Featured Faculty Fridays: Susan Ksiazek, MD

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Comprehensive ophthalmologist Susan Ksiazek, MD, was told she “had” to become a physician at a young age.  “I was a smart kid in high school, and another kid told me, “you’re smart, so you have to become a doctor,” Dr. Ksiazek reminisces.  “So I did.”  She went on to medical school at Rush University Medical College, where she instantly realized she wanted to be a surgeon.  Advised not to go into general surgery, she looked into ophthalmology, where she found her niche.  While working at a VA in Indianapolis, she found that she enjoyed the teaching aspect of ophthalmology, and decided that she wanted to pursue a future in a teaching hospital.  “The teaching aspect is important to me,” Dr. Ksiazek says.  “Seeing residents grow and blossom into full-fledge, self-sufficient ophthalmologists is so satisfying.”

At the University of Chicago, Dr. Ksiazek found a place where she could continue educating future ophthalmologists while being both a clinician and surgeon.  She is even currently involved in a huge project with neurosurgery that has been awarded a $2.4 million grant from the National Institutes of Health.  The project, spearheaded by the University of Chicago’s Leo Towle, PhD, and Philip Troyk, PhD, is now fifteen years in the making.  The goal is to develop a system of wireless brain implants that might restore partial vision to people who have lost their sight.  “It’s an intracortical visual prosthesis that when stimulated, allows people who are legally blind to see light,” Dr. Ksiazek explains.  “My part in the project is to verify blindness in test subjects and to follow them after the prosthesis is implanted neurosurgically.”  It sounds like a fascinating advancement in both neuroscience and ophthalmology!

Where can you be found on the weekends?  

“Home! I love being at home and cooking elaborate meals for family and friends.”

What do you think you would be doing if you hadn’t gone into ophthalmology?

“Some kind of surgical specialty, definitely. Maybe ENT or trauma.”

What would be most surprised to learn about you?

“I like to fix things, to make them right, like projects around the home. I think that is also why I enjoy performing surgery so much!”

To make an appointment with Dr. Susan Ksiazek, please call 773-702-3937.