immunopathogenesis

Our work in corneal transplantation immunology permitted us since the mid-2000s to launch a program determining the immunopathogenesis of dry eye disease (DED), a chronic immune-mediated disease (and one of the most common reasons for patients seeking eye care) whose precise pathogenesis was barely understood even a few years earlier. We optimized a murine model for dry eye disease that did not rely on gene deletion or transgenic technology and used it in our basic research program to identify critical features in the immunopathogenesis of DED. Our work led to several novel discoveries, including identifying a select resistance of T helper-17 (Th17) cells, the principal pathogenic effectors in DED, to suppression by regulatory T cells (J Immunology 2009).

We subsequently showed that failure in Treg function in chronic DED leads not only to expansion of Th17 effectors but also development of classic immunologic memory mediated by effector memory IL-17 secreting cells (Mucosal Immunology 2014). Very recently, we have focused on the molecular mechanisms that lead to generation and maintenance of memory Th17 cells- an almost entirely unexplored area—and showed the critical function of IL-7 and IL-15 in this process (J Autoimmunity 2017).

Translational Research

In addition to these basic investigations, I am engaged in translational research. These projects have focused on novel immunomodulatory strategies to manage high-risk corneal and stem cell transplants, pathological corneal angiogenesis, graft-versus-host disease, dry eye, and in vivo corneal immuno- and neuro-imaging. Our group has been one of the first to develop and clinically test topical protein-based biologic approaches targeting specific inflammatory and pro-angiogenic cytokines (such as VEGF, IL-1, PDGF) in the management of corneal and ocular surface diseases in patients. These studies have been facilitated by 9 successful FDA Investigational New Drug (IND) submissions from my group since 2008.

New Areas of Investigation

While we have maintained our focus on immunology and immune regulation, our group has gradually broadened its focus to include novel animal models for high-risk corneal and stem cell transplantation, keratoprosthesis and biosynthetic corneal constructs. Our group was the first to develop a miniature keratoprosthesis for the mouse and stereotactic brain surgery models for corneal.

Current Research Funding

2000-2021
National Institutes of Health (NIH) R01 EY12963: Principal Investigator (PI)
Mechanisms of sensitization in high-risk corneal grafts
2010-2019
NIH R01 EY20889: PI
Immunopathogenesis of dry eye disease
2004-2021
NIH K12 EY016335: PI
Harvard Vision Clinical Scientist Development Program
2012-2017 U.S. Department of Defense DM120045: PI
Safety and efficacy of bevacizumab in high-risk corneal transplantation
2014-2019 NIH U10 EY022879/EY022881: Site PI
The dry eye evaluation and management (DREAM) study
2015-2019 U.S. Department of Defense Translational Award: Consulting Investigator
Mission restoration with a collagen crosslinked Boston keratoprosthesis unit
2017-2019 Massachusetts Lions Eye Research Fund: PI
Function of neuropeptides in regulating corneal endothelial cell survival and function

Publications

H-index

72 (Google Scholar, as of July 2017)

Selected Publications

Dr. Dana has published more than 325 peer-reviewed articles, 110 chapters and reviews, and 8 books. Below is a list of selected publications. View his publications on PubMed or Google Scholar.

  1. Chen Y, Chauhan SK, Tran X, Dana R. Interleukin-7 and -15 Maintain Pathogenic Memory Th17 Cells in Autoimmunity. Journal of Autoimmunity. 2017;77: 96-103.
    The mechanisms responsible for maintaining memory Th17 cells have not been elucidated. Work to date  has focused on memory CD8 and Th1 cells. For the first time, Dr. Dana and colleagues demonstrated the critical role of IL-7 and IL-15 in maintaining the memory Th17 pool in ocular surface autoimmunity. This work is significant since it demonstrates that strategies for suppressing Th17-mediated chronic diseases cannot rely solely on suppressing differentiation of cells into effector Th17 cells but also require suppressing the maintenance of the memory pool.

  2. Chauhan SK, Jin Y, Goyal S, Lee HS, Fuchslugar T, Lee HK, Dana R. A novel pro-lymphangiogenic function for Th17/IL17. Blood. 2011;118:4630-4.
    This paper was the first to establish a link between IL-17, a critical cytokine in a wide array of inflammatory disorders, and growth of new lymphatics through the regulation of VEGF-D. This finding has broad and important implications (including cancer metastasis and non-ocular autoimmune diseases) since it explains that some of the function of IL-17 in amplifying adaptive T cell-mediated immunity may reside in its ability to promote access of tissue antigens and antigen-presenting cells to the lymphoid compartment where antigen-specific immunity is induced.

  3. Cursiefen C, Chen L, Saint-Geniez M, Hamrah P, Jin Y, Rashid S, Pytowski B, Persaud K, Wu Y, Streilein JW, Dana R. Nonvascular VEGFR-3 expression by corneal epithelium maintains avascularity and vision. Proc Nat Acad Sci USA. 2006:103:11405-10.
    This article described a novel and critical mechanism contributing to corneal avascularity: VEGF receptor-3, normally present only on lymphatic and proliferating blood vascular endothelium, is constitutively expressed at high levels by the corneal epithelium but in a non-signaling form that acts as a decoy receptor for VEGF-C and VEGF-D, thus binding these ligands and suppressing their ligation of VEGF receptors on vascular and lymphatic endothelial cells. This decoy receptor is mechanistically responsible for “corneal angiogenic privilege."

  4. Chen L, Hamrah L, Cursiefen C, Zhang Q, Pytowski B, Streilein JW, Dana R. Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor Receptor-3 (VEGFR-3) mediates induction of immunity to corneal transplants. Nature Med. 2004;10: 813-815.
    Access of antigen-presenting cells (APCs) to regional lymph nodes is a critical facet in induction of corneal adaptive immunity, but the molecular mechanisms that enable APC access to lymphatics remained incompletely understood. This article demonstrated for the first time that acquisition of VEGFR-3 by corneal dendritic cells allows them to respond chemotactically to VEGF-C, and blockade of VEGFR-3-mediated signaling suppresses APC trafficking to the lymphoid compartment, thereby inhibiting allospecific immunity and promoting graft survival. The term "molecular lymphadenectomy" was coined by Dr. Dana's laboratory to reflect this immunomodulatory strategy. Of note, this pathway has also been shown to be relevant for peritumor monocytes and for tumor metastasis.

  5. Liu Y, Hamrah P, Zhang Q, Taylor AW, Dana R. Draining lymph nodes of corneal transplant hosts exhibit evidence for donor MHC class II-positive dendritic cells derived from MHC class II-negative grafts. J Exp Medicine. 2002;195: 259-68.
    This article was the first to demonstrate that corneal dendritic cells (which Dr. Dana's laboratory was the first to confirm reside normally in the cornea despite prior reports to the contrary) are poor in stimulating T cell responses due to low MHC class II expression. However, these cells acquire the capacity for T cell stimulatory function as they mature. Additionally, Dr. Dana and colleagues demonstrated for the first time that corneal antigen-bearing dendritic cells migrate efficiently to draining lymphoid tissues, breaking the long-held tenet that corneal grafts are resistant to immunogenic inflammation in due to ‘antigenic sequestration.'

Patents

For a complete list of Dr. Dana's patents, download his CV [PDF].

Therapeutic Compositions for Treatment of Ocular Inflammatory Disorders
US 61/010,566; PCT/US2009/000114. Describes use of blockade of interleukin-17 (IL-17) in treating a variety of dry eye conditions.

New Methods for Quantifying Ocular Surface Disease
Calculating conjunctival redness. US 61/601,484; PCT/US2013/027132. & Corneal fluorescein staining quantifying system. US 61/988,144. These patents provide for new automated methods for quantifying ocular redness and epithelial fluorescein uptake to accurately measure ocular disease.

New Bioadhesive for Corneal Repair
US No. 62/292,752. This patent describes use of a novel visible light-activated collagen-based biomaterial for filling corneal defects, closing lacerations and promoting regenerative repair of corneal injuries.

Laboratory

Current Members of Dr. Reza Dana’s Laboratory

Postdoctoral Fellows
Afsaneh Amouzegar, MD (Immune homeostasis in the cornea)
Guilia Coco, MD (Role of regulatory T cells in preventing corneal endothelial cell loss)
Rohan Bir Singh, MD (Treg phenotypic and functional changes in autoimmunity)
Yukako Taketani, MD (Treg dysfunction in dry eye disease)
Man Yu, MD (Function of alpha-2b adrenergic system in regulating T cell function)

Bausch & Lomb Fellow
Takeshi Nakao, MD (Promotion of corneal transplant survival in the very young)

Senior Research Associates
Francisco Amparo, MD, MSc (Regulation of inflammation in chronic ocular surface disease)
Yihe Chen, MD, PhD (Immunopathogenesis of dry eye)

Investigator
Ahmad Kheirkhah, MD

PhD Student
William Foulsham, MD

Predoctoral Student
Zhougmou Sun

Executive Assistant
Linda Benson

Laboratory Manager
Qiang Zhang, MD

Alumni

More than 110 trainees from 32 countries have worked in Dr. Dana’s laboratory.

1996-2001: Mini Balaram, MD, Post-doctoral fellow, “Ocular surface inflammatory diseases”. Currently: Director, US Medical Affairs, Pharmaceuticals Division, Bausch and Lomb Inc.

1996:1998: Suning Zhu, MD, PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow, “Cytokine regulation of adhesion factors in corneal inflammation”. Currently: Research Scientist, Toronto General Hospital, Max Bell Research Institute, University of Toronto, Canada, and Professor, Department of Ophthalmology, First Affiliated Hospital, Zhejiang University, China.

1997-1998: Elizabeth Davis, MD, Research Fellow (Schepens Eye Research Institute of Mass. Eye and Ear), and Resident (Mass. Eye and Ear), “Corneal angiogenesis”. Currently: Minnesota Eye Consultants and University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN.

1997:1998: Iva Dekaris, MD, PhD candidate, “Molecular mechanisms of antigen-presenting cell motility in the cornea and ocular surface”. Currently: Professor, University Eye Clinic Svjetlost, Zagreb, Croatia, and past President of European Eye Bank Association.

1998-1999: Satoru Yamagami, MD, PhD, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, “Chemokine gene expression in corneal transplantation”. Currently: Professor of Ophthalmology, Department of Corneal Transplantation, University of Tokyo, Japan.

1998-2001: Ying Liu, MD, PhD, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, “Induction of immunity to intracorneal antigens,” Schepens Eye Research Institute of Mass. Eye and Ear, Boston, MA. Currently: Physician, Cambridge, MA.

1998-2002: Ying Qian, MD, PhD, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, “Role of TNF superfamily receptors in corneal immunity”. Currently: Cornea Specialist, University of Rochester, Rochester, NY.

1999-2001: Pedram Hamrah, MD, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, “Corneal antigen-presenting cell function and activation,” Schepens Eye Research Institute of Mass. Eye and Ear, Boston, MA. Currently: Associate Professor, Tufts University Medical School, Boston, MA.

1999-2001: Vikas Tewari, Pre-doctoral student (Brown University), “Function of IL-12 in regulating immune response to transplant antigens”. Currently: Ophthalmologist, Caritas Good Samaritan Medical Center, Brockton, MA.

2000-2002: Sudhir Vora, Pre-doctoral student in Pasteur Research Program (Harvard), “Patterns of chemokine expression in ocular inflammatory diseases”. Currently: Ophthalmologist at Kaiser Permanente, San Diego, CA.

2001-2002: Flavia Mendes, MD, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, “Outcome measures in corneal transplantation,” Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Schepens Eye Research Institute of Mass. Eye and Ear, Boston, MA. Currently: Ophthalmologist, Toulouse, France.

2001-2003: Clay Beauregard, PhD, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, “Role of caspases in inflammation and apoptosis in the cornea,” Schepens Eye Research Institute of Mass. Eye and Ear, Boston, MA. Currently: Director of Therapeutic Development, Baylor Institute for Immunology Research.

2001-2003: Syed Huq, MD, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, “Mechanisms of allosensitization in high-risk corneal transplantation”. Currently: Physician-Scientist, Anesthesiology Department, University of Syndney, Australia.

2001-2004: Lu Chen, PhD, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, “Corneal dendritic cell trafficking,” Schepens Eye Research Institute of Mass. Eye and Ear, Boston, MA. Currently: Professor and Morton D. Sarver Endowed Chair, University of California, Berkeley, CA.

2001-2005: Abha Sood, MD, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, “Immunopathogenic mechanisms in ocular surface disease,” Schepens Eye Research Institute of Mass. Eye and Ear, Boston, MA. Currently: R&D Division, Ophthalmic Research Associates, North Andover, MA.

2002-2003: Komal Trivedi, MD, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, “Risk factors for pathogenesis of chronic ocular surface disease”. Currently: Ophthalmologist, Detroit, MI.

2002-2004: Claus Cursiefen, MD (co-mentored with Dr. Wayne Streilein), Post-doctoral Research fellow, “Molecular regulation of angiogenesis and lymphangiogenesis in the cornea”. Currently: Professor and Chair, University of Cologne, Germany.

2003-2004: William Chen, MD, PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow, “Role of toll-like receptors in activation and function of corneal dendritic cells,” Schepens Eye Research Institute of Mass. Eye and Ear and Mass. Eye and Ear, Boston, MA. Currently: Professor and Director of Cornea and Ocular Surface Diseases, Department of Ophthalmology, WenZhou Medical College, China.

2003-2006: Rita Barcia, PhD (Co-mentored with Dr. Andrius Kazlauskas), Post-doctoral Research fellow, “Molecular regulation of corneal endothelial cell apoptosis,” Schepens Eye Research Institute of Mass. Eye and Ear, Boston, MA. Currently: Research Scientist, Industry, Portugal.

2003-2007: LinLing Shen, PhD, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, “Mechanisms of tolerance and immune regulation including PD-L1 in the cornea,” Schepens Eye Research Institute of Mass. Eye and Ear, Boston, MA. Currently: Scientist at ETH Zurich, Basel, Switzerland.

2003-2005: Stefano Barabino, MD, PhD candidate, University of Genoa, Italy, “Molecular and cellular aspects of innate immunity in pathogenesis of dry eye disease,” Schepens Eye Research Institute of Mass. Eye and Ear and Mass. Eye and Ear, Boston, MA. Currently: Associate Professor, University of Genoa, Italy.

2004-2005: Claudia Fabiani, MD/PhD candidate, University of Rome, Italy, “Corneal epithelial cell turnover in novel mouse model of dry eye,” Schepens Eye Research Institute of Mass. Eye and Ear, Boston, MA. Currently: Assistant Professor, Department of Ophthalmology, Humanitas Research Hospital, Milan, Italy.

2004-2006: Saadia Rashid, MD, Postdoctoral Fellow, “Immunopathogenesis of dry eye-related chronic ocular surface inflammation,” Schepens Eye Research Institute of Mass. Eye and Ear and Mass. Eye and Ear, Boston, MA. Currently: Assistant Professor, Vitreoretinal Surgeon, Montefiore Medical Center, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx NY.

2004-2006: Eva-Marie Chong, MD, Postdoctoral Fellow, “Molecular regulation of ocular surface immunity,” Schepens Eye Research Institute of Mass. Eye and Ear and Mass. Eye and Ear, Boston, MA. Currently: Cornea Specialist, University of Arizona, Phoenix AZ.

2004-2010: Yiping Jin, MD, PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow, “Antigen-presenting cell trafficking and function of CCR7 chemokine receptor in cornea and ocular surface,” Schepens Eye Research Institute of Mass. Eye and Ear, Boston MA. Currently: Department of Medicine, Woodhull Medical Center, Brooklyn, NY.

2005-2007: Audrey Chan, MD, Postdoctoral Fellow, “Ocular surface disease in dry eye syndromes,” Mass. Eye and Ear and Schepens Eye Research Institute of Mass. Eye and Ear, Boston MA. Currently: Cornea Specialist, Ophthalmic Consultants of Boston, Boston, MA.

2005-2007: Xian Zhang, MD, PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow, “Regulation of corneal alloimmunity by ex-vivo manipulation and leukocyte depletion of donor tissues,” Schepens Eye Research Institute of Mass. Eye and Ear, Boston MA. Currently: Phy sician, Saint Elizabeth’s Hospital, Washington, DC.

2005-2009: Daniel Saban, PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow, “Therapeutic induction of tolerance in transplantation,” Schepens Eye Research Institute of Mass. Eye and Ear, Boston MA. Currently: Assistant Professor, Department of Ophthalmology, Duke University School of Medicine, Durham, NC.

2006-2007: Tatiana Ecoiffier, PhD Student, Ecole Supérieure de Biotechnologie de Strasbourg (France), “Regulation of ocular surface inflammation by integrins,” Schepens Eye Research Institute of Mass. Eye and Ear, Boston MA. Currently: Postdoctoral Fellow, University of California, Berkeley, CA.

2006-2008: Jaafar El Annan, MD, Postdoctoral Fellow, “Molecular mechanisms of corneal inflammation and function of PD-L1 in autoimmunity,” Schepens Eye Research Institute of Mass. Eye and Ear, Boston, MA. Currently: Assistant Professor, U Texas Medical Branch/ MD Anderson Cancer Center, TX.

2006-2007: Eui-Sang Chung, MD, PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow, “Regulation of corneal heme and lymphangiogenesis in ocular surface immunity,” Schepens Eye Research Institute of Mass. Eye and Ear, Boston MA. Currently: Associate Professor, Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine, Seoul, Republic of Korea.

2006-2009: Sunil Chauhan, PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow, “Regulatory T cells in corneal transplantation and corneal inflammation,” Schepens Eye Research Institute of Mass. Eye and Ear, Boston MA. Currently: Assistant Scientist, Schepens Eye Research Institute of Mass. Eye and Ear and Assistant Professor, Harvard Department of Ophthalmology, Boston.

2006-2009: M. Dastjerdi, MD, Postdoctoral Fellow, “Ocular surface inflammation and angiogenesis in chronic corneal diseases,” Mass. Eye and Ear and Schepens Eye Research Institute of Mass. Eye and Ear, Boston, MA. Currently: Assistant Professor, U Medicine & Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ), Newark, NJ.

2007: Elizabeth Shields, Harvard College student, “Ex vivo expansion of epithelial cells for ocular surface reconstruction,” Schepens Eye Research Institute of Mass. Eye and Ear, Boston, MA.

2007-2008: Kathryn Masselam, MD, Clinical Fellow, “Limbal stem cell insufficiency,” Mass. Eye and Ear, Boston, MA.  Currently: Instructor, Cornea Service, Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, Boston, MA.

2007-2008: Helene Lam, MD, Clinical fellow, “Pathophysiology of corneal transplant rejection,” Mass. Eye and Ear, Boston, MA. Currently: Ophthalmologist, Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates, Boston, MA.

2007-2009: Sunali Goyal, MD, Postdoctoral Fellow, “Pre-clinical models of dry eye,” Schepens Eye Research Institute of Mass. Eye and Ear, Boston, MA. Currently: Clinical Fellow, in Cornea Service, Mass. Eye and Ear, Boston MA.

2007-2014: Zahra Parastoo Sadrai, MD, Postdoctoral Fellow, “Mechanisms of epithelial damage by proinflammatory cytokines in chronic ocular surface disease,” Schepens Eye Research Institute of Mass. Eye and Ear, Boston, MA. Currently, Department of Medicine, U Massachusetts Medical Center, Worcester MA.

2007-2010: Amir R. Hajrasouliha, MD; Postdoctoral Fellow, “Molecular regulation of corneal inflammation and lymphangiogenesis,” Schepens Eye Research Institute of Mass. Eye and Ear, Boston MA. Currently: Resident in Ophthalmology at University of Louisville, KY.

2007-2009: Toshi Funaki, MD, PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow, “Molecular mechanisms of corneal endothelial decompensation in corneal transplantation,” Schepens Eye Research Institute of Mass. Eye and Ear, Boston, MA. Currently: Associate Professor, Jutendo University School of Medicine, Tokyo, Japan.

2008-2009: Hyung K. Lee, MD, PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow, “Regulation of VEGF receptor signaling by PTK-7,” Schepens Eye Research Institute of Mass. Eye and Ear, Boston, MA. Currently: Associate Professor, Department of Ophthalmology, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul, Republic of Korea.

2008-2010: Thomas Fuchsluger, MD, PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow/Visiting Assistant Professor from Univ Hospital Essen, Germany, “Regulation of cell apoptosis in tissue preservation and transplantation,” Schepens Eye Research Institute of Mass. Eye and Ear, Boston MA. Currently: Professor and Head of Eye Bank, Friedrich Alexander Erlangen-Nuernberg Univ., Germany.

2008-2012: Nambi Nallasamy, MD, HST Student- Harvard/MIT, “Development of automated platform for quantification of corneal neovascularization and nerves in human and animal corneas,” Mass. Eye and Ear and Schepens Eye Research Institute of Mass. Eye and Ear, Boston, MA. Currently: Resident in Ophthalmology, Duke University, Durham, NC.

2008-2009: Andre Okanobo, MD, Postdoctoral Fellow, “Pathogenesis of chronic corneal inflammation and neuropathy,” Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary and Schepens Eye Research Institute of Mass. Eye and Ear, Boston, MA. Currently: Ophthalmologist at the State University of Campinas, Campinas, Brazil.

2008-2010: Hiroki Ueno, MD, PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow, “Regulation of ocular surface stem cell niche,” Schepens Eye Research Institute of Mass. Eye and Ear, Boston MA. Currently: Assistant Professor, St. Marianna University School of Medicine, Kawasaki, Japan.

2009-2010: Giulio Ferrari, MD, Postdoctoral Fellow, “The role of corneal nerves in epithelial trophism and chronic ocular surface disease,” Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary and Schepens Eye Research Institute of Mass. Eye and Ear, Boston MA. Currently: Assistant Professor, San Rafaele Medical Center, Milan, Italy.

2009-2011: Takaaki Hattori, MD, PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow, “Tolerogenic mechanisms in ocular inflammation,” Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary and Schepens Eye Research Institute of Mass. Eye and Ear, Boston MA. Currently: Assistant Professor, Department of Ophthalmology, Tokyo Medical University, Tokyo, Japan.

2009-2012: Hyun Soo Lee, MD, PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow, “Pathophysiology of dry eye-associated chronic ocular surface disease,” Schepens Eye Research Institute of Mass. Eye and Ear, Boston MA. Currently: Associate Professor, The Catholic University of Korea, College of Medicine, Korea.

2009: Deniz Hos, Medical Student (University of Erlangen, Germany), “Role of VEGF in corneal wound healing”. Schepens Eye Research Institute of Mass. Eye and Ear, Boston MA; Currently: Ophthalmology Resident, University of Cologne, Cologne, Germany.

2009-2011: Yinan Lan, Medical Student, Boston University, “Function of mesenchymal stem cells in host response to corneal injury,” Schepens Eye Research Institute of Mass. Eye and Ear, Boston, MA.

2009-2013: Francisco Amparo, PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow, “Novel imaging platforms for assessment in ocular surface disease,” Schepens Eye Research Institute of Mass. Eye and Ear and Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, Boston MA. Currently Senior Research Associate, Massachusetts Eye and Ear, Harvard Medical School, Boston MA.

2009-2011: Sheng-Fu (Jack) Cheng, PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow, “Therapeutic approaches to corneal angiogenesis,” Schepens Eye Research Institute of Mass. Eye and Ear and Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, Boston, MA. Currently: Ophthalmologist at the Shin Kong Wu Ho-Su Memorial Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan.

2010-2013: Parisa Emami, MD, MPH, Postdoctoral Fellow, “Development of tolerogenic antigen-presenting cells in transplantation,” Schepens Eye Research, Boston MA. Currently: Resident in Ophthalmology, Kresge Eye Center, Detroit, MI.

2010-2011: Simona Schlereth, Graduate Student, University of Freiburg, Germany, "Phenotypic characterization of ocular antigen-presenting cells,” Schepens Eye Research Institute of Mass. Eye and Ear, Boston MA. Currently: Resident, Department of Ophthalmology at University of Cologne, Germany.

2010: Yesim Haussler-Sinangin MD, Postdoctoral Fellow, “Imaging lymphatics in ocular surface disease,” Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary and Schepens Eye Research Institute of Mass. Eye and Ear, Boston MA. Currently: Assistant Professor, University of Frankfurt, Germany.

2010-2013: William Stevenson, MD, Postdoctoral Fellow, “Macrophage phenotype modulation in regulating corneal inflammation,” Schepens Eye Research Institute of Mass. Eye and Ear, Boston MA. Currently: Resident in Ophthalmology, University of Arizona College of Medicine, Tuscon, AZ.

2010-2013: Shilpa Kodati, MBBS, Postdoctoral Fellow, “Chemokine receptor expression by APCs in dry eye disease,” Schepens Eye Research, Boston MA. Currently: Resident in Ophthalmology, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA.

2010-2015: Jing Hua, MD, Postdoctoral Fellow, “Treg dysfunction in high-risk corneal transplantation and chronic ocular inflammation,” Schepens Eye Research Institute of Mass. Eye and Ear, Boston MA.

2011-2014: Thomas Dohlman, MD, Postdoctoral Fellow, “Molecular mechanisms of Th1 and Th17 cell homing in corneal inflammation,” Schepens Eye Research Institute of Mass. Eye and Ear, Boston, MA. Currently: Resident in Ophthalmology, Cornell Weill Medical College, New York NY.

2011: Belen Alfonso Bartolozzi, graduate student, University of Asturias, Spain, “Regulation of corneal angiogenesis,” Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary and Schepens Eye Research Institute of Mass. Eye and Ear, Boston, MA. Currently: Resident in Ophthalmology, University of Oviedo, Asturias, Spain.

2011: Parisa Faridian, summer student from U.C. San Diego, “Computer-assisted imaging in corneal and ocular surface inflammation,” Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary and Schepens Eye Research Institute of Mass. Eye and Ear, Boston, MA.

2011-2012: Narghes Calcagno, Student, U Milan, “Ex vivo expansion of corneal bone marrow-derived cells,” Schepens Eye Research Institute of Mass. Eye and Ear, Boston, MA. Currently: postdoc fellow in immunology, MS Research Center, Harvard Medical School.

2011-2012: Ilya Leskov, Harvard Medical School student, “Chemokine-mediated mechanisms of leukocyte mobilization in corneal transplantation and inflammation,” Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary and Schepens Eye Research Institute of Mass. Eye and Ear, Boston, MA. Currently: Resident in Ophthalmology, Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, Boston, MA.

2011-2013: Sumona Chaudhury, Harvard PhD candidate, Harvard U, “Risk factors in ocular surface inflammation,” Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, Boston, MA.

2011-2013: Hasanain Shikari, MD, Postdoctoral Fellow, “Graft-versus-host disease immunopathogenesis,” Schepens Eye Research Institute of Mass. Eye and Ear and Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, Boston MA. Currently: Fellow, Joslin Diabetes Center, Boston, MA.

2011-2014: Masahiro Omoto, MD, PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow, “Development of novel model of endothelial keratoplasty in the mouse,” Schepens Eye Research Institute of Mass. Eye and Ear, Boston, MA. Currently: Physician-scientist, U Tokyo, Japan.

2012-2016: Maryam Tahvildari, MD, Postdoctoral Fellow, “Ex vivo manipulation of corneal bone marrow-derived cells for immunoregulatory applications in corneal transplantation,” Schepens Eye Research Institute of Mass. Eye and Ear, Boston, MA. Currently: Resident in Ophthalmology, Kresge Eye Institute, Wayne State U, Detroit MI

2012-2014: Sang-Mok Lee, MD, PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow, “Cross regulation of corneal nerves and immunity in ocular surface disease,” Schepens Eye Research Institute of Mass. Eye and Ear, Boston, MA. Currently: Associate Professor, Hallym University College of Medicine, Korea.

2012-2015: Tina Shiang, Boston University 7-year combined Liberal Arts/Medical Education program, “Early corneal endothelial changes in transplant rejection,” Schepens Eye Research Institute of Mass. Eye and Ear, Boston, MA.

2012-2013: Bracha Robinson, Yeshiva University (New York) College Student, Schepens Eye Research Institute of Mass. Eye and Ear, Boston, MA.

2012-2015: Ujwala Saboo, MD, Postdoctoral Fellow, “Ocular graft-versus-host disease.” Currently: Fellow in Pediatric Ophthalmology, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, TX.

2012: Jennifer Galley, Medical/Graduate student from Royal College of Surgeons, Ireland, “Quantification of corneal neovascularization,” Schepens Eye Research Institute of Mass. Eye and Ear, Boston, MA.

2012: Negar Pirmadjid, Medical student from George’s College, University of London, Schepens Eye Research Institute of Mass. Eye and Ear, Boston, MA.

2012-2015: Takenori Inomata, MD, PhD, Juntendo University School of Medicine, Tokyo, Japan, “Dysfunction of peripherally induced T-regulatory cells in high-risk corneal transplantation,” Schepens Eye Research Institute of Mass. Eye and Ear, Boston, MA. Currently: Assistant Professor, Juntendo University School of Medicine

2012: Ben Chaon, Medical student, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA. “Development of a survey to assess ocular pain,” Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, Boston, MA.

2012-2015: Alja Crnej, MD, Postdoctoral Fellow (co-mentored with Dr. Claes H. Dohlman), “Development of mouse model of keratoprosthesis,” Schepens Eye Research Institute of Mass. Eye and Ear, Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, Boston MA.

2013-2015: Brinda Subbarayal, PhD, Post-doctoral fellow, “Interface between Th17 and B cell-mediated immunity in chronic dry eye disease,” Schepens Eye Research Institute of Mass. Eye and Ear, Boston, MA.

2013-2014: Tulio Abud, MD, Postdoctoral Fellow, “Efficacy of topical tacrolimus in ocular graft-versus-host disease,” Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary and Schepens Eye Research Institute of Mass. Eye and Ear, Boston, MA.

2013-2014: Iris Hong Qi, MD, PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow, “Function of regulatory Th17 cells in abatement of ocular surface disease,” Schepens Eye Research Institute of Mass. Eye and Ear, Boston, MA.

2013-2014: Göknil Gültekin, Medical student at Istanbul University, Cerrahpasa Faculty of Medicine, Turkey, Schepens Eye Research Institute of Mass. Eye and Ear, Boston, MA.

2013: Osman Aijazi, Tufts University student, Boston, MA, Schepens Eye Research Institute of Mass. Eye and Ear, Boston, MA.

2013-2015: Antonio DiZazzo, MD, Resident at University of Rome, Post-doctoral fellow, “Angiostatic function of Tregs in ocular inflammation,” Schepens Eye Research Institute of Mass. Eye and Ear, Boston, MA.

2014-2015: Lang Bai, MD, Post-doctoral fellow, “Function and TLR regulation of Tregs in corneal inflammatory diseases,” Schepens Eye Research Institute of Mass. Eye and Ear, Boston MA.

2014-2015: Xuhua Tan, MD, PhD, Post-doctoral fellow, “The immunoregulatory role of corneal epithelium-derived TSP-1 in dry eye disease,” Schepens Eye Research Institute of Mass. Eye and Ear, Boston, MA. 

2014: Abigail Kaye, MB ChB, University of Bristol, UK, Research Intern, Schepens Eye Research Institute of Mass. Eye and Ear, Boston MA. Currently: U Bristol Medical School, UK.

2014: Alexandra Rezazadeh, Medical Student at University of Wisconsin School of Medicine, Madison WI, “Regulation of corneal angiogenesis,” Schepens Eye Research Institute of Mass. Eye and Ear, Boston, MA.

2014: Homer Chiang, Medical Student at University of Vermont College of Medicine, Burlington VT, Research Intern, “Biphasic response of inflammatory angiogenesis in the cornea” Schepens Eye Research Institute of Mass. Eye and Ear, Boston, MA.

2014-2015 : Merle Fernandes, MBBS, MS, Postdoctoral Fellow, “Immunoregulatory function of corneal epithelial PEDF in suppressing T cell mediated immunity,” Schepens Eye Research Institute of Mass. Eye and Ear, Boston, MA. Currently: Professor, LV Prasad Eye Institute, India.

2014-2016: Alireza Mashaghi, MD, PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow, “Contribution of aging to autoimmunity,” Schepens Eye Research Institute of Mass. Eye and Ear, Boston, MA.  Currently:  Assistant Professor, Leiden University, The Netherlands

2014-2017: Anna Marmalidou, MD, Postdoctoral Fellow, “Substance P-mediated dysfunction of T regulatory cells in dry eye disease,” Schepens Eye Research Institute of Mass. Eye and Ear, Boston, MA.

2014-2016: Josh Hong, MD, PhD, Post-doctoral Fellow, “Immune regulation of the ocular surface,” Schepens Eye Research Institute of Mass. Eye and Ear, Boston, MA. Currently: Associate Professor, Fudan University Eye Ear Nose and Throat Hospital, Shanghai, China.

2015: Takeshi Nakao, MD, Mass Eye and Ear-Bausch & Lomb fellow, “Promotion of corneal transplant survival in the very young,” Schepens Eye Research Institute of Mass. Eye and Ear, Boston, MA.

2015: Fatemeh Ramazani, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Summer Student, “Imaging studies in ocular surface disorders,” Schepens Eye Research Institute of Mass. Eye and Ear, Boston, MA. Currently: U Alberta Medical School, Canada.

2015: Jessica Girgis, U. Massachusetts-Amherst Honors Commonwealth College summer student, “Neuro-immune basis of corneal inflammation”. Schepens Eye Research Institute of Mass. Eye and Ear, Boston, MA.

2015-2016: Mohsen Tehrani, Post-doctoral Fellow, “Immunoregulatory mechanisms of Tregs in ocular inflammation,” Schepens Eye Research Institute of Mass. Eye and Ear, Boston, MA. Currently: Associate Professor, Mazandaran University of Medical Sciences, Iran

2015-2016: Kunal Suri, MD, Post-doctoral Fellow, “Trophic factors for support of corneal endothelium,” Schepens Eye Research Institute of Mass. Eye and Ear, Boston, MA. Currently: Ophthalmologist, New Delhi, India.

2015-2017: Vannarut Satitpitakul, MD, Postdoctoral Fellow, “Murine models for study of regenerative approaches to corneal endothelial dysfunction,” Schepens Eye Research Institute of Mass. Eye and Ear, Boston, MA.

2015-2017: Jia Yin, MD, PhD, Fellow, “Treg regulation of angiogenesis,” Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, Boston, MA. Currently: Cornea Service, Massachusetts Eye and Ear, Boston, MA

2015-2017: Chunyi Shao, MD, PhD, Fellow, “Immune interactions of T cells with corneal endothelial cells in transplantation,” Schepens Eye Research Institute of Mass. Eye and Ear, Boston, MA.

2016: Man Yu, MD, PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow, “Function of alpha-2b adrenergic system in regulating T cell function,” Schepens Eye Research Institute of Mass. Eye and Ear, Boston, MA.

2016: Zhongmou Sun, Pre-doctoral Student, “In vitro effect of nerve-derived factors on corneal endothelium”. Schepens Eye Research Institute of Mass. Eye and Ear, Boston, MA

2016: William Foulsham, MD, PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow, "Regulatory T cell dysfunction in high-risk corneal allograft rejection,” Schepens Eye Research Institute of Mass. Eye and Ear, Boston, MA

2017— Giulia Coco, MD, Postdoctoral Fellow, “Role of regulatory T cells in preventing corneal endothelial cell loss,” Schepens Eye Research Institute of Mass. Eye and Ear, Boston, MA

2017 Rohan B Singh, MD, “Treg phenotypic and functional changes in autoimmunity,” Schepens Eye Research Institute of Mass. Eye and Ear, Boston MA