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About Alexander A. Khalessi, MD, MBA

Alexander Khalessi, MD, MBA, is a board-certified neurosurgeon who specializes in complex cranial surgery, endovascular neurosurgery, stroke care, and neurological oncology. He is chair of the Department of Neurological Surgery and professor of neurological surgery, radiology and neurosciences. In 2021, he was named the inaugural Don and Karen Cohn Chancellor's Endowed Chair in Neurosurgery.

Dr. Khalessi provides both open surgical and minimally invasive, catheter-based approaches to complex neurosurgical conditions, including brain tumors, aneurysms, arteriovenous malformations (AVM), carotid disease and ischemic stroke. He is passionate about finding innovative, personalized solutions that result in the best possible outcomes for his patients, and was named a "Top Doc" in the annual San Diego Magazine "Physicians of Exceptional Excellence" survey.

An active clinical leader in the field of neurosurgery and the treatment of cerebrovascular disease, Dr. Khalessi holds several national leadership roles. He is the current vice president of the Congress of Neurological Surgeons (CNS), the nation's largest academic neurosurgical society, and co-chair of the CNS Foundation, which works to improve neurosurgical care worldwide. Dr. Khalessi is in his second term on American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS)/CNS' Washington Committee and sits on the Board of Governors for the American College of Surgeons (ACS).

Additionally, Dr. Khalessi is a founding member of the Medical Device Innovation Consortium (MDIC) that advises the FDA on early clinical feasibility for emerging neurovascular devices. He serves on the NIH Interventional Advisory Panel for StrokeNet, which provides scientific oversight for federally funded research in neurovascular disease. Dr. Khalessi was selected by his peers to serve as vice chair of the UC Health Stroke and Cerebrovascular Consortium, which unites experts across all six UC campuses, and will chair the consortium in 2022.

A dedicated educator, Dr. Khalessi directs national and international training courses, including the intermediate resident course for the Society of Neurological Surgeons (SNS). Dr. Khalessi served on the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME), Residency Review Committee (RRC) for Neurological Surgery, and editorial board for the Journal of Graduate Medical Education. He also participated in the authorship of the ACGME Neurosurgery and Endovascular Surgical Neuroradiology Milestone Projects.

Dr. Khalessi is widely published, authoring more than 150 peer-reviewed papers and monographs and more than 200 abstracts and presentations. He has served as principal or co-investigator of more than 25 clinical trials and grants. His research has spurred advances in the catheter-based treatment of ischemic stroke, endoscopic treatment of intracerebral hemorrhage, multi-modal treatment of cerebral aneurysms and arteriovenous malformations (AVMs), and complex surgical approaches to brain tumors.

Dr. Khalessi completed an endovascular neurosurgery fellowship at State University of New York Buffalo and his neurosurgical residency at the University of Southern California. He earned his medical degree at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. He obtained a bachelor's degree in public policy and master's degree in health services research from Stanford University, and holds a master's degree in business administration from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Sloan School of Management.

Outside of work, Dr. Khalessi enjoys spending time with his wife Sara, a lawyer, and their two young sons.

UC San Diego Health Links
For more information, see Stroke Center and Neurological Institute.

Insurance Information
UC San Diego Health accepts most major health insurance plans, but you should verify that your plan covers this provider and all services and locations. The information in the link below does not apply to affiliate providers, who are not employed by UC San Diego Health.
Health Insurance Plans Accepted

Medical Degree

  • Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD

Residency

  • University of Southern California, Keck School of Medicine, Los Angeles, CA

Fellowship

  • SUNY Buffalo School of Medicine, Buffalo, NY

Master's Degree

  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA

Gender

  • Male

Languages

  • Farsi
  • Spanish

Date Joined Staff

  • 2011-08-11

Board Certifications

  • American Board of Neurological Surgery

Conditions and Treatments

  • Skull Base Surgery
  • Extracranial Carotid Disease Management
  • Intracranial Aneurysms
  • Neurotrauma and Critical Care
  • Mechanical Thrombectomy for Ischemic Stroke
  • Spontaneous Intracranial Hemorrhage and Endoscopic Evacuation
  • Brain Tumors
  • Stroke
  • Cerebrovascular Accident
  • Concussion
  • Open Cranial Surgery
  • Neuro-Oncology
  • Head Injury
  • Endovascular Neurosurgery
  • Endovascular Treatment of Stroke
Insurance Information
UC San Diego Health accepts most major health insurance plans, but you should verify that your plan covers this provider and all services and locations. The information in the link below does not apply to affiliate providers, who are not employed by UC San Diego Health.
Health Insurance Plans Accepted
  • Neurosurgery
  • Cancer

Videos

Meet Alexander Khalessi, MD: Neurosurgeon and Chair of Neurological Surgery

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