At ARVO (l to r) Drs. Ali Djalilian, Medi Eslani, Asadolah Movahedan and Amir Mehralian

In May 2014 at the annual meeting of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO), post-doctoral fellow Medi Eslani, MD was selected as a Member-in-Training Outstanding Poster finalist in the Cornea Section for his novel research on “The role of Toll-like Receptor 4 (TLR-4) on corneal epithelial wound healing.”  Each year the top five posters receiving the highest scores from scientific reviewers in each section are selected as Member-in-Training Outstanding Poster finalists.  “It is an honor that our work was selected at this world class meeting,” Dr. Eslani said. “I was also thrilled to be congratulated by Dean Azar who visited the presentation session.”

“The corneal epithelium has multiple alarm systems to detect pathogens, including TLR-4, which recognizes the bacterial product lipopolysaccharide,” said Dr. Eslani.  “Previous studies have shown that this particular system is generally turned off in the mucosal epithelium – which includes the ocular surface – under normal conditions.”

Co-author Asadolah Movahedan, MD added, “We found that injury to the corneal epithelium turns on the alarm system – not only to recruit inflammatory cells to the site of injury, but also to enhance the rate of wound healing.”

Thanks to a Travel Grant awarded by the National Eye Institute, Dr. Eslani was able to present these findings at ARVO.   Travel Grantees are selected based upon the scientific review of their posters; only the most promising young investigators are chosen.

Dr. Eslani’s poster was one of seven original posters from the UIC Corneal Epithelial Biology and Tissue Engineering Lab accepted for presentation at ARVO, the largest and most respected eye and vision research organization in the world.  ARVO members include more than 12,750 researchers from over 80 countries.

Dr. Ali Djalilian directs the Corneal Epithelial Biology and Tissue Engineering Lab.   He recognized the hard work of his research team, including the “fruitful collaboration with Herve Sroussi, DDS, PhD, in the UIC College of Dentistry.”

“Our work would not be possible without the support of the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences and the leadership and support of Dean Azar and the College of Medicine,” he added.