David A. Sullivan, M.S., Ph.D., FARVO


David A. Sullivan, PhDSenior Scientist & Margaret S. Sinon Scholar in Ocular Surface Research, Schepens Eye Research Institute

Associate Professor of Ophthalmology, Harvard Medical School



David A. Sullivan, PhD, is a Ph.D. graduate of Dartmouth Medical School (Hanover, NH), an Associate Professor in the Department of Ophthalmology at Harvard Medical School (HMS) and a Senior Scientist at the Schepens Eye Research Institute (SERI). During the past 32 years, his research has focused upon the interrelationships between sex, sex steroids and dry eye disease, and has led to authorship on over 200 scientific articles and 11 patents, as well as to the development of potential therapies for aqueous-deficient and evaporative dry eye disease. Dr. Sullivan has continually been awarded research grants from NIH throughout his career, and has served as a preceptor for 28 postdoctoral fellows. He has been invited to give presentations at numerous international meetings on ophthalmology, immunology, endocrinology and autoimmunity, as well as at various medical institutions, around the world. Dr. Sullivan was recently 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.”

Dr. Sullivan is a Founder and recent President 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. He has organized 7 International Conferences on the tear film and ocular surface, overseen the awarding of more than 200 Young Investigator Awards, and organized the International Workshops on Dry Eye (“DEWS”), Meibomian Gland Dysfunction and Contact Lens Discomfort. These global Workshops involved the efforts of 50 to 80 scientific and clinical experts and each required 2 to 3 years to complete. He is now organizing the TFOS DEWS sequel, DEWS II. Through TFOS Dr. Sullivan has 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. TFOS has a distribution to ~5,000 basic scientists, clinical researchers and industry representatives in more than 80 countries.

Within SERI Dr. Sullivan has served as the Director of the Center for Corneal and External Eye Disease Research, the Head of the Research Council (i.e. Faculty Senate), the Head of the Immunology Unit, and the Leader of the Immunity, Inflammation and Transplantation Focus Group. He 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 Dr. Sullivan has chaired the Medical and Scientific Advisory Board of the Sjögren's Syndrome Foundation, and the Graduate Education Committee of the Dartmouth Medical School Alumni Council. He was recently the Co-Chair of the Cornea Program Committee of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology, and is currently the Chair of the TFOS Board of Directors. Dr. Sullivan has 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.

To read more about Dr. Sullivan's research, click here



1972, A.B., Boston University, Boston, MA

1976, M.S., University of Minnesota Medical School, Minneapolis, MN
1980, Ph.D., Dartmouth Medical School, Hanover, NH

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