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Alfonso L. Sabater, M.D., Ph.D.

Alfonso L. Sabater, M.D., Ph.D.

Research Subject

Protective and Regenerative Medicine of the Cornea and Ocular Surface


Corneal and Ocular Surface Diseases, such as Dry Eye Syndrome, Persistent Corneal Epithelial Defects, Bullous Keratopathy, Corneal Transplant Failure, and Limbal Stem Cell Deficiency.

Published Articles


Assistant Professor of Clinical Ophthalmology

Director, Cornea and Ocular Surface Regenerative Medicine Program




Dr. Sabater's laboratory investigates new strategies to protect and regenerate the cornea, which is the clear outer layer at the front of the eye. Work by our lab and others has shown that corneal damage due to multiple causes can be slowed and even reversed by a variety of approaches. These include activating cell survival and proliferation signaling, blocking strategic cell death pathways, and selectively replacing corneal layers through cell therapy and tissue engineering. In doing so, we can protect the cornea and treat both rare and common diseases including Dry Eye Eyndrome, Bullous Keratopathy, Corneal Transplant Failure, and Limbal Stem Cell Deficiency.

Current Research

Protective Medicine of the Cornea and Ocular Surface

Title: Role of the inflammasome in ocular surface diseases

Inflammation is an essential component of ocular surface damage. Prior work in understanding the role of inflammation in ocular surface disease has focused on the role of T-cells in propagating inflammation, with most therapeutics aiming to inhibit T-cells (e.g., Cyclosporine, Lifitegrast). However, pyroptosis, or inflammation-induced programmed cell death, is another inflammatory pathway that has gained relevance in ocular surface disease. Our laboratory has recently shown that Caspase-1, a classic pyroptosis marker, is an excellent biomarker of ocular surface damage. This study was performed in patients with dry eye syndrome as well as patients using topical glaucoma medications. Caspase-1 presented a sensitivity of 73% for the detection of positive corneal staining, showing a great potential to be used as a valuable biomarker for ocular surface damage. Additionally, our group is developing novel therapies to protect the ocular surface from inflammasome activation.
Target Indications: Dry Eye Syndrome, Conjunctivitis