Sharmila Masli, PhD

sharmilaAssociate Professor of Ophthalmology

BSc, University of Mumbai, Mumbai, India
MS, Northeastern University
PhD, Northeastern University

BUMC Research Profile

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.