In 2000, Dr. Ali decided to change careers and was accepted into the University of Chicago, Pritzker School of Medicine. In late 2001, Dr. Ali was selected for a pilot training slot with the Indiana Air National Guard with an F-16 follow-on. He took a military leave of absence from medical school while he trained with the active duty U.S. Air Force in various jets including the T-37 and T-38 before he was medically disqualified. He returned to medical school at the University of Chicago and has chosen to continue serving in the Georgia Air National Guard as a Flight Physician with the current rank of Major. In 2011, he took a military leave of absence from Emory to serve overseas in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
After medical school, Dr. Ali completed his internship in internal medicine and residency in Radiation Oncology at Emory University. While in residency, Dr. Ali was elected by national vote as 1 of 3 resident physicians in the United States to serve on the Executive Committee of the Association of Residents in Radiation Oncology (ARRO), served as one of the Chief Residents at Emory, and was a participating member of several committees with the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO).
Dr. Ali has also received several research awards during medical school and residency including the University of Chicago Leon O. Jacobson Prize and the Emory Radiation Oncology Resident Research Day 1st Place Prize. Dr. Ali also received a prestigious $216,000 cancer research grant from the Department of Defense while in residency and was featured in the Atlanta Business Chronicle.
More recently, Dr. Ali has received a $50,000 pilot grant as the principal investigator (PI) from the Dartmouth Dart-Dose Center for Medical Countermeasures against Radiation (CMCR) to study the use of emesis as a screening diagnostic for radiation dose in the event of a nuclear or radiologic mass casualty disaster. Dr. Ali is also the Emory PI for a subcontract from the Dart-Dose CMCR to study the use of electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) spectroscopy to determine radiation dose using tooth enamel.
In his spare time, Dr. Ali enjoys playing with his yellow Labrador Retriever (Trigg), running, mountain biking, hiking, fishing, trap shooting, downhill skiing, dining with friends and participating in a variety of weekly church activities.