UC San Diego Health

Medical Group / IPA

Rady Children's Specialists

Medical School

John Hopkins University School of Medicine


University of Southern California


State Univ of NY at Buffalo School of Medicine

Board Certifications





Dr. Alexander Khalessi is a neurosurgeon at Rady Children’s Hospital-San Diego and chair of the Department of Neurological Surgery and professor of neurological surgery, radiology and neurosciences at UC San Diego School of Medicine; in 2021, he was named the inaugural Don and Karen Cohn Chancellor's Endowed Chair in Neurosurgery.

Dr. Khalessi specializes in complex cranial surgery, endovascular neurosurgery, stroke care and neurological oncology. He performs both open surgical and minimally invasive, catheter-based approaches to complex neurosurgical conditions, including brain tumors, aneurysms, arteriovenous malformations, carotid disease and ischemic stroke. He is passionate about finding innovative, personalized solutions that result in the best possible outcomes for his patients and is consistently voted a "Top Doctor" 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 global and national leadership roles. He is the current president-elect of the Congress of Neurological Surgeons, the leading academic society for neurosurgical professionals with more than 10,000 members worldwide. Dr. Khalessi is in his third term on American Association of Neurological Surgeons/ Congress of Neurological Surgeons Washington Committee and sits on the board of governors for the American College of Surgeons.

Additionally, Dr. Khalessi is a founding member of the Medical Device Innovation Consortium that advises the Food and Drug Administration on early clinical feasibility for emerging neurovascular devices. He serves on the National Institutes of Health 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 2023.

A dedicated educator, Dr. Khalessi directs national and international training courses, including the intermediate resident course for the Society of Neurological Surgeons. Dr. Khalessi served on the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education, Residency Review Committee 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, multimodal treatment of cerebral aneurysms and arteriovenous malformations, and complex surgical approaches to brain tumors.

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

See the full listing of this physician's publications on PubMed, a service of the National Library of Medicine.

Rady Children's updates the Doctor Finder annually. We are not responsible for omissions or errors. Prior to making an appointment, please be sure to check with your health plan to confirm coverage. If you see an error or omission on a physician's profile page, please contact us at refsvc@rchsd.org.