Dr. Djalilian is an Associate Professor of Ophthalmology at the University of Illinois College of Medicine and a board-certified ophthalmologist. He is 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 surgical efficiency and patient outcomes. He bridges clinical experience with his basic science and translational research projects, which have been funded in part by the National Eye Institute/NIH Research to Prevent Blindness, and Eversight.
I am clinician and researcher at the Illinois Eye and Ear Infirmary, at University of Illinois at Chicago. As someone whose has been doing corneal research for more than 20 years, I would like to take a moment to highlight the importance of research tissue to our work and the field of ophthalmology.
There are a number of reasons why human research tissue is critical for developing new therapies. First and foremost is the fact that animal tissues, although similar, are not identical to human tissue and there are thousands of examples of treatments that worked in animal models but failed in humans. Therefore, having human tissue makes the results more applicable to humans. Second, access to diseased human tissue is particularly valuable in providing insight into the disease process, and this is only possible if systems are in place to procure and preserve the tissue in a timely manner.
Finally, I would like to mention our work, where we are focusing on a particular stem cell which we isolate from the corneal stroma. This work has significant therapeutic potential where these isolated stem cells can be used to regenerate and repair the corneas of patients without having to replace the entire cornea. This research would not be possible without the use of human research tissue.
I would like to thank Eversight for its tremendous research tissue program which has allowed us and many other researcher to make great discoveries and develop new therapies.
—Ali Djalilian, M.D.