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Ali Hafezi-Moghadam, MD, PhD
Associate Research Associate, Brigham and Women's Hospital
Associate Professor of Radiology, Harvard Medical School

Brigham and Women's Hospital
Department of Radiology
75 Francis Street
Boston, MA 02115

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Research Narrative:

There is an acute and unmet need for early subclinical diagnosis of diabetes complications. We innovated a novel retinal imaging technique that for the first time allows direct visualization of individual molecules associated with disease in the eye. While most existing in vivo imaging techniques, including OCT, are geared toward detection of structural damage, this disruptive new technology visualizes the molecular and cellular changes that precede irreversible damage. This breakthrough technology enabled my team to establish a vascular endothelial molecule as a novel biomarker for early diagnosis of diabetic retinopathy. It is a powerful tool in mechanistic studies, and reaches a sensitivity that rivals that of the most sensitive techniques. It provides live quantitative feedback on therapeutic success. This imaging technology is highly cost-effective and has a favorable safety profile that can greatly facilitate its translation to the clinic. It has been acknowledged by peers as a “total game-changer” and a “groundbreaking” tool, “revolutionizing both diagnosis and treatment”. “The next step is to make this technology accessible at the clinical level”. To accomplish the translation of this technology for early detection of retinal disease, I recently received an NIH IMPACT Award. My contribution to retinal imaging addresses fundamental unsolved problems in early detection of diabetes complications and possibly other diseases. Visualization of disease-specific markers enables subclinical diagnosis before irreversible structural damages occur, objective tracking of disease progression, and development of novel therapeutic approaches.

Molecular Biomarker Nano-Imaging Laboratory 


Publications (Pulled from Harvard Catalyst Profiles):

1. Barakat A, Nakao S, Zandi S, Sun D, Schmidt-Ullrich R, Hayes KC, Hafezi-Moghadam A. In contrast to Western diet, a plant-based, high-fat, low-sugar diet does not exacerbate retinal endothelial injury in streptozotocin-induced diabetes. FASEB J. 2019 Jul 06; fj201900462R.

2. Daftarian N, Rohani S, Kanavi MR, Suri F, Mirrahimi M, Hafezi-Moghadam A, Soheili ZS, Ahmadieh H. Effects of intravitreal connective tissue growth factor neutralizing antibody on choroidal neovascular membrane-associated subretinal fibrosis. Exp Eye Res. 2019 Jul; 184:286-295.

3. Iyer S, Radwan AE, Hafezi-Moghadam A, Malyala P, Amiji M. Long-acting intraocular Delivery strategies for biological therapy of age-related macular degeneration. J Control Release. 2019 Feb 28; 296:140-149.

4. Sasaki F, Koga T, Ohba M, Saeki K, Okuno T, Ishikawa K, Nakama T, Nakao S, Yoshida S, Ishibashi T, Ahmadieh H, Kanavi MR, Hafezi-Moghadam A, Penninger JM, Sonoda KH, Yokomizo T. Leukotriene B4 promotes neovascularization and macrophage recruitment in murine wet-type AMD models. JCI Insight. 2018 Sep 20; 3(18).

5. Ahmadieh H, Nourinia R, Hafezi-Moghadam A, Sabbaghi H, Nakao S, Zandi S, Yaseri M, Tofighi Z, Akbarian S. Intravitreal injection of a Rho-kinase inhibitor (fasudil) combined with bevacizumab versus bevacizumab monotherapy for diabetic macular oedema: a pilot randomised clinical trial. Br J Ophthalmol. 2019 Jul; 103(7):922-927.

6. Safi H, Ahmadieh H, Safi S, Hafezi-Moghadam A. Authors' reply. Surv Ophthalmol. 2019 Jan - Feb; 64(1):133.

7. Safi H, Safi S, Hafezi-Moghadam A, Ahmadieh H. Early detection of diabetic retinopathy. Surv Ophthalmol. 2018 Sep - Oct; 63(5):601-608.

8. Nakao S, Zandi S, Sun D, Hafezi-Moghadam A. Cathepsin B-mediated CD18 shedding regulates leukocyte recruitment from angiogenic vessels. FASEB J. 2018 01; 32(1):143-154.

9. Nourinia R, Nakao S, Zandi S, Safi S, Hafezi-Moghadam A, Ahmadieh H. ROCK inhibitors for the treatment of ocular diseases. Br J Ophthalmol. 2017 Aug 09.

10. Frimmel S, Zandi S, Sun D, Zhang Z, Schering A, Melhorn MI, Nakao S, Hafezi-Moghadam A. Molecular Imaging of Retinal Endothelial Injury in Diabetic Animals. J Ophthalmic Vis Res. 2017 Apr-Jun; 12(2):175-182.