Chirag Shah, MD, MPH – Fellow

In conjunction with Rush University Medical Center, Illinois Retina Associates has committed to educating future retina specialists through our vitreoretinal fellowship program since 1987.

Chirag Shah, MD, MPH, was inspired to pursue ophthalmology while as a young boy he helped his blind grandfather navigate city streets. Moved to push the boundaries of what was possible in the treatment of diabetic retinopathy, he conducted research hoping to discover ways in which the human immune system could be taught to target pathologic blood vessels. At the age of 17 he co-authored a paper related to angiogenesis & his first scientific publication in the Journal of Immunology.

Inspired by the experience of contributing to medical science at an early age, as an undergraduate he helped visual neuroscientists elucidate the development of connections between the neurosensory retina, thalamus, and cortex, for which he was awarded the University of California’s President’s Undergraduate Fellowship. He discovered from those experiments the beauty of the intricate and nuanced relationships within the visual system.

Seeking to merge the intrigue of visual neuroscience with the humanism motivating him, he assisted with surgical missions to prevent amblyopia in rural India. His experiences inspired him to continue helping those facing extreme poverty. He earned a Master of Public Health with a concentration in Biostatistics and helped start-up a research think tank in Kenya.

He has an avid interest in expanding the boundaries of the field of ophthalmology, taking multiple research projects from inception to publication, including surgical techniques research into use of perfluorocarbon liquids as well as finding novel uses of ophthalmic imaging in quantifying lupus vasculopathy. He has given multiple podium presentations and moderated scientific sessions at multiple national and international meetings. He has published 13 scientific papers and a book chapter.

When he is not working, he enjoys swimming, practicing yoga, and volunteering at the animal shelter.