Sharmila Masli, PhD

Associate Professor, Ophthalmology

Sharmila Masli
72 E. Concord St Instructional (L)


The major focus of research in the laboratory is the study of molecular mechanisms utilized by ocular antigen presenting cells (APCs) to regulate inflammatory ocular immune responses. Particular focus is on elucidating the role of thrombospondin-1 (TSP-1) in regulating ocular inflammation.

Resident ocular APCs in the posterior and anterior segment of the eye depend on TSP-1 for maintaining an anti-inflammatory phenotype. In the absence of TSP-1 these APCs acquire more immunogenic phenotype. These observations are examined further to determine their role in ocular inflammation.

Induction of regulatory T cells (Treg) subset by ocular APCs is known to be a key component of ocular immune privilege. The ability of ocular APCs to induce Treg and its correlation with their expression of TSP-1 is examined in the laboratory at the level of molecular mechanisms.

The laboratory has identified spontaneous development of autoimmune Sjögren’s syndrome and related ocular inflammation in TSP-1 deficient mice that closely resembles clinical symptoms in human Sjögren’s patients. Different projects in the laboratory address immunologic mechanisms underlying disease development in these mice.


  • Northeastern University, PhD
  • Northeastern University, MS
  • University of Bombay, BSc


  • Published on 2/14/2018

    Bhattacharya S, García-Posadas L, Hodges RR, Makarenkova HP, Masli S, Dartt DA. Alteration in nerves and neurotransmitter stimulation of lacrimal gland secretion in the TSP-1-/- mouse model of aqueous deficiency dry eye. Mucosal Immunol. 2018 Feb 14. PMID: 29445135.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 8/9/2017

    Wakshull E, Quarmby V, Mahler HC, Rivers H, Jere D, Ramos M, Szczesny P, Bechtold-Peters K, Masli S, Gupta S. Advancements in Understanding Immunogenicity of Biotherapeutics in the Intraocular Space. AAPS J. 2017 Nov; 19(6):1656-1668. PMID: 28795351.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 1/31/2017

    Contreras Ruiz L, Mir FA, Turpie B, Masli S. Thrombospondin-derived peptide attenuates Sjögren's syndrome-associated ocular surface inflammation in mice. Clin Exp Immunol. 2017 Apr; 188(1):86-95. PMID: 28033649.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 9/30/2016

    Shatos MA, Hodges RR, Morinaga M, McNay DE, Islam R, Bhattacharya S, Li D, Turpie B, Makarenkova HP, Masli S, Utheim TP, Dartt DA. Alteration in cellular turnover and progenitor cell population in lacrimal glands from thrombospondin 1-/- mice, a model of dry eye. Exp Eye Res. 2016 Dec; 153:27-41. PMID: 27697548.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 2/8/2016

    Smith RE, Reyes NJ, Khandelwal P, Schlereth SL, Lee HS, Masli S, Saban DR. Secondary allergic T cell responses are regulated by dendritic cell-derived thrombospondin-1 in the setting of allergic eye disease. J Leukoc Biol. 2016 Aug; 100(2):371-80. PMID: 26856994.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 10/14/2015

    Contreras-Ruiz L, Mir FA, Turpie B, Krauss AH, Masli S. Sjögren's syndrome associated dry eye in a mouse model is ameliorated by topical application of integrin a4 antagonist GW559090. Exp Eye Res. 2016 Feb; 143:1-8. PMID: 26463157.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 10/12/2015

    Mir FA, Contreras-Ruiz L, Masli S. Thrombospondin-1-dependent immune regulation by transforming growth factor-ß2-exposed antigen-presenting cells. Immunology. 2015 Dec; 146(4):547-56. PMID: 26458493.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 7/20/2015

    Masli S. Matricellular Proteins in Ocular Diseases. J Ocul Pharmacol Ther. 2015 Sep; 31(7):365. PMID: 26192047.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 7/8/2015

    Soriano-Romaní L, Contreras-Ruiz L, García-Posadas L, López-García A, Masli S, Diebold Y. Inflammatory Cytokine-Mediated Regulation of Thrombospondin-1 and CD36 in Conjunctival Cells. J Ocul Pharmacol Ther. 2015 Sep; 31(7):419-28. PMID: 26154920.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 6/1/2015

    Regenfuß B, Dreisow ML, Hos D, Masli S, Bock F, Cursiefen C. The Naïve Murine Cornea as a Model System to Identify Novel Endogenous Regulators of Lymphangiogenesis: TRAIL and rtPA. Lymphat Res Biol. 2015 Jun; 13(2):76-84. PMID: 26091403.

    Read at: PubMed

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