Clinical Immunology


The Section’s interest is focused on the immunological mechanisms involved in ocular pathology. Recent efforts have centered on the study of immune responses in patients suffering from endogenous and exogenous uveitis, ocular neoplasias (particularly ocular lymphoma) and age related macular degeneration. The aim is to elucidate the immune mechanisms involved in the induction and resolution of disease in humans, and to evaluate novel therapeutic approaches in patients. Many of these approaches are initially developed in animal models of human disease.

Recently concluded clinical trials include the use of the biologics such as daclizumab and raptiva, the treatment of ocular lymphoma, as well as the immunotherapy of age-related macular degeneration.

Currently ongoing clinical trials in which the Section has an involvement are listed below.

  • Analysis of Differential Gene Expression Profiles in Patients with Defined Ocular Inflammatory Diseases Using CDNA Microarrays and Proteomics
  • Use of Immune Cell Markers, Cytokines, Transcription Factors and Surface CD Markers as Markers of Ocular Inflammmatory Activity
  • Systemic Immunosupressive Therapy for Eye Diseases (SITE) Cohort Study
  • Treatment of Active Anterior Uveitis Associated with JIA, Using Humanized Anti-Tac (HAT, Daclizumab)
  • Treatment of Non-Infectious Intermediate and Posterior Uveitis Associated Macular Edema with Humanized Anti-CD11a Antibody Therapy
  • Multicenter Uveitis Steroid Treatment (MUST) Trial Protocol
  • The Vitreous Proteome and inflammatory Mediators in Ocular Inflammatory Disease
  • Treatment of Choroidal Subretinal Neovascularization with Agents Directed Against the Immune Response
  • Ocular and Immuno-Genetic Manifestations of Sarcoidosis
  • Analysis of Differential Gene Expression Profiles in Patients with Defined Ocular Inflammatory Diseases Using CDNA Microarrays and Proteomics
  • Immunological analysis of patients with ocular inflammatory diseases.


Name Title E-mail Phone
Robert B. Nussenblatt, M.D.
PubMed Author Search
Section Head 301-435-5139
H. Nida Sen, M.D., M.HSc Staff Clinician
Director, Uveitis and Ocular Immunology Fellowship Program 301-402-3254
Baoying Liu, Ph.D Staff Scientist 301-594-7429
Lai Wei, M.D., Ph.D Staff Scientist 301-496-1322
Zhiyu Li, M.D., M.S. Biologist 301-594-3970
Theresa Larson , M.D. Clinical Fellow 301-443-8556
Wendy Smith, M.D. Clinical Fellow 301-496-0097

Recent Publications

Nussenblatt RB, Ferris F 3rd. Age-related Macular Degeneration and the Immune Response: Implications for Therapy. Am J Ophthalmol. 2007 Oct;144(4):618-626.

Kurup SK, Levy-Clarke G, Calvo KR, Jaffe ES, Nussenblatt RB, Chan CC. Primary diffuse large B-cell lymphoma of the spleen with coincident serous retinal detachments responsive to corticosteroids. Clin Experiment Ophthalmol. 2007 Jul;35(5):468-72.

Buggage RR, Levy-Clarke G, Sen HN, Ursea R, Srivastava SK, Suhler EB, Altemare C, Velez G, Ragheb J, Chan CC, Nussenblatt RB, Bamji AT, Sran P, Waldmann T, Thompson DJ. A double-masked, randomized study to investigate the safety and efficacy of daclizumab to treat the ocular complications related to Behcet’s disease. Ocul Immunol Inflamm. 2007 Mar-Apr;15(2):63-70.

Amadi-Obi A, Yu CR, Liu X, Mahdi RM, Clarke GL, Nussenblatt RB, Gery I, Lee YS, Egwuagu CE. TH17 cells contribute to uveitis and scleritis and are expanded by IL-2 and inhibited by IL-27/STAT1. Nat Med. 2007 Jun;13(6):711-8. Epub 2007 May 13.

Nussenblatt RB, Coleman H, Jirawuthiworavong G, Davuluri G, Potapova N, Dahr SS, Ragheb JA, Levy-Clarke G. The treatment of multifocal choroiditis associated choroidal neovascularization with sirolimus (rapamycin). Acta Ophthalmol Scand. 2007 Mar;85(2):230-1.

Yin PD, Kurup SK, Fischer SH, Rhee HH, Byrnes GA, Levy-Clarke GA, Buggage RR, Nussenblatt RB, Mican JM, Wright ME. Progressive outer retinal necrosis in the era of highly active antiretroviral therapy: successful management with intravitreal injections and monitoring with quantitative PCR. J Clin Virol. 2007 Mar;38(3):254-9.

Kurup SK, Buggage RR, Clarke GL, Ursea R, Lim WK, Nussenblatt RB. Gamma interferon assay as an alternative to PPD skin testing in selected patients with granulomatous intraocular inflammatory disease. Can J Ophthalmol. 2006 Dec;41(6):737-40.

Li Z, Mahesh SP, Shen de F, Liu B, Siu WO, Hwang FS, Wang QC, Chan CC, Pastan I, Nussenblatt RB. Eradication of tumor colonization and invasion by a B cell-specific immunotoxin in a murine model for human primary intraocular lymphoma. Cancer Res. 2006 Nov 1;66(21):10586-93.

Djalilian AR, Nagineni CN, Mahesh SP, Smith JA, Nussenblatt RB, Hooks JJ. Inhibition of inflammatory cytokine production in human corneal cells by dexamethasone, but not cyclosporin. Cornea. 2006 Jul;25(6):709-14.

Mahesh SP, Li Z, Liu B, Fariss RN, Nussenblatt RB. Expression of GITR ligand abrogates immunosuppressive function of ocular tissue and differentially modulates inflammatory cytokines and chemokines. Eur J Immunol. 2006 Aug;36(8):2128-38.

Nussenblatt RB, Chan CC, Wilson WH, Hochman J, Gottesman M; CNS and Ocular Lymphoma Workshop Group. International Central Nervous System and Ocular Lymphoma Workshop: recommendations for the future. Ocul Immunol Inflamm. 2006 Jun;14(3):139-44. Review.

Wallace DJ, Shen D, Reed GF, Miyanaga M, Mochizuki M, Sen HN, Dahr SS, Buggage RR, Nussenblatt RB, Chan CC. Detection of the bcl-2 t(14;18) translocation and proto-oncogene expression in primary intraocular lymphoma.Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2006 Jul;47(7):2750-6.

Bagley DM, Casterton PL, Dressler WE, Edelhauser HF, Kruszewski FH, McCulley JP, Nussenblatt RB, Osborne R, Rothenstein A, Stitzel KA, Thomas K, Ward SL. Proposed new classification scheme for chemical injury to the human eye. Regul Toxicol Pharmacol. 2006 Jul;45(2):206-13. Epub 2006 Jun 9.

Liu B, Li Z, Mahesh SP, Kurup SK, Giam CZ, Nussenblatt RB. HTLV-1 infection of human retinal pigment epithelial cells and inhibition of viral infection by an antibody to ICAM-1. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2006 Apr;47(4):1510-5.

Wallace DJ, Altemare CR, Shen DF, deSmet MD, Buggage RR, Nussenblatt RB, Chan CC. Primary testicular and intraocular lymphomas: two case reports and a review of the literature. Surv Ophthalmol. 2006 Jan-Feb;51(1):41-50.

Nussenblatt RB, Kim J, Thompson DJ, Davis MD, Chew E, Ferris FL, Buggage R. Vitamin E in the treatment of uveitis-associated macular edema. Am J Ophthalmol. 2006 Jan;141(1):193-4.

Jabs DA, Nussenblatt RB, Rosenbaum JT; Standardization of Uveitis Nomenclature (SUN) Working Group. Standardization of uveitis nomenclature for reporting clinical data. Results of the First International Workshop. Am J Ophthalmol. 2005 Sep;140(3):509-16. Review.

Levy-Clarke GA, Nussenblatt RB, Smith JA. Management of chronic pediatric uveitis. Curr Opin Ophthalmol. 2005 Oct;16(5):281-8. Review.

Levy-Clarke GA, Chan CC, Nussenblatt RB. Diagnosis and management of primary intraocular lymphoma. Hematol Oncol Clin North Am. 2005 Aug;19(4):739-49, viii. Review.

Lim WK, Fujimoto C, Ursea R, Mahesh SP, Silver P, Chan CC, Gery I, Nussenblatt RB. Suppression of immune-mediated ocular inflammation in mice by interleukin 1 receptor antagonist administration. Arch Ophthalmol. 2005 Jul;123(7):957-63.

Sen HN, Ursea R, Nussenblatt RB, Buggage RR. SubcConjunctival corticosteroid injection for the treatment of non-necrotising anterior scleritis. Br J Ophthalmol. 2005 Jul;89(7):917-8.

Nussenblatt RB, Peterson JS, Foster CS, Rao NA, See RF, Letko E, Buggage RR. Initial evaluation of subcutaneous daclizumab treatments for noninfectious uveitis: a multicenter noncomparative interventional case series. Ophthalmology. 2005 May;112(5):764-70.

Lim WK, Buggage RR, Nussenblatt RB. Serpiginous choroiditis. Surv Ophthalmol. 2005 May-Jun;50(3):231-44. Review.

Li Z, Lim WK, Mahesh SP, Liu B, Nussenblatt RB. Cutting edge: in vivo blockade of human IL-2 receptor induces expansion of CD56(bright) regulatory NK cells in patients with active uveitis. J Immunol. 2005 May 1;174(9):5187-91. Erratum in: J Immunol. 2005 Sep 1;175(5):3447.

Mahesh SP, Li Z, Buggage R, Mor F, Cohen IR, Chew EY, Nussenblatt RB. Alpha tropomyosin as a self-antigen in patients with Behcet’s disease. Clin Exp Immunol. 2005 May;140(2):368-75.

Lim WK, Ursea R, Rao K, Buggage RR, Suhler EB, Dugan F, Chan CC, Straus SE, Nussenblatt RB. Djalilian AR, Mahesh SP, Koch CA, Nussenblatt RB, Shen D, Zhuang Z, Holland EJ, Chan CC. Survival of donor epithelial cells after limbal stem cell transplantation. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2005 Mar;46(3):803-7.

Egwuagu CE, Yu CR, Li Z, Nussenblatt RB. SOCS5 mRNA levels in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC): a potential bio-marker for monitoring response of uveitis patients to Daclizumab therapy. J Autoimmun. 2005 Feb;24(1):39-46. Epub 2005 Jan 27.

Lim WK, Nussenblatt RB, Chan CC. Immunopathologic features of inflammatory coats disease. Arch Ophthalmol. 2005 Feb;123(2):279-81.

Chan CC, Fischette M, Shen D, Mahesh SP, Nussenblatt RB, Hochman J. Murine model of primary intraocular lymphoma. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2005 Feb;46(2):415-9.

Lim WK, Chee SP, Nussenblatt RB. Progression of varicella-zoster virus necrotizing retinopathy in an HIV-negative patient with transient immune deviation. Graefes Arch Clin Exp Ophthalmol. 2005 Jun;243(6):607-9.

Sen HN, Chan CC, Nussenblatt RB, Buggage RR. Occult primary carcinoma metastatic to the iris. Acta Ophthalmol Scand. 2004 Dec;82(6):746-7.

Lim WK, Chee SP, Sng I, Nussenblatt RB, Chan CC. Immunopathology of progressive subretinal fibrosis: a variant of sympathetic ophthalmia. Am J Ophthalmol. 2004 Sep;138(3):475-7.

Kim BJ, Li Z, Fariss RN, Shen DF, Mahesh SP, Egwuagu C, Yu CR, Nagineni CN, Chan CC, Nussenblatt RB. Constitutive and cytokine-induced GITR ligand expression on human retinal pigment epithelium and photoreceptors. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2004 Sep;45(9):3170-6.

Sen HN, Chan CC, Caruso RC, Fariss RN, Nussenblatt RB, Buggage RR. Waldenstrom’s macroglobulinemia-associated retinopathy. Ophthalmology. 2004 Mar;111(3):535-9.

Andrade RE, Muccioli C, Farah ME, Nussenblatt RB, Belfort R Jr. Intravitreal triamcinolone in the treatment of serous retinal detachment in Vogt-Koyanagi-Harada syndrome. Am J Ophthalmol. 2004 Mar;137(3):572-4.

Nussenblatt RB, Thompson DJ, Li Z, Chan CC, Peterson JS, Robinson RR, Shames RS, Nagarajan S, Tang MT, Mailman M, Velez G, Roy C, Levy-Clarke GA, Suhler EB, Djalilian A, Sen HN, Al-Khatib S, Ursea R, Srivastava S, Bamji A, Mellow S, Sran P, Waldmann TA, Buggage RR. Humanized anti-interleukin-2 (IL-2) receptor alpha therapy: long-term results in uveitis patients and preliminary safety and activity data for establishing parameters for subcutaneous administration. J Autoimmun. 2003 Nov;21(3):283-93. Erratum in: J Autoimmun. 2004 Aug;23(1):93.

Sen HN, Suhler EB, Al-Khatib SQ, Djalilian AR, Nussenblatt RB, Buggage RR. Mycophenolate mofetil for the treatment of scleritis. Ophthalmology. 2003 Sep;110(9):1750-5.

Wolf LA, Reed GF, Buggage RR, Nussenblatt RB, Chan CC. Vitreous cytokine levels. Ophthalmology. 2003 Aug;110(8):1671-2.

Li Z, Mahesh SP, Kim BJ, Buggage RR, Nussenblatt RB. Expression of glucocorticoid induced TNF receptor family related protein (GITR) on peripheral T cells from normal human donors and patients with non-infectious uveitis. J Autoimmun. 2003 Aug;21(1):83-92.