Prof. Hafezi first made his mark in the ophthalmology back in 1994 when he discovered a gene, c-fos, responsible for light-induced retinal degeneration. Over the years, his research shifted from the retina to the cornea. By 2003, Hafezi was making strides in corneal collagen cross-linking (CXL) and advanced laser refractive surgery. His work in corneal collagen cross-linking, in particular, has been noted for its contribution to the treatment of keratoconus, pellucid marginal degeneration, and post-LASIK ectasia.
His research group at the University of Zurich concentrates on:
- The cornea’s structure and function at the molecular level.
- Corneal cell biology.
- Translational research to enhance laser refractive surgery techniques.
In addition to these accomplishments, Hafezi has made significant contributions to various peer-reviewed scientific journals. His work in corneal collagen cross-linking has been acknowledged with several international awards. In various years, including 2014, 2016, 2018, 2020, and 2023, he was ranked among the top 100 influential figures in ophthalmology.
Prof. Hafezi’s affiliations extend beyond NYU Grossman. He serves as a professor of ophthalmology at the University of Geneva, an adjunct clinical professor at the Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California, and a research group leader at the University of Zurich, among other roles.
A Glimpse into the Early Days
After moving to Switzerland in 1981, Hafezi furthered his studies in Fribourg and Bern, leading to his doctorate. His time at the University Hospital of Zurich saw him identifying the c-Fos gene related to light-induced apoptotic retinal degeneration.
Corneal Cross-Linking and Its Impact
Hafezi’s transition to studying the cornea in 2002 marked a notable shift in his career. His involvement in corneal collagen cross-linking (CXL) played a part in its application for keratoconus treatment. This technique has since reduced the need for corneal transplantation in many cases.
Hafezi’s dedication to CXL led to its adaptation for various conditions and has established him as a resource in the field of corneal ectasia and keratoconus.
Recognitions and Professional Memberships
Hafezi’s commitment to ophthalmology has been recognized with awards like the Keratoconus Global Award, the Carl Camras Award for translational research, and the Casebeer Award. He is also affiliated with ARVO, ESCRS, EUCornea, AAO, and SOG.