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.

Other Positions

  • Graduate Faculty (Primary Mentor of Grad Students), Boston University Chobanian & Avedisian School of Medicine, Graduate Medical Sciences


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


  • Published on 1/23/2024

    Gordon RA, Nguyen Y, Foulquier N, Beydon M, Gheita TA, Hajji R, Sahbudin I, Hoi A, Ng WF, Mendonça JA, Wallace DJ, Shea B, Bruyn GA, Goodman SM, Fisher BA, Baldini C, Torralba KD, Bootsma H, Akpek EK, Karakus S, Baer AN, Chakravarty SD, Terslev L, D'Agostino MA, Mariette X, DiRenzo D, Rasmussen A, Papas A, Montoya C, Arends S, Yusof MYM, Pintilie I, Warner BM, Hammitt KM, Strand V, Bouillot C, Tugwell P, Inanc N, Andreu JL, Wahren-Herlenius M, Devauchelle-Pensec V, Shiboski CH, Benyoussef A, Masli S, Lee AYS, Cornec D, Bowman S, Rischmueller M, McCoy SS, Seror R. The Sjögren's Working Group: The 2023 OMERACT meeting and provisional domain generation. Semin Arthritis Rheum. 2024 Apr; 65:152378. PMID: 38310657.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 6/8/2022

    Masli S, Akpek EK. Reduced tear thrombospondin-1/matrix metalloproteinase-9 ratio can aid in detecting Sjögren's syndrome etiology in patients with dry eye. Clin Transl Sci. 2022 Aug; 15(8):1999-2009. PMID: 35610740.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 5/20/2022

    Soriano-Romaní L, Mir FA, Singh N, Chin I, Hafezi-Moghadam A, Masli S. CD47 Binding on Vascular Endothelial Cells Inhibits IL-17-Mediated Leukocyte Adhesion. Int J Mol Sci. 2022 May 20; 23(10). PMID: 35628515.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 8/9/2021

    Logeswaran A, Contreras-Ruiz L, Masli S. Conjunctival Goblet Cell Responses to TLR5 Engagement Promote Activation of Local Antigen-Presenting Cells. Front Immunol. 2021; 12:716939. PMID: 34434198.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 3/4/2021

    Simon LS, Keshav V, Baharozian C, Masli S, Lee HJ. Thrombospondin 1 polymorphism associated with decreased expression and increased risk of pterygium. Graefes Arch Clin Exp Ophthalmol. 2021 Aug; 259(8):2301-2307. PMID: 33661363.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 1/20/2021

    Ramos MF, Brassard J, Masli S. Immunology and Pathology in Ocular Drug Development. Toxicol Pathol. 2021 04; 49(3):483-504. PMID: 33468035.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 11/30/2020

    Masli S, Dartt DA. Mouse Models of Sjögren's Syndrome with Ocular Surface Disease. Int J Mol Sci. 2020 Nov 30; 21(23). PMID: 33266081.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 8/1/2020

    Akpek EK, Wu HY, Karakus S, Zhang Q, Masli S. Differential Diagnosis of Sjögren Versus Non-Sjögren Dry Eye Through Tear Film Biomarkers. Cornea. 2020 Aug; 39(8):991-997. PMID: 32195754.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 6/5/2019

    Foulsham W, Dohlman TH, Mittal SK, Taketani Y, Singh RB, Masli S, Dana R. Thrombospondin-1 in ocular surface health and disease. Ocul Surf. 2019 07; 17(3):374-383. PMID: 31173926.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 12/20/2018

    Soriano-Romaní L, Contreras-Ruiz L, López-García A, Diebold Y, Masli S. Topical Application of TGF-ß-Activating Peptide, KRFK, Prevents Inflammatory Manifestations in the TSP-1-Deficient Mouse Model of Chronic Ocular Inflammation. Int J Mol Sci. 2018 Dec 20; 20(1). PMID: 30577496.

    Read at: PubMed

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