Sangita Patel, MD, PhD
Cornea and External Disease
1176 Main St.
Buffalo, NY 14209
B.A. Magna Cum Laude, New York University, 1997
M.D. and Ph.D. University at Buffalo, School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, 2004
State University of New York at Buffalo, Buffalo, NY
Internship (Internal Medicine):
Winthrop University Hospital, Mineola, NY
Mayo Clinic, College of Medicine, Rochester, MN
Fellowship (Cornea, External Diseases and Refractive Surgery):
Massachusetts Eye & Ear Infirmary, Boston, MA
Title and Department:
Clinical Instructor, Ophthalmology
Sangita Patel, M.D., Ph.D. is a cornea and external disease specialist at the Ross Eye Institute and research assistant professor at the University at Buffalo/State University of New York. Dr. Patel obtained her M.D. and Ph.D. (Physiology) in the Medical Scientist Training Program at the University at Buffalo. After an internship at Winthrop University Hospital in Mineola, NY, she trained at the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine in Rochester, MN for her ophthalmology residency. She completed further subspecialty training in cornea, external disease and refractive surgery at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary/Harvard Medical School and a research fellowship at Schepens Eye Research Institute/Harvard Medical School in Boston, MA.
Patel treats patients with a wide range of eye problems with a focus on diseases of the cornea and external surface of the eye including Fuchs endothelial dystrophy, keratoconus and corneal infections. She also performs a variety of surgical procedures, including corneal transplantation, cataract surgery, conjunctival tumor surgery, and transplantation of the artificial cornea when standard corneal transplantation has failed.
Patel’s research focuses on determining the molecular mechanisms that regulate corneal swelling as seen in diseases such as Fuchs endothelial dystrophy and bullous keratopathy. Currently, the only vision restoring treatment for these diseases is corneal transplantation. Through her research efforts, Patel seeks to determine how fluid balance is regulated in the cornea and also to identify the specific molecules that may be involved in removing water from the cornea. The goal of her research is to develop alternative medical therapies for diseases that cause corneal swelling.
Edema of the cornea develops from loss of corneal endothelial cells and causes irreversible vision loss in thousands of people yearly. Beyond surgical transplantation of the endothelial cell layer with human donor corneal tissue, no vision-restoring treatments are available. Patel’s research investigates the physiology regulating corneal hydration to advance future treatments for these patients.
There are two main projects in her lab. The first looks at characterizing changes occurring in endothelial cell monolayer intercellular junctions and passive paracellular transport properties at low and high cell densities. Clinically, patients do not experience deterioration in vision or corneal edema until very low densities. The molecular basis for this observation is unknown. This project investigates changes in the apical junctional complex and monolayer permeability of the endothelium.
The second project examines the mechanisms and regulation of active water transport out of the cornea. Using Ussing chamber physiology techniques, Patel’s lab is isolating the contributions and regulation of various ionic currents across the corneal endothelium with a focus on the contributions of potassium, sodium and chloride channels. Changes occurring in the short circuit current and in channel gene expression are also being investigated under conditions of anisotonic stress as may be seen in edematous corneas.