Sophie Deng*

Sophie X Deng

Professor, Ophthalmology, University of California Los Angeles

(310) 206-7202

100 Stein Plaza
Los Angeles, CA 90095

Sophie X. Deng, M.D., Ph.D., holds the Joan and Jerome Snyder Chair in Cornea Diseases.

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.