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

Mailing Address:
100 Stein Plaza
Los Angeles, CA 90095

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:

Deng Sophie X, Dos Santos Aurelie, Gee Serina   Therapeutic Potential of Extracellular Vesicles for the Treatment of Corneal Injuries and Scars Translational vision science & technology, 2020; 9(12): 1.
Lee Lenis Tamara, Zhang Wenlin, Shibayama Vivian, Al-Hashimi Saba, Aldave Anthony J, Deng Sophie X, Fung Simon S M   Mulitmodal Corneal Imaging of Genetically Confirmed Keratitis-Ichthyosis-Deafness Syndrome Cornea, 2020; 39(11): 1446-1449.
Bonnet Clemence, Vazirnia Parsia, Deng Sophie X, Aldave Anthony J, Miller Kevin M   Sutured Custom Foldable Silicone Artificial Iris Implantation Combined With Intraocular Lens Implantation and Penetrating Keratoplasty: Safety and Efficacy Outcomes Cornea, 2020; 39(11): 1446-1449.
Deng Sophie X, Kruse Friedrich, Gomes José A P, Chan Clara C, Daya Sheraz, Dana Reza, Figueiredo Francisco C, Kinoshita Shigeru, Rama Paolo, Sangwan Virender, Slomovic Allan R, Tan Donald, Tan Donald   Global Consensus on the Management of Limbal Stem Cell Deficiency Cornea, 2020; 39(10): 1291-1302.
Hernáez-Moya Raquel, González Sheyla, Urkaregi Arantza, Pijoan Jose Ignacio, Deng Sophie X, Andollo Noelia   Expansion of Human Limbal Epithelial Stem/Progenitor Cells Using Different Human Sera: A Multivariate Statistical Analysis International journal of molecular sciences, 2020; 21(17): 1234-1258.
González Sheyla, Halabi Maximilian, Ju David, Tsai Matthew, Deng Sophie X   Role of Jagged1-mediated Notch Signaling Activation in the Differentiation and Stratification of the Human Limbal Epithelium Cells, 2020; 9(9): 1234-1258.
Bonnet Clemence, Ghaffari Reza, Alkadi Turad, Law Simon K, Caprioli Joseph, Yu Fei, Deng Sophie X   Long-Term Outcomes of Descemet Membrane Endothelial Keratoplasty in Eyes with Prior Glaucoma Surgery American journal of ophthalmology, 2020; 218(11): 288-295.
Zhang Chi, Mei Hua, Robertson Sarah Y T, Lee Ho-Jin, Deng Sophie X, Zheng Jie J   A Small-Molecule Wnt Mimic Improves Human Limbal Stem Cell Ex Vivo Expansion iScience, 2020; 23(5): 101075.
Le Qihua, Chauhan Tulika, Yung Madeline, Tseng Chi-Hong, Deng Sophie X   Outcomes of Limbal Stem Cell Transplant: A Meta-analysis JAMA ophthalmology, 2020; 138(6): 660-670.
Liang Qingfeng, Le Qihua, Cordova Daniel W, Tseng Chi-Hong, Deng Sophie X   Corneal Epithelial Thickness Measured Using Anterior Segment Optical Coherence Tomography as a Diagnostic Parameter for Limbal Stem Cell Deficiency American journal of ophthalmology, 2020; 216(9): 132-139.
Sun Yuzhao, Yung Madeline, Huang Linying, Tseng Chihong, Deng Sophie X   Limbal Stem Cell Deficiency After Glaucoma Surgery Cornea, 2020; 39(5): 566-572.
Sun Yuzhao, Dos Santos Aurelie, Balayan Alis, Deng Sophie X   Evaluation of Cryopreservation Media for the Preservation of Human Corneal Stromal Stem Cells Tissue engineering. Part C, Methods, 2020; 26(1): 37-43.
Pflugfelder Stephen C, Massaro-Giordano Mina, Perez Victor L, Hamrah Pedram, Deng Sophie X, Espandar Ladan, Foster C Stephen, Affeldt John, Seedor John A, Afshari Natalie A, Chao Wendy, Allegretti Marcello, Mantelli Flavio, Dana Reza   Topical Recombinant Human Nerve Growth Factor (Cenegermin) for Neurotrophic Keratopathy: A Multicenter Randomized Vehicle-Controlled Pivotal Trial Ophthalmology, 2020; 127(1): 14-26.
González Sheyla, Uhm Heui, Deng Sophie X   Notch Inhibition Prevents Differentiation of Human Limbal Stem/Progenitor Cells in vitro Scientific reports, 2019; 9(1): 10373.
Shojaati Golnar, Khandaker Irona, Funderburgh Martha L, Mann Mary M, Basu Rohan, Stolz Donna B, Geary Moira L, Dos Santos Aurélie, Deng Sophie X, Funderburgh James L   Mesenchymal Stem Cells Reduce Corneal Fibrosis and Inflammation via Extracellular Vesicle-Mediated Delivery of miRNA Stem cells translational medicine, 2019; 8(11): 1192-1201.
Dos Santos Aurelie, Balayan Alis, Funderburgh Martha L, Ngo John, Funderburgh James L, Deng Sophie X   Differentiation Capacity of Human Mesenchymal Stem Cells into Keratocyte Lineage Investigative ophthalmology & visual science, 2019; 60(8): 3013-3023.
Ross Kevin W, Stoeger Christopher G, Rosenwasser George O D, OʼBrien Robert C, Szczotka-Flynn Loretta B, Ayala Allison R, Maguire Maureen G, Benetz Beth Ann, Dahl Patricia, Drury Donna C, Dunn Steven P, Farazdaghi Sameera M, Hoover Caroline K, Macsai Marian S, Mian Shahzad I, Nordlund Michael L, Penta Jeffrey G, Soper Mark C, Terry Mark A, Verdier David D, Williams Doyce V, Lass Jonathan H, Lass Jonathan H   Prelamellar Dissection Donor Corneal Thickness Is Associated With Descemet Stripping Automated Endothelial Keratoplasty Operative Complications in the Cornea Preservation Time Study Cornea, 2019; 38(9): 1069-1076.
Lin Shawn R, Prapaipanich Pitchaya, Yu Fei, Law Simon K, Caprioli Joseph, Aldave Anthony J, Deng Sophie X   Comparison of Endothelial Keratoplasty Techniques in Patients With Prior Glaucoma Surgery: A Case-Matched Study American journal of ophthalmology, 2019; 206(11): 94-101.
González Sheyla, Oh Denise, Baclagon Elfren R, Zheng Jie J, Deng Sophie X   Wnt Signaling Is Required for the Maintenance of Human Limbal Stem/Progenitor Cells In Vitro Investigative ophthalmology & visual science, 2019; 60(1): 107-112.