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

Harvard Medical School

Claes H. Dohlman Professor of Ophthalmology, Department of Ophthalmology
Vice Chair for Academic Programs
Director, Harvard-Vision Clinical Scientist Development Program
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

Senior Scientist, Laboratory of Immunology

Research Summary

Center/Research Area Affiliations


Dr. Reza Dana is an internationally recognized expert in corneal disorders and ocular inflammation. He is a graduate of Johns Hopkins and Harvard Universities, who holds the Claes Dohlman Chair in Ophthalmology at Harvard Medical School. He is Director of the Cornea Service at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear, Senior Scientist at the Schepens Eye Research Institute/Mass Eye and Ear, and a member of the Harvard Medical School Graduate Program in Immunology (Committee on Immunology), and directs the Harvard-Vision Clinical Scientist Development Program. 

Dr. Dana has trained over 70 clinical fellows, and 105 postdoctoral fellows and students in his laboratory 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. 

Research Summary

Dr. Dana 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 ARVO, he has authored over 260 peer-reviewed articles and over 120 reviews and book chapters, and has delivered more than 200 invited and named lectures worldwide. His published work has been cited more than 16,000 times. Dr. Dana's translational research has led to several successful physician-sponsored IND applications to the FDA and has focused on application of novel cytokine-based strategies for immune modulation. His research is supported by several NIH R01 and DOD grants.

Clinical Interests

High-Risk Transplantation, Stem cells, Graft-versus-Host Disease, Immune-Mediated Corneal Disorders, Infection, Autoimmunity

Selected Publications

For a full publication list, please see his CV.

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.

Huq S, Liu Y, Benichou G, Dana R. Relevance of the direct pathway of sensitization in corneal transplantation is dictated by the graft bed microenvironment. J Immunol 2004: 173:4464-9.

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.

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.

Shen L, Jin Y, Freeman GJ, Sharpe AH, Dana R. The function of donor versus recipient PD-L1 in corneal allograft survival. J Immunology 2007; 179: 3672-9.

Chauhan SK, El Annan J, Ecoiffier T, Goyal S, Zhang Q, Saban DR, Dana R. Autoimmunity in dry eye is due to resistance of Th17 to Treg suppression. J Immunology 2009; 182: 1247-52.

Chauhan SK, Saban DR, Lee HK, Dana R. Levels of Foxp3 in regulatory T cells reflect their functional status in transplantation. J Immunology 2009; 182: 148-153. PMC2610348.

Saban DR, Chauhan SK, Masli S, Dana R. Thrombospondin-1 derived from antigen-presenting cells regulates their capacity for allosensitization. J Immunol 2010; 185: 4691-4697. PMC3090006.

Lee HK, Chauhan SK, Kay ED, Dana R. Flt-1 regulates cell migration via a protein tyrosine kinase-7-dependant pathway. Blood 2011;117:5762-71.

Jin Y, Chauhan SK, Annan JE, Sage PT, Sharpe AH, Dana R. A novel function for programmed death ligand-1 regulation of angiogenesis. Am J Pathol. 2011;178:1922-9.

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

Chen Y, Chauhan S, Lee HS, Saban D, Dana R. Chronic dry eye disease is principally mediated by effector memory Th17 cells. Mucosal Immunology 2014; 38-45. PMC3732510.

Chauhan SK, Saban DR, Dohlman TH, Dana R. CCL-21 conditioned Tregs induce allotolerance through enhanced homing to lymphoid tissue. J Immunol 2014; 192:817-23. PMC3947335.

Dohlman TH, Omoto M, Hua J, Stevenson W, Lee SM, Chauhan SK, Dana R. VEGF-trap aflibercept significantly improves long-term graft survival in high-risk corneal transplantation. Transplantation 2015; 99: 678-686. PMID25606789.

Tahvildari M, Omoto M, Chen Y, Emami P, Inomata T, Dohlman T, Kaye AE, Chauhan S, Dana R. In vivo expansion of regulatory T cells by low-dose interleukin-2 treatment increases allograft survival in corneal transplantation. Transplantation 2016; 100:525-32. PMID 26881788.

View Publications on Google Scholar >>



1989: MPH, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
1989: MD, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
2005: MSc, Health Care Management, Harvard University

Postgraduate Training

Greater Baltimore Medical Center (7/1/1989 - 7/1/1990)
Illinois Eye & Ear Infirmary (7/1/1990 - 7/1/1993)
Wills Eye Hospital (7/1/1993 - 7/1/1994)
Massachusetts Eye And Ear Infirmary (7/1/1994 - 7/1/1995)
Harvard Medical School, Fellow (7/1/1994 - 6/1/1996)
Harvard University (7/1/2003 - 5/1/2005)


Named Fellow of the Society of Heed Fellows (Special Recognition Award)
Clinical Scientist Career Award, NIH
William and Mary Greve Special Scholar Award, Research to Prevent Blindness
Achievement Award, American Academy of Ophthalmology
Kronfeld Memorial Lecturer, University of Illinois Eye and Ear Infirmary
Fry Memorial Lecturer, Wills Eye Hospital
Cogan Award, Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology
Dohlman Lecturer, Biennial Cornea Conference
Alta Lecturer and Visiting Professorship, UC San Francisco
Physician Scientist Merit Award, Research to Prevent Blindness
Service Recognition Award, American Board of Ophthalmology
Alcon Research Institute Award
2009 Lew R. Wasserman Merit Award, Research to Prevent Blindness
David Easty Lecturer, Bowman Club, Royal College of Surgeons, Edinburgh
Joaquin Barraquer Lecturer, Spanish Congress of Ophthalmology
LSU Chancellor’s Award in Neuroscience and Ophthalmology
Mentoring Award, European Young Investigator Network for Ocular Inflammation
Gold Fellow, Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology
2013 Keynote Speaker, Biennial Meeting of the European Society of Ophthalmology
Senior Scientific Investigator Award, Research to Prevent Blindness
A. Clifford Barger Excellence in Mentoring Award, Harvard Medical School
Thygeson Lecturer, Ocular Microbiology and Immunology Group
Kersley Lecture, British Ocular Surface Society
Roger Meyer Lecture, University of Michigan
2016 Elected, Academia Ophthalmologica Internationalis
2016 Mooney Lecture, Irish College of Ophthalmologists, Rep. Ireland
2016 Endres A. Balazs Prize, International Society for Eye Research