Ali Naji, M.D., Ph.D.
Dr. Ali Naji is the J. William White Professor of Surgery, director of the JDRF-Penn Islet Transplantation Program, and associate director of the Institute for Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. Dr. Naji completed his clinical residency and fellowship training in general, vascular and transplantation surgery at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. Dr. Naji has served on several NIH study sections including Surgery/Anesthesia/Trauma, Immunological Sciences and Transplantation/Tolerance/Tumor Immunology. He is an associate editor for the journals Transplantation, Diabetes and Transplantation Immunology. His basic research efforts have focused on the immunobiology of transplantation and immune pathogenesis of autoimmune diabetes. Specifically his investigations were the first to demonstrate the critical role of recurrent anti-beta cell autoimmunity as a basis for the failure of islet transplantation for treatment of Type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1D). Most recently, his group's efforts have focused on the role of B lymphocytes in the pathogenesis of T1D and organ transplant rejection demonstrating the requisite role of B lymphocytes as antigen presenting cells in the pathogenesis of islet inflammation and immunologic rejection. Translation of his basic research in islet transplantation studies have demonstrated the efficacy of B lymphocyte targeting for the induction of islet allograft tolerance in diabetic non-human primates. Dr. Naji and his group plan to determine the clinical efficacy of B lymphocyte directed immunotherapy as part of the cooperative NIH sponsored islet transplantation consortium.
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