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Sandra Masur

  • PROFESSOR Ophthalmology
  • ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR Structural and Chemical Biology
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  • B.A., The City College of New York

  • Columbia University

  • Ph.D., Columbia University


  • 2008 -
    Jacobi Medallion

  • 2001 -
    Women in Medicine Silver Achievement Award
    Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC)

  • 1997 -
    Outstanding Woman Scientist
    Association for Women in Science NYC Chapter

  • 1997 -
    Lew R. Wasserman Merit Award

  • 1978 -
    Brotherhood Education Award
    National Conference of Christians and Jews


Research Topics
Cell adhesion and extracellular matrix
Cell biology
Extracellular matrix
Signal transduction

As cell biologists, we have been exploring questions of wound healing in a model system for the corneal stroma. We view cell biology in a larger context that includes extracellular matrix and cell-cell interaction. Interactions of cells with matrix regulate cell differentiation, normal wound healing and cell migration in cancer. Cell-matrix interactions are complex: Cells synthesize and degrade the matrix in which they live and the matrix in turn presents the cells with growth factors and substrate, signals which regulate the cells. We have been exploring the dynamic equilibrium between cells and their extracellular matrix (ECM) in cultured cells derived from the cornea. In these studies we have recapitulated in culture, inter-conversions between activated fibroblasts and myofibroblasts found after wounding.

Our current working hypothesis is that the fibroblast to myofibroblast differentiation is reversible and that myofibroblast differentiation during wounding and healing is controlled by the interplay of three dominant factors: the loss of cell-cell contact, the presence of a growth factor (TGF-beta), and the alteration of cell-matrix interaction. We propose that

  • the disconnection of one corneal fibroblast from another that occurs after wounding initiates a series of biochemical/molecular events that allow fibroblasts to respond to TGF- beta and to differentiate into myofibroblasts;
  • the re-establishment of cell- cell contact attenuates the cellular response to TGF-beta; and
  • integrin and matrix interaction initiate signals that are additional essential modulators of fibroblast differentiation and function and response to growth factors.
  • The cultured corneal cells provide a microcosm for testing hypotheses of reciprocal regulation by cells and matrix - an exciting area in cell biology currently.


    Schmid S, Masur SK. Women in Cell Biology: Seize the Time! Better Time Management for More Productivity. American Society for Cell Biology Newsletter 2008 July;.

    Schmid S, Masur SK. Women in Cell Biology: How to Have a Successful Postdoc Experience and Get a Good Job. American Society for Cell Biology Newsletter 2007 September;.

    Bernstein AM, Twining SS, Warejcka DJ, Tall E, Masur SK. Urokinase receptor cleavage: a crucial step in fibroblast to myofibroblast differentiation. Mol Biol Cell 2007 Jul; 18(7): 2716-2727.

    Benezra M, Greenberg RS, Masur SK. Localization of ZO-1in the nucleolus of corneal fibroblasts. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci 2007; 48(5): 2043-2049.

    Greenberg RS, Bernstein AM, Benezra M, Gelman IH, Taliana L, Masur SK. FAK-dependent regulation of myofibroblast differentiation. FASEB J 2006; 20(9): 1006-1008.

    Schuster VL, Masur SK. Women in Cell Biology: How to Ask your Chair for a Raise. American Society for Cell Biology Newsletter 2006 July; 29(7): 20-21.

    Zhao Z, Ho L, Wang J, Qin W, Festa ED, Mobbs C, Hof P, Rocher A, Masur S, Haroutunian V, Pasinetti GM. Connective tissue growth factor (CTGF) expression in the brain is a downstream effector of insulin resistance-associated promotion of Alzheimer's disease &[beta]-amyloid neuropathology. FASEB J 2005 Sep 26;.

    Taliana L, Benezra M, Greenberg RS, Masur SK, Bernstein AM. ZO-1: Lamellipodial localization in a corneal fibroblast wound model. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci 2005; 46: 96-103.

    Bernstein AM, Greenberg RS, Taliana L, Masur SK. Urokinase anchors uPAR to the actin cytoskeleton. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci 2004; 45(9): 2967-2977.

    Folger PA, Zakaria D, Grotendorst G, Masur SK. Transforming Growth Factor-B Increases Connective Tissue Growth Factor Expression During Corneal Myofibroblast Differentiation. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci 2001; 42(11): 2534-2541.

    Industry Relationships

    Physicians and scientists on the faculty of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai often interact with pharmaceutical, device and biotechnology companies to improve patient care, develop new therapies and achieve scientific breakthroughs. In order to promote an ethical and transparent environment for conducting research, providing clinical care and teaching, Mount Sinai requires that salaried faculty inform the School of their relationships with such companies.

    Dr. Masur did not report having any of the following types of financial relationships with industry during 2015 and/or 2016: consulting, scientific advisory board, industry-sponsored lectures, service on Board of Directors, participation on industry-sponsored committees, equity ownership valued at greater than 5% of a publicly traded company or any value in a privately held company. Please note that this information may differ from information posted on corporate sites due to timing or classification differences.

    Mount Sinai's faculty policies relating to faculty collaboration with industry are posted on our website. Patients may wish to ask their physician about the activities they perform for companies.

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