Research Faculty

Ali Djalilian, MD

Searls-Schenk Professor of Ophthalmology University of Illinois College of MedicineDepartment of Ophthalmology
Photo of Ali Djalilian MD

Biographical Info

Ali Djalilian, MD

Searls-Schenk Professor of Ophthalmology
Cornea Service
Director, Stem Cell Therapy and Corneal Tissue Engineering Laboratory

Mailing Address:
Illinois Eye and Ear Infirmary
1855 W. Taylor Street, M/C 648
Chicago, IL 60612

Sees patients at:
Specialty Care Building (SCB)
Cornea Service
1009 S. Wood St.
Chicago, IL 60612

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Dr. Djalilian is a recognized authority on immunologic issues in corneal/limbal stem cell transplantation and the surgical management of severe ocular surface disease. He has developed innovations in surgical techniques that substantially improve the surgical efficiency and the patient outcomes. He bridges his clinical experience with his basic science and translational research projects, which have been funded in part by the National Eye Institute/NIH and Research to Prevent Blindness. He joined the department in 2005. He is board certified in ophthalmology.


Best Doctors logo


• Postdoc’s work on Toll-like receptors earns him recognition at ARVO
• Eye Infirmary Researchers receive best poster recognition
• ESPN Profiles IEEI Trauma Patient



BA summa cum laude—Carleton College, Minnesota; elected to Phi Beta Kappa
MD—University of Minnesota; elected to Alpha Omega Alpha
Residency—University of Minnesota Medical School
Fellowship in Cornea Research—University of Minnesota
Fellowship in Cornea and Ocular Surface Disorders—Cincinnati Eye Institute
Fellowship in Ocular Immunology and Uveitis—National Eye Institute, Bethesda, Maryland

Selected Honors and Awards

Chicago Super Doctors, 2012 – 2013
Best Doctors in America, 2007 – 2014
Who’s Who in America, 2008 – present
Who’s Who in Science and Engineering, 2011 – 2012
American Academy of Ophthalmology Achievement Award, 2009
Fight for Sight Merit Award, 2007

See a representative list of Dr. Djalilian’s published Journal Articles on PubMed.

Recent Publications

Gidfar S, Milani FY, Milani BY, Shen X, Eslani M, Putra I, Huvard MJ, Sagha H, Djalilian AR. Rapamycin Prolongs the Survival of Corneal Epithelial Cells in Culture. Sci Rep. 2017 Jan 5;7:40308. doi: 10.1038/srep40308. PubMed PMID: 28054657; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5215596.

Afsharkhamseh N, Ghahari E, Eslani M, Djalilian AR. A Simple Mechanical Procedure to Create Limbal Stem Cell Deficiency in Mouse. J Vis Exp. 2016 Nov 17;(117). doi: 10.3791/54658. PubMed PMID: 27911382.

Baradaran-Rafii A, Eslani M, Haq Z, Shirzadeh E, Huvard MJ, Djalilian AR. Current and Upcoming Therapies for Ocular Surface Chemical Injuries. Ocul Surf. 2017 Jan;15(1):48-64. doi: 10.1016/j.jtos.2016.09.002. Epub 2016 Sep 17. Review.  PubMed PMID: 27650263; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5191942.

Rossen J, Amram A, Milani B, Park D, Harthan J, Joslin C, McMahon T, Djalilian A. Contact Lens-induced Limbal Stem Cell Deficiency. Ocul Surf. 2016 Oct;14(4):419-434. doi: 10.1016/j.jtos.2016.06.003. Epub 2016 Jul 30. Review. PubMed PMID: 27480488; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5065783.

Eslani M, Haq Z, Movahedan A, Moss A, Baradaran-Rafii A, Mogilishetty G, Holland EJ, Djalilian AR. Late Acute Rejection After Allograft Limbal Stem Cell Transplantation: Evidence for Long-Term Donor Survival. Cornea. 2017 Jan;36(1):26-31. PubMed PMID: 27467047; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5138087.

Sivaraman KR, Jivrajka RV, Soin K, Bouchard CS, Movahedan A, Shorter E, Jain S, Jacobs DS, Djalilian AR. Superior Limbic Keratoconjunctivitis-like Inflammation in Patients with Chronic Graft-Versus-Host Disease. Ocul Surf. 2016  Jul;14(3):393-400. doi: 10.1016/j.jtos.2016.04.003. Epub 2016 May 12. PubMed
PMID: 27179980.

Gidfar S, Afsharkhamseh N, Sanjari S, Djalilian AR. Notch Signaling in Meibomian Gland Epithelial Cell Differentiation. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2016 Mar;57(3):859-65. doi: 10.1167/iovs.15-18319. PubMed PMID: 26943148; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4782822.

Afsharkhamseh N, Movahedan A, Gidfar S, Huvard M, Wasielewski L, Milani BY, Eslani M, Djalilian AR. Stability of limbal stem cell deficiency after mechanical and thermal injuries in mice. Exp Eye Res. 2016 Apr;145:88-92. doi: 10.1016/j.exer.2015.11.012. Epub 2015 Dec 1. PubMed PMID: 26607808; PubMed
Central PMCID: PMC4979604.

Eslani M, Movahedan A, Afsharkhamseh N, Sroussi H, Djalilian AR. The role of toll-like receptor 4 in corneal epithelial wound healing. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2014 Sep 2;55(9):6108-15. doi: 10.1167/iovs.14-14736. PubMed PMID: 25183764; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4179446.

Kim BY, Riaz KM, Bakhtiari P, Chan CC, Welder JD, Holland EJ, Basti S, Djalilian AR. Medically reversible limbal stem cell disease: clinical features and management strategies. Ophthalmology. 2014 Oct;121(10):2053-8. doi: 10.1016/j.ophtha.2014.04.025. Epub 2014 Jun 5. PubMed PMID: 24908203; PubMed
Central PMCID: PMC4177934.

Kim BY, Riaz KM, Bakhtiari P, Chan CC, Welder JD, Holland EJ, Basti S, Djalilian AR. Medically Reversible Limbal Stem Cell Disease: Clinical Features and Management Strategies. Ophthalmology. 2014 Jun 4. pii: S0161-6420(14)00379-0. doi: 10.1016/j.ophtha.2014.04.025. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 24908203.

Nassiri N, Eslani M, Panahi N, Mehravaran S, Ziaei A, Djalilian AR. Ocular graft versus host disease following allogeneic stem cell transplantation: a review of current knowledge and recommendations. J Ophthalmic Vis Res. 2013 Oct;8(4):351-8. Review. PubMed PMID: 24653823; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3957042.

Milani BY, Milani FY, Park DW, Namavari A, Shah J, Amirjamshidi H, Ying H, Djalilian AR. Rapamycin inhibits the production of myofibroblasts and reduces corneal scarring after photorefractive keratectomy. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2013 Nov 13;54(12):7424-30. doi: 10.1167/iovs.13-12674. PubMed PMID: 24106124; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3828043.

Aref AA, Sivaraman KR, Djalilian AR. Glaucoma Drainage Implant Surgery and Ocular Surface Transplant Graft Preservation. Semin Ophthalmol. 2013 Oct 11. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 24116393.

Zhang X, Igo RP Jr, Fondran J, Mootha VV, Oliva M, Hammersmith K, Sugar A, Lass JH, Iyengar SK; Fuchs’ Genetics Multi-Center Study Group. Association of smoking and other risk factors with Fuchs’ endothelial corneal dystrophy severity and corneal thickness. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2013 Aug 27;54(8):5829-35. doi: 10.1167/iovs.13-11918. PubMed PMID: 23882692; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3755540.

Choi DS, Djalilian A. Oral azithromycin combined with topical anti-inflammatory agents in the treatment of blepharokeratoconjunctivitis in children. J AAPOS. 2013 Feb;17(1):112-3. doi: 10.1016/j.jaapos.2012.10.015. Epub  2013 Jan 27. PubMed PMID: 23360914; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3703820.

Hou JH, de la Cruz J, Djalilian AR. Outcomes of Boston keratoprosthesis implantation for failed keratoplasty after keratolimbal allograft. Cornea. 2012 Dec;31(12):1432-5. doi: 10.1097/ICO.0b013e31823e2ac6. PubMed PMID: 22236785.

Baradaran-Rafii A, Eslani M, Jamali H, Karimian F, Tailor UA, Djalilian AR. Postoperative complications of conjunctival limbal autograft surgery. Cornea. 2012 Aug;31(8):893-9. doi: 10.1097/ICO.0b013e31823f095d. PubMed PMID: 22236787.

Shafiq MA, Gemeinhart RA, Yue BY, Djalilian AR. Decellularized human cornea for reconstructing the corneal epithelium and anterior stroma. Tissue Eng Part C  Methods. 2012 May;18(5):340-8. doi: 10.1089/ten.TEC.2011.0072. Epub 2011 Dec 22.  PubMed PMID: 22082039; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3338110.

Movahedan A, Djalilian AR. Cataract surgery in the face of ocular surface disease. Curr Opin Ophthalmol. 2012 Jan;23(1):68-72. doi: 10.1097/ICU.0b013e32834d90b7. Review. PubMed PMID: 22081034.

Mousavi SJ, Nassiri N, Masoumi N, Nassiri N, Majdi-N M, Farzaneh S, Djalilian AR, Peyman GA. Finite element analysis of blunt foreign body impact on the cornea after PRK and LASIK. J Refract Surg. 2012 Jan;28(1):59-64. doi: 10.3928/1081597X-20110906-02. Epub 2011 Sep 12. PubMed PMID: 21913630.

Movahedan A, Afsharkhamseh N, Sagha HM, Shah JR, Milani BY, Milani FY,Logothetis HD, Chan CC, Djalilian AR. Loss of notch1 disrupts the barrier repair in the corneal epithelium. PLoS One. 2013 Jul 18;8(7):e69113. doi:
10.1371/journal.pone.0069113. Print 2013. PubMed PMID: 23874882; PubMed CentralPMCID: PMC3715447.

Zellander A, Wardlow M, Djalilian A, Zhao C, Abiade J, Cho M. Engineering copolymeric artificial cornea with salt porogen. J Biomed Mater Res A. 2013 Jun 19.

Zellander A, Gemeinhart R, Djalilian A, Makhsous M, Sun S, Cho M Designing a gas foamed scaffold for keratoprosthesis. Mater Sci Eng C Mater Biol Appl. 2013 Aug 1;33(6):3396-403.

Choi D, Djalilian AR. Oral azithromycin plus anti-inflammatory therapy for the management of pediatric phlyctenulosis. JAAPOS 2013 Feb;17(1).

Milani BY, Majdi M, Green W, Mehralian A, Moarefi M, Oh FS, Riddle JM,Djalilian AR. The use of peer optic nerve photographs for teaching directophthalmoscopy. Ophthalmology. 2013 Apr;120(4):761-5. doi: 10.1016/j.ophtha.2012.09.020. Epub 2012 Dec 12. PubMed PMID: 23246117.

Movahedan A, Majdi M, Afsharkhamseh N, Sagha HM, Saadat NS, Shalileh K, Milani BY, Ying H, Djalilian AR. Notch inhibition during corneal epithelial wound healing promotes migration. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2012 Nov 1;53(12):7476-83. doi: 10.1167/iovs.12-10735. PubMed PMID: 23049092; PubMed Central PMCID:PMC3490537.

Nassiri N, Nassiri N, Majdi M, Mehrjardi HZ, Shakiba Y, Haghnegahdar M, Heidari AB, Djalilian AR, Mirahmadian M. Erythropoietin levels in aqueous humor of patients with glaucoma. Mol Vis. 2012;18:1991-5. Epub 2012 Jul 18. PubMed PMID: 22876126; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3413435.

Welder JD, Pandya HK, Nassiri N, Djalilian AR. Conjunctival limbal autograft and allograft transplantation using fibrin glue. Ophthalmic Surg Lasers Imaging. 2012 Jul 1;43(4):323-7. doi: 10.3928/15428877-20120618-04. PubMed PMID: 22788584.

Krakauer M, Welder JD, Pandya HK, Nassiri N, Djalilian AR. Adverse effects of systemic immunosuppression in keratolimbal allograft. J Ophthalmol. 2012;2012:576712. doi: 10.1155/2012/576712. Epub 2012 Feb 28. PubMed PMID: 22523651; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3317135.

Bakhtiari P, Chan C, Welder JD, de la Cruz J, Holland EJ, Djalilian AR. Surgical and visual outcomes of the type I Boston Keratoprosthesis for the management of aniridic fibrosis syndrome in congenital aniridia. Am J Ophthalmol. 2012 May;153(5):967-971.e2. doi: 10.1016/j.ajo.2011.10.027. Epub 2012 Jan 21. PubMed PMID: 22265154.

Categories: Ophthalmology, Ophthalmology Research Faculty