Sophie Xiaohui Deng, M.D., Ph.D.

Mailing Address:
100 Stein Plaza
Los Angeles, CA 90095

Director, Cornea Biology Laboratory
Associate Professor, Ophthalmology, Stein Eye Institute
Member, Cornea and Uveitis, CTSI, Cell & Developmental Biology GPB Home Area, JCCC Cancer and Stem Cell Biology Program Area, Laser Refractive Center
Research Interests
Dr. Deng’s research focuses on improving the current treatments for patients with limbal stem cell deficiency. To achieve this goal, her laboratory investigates the microenvironment/niche of the limbal stem cells to elucidate those factors that govern the fate of limbal stem cells. Potential components of the limbal stem cell niche have been identified and their roles in the regulation of limbal stem cell self-renewal and differentiation are being investigated. Two such regulatory pathways are Wnt and Notch signaling. The findings will be used to optimized the ex vivo expansion of limbal stem cells for transplantation by modulating those factors that regulate the differentiation and proliferation of limbal stem cells. Dr. Sophie Deng’s clinical research focuses on the development of new methods to diagnose and classify limbal stem cell deficiency using new molecular biomarkers and in vivo live imaging modalities.

Dr. Sophie X. Deng is an Associate Professor in the Cornea Division at the Stein Eye Institute, UCLA. Dr. Deng received her doctor of medicine and doctor of philosophy degrees at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, New York, where she completed the rigorous Medical Scientist Training Program. She did her residency in ophthalmology at the Illinois Eye and Ear Infirmary, Chicago. Dr. Deng subsequently completed her fellowship in Cornea, External Ocular Disease and Refractive Surgery at the Stein Eye Institute.

Dr. Deng is a specialist in corneal and external ocular diseases, and cataracts. Her surgical areas include endothelial keratoplasty (DSEK and DMEK), deep anterior lamellar keratoplasty (DALK), penetrating keratoplasty, limbal stem cell transplantation, artificial cornea and cataract.

Dr. Deng is the director of the Cornea Biology Laboratory at the Stein Eye Institute. Her research focuses on corneal epithelial stem cells regulation, deficiency and regeneration. Dr. Deng’s research aims to improve the current treatment for patients with limbal stem cell deficiency by using stem cell therapy to restore vision. In addition, Dr. Deng conducts clinical studies to develop new imaging and molecular tests to accurately diagnose and stage limbal stem cell deficiency.


A selected list of publications:

Gonzalez, S.; Mei, H.; Nakatsu, M. N.; Baclagon, E. R.; Deng, S. X.   A 3D culture system enhances the ability of human bone marrow stromal cells to support the growth of limbal stem/progenitor cells Stem Cell Res, 2016; 16(2): 358-64.
Pellegrini, G.; Lambiase, A.; Macaluso, C.; Pocobelli, A.; Deng, S.; Cavallini, G. M.; Esteki, R.; Rama, P.   From discovery to approval of an advanced therapy medicinal product-containing stem cells, in the EU Regen Med, 2016; 11(4): 407-20.
Deng, S. X.; Sanchez, P. J.; Chen, L.   Clinical outcomes of Descemet membrane endothelial keratoplasty using eye bank-prepared tissues Am J Ophthalmol, 2015; 159(3): 590-6.
Sy, M. E.; Kovoor, T. A.; Tannan, A.; Choi, D.; Deng, S. X.; Danesh, J.; Hamilton, D. R.   Combined astigmatic keratotomy and conductive keratoplasty to correct high corneal astigmatism J Cataract Refract Surg, 2015; 41(5): 1050-6.
Tannan, A.; Vo, R. C.; Chen, J. L.; Yu, F.; Deng, S. X.; Aldave, A. J.   Comparison of ACIOL Retention With IOL Exchange in Patients Undergoing Descemet Stripping Automated Endothelial Keratoplasty Cornea, 2015; 34(9): 1030-4.
Chan, E. H.; Chen, L.; Yu, F.; Deng, S. X.   Epithelial Thinning in Limbal Stem Cell Deficiency Am J Ophthalmol, 2015; 160(4): 669-77 e4.
Chen, J. L.; Lin, B. R.; Gee, K. M.; Gee, J. A.; Chung, D. W.; Frausto, R. F.; Deng, S. X.; Aldave, A. J.   Identification of presumed pathogenic KRT3 and KRT12 gene mutations associated with Meesmann corneal dystrophy Mol Vis, 2015; 21: 1378-86.
Chan, E. H.; Chen, L.; Rao, J. Y.; Yu, F.; Deng, S. X.   Limbal Basal Cell Density Decreases in Limbal Stem Cell Deficiency Am J Ophthalmol, 2015; 160(4): 678-84 e4.
Schlotzer-Schrehardt, U.; Bachmann, B. O.; Tourtas, T.; Torricelli, A. A.; Singh, A.; Gonzalez, S.; Mei, H.; Deng, S. X.; Wilson, S. E.; Kruse, F. E.   Ultrastructure of the posterior corneal stroma Ophthalmology, 2015; 122(4): 693-9.
Mei, H.; Gonzalez, S.; Nakatsu, M. N.; Baclagon, E. R.; Lopes, V. S.; Williams, D. S.; Deng, S. X.   A three-dimensional culture method to expand limbal stem/progenitor cells Tissue Eng Part C Methods, 2014; 20(5): 393-400.
Yang, Y.; Hong, J.; Deng, S. X.; Xu, J.   Age-related changes in human corneal epithelial thickness measured with anterior segment optical coherence tomography Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci, 2014; 55(8): 5032-8.
Cui, X.; Hong, J.; Wang, F.; Deng, S. X.; Yang, Y.; Zhu, X.; Wu, D.; Zhao, Y.; Xu, J.   Assessment of corneal epithelial thickness in dry eye patients Optom Vis Sci, 2014; 91(12): 1446-54.
Mei, H.; Nakatsu, M. N.; Baclagon, E. R.; Deng, S. X.   Frizzled 7 maintains the undifferentiated state of human limbal stem/progenitor cells Stem Cells, 2014; 32(4): 938-45.
Nakatsu, M. N.; Gonzalez, S.; Mei, H.; Deng, S. X.   Human limbal mesenchymal cells support the growth of human corneal epithelial stem/progenitor cells Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci, 2014; 55(10): 6953-9.
Aldave, A. J.; Chen, J. L.; Zaman, A. S.; Deng, S. X.; Yu, F.   Outcomes after DSEK in 101 eyes with previous trabeculectomy and tube shunt implantation Cornea, 2014; 33(3): 223-9.
Hong Jiaxu, Xu Jianjiang, Wei Anji, Deng Sophie X, Cui Xinhan, Yu Xiaobo, Sun Xinghuai   A new tonometer--the Corvis ST tonometer: clinical comparison with noncontact and Goldmann applanation tonometers Investigative ophthalmology & visual science, 2013; 54(1): 659-65.
Chen Yinyin, Huang Kevin, Nakatsu Martin N, Xue Zhigang, Deng Sophie X, Fan Guoping   Identification of novel molecular markers through transcriptomic analysis in human fetal and adult corneal endothelial cells Human molecular genetics, 2013; 22(7): 1271-9.
Le, Q.; Deng, S. X.; Xu, J.   In vivo confocal microscopy of congenital aniridia-associated keratopathy Eye (Lond), 2013; 27(6): 763-6.
Kaufman Stephen C, Jacobs Deborah S, Lee W Barry, Deng Sophie X, Rosenblatt Mark I, Shtein Roni M   Options and adjuvants in surgery for pterygium: a report by the American Academy of Ophthalmology Ophthalmology, 2013; 120(1): 201-8.
Nakatsu Martin N, Vartanyan Lily, Vu Daniel M, Ng Madelena Y, Li Xinmin, Deng Sophie X   Preferential biological processes in the human limbus by differential gene profiling PloS one, 2013; 8(4): e61833.
Sejpal, K.; Bakhtiari, P.; Deng, S. X.   Presentation, diagnosis and management of limbal stem cell deficiency Middle East Afr J Ophthalmol, 2013; 20(1): 5-10.
Hong Jiaxu, Deng Sophie X, Xu Jianjiang   Enzymatic vitreolysis with ocriplasmin for vitreomacular traction and macular holes The New England journal of medicine, 2012; 367(21): 2053; author reply 2054.
Mei, H.; Gonzalez, S.; Deng, S. X.   Extracellular Matrix is an Important Component of Limbal Stem Cell Niche J Funct Biomater, 2012; 3(4): 879-94.
Kurbanyan, K.; Sejpal, K. D.; Aldave, A. J.; Deng, S. X.   In vivo confocal microscopic findings in Lisch corneal dystrophy Cornea, 2012; 31(4): 437-41.
Tsui Irena, Uslan Daniel Z, Hubschman Jean-Pierre, Deng Sophie X   Nocardia farcinica Infection of a Baerveldt implant and endophthalmitis in a patient with a Boston type I keratoprosthesis Journal of glaucoma, 2011; 19(5): 339-40.