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Ali Naji, MD, PhD

Ali Naji, MD, PhD Physician

J. William White Professor of Surgical Research

Languages spoken:

  • Persian

Dr. Naji is employed by Penn Medicine.

About Dr. Ali Naji

Received the Penn Medicine Award of Excellence, 2006

Recognized in Philadelphia Magazine's May 2002 Top Docs issue

Awarded the Thomas E. Starzl Prize in Surgery and Immunology, April, 2018

Patient Satisfaction Ratings

Patient Rating Breakdown

The Patient Satisfaction Rating is an average of all responses to the care provider related questions shown below from our nationally-recognized Press Ganey Patient Satisfaction Survey. Patients that are treated in outpatient or hospital environments may receive different surveys, and the volume of responses will vary by question.

Responses are measured on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being the best score.

Comments are submitted by patients and reflect their views and opinions. The comments are not endorsed by and do not necessarily reflect the views of Penn Medicine.

Overall Ratings

Clinical Specialties


  • Transplant Surgery

Programs & Centers:

Board Certification:

  • Surgery, 1977

Clinical Expertise:

  • Kidney Transplant Rejection
  • Kidney Transplantation
  • Living Donor Kidney Transplantation
  • Pancreas Transplantation
  • Transplant Evaluation

Practice Locations and Appointments

Insurance Accepted

  • Aetna US Healthcare
  • Cigna
  • Cigna HealthSpring
  • Clover Health Plan
  • CVS Health
  • Devon Health Services (Americare)
  • eLAP Services
  • Gateway Health Plan
  • Geisinger Health Plan
  • HealthAmerica / HealthAssurance, a Coventry Plan
  • HealthPartners
  • HealthPartners Medicare
  • HealthSmart
  • Highmark Blue Shield
  • Homestead Smart Health Plans
  • Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey
  • Humana / Choicecare
  • Independence Blue Cross (Keystone East)
  • Intergroup
  • Keystone First
  • Keystone First Medicare
  • Multiplan
  • NJ Medicaid
  • NJ Qualcare
  • Oxford Health Plan
  • PA Health and Wellness (Centene) Medicare
  • PA Medicaid
  • PA Medicare
  • Preferred Care
  • Preferred Health Care/LGH
  • Provider Partners Health Plan
  • Rail Road Medicare / Palmetto GBA
  • Remedy Partners at Penn Medicine
  • Tricare
  • United Healthcare
  • UnitedHealthcare Community Plan
  • US Family Health Plan
  • Veterans Choice Program
  • Vibra Health Plan

Education and Training

Medical School: Shiraj University
Residency: University Hospital
Residency: Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania
Fellowship: Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania


American Association for the Advancement of Science, National American College of Surgeons, National American Diabetes Association, National American Medical Association, National American Society of Gene Therapy, National American Society of Transplant Surgeons, National American Surgical Association, National Association for Academic Surgery, National D. Hayes Agnew Surgical Society, Local Delaware Valley Vascular Society, Local Greater Delaware Valley Society of Transplant Surgeons, Local Halsted Society, National International Pancreas and Islet Transplant Association, International Iranian American Medical Association, International John Morgan Society, University of Pennsylvania, Local Juvenile Diabetes Foundation International, International Pennsylvania Medical Society, Local Philadelphia County Medical Society, Local Ravdin-Rhoads Surgical Society, Local Societe Internationale De Chirurgie, U.S. Chapter, Inc., International Society of University Surgeons, National Surgical Biology Club III, National Transplantation Society, International

Hospital Affiliation

Dr. Naji is employed by Penn Medicine.

Hospital Privileges:

  • Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania: Has privileges to treat patients in the hospital.


Description of Research Expertise:

Research Interest

Mechanisms regulating the maintenance and loss of immune tolerance to tissue specific antigens in autoimmune diseases and transplantation

Research Summary

Autoimmune diabetes serves as an important paradigm for the loss of immune tolerance to tissue specific autoantigen(s) mediated by the activation of islet-reactive T lymphocytes. The non-obese diabetic (NOD) mouse is an excellent model for study of the immune pathogenesis of human insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus. NOD mice spontaneously develop overt diabetes as a result of the selective, T cell mediated destruction of insulin producing b cells of the islets of Langerhans. Elucidation of the cellular nature of the antigen presentation driving the evolution of a destructive anti-islet T cell response is one main focus of the laboratory. Based on our finding that B cell deficient NOD mice are fully resistant to the development of autoimmune diabetes, we have hypothesized that the progression of the islet-specific T cell response in NOD mice is dependent on antigen presentation by B lymphocytes. Specifically, ongoing research is focused on determining the role of: 1) MHC class II mediated cognate T/B collaboration and 2) BCR and non-BCR mediated means of antigen uptake by APCs in NOD diabetogenesis.

Another major effort in the laboratory is the elucidation of the mechanisms contributing to the maintenance of T cell tolerance and the parameters favoring its dysregulation. The fate and activation requirements of T cells specific for tissue restricted neo- and allo- antigens will be studied in the context of spontaneous autoimmune disease and following transplantation of cellular and solid organ allografts. Specifically, an MHC class II restricted, CD4+ TCR transgenic model is utilized to study the phenotype, homing patterns, and pathogenic potential of autoreactive T cells, 1) developing in the milieu of tissue restricted neo-antigen expression and 2) encountering neo- antigens present in transplanted organs. Furthermore, using bone marrow chimeras we have investigated the mechanisms of immunologic tolerance mediated by T cell deletion and anergy to alloantigens. Ongoing studies are focused on defining the antigen presenting requirements determining the shape of the alloreactive T cell repertoire and its functional state. Understanding the basic parameters dictating the state of tolerance and activation requirements of T cells reactive to tissue restricted autoantigens, as well as alloantigens, will permit the design of therapeutic means aimed at modulating the response of auto- and allo-reactive T cells.

Selected Publications:

Jordan, M.S., Boesteanu, A., Reed, A.J., Petrone, A.L., Holenbeck, A., Lerman, M.A., Naji, A., and Caton, A.J.: Thymic Selection of CD4+ CD25+ Regulatory T Cells Induced by an Agonist Self-Peptide. Nature Immunology. 2 (4): 301-306,2001.

Alfrey EJ, Campos L, Naji A, Barker CF, and Dafoe DC: Liver Allografts Confer Donor Specific Tolerance to Transplanted Islets in Rats : 2001.

Greeley SAW, Moore DJ, Noorchashm H, Noto L, Rostami SY, Schlachterman, A, Song HK, Koeberlein B, Barker CF, and Naji A: Impaired Lymph Node CD4 T-Cell Activation in MT-/-NOD Mice : 2001.

Wu, H., Wasik, MA., Haynes, B., Moore, H.C.F., Leonard, D.G.B., Montone, K.T., Kamoun, M., Przybylski, G., Naji, A., Tomaszewski, J., and Salhany, K.: Hepatosplenic γδ T-Cell Lymphoma as a Late-Onset Posttransplant Lymphoproliferative Disorder in Renal Transplant Patients. American Journal of Clinical Pathology. 113 (4): 487-496,2000.

Shaw, L.M., Korecka, M., Aradhye, S., Grossman, R., Bayer, L., Innes, C., Cucciara, A., Barker, C., Naji, A., Nicholls, A. and Brayman, K.: Mycophenolic Acid Area Under the Curve Values in African American and Caucasian Renal Transplant Patients are Comparable. Journal of Clinical Pharmacology. 40 (6): 624-633,2000.

Noorchashm, H., Moore, D.J., Noto, L.E., Noorchashm, N, Reed, A.J., Reed, A.L., Song, H.K., Mozaffari, R., Jevnikar, A.M., Barker, C.F., and Naji, A.: Impaired CD4 T Cell Activation Due to Reliance upon B-Cell Mediated Costimulation in Non-Obese Diabetic (NOD) Mice. Journal of Immunology. 165 : 4685-4696,2000.

Larson, R.A., Naji, M., Lombardi, J.V., Naji, A., Koeberlein, B., Golden, M.A. Ryan, S.: Adenoviral-Mediated Uteroglobin Gene Transfer Inhibits Neointimal Hyperplasia after Balloon Injury in the Rat Carotid Artery. Journal of Vascular Surgery. 32 (6): 1111-1117,2000.

Noorchashm, H., Moore, D.J., Lieu, Y.K., Noorchashm, N., Schlacterman, A., Song, H.K., Lambris, J.D., Barker, C.F., and Naji, A.: Contribution of the Innate Immune System to Autoimmune Diabetes: A Role for the Cr1/Cr2 Complement Receptors. Cellular Immunology. 195 (1): 75-79,1999.

Noorchashm H., Lieu Y.K., Noorchashm N, Rostami S.Y., Greeley, S.A.S., Schlacterman A., Song H.K., Noto, L.E., Jevnikar A.M., Barker C.F., and Naji A.: I-A g7-Mediated Antigen Presentation by B Lymphocytes Is Critical in Overcoming a Checkpoint in T Cell Tolerance to Islet β Cells of Nonobese Diabetic Mice. Journal of Immunology. 163 (2): 743-750,1999.

Song, H.K., Noorchashm, H., Lieu, Y.K., Rostami, S., Greeley, S.A.S., Barker, C.F., and Naji, A.: Tracking Alloreactive Cell Division In Vivo. Transplantation. 68 (2): 297-299,1999.

Academic Contact Info

University of Pennsylvania Medical Center
1st Floor Founders
3400 Spruce Street

Philadelphia, PA 19104-4283
Phone: (215) 662-2066
Patient appointments: 800-789-7366 (PENN)

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