David Sullivan

David Sullivan


I am a Ph.D. graduate of Dartmouth Medical School (Hanover, NH), an Associate Professor in the Department of Ophthalmology at Harvard Medical School and a Senior Scientist at the Schepens Eye Research Institute (SERI; Boston, MA). During the past 37 years, my research has focused on the interrelationships between sex, sex steroids and dry eye disease, as well as on the role of lubricin on the ocular surface. My studies have involved basic, clinical, epidemiological and translational aspects, and have required the establishment of new and unique experimental approaches (e.g. lipid analytical, proteomic and molecular biological methods). My research has led to authorship on over 240 scientific articles and 15 patents, as well as to the development of potential therapies for aqueous-deficient and evaporative dry eye disease. I have been awarded numerous research grants from the National Institutes of Health, and have served as a preceptor for 34 postdoctoral fellows. I have been invited to give presentations at many international meetings on ophthalmology, immunology, endocrinology and autoimmunity, as well as at various medical institutions, around the world. I was awarded The Carel C. Koch Memorial Medal Award from the American Academy of Optometry for “outstanding contributions to the enhancement and development of relationships between optometry and other professions.” I was also recently awarded the Donald R. Korb Award for Excellence, the highest award for excellence by the American Optometric Association and given to true innovators in the field of anterior segment disease.

I am a Founder, recent President, and current Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Tear Film & Ocular Surface Society (TFOS), a non-profit organization, which was created to advance the research, literacy, and educational aspects of the scientific field of the tear film and ocular surface throughout the world. I have organized 9 International Conferences, overseen the awarding of more than 225 Young Investigator Awards, and organized the TFOS International Workshops on Dry Eye (“DEWS”), Meibomian Gland Dysfunction, Contact Lens Discomfort and DEWS II. These global Workshops have involved the efforts of 60 to 150 scientific and clinical experts, each required 2 to 3 years to complete, and all led to the publication of major reports. Publication of the TFOS DEWS II report in The Ocular Surface (TOS) increased that journal’s impact factor from 5.5 to 9.108, making TOS the second highest ranked eye journal in the world in 2019. Through TFOS I have helped to promote increased international awareness of external eye diseases, enhance governmental funding for tear film and ocular surface research, stimulate the development of therapeutic drugs and diagnostic devices, and influence the design and conduct of clinical trials of novel treatments for ocular surface disorders. My efforts for TFOS are voluntary, and I receive no compensation from this Society. TFOS has a distribution to many thousands of basic scientists, clinical researchers and industry representatives in more than 80 countries.

Within SERI I have served as the Head of the Research Council (i.e. Faculty Senate), the Director of the Center for Corneal and External Eye Disease Research, the Head of the Immunology Unit, and the Leader of the Immunity, Inflammation and Transplantation Focus Group. I also chaired the SERI Technology Transfer Committee for over 10 years, and helped to create the Joint Clinical Research Center of SERI and the Massachusetts Eye & Ear Infirmary, and the SERI Corporate Alliance Program.

Outside SERI I have chaired the Medical and Scientific Advisory Board of the Sjögren’s Syndrome Foundation, and was recently a Co-Chair of the Cornea Annual Program Committee of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology. I have acted as a reviewer for research grant proposals for NIH, the Concerted Action Program of the Ministry of Education of Flanders and the USA Veterans Administration, served on the Fellowship Review Panel for the Fight for Sight Research Division of the National Society to Prevent Blindness, and assisted as an editorial referee for many ophthalmic, immune and endocrine journals.


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