Ocular Surface Regenerative Therapy Laboratory

Ladan Espandar, MD, MS
Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology
University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine

Lab Personnel

Jacqueline Vasseur (Research Technician)

Research Interests

Corneal clarity is critical to maintain accurate vision. The corneal epithelium on the surface of the eye is subject to constant erosion from the external environment, and it is replaced by a persistent self-renewal process of corneal epithelial stem cells, that are located in the outer corneal area known as the limbus. Potential blinding injuries such as chemical burn can cause limbal stem cell deficiency (LSCD), in which there are persistent epithelial defects, corneal vascularization and lack of epithelial cell renewal. Despite advances in surgical techniques, LSCD remains one of the most difficult and challenging conditions for clinicians to manage. Our lab focus is to evaluate a basis of new treatment strategies for eyes of those inflicted with LSCD, in which the healthy limbal microenvironment is re-established using stem cells from the same person adipose tissue. Our work emphases on adult stem cell biology specifically anti-inflammatory property of adipose derived stem cells in re-establishment of limbal niche and the molecular mechanism(s) of adipose derived stem cells and limbal epithelial stem cell interactions in limbal stem cell microenvironment restoration. Our long-term goal is to find potential points of intervention for therapeutic benefit in future fundamental and clinical studies to develop more effective stem cell therapies for the patients suffering from LSCD induced corneal blindness.

For more information, please visit: Ocular Surface Regenerative Therapy Laboratory Website

Select Recent Publications

  1. Blanco-Mezquita T, Espandar L, Torres R, Alvarez-Barcia A, Cantalapiedra-Rodriguez R, Martinez-Garcia C, Merayo-Lloves J. Does mitomycin C cause toxicity in the cornea after photorefractive keratectomy? A comparative wound-healing study in a refractive surgery animal model. Cornea. 2014 Nov;33(11):1225-31. PubMed PMID: 25170578.
  2. Espandar L, Caldwell D, Watson R, Blanco-Mezquita T, Zhang S, Bunnell B. Application of adipose-derived stem cells on scleral contact lens carrier in an animal model of severe acute alkaline burn. Eye Contact Lens. 2014 Jul;40(4):243-7. PubMed PMID: 24901976.
  3. Espandar L, Boehlke CS, Kelly MP. First report of keratitis in familial cold autoinflammatory syndrome. Can J Ophthalmol. 2014 Jun;49(3):304-6. PubMed PMID: 24862780.
  4. Espandar L, Cummings TJ, Boehlke CS. Unilateral microsporidia keratitis in a healthy non-contact lens wearer. JAMA Ophthalmol. 2014 Jul;132(7):822. PubMed PMID: 24830662.
  5. Espandar L, Allingham RR, Afshari NA. Stromal duplication of the iris. JAMA Ophthalmol. 2013 Nov;131(11):1442. PubMed PMID: 24232083.
  6. Espandar L, Carlson AN. Lamellar keratoplasty: a literature review. J Ophthalmol. 2013;2013:894319. Epub 2013 Oct 7. Review. PubMed PMID: 24223301; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3816057.
  7. Zhang S, Espandar L, Imhof KM, Bunnell BA. Differentiation of Human Adipose-derived Stem Cells along the Keratocyte Lineage In vitro. J Clin Exp Ophthalmol. 2013 Feb 27;4(270). pii: 11435. PubMed PMID: 23936748; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3737075.
  8. Tandon A, Espandar L, Cupp D, Ho S, Johnson V, Ayyala RS. Surgical management or postkeratoplasty glaucoma: a meta-analysis. J Glaucoma. 2014 Sep;23(7):424-9. PubMed PMID: 23221909.
  9. Espandar L, Bunnell B, Wang GY, Gregory P, McBride C, Moshirfar M. Adipose-derived stem cells on hyaluronic acid-derived scaffold: a new horizon in bioengineered cornea. Arch Ophthalmol. 2012 Feb;130(2):202-8. PubMed PMID: 22332213.
  10. Moshirfar M, Khalifa YM, Davis D, Fenzl CR, Espandar L, Chang JC, Mamalis N, Mifflin MD. Descemet stripping automated endothelial keratoplasty using donor corneas with previous laser in situ keratomileusis or photorefractive keratectomy: a case series and donor cap histopathology. Cornea. 2012 May;31(5):533-7. PubMed PMID: 21993455.

Contact Information

Ladan Espandar MD, MS
EEINS- 1029 Floor, 203 Lothrop Street
Pittsburgh PA 15213