Issam A. Awad, MD

Neurosurgery, Neurocritical Care, Surgery | More

The John Harper Seeley Professor of Surgery Director, Neurovascular Surgery
Director, Safadi Program of Excellence in Clinical and Translational Neuroscience

A clinically integrated network of physicians and providers employed by UChicago Medicine who offer care in inpatient, community, ambulatory, acute care or extended care settings.


Issam A. Awad, MD, is an internationally recognized leader in neurosurgery. He is skilled in the surgical management of neurovascular conditions affecting the brain and spinal cord, including cerebral aneurysms, cerebrovascular malformations, carotid surgery, hemorrhagic stroke and skull base tumors. He leads the Neurovascular Surgery Program and co-leads the Stroke and Neurovascular Care team. Dr. Awad is the Director of the Safadi Center of Excellence in Clinical and Translational Neuroscience, and the Centers of Excellence for Cerebral Cavernous Malformations (CCM) and Hereditary Hemorrhagic Telangiectasia (HHT).

Dr. Awad's research focuses on vascular biology, genetics and comprehensive outcome analysis in neurovascular disease and stroke. His active projects include National Institutes of Health (NIH)-funded investigations of molecular mechanisms involved in the formation and progression of cerebrovascular malformations. Additionally, he leads several clinical trials on minimally invasive techniques for surgical treatment of hemorrhagic stroke and novel drug therapies for Cavernous Angiomas With Symptomatic Hemorrhage (CASH).

Dr. Awad’s research contributions have spanned several decades. His scientific innovations include the characterization of subcortical ischemic lesions in the aged, advances in the understanding of the natural history and biologic behavior of cerebral vascular malformations and numerous technical advances in neurovascular and epilepsy surgery.

Recognized as a pioneering and productive scholar, Dr. Awad has educated scores of neurosurgeon trainees and holds prominent editorial responsibilities. He has authored leading textbooks and published more than 350 scholarly papers related to clinical innovations, surgical outcomes and research.

Additionally, Dr. Awad has been elected to some of the most distinguished professional societies and has held leadership positions in professional and learned societies in the United States and around the world. He has served as president of the Congress of Neurological Surgeons, chairman of the Cerebrovascular Section of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons, chairman of the Congress of Neurological Surgeons and on the executive committee of the American Stroke Association and the board of governors of the American College of Surgeons. He serves on the U.S. National Council for Neurological Disorders and Stroke and is the founding chairman of the Scientific Advisory Board of Angioma Alliance. He is regularly included on the list of the "Best Doctors in America."

Medical Education

  • Loma Linda University School of Medicine


  • Loma Linda University Medical Center


  • Cleveland Clinic


  • Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh; Barrow Neurological Institute

Memberships & Medical Societies

  • New England Neurosurgical Society
  • International Platform Association
  • Society of Neurological Surgeons
  • North American Skull Base Society
  • New York Academy of Sciences
  • Société de Neurochirurgie de Langue Française
  • World Association of Lebanese Neurosurgeons
  • Yale Surgical Society
  • American Society for Stereotactic and Functional Neurosurgery
  • World Society for Stereotactic and Functional Neurosurgery
  • International College of Surgeons
  • Congress of Neurological Surgeons
  • American Academy of Neurological Surgery
  • Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society
  • American College of Surgeons
  • American Association of Neurological Surgeons
  • American Epilepsy Society
  • American Society of Neuroimaging
  • American Heart Association
  • Chicago Neurological Society
  • Chicago Medical Society
  • Chilean Society of Neurosurgery
  • Chicago Society for Neuroscience
  • American Association for the Advancement of Science
  • Aetna POS
  • Aetna HMO
  • Aetna PPO
  • BCBS Blue Precision HMO
  • Cigna HMO
  • Cigna POS
  • Cigna PPO
  • CountyCare
  • Coventry Health Plan PPO
  • Great West PPO
  • Illinicare*
  • Medicare
  • Multiplan PPO
  • United Choice / Choice Plus
  • United Options (PPO)
  • United Select (HMO & EPO)
  • United W500 Emergent Wrap

Dr. Awad is director of the Safadi Program of Excellence in Clinical and Translational Neuroscience.

Dr. Awad helps collegiate hockey player Sam Messina get back on the ice after surgery to repair his arteriovenous malformation.

Learn more about Dr. Awad’s research.

Dr. Awad reunited with a grateful patient 27 years after he performed surgery on her following a stroke.

Dr. Awad’s cerebral cavernous malformation (CCM) clinic attracts patients from around the world. Learn how he helped 4-year-old Zane Smith, whose family traveled from Cambridge, England to seek Dr. Awad’s expertise.

A pill to prevent brain surgery? Dr. Awad and his colleagues are investigating a drug that may lower the risk for people with the familial form of CCM.

Urgent Transfers: 773-834-4782

Daniel Nava, Administrative Assistant and the Safadi Program: 773-702-5595

Office Number: 773-702-2123

Clinical Coordinators Phone Number
Neurovascular surgery, CCM, clinical trials
Kristina Piedad, RN, BSN
Zeena Darji, RN, BSN
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Duchossois Center for Advanced Medicine (DCAM) - Hyde Park

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UChicago Medicine South Loop

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At a Glance

Practicing Since1986

Board Certifications

  • Neurological Surgery

Languages Spoken

  • English
  • French
  • Arabic