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Ali Fatemi, M.D.

Seyed Ali Fatemi, M.D.

Photo of Dr. Ali Fatemi, M.D.
  • Professor of Neurology

Languages: English, Arabic, Farsi, German


Cerebral Palsy, Neurogenetics, Neurology

Research Interests

Neonatal Neurology

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Dr. Fatemi received his medical degree from the Medical University of Vienna, Austria in 1999. After graduation, he served as a researcher and lecturer at the Institute for Medical Chemistry in Vienna and at the Department of Pediatrics at the Vienna General Hospital. He then moved to the United States to pursue a postdoctoral fellowship in neurogenetics and neuroimaging at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in 2001.

During this initial period, Dr. Fatemi collaborated with a team of scientists and developed new imaging methods in patients with leukodystrophies (rare genetic diseases that affect the brain's white matter) and coordinated an internet-2 based imaging network for these diseases. He then left Kennedy Krieger Institute to train in general pediatrics and then completed a child neurology residency at the Massachusetts General Hospital, an affiliate of Harvard Medical School. Dr. Fatemi returned to the Kennedy Krieger Institute in 2008 as faculty.

He is a member of the Child Neurology Society, the International Child Neurology Association, the Society for Neuroscience, the American Academy of Neurology and the International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine. He has served as ad hoc reviewer for the Journals Child Development and American Journal of Neuroradiology. more


  • Professor of Neurology
  • Professor of Pediatrics

Departments / Divisions

Centers & Institutes



  • MD, University of Vienna (1999)


  • SUNY Downstate Medical Center / Pediatrics (2005)
  • Massachusetts General Hospital / Neurology (2008)

Board Certifications

  • American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology / Neurology/Special Child Neurology (2008)

Research & Publications

Research Summary

Dr. Fatemi is also a research scientist who focuses on genetic and acquired conditions that lead to cerebral palsy. In the laboratory, his team has developed a number of animal models of neonatal brain injury with a focus on testing different therapeutic interventions including stem cell therapies in these models. He has authored over 20 scientific articles and several book chapters and has co-edited a book on leukodystrophies.


The brain's white matter consists of axons that build up a complex network of connections between different neurons. Axons are wrapped by oligodendrocytes, cells that produce myelin, a thick membrane that isolates and protects the axons. Other cellsastrocytesare important constituents of white matter, supporting brain metabolism and acting as gatekeepers for nutrients that enter the brain. Disorders of white matter can affect axons, oligodendrocytes or astroyctes. Perinatally acquired white matter injury is the leading cause of cerebral palsy and other neuropsychiatric conditions in children born prematurely. Dr. Fatemi is a member of the neuroscience laboratory and the F.M. Kirby Research Center for functional brain imaging. He collaborates closely with a multi-disciplinary group of scientists at the Hugo W. Moser Research Institute and at Johns Hopkins to study the molecular mechanism involved in white matter development and injury in cerebral palsy and perinatal white matter injury, using molecular, histological and advanced MRI techniques to examine rodent models. The neuroscience laboratory also uses animal models as a test bed for cell-based therapeutic approaches, including stem cells and progenitor cells derived from mouse embryos. Dr. Fatemi and his colleagues evaluate the survival of transplanted cells in injured animals, and how they migrate to the desired site and eventually restore white matter function, either by differentiation into more mature cells or by providing support to the injured tissue. Dr. Fatemi is also a member of the Neurogenetics Research Center at Kennedy Krieger and is involved in clinical and imaging research studies of patients with X-linked adrenoleukodystrophy.

Selected Publications

View all on Pubmed

A Diagnostic Approach for Cerebral Palsy in the Genomic Era. Lee RW, Poretti A, Cohen JS, Levey E, Gwynn H, Johnston MV, Hoon AH, Fatemi A. Neuromolecular Med. 2014 Oct 4. [Epub ahead of print] PMID:25280894

Neurogenetics Fatemi A. Semin Neurol. 2014 Jul;34(3):237. doi: 10.1055/s-0034-1386761. Epub 2014 Sep 5. No abstract available. PMID:25192501

Clinical whole exome sequencing in child neurology practice. Srivastava S, Cohen JS, Vernon H, Barañano K, McClellan R, Jamal L, Naidu S, Fatemi A. Ann Neurol. 2014 Oct;76(4):473-83. doi: 10.1002/ana.24251. Epub 2014 Aug 30. PMID:25131622

A novel variant in GABRB2 associated with intellectual disability and epilepsy. Srivastava S, Cohen J, Pevsner J, Aradhya S, McKnight D, Butler E, Johnston M, Fatemi A. Am J Med Genet A. 2014 Nov;164(11):2914-21. doi: 10.1002/ajmg.a.36714. Epub 2014 Aug 13. PMID:25124326

Systemic Injection of CD34+-Enriched Human Cord Blood Cells Modulates Poststroke Neural and Glial Response in a Sex-Dependent Manner in CD1 Mice. Kadam SD, Chen H, Markowitz GJ, Raja S, George S, Shotwell E, Loechelt B, Johnston MV, Kamani N, Fatemi A, Comi AM. Stem Cells Dev. 2014 Sep 23. [Epub ahead of print] PMID:25121827

Pathologic role of glial nitric oxide in adult and pediatric neuroinflammatory diseases. Ghasemi M, Fatemi A. Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 2014 Sep;45:168-82. doi: 10.1016/j.neubiorev.2014.06.002. Epub 2014 Jun 13. PMID:24933692

Activities & Honors


  • American Academy of Neurology
  • Child Neurology Foundation
  • Child Neurology Society
  • International Child Neurology Association
  • International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine
  • Society for Neuroscience

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