Issam Awad, MD



Dr. Awad's research has been funded continuously from the National Institutes of Health since 1998, including a prestigious midcareer development grant in patient-otriented research (2000-2005), and current active R01, R21 and U01 funding through 2018. (Read about Dr. Awad's clinical neurovascular surgery.)

Awad’s work in the 1980's and 90's includes:
• Characterization of ischemic brain lesions on magnetic resonance imaging, including publication of the first work defining clinical and pathological correlates of subcortical ischemic lesions in the context of aging and hypertension.

• Investigation and advancement of numerous pioneering techniques in epilepsy surgery, including invasive electrode recording and microsurgical technique. Dr. Awad also researched the cognitive and seizure outcome of temporal lobe surgery, and reoperation after previous failure of epilepsy surgery.

• Refinement of both technique and outcome of therapeutic carotid occlusion.

• Seminal research published on the features of aggressive clinical course in dural arteriovenous malformations, and intracranial meningiomas in the aged.

• Extensive investigation of aneurysms and angiomas, including their molecular architecture and pathobiology. During this time, Dr. Awad published the first comprehensive analysis on the prevalence and natural history of cavernous angiomas (cerebral cavernous malformations), as well as landmark research on intervention outcomes for intracranial aneurysms.  He also characterized the gene loci of cerebral cavernous malformation disease, and the special features of mutations in Hispanic Americans.

• Research on visual outcome after management of occipital vascular malformations, and on vascular malformations in the setting of hereditary hemorrhagic telangiectasia.

Current Projects:

• Cerebrovascular Anomalies: Cerebrovascular anomalies are highly prevalent lesions that predispose to stroke and epilepsy.  Dr. Awad is currently researching the molecular as well as immune and inflammatory mechanisms behind the formation and growth of these lesions, and using advanced magnetic resonance imaging to investigate their progression and evolution. His laboratory has developed a number of biomarkers of disease activity, applying advanced MRI techniques, laying the groundwork for the firstclinical trials aimed at biologic modification of the disease. Dr. Awad is oveseeing the first clinical trial of pharmacotherapy in cavernous angiomas with symptomatic hemorrhage. 
( NCT02603328)

• Hemorrhagic Stroke: Additionally, Dr. Awad is the leader of several ongoing research projects focused on improving care of hemorrhagic stroke.  These include National Institute of Health (NIH) sponsored multi-institutional trials such as MISTIE, which is assessing minimally invasive strategies of hematoma evacuation, and CLEAR III, which is investigating the use of tissue plasminogen activator in resolving intraventricular hemorrhage. Awad’s clinical trials unit at the University of Chicago serves as the Surgical Center optimizing and overseeing surgical performance by 60-80 teams in four continents.  Results from these trials are changing the care of the most severe and disabling types of stroke.