Maciej S. Lesniak, MD, MHCM

Professor of Surgery and Neurology

Director, Neurosurgical Oncology

Director, Neuro-Oncology Research

Dr. Maciej Lesniak is one of the nation’s leading neurosurgeons, specializing in neuro-oncology -- the diagnosis and treatment of tumors involving the central nervous system. He specializes in the neurosurgical management of adult patients with both benign and malignant brain and spinal cord tumors, including:

  • Gliomas/astroctyomas
  • Meningiomas
  • Acoustic tumors
  • Pituitary tumors
  • Metastatic brain cancer
  • Skull base tumors

He is renowned for his expertise in performing a large number of awake craniotomies, a unique procedure during which the patient is kept awake. This complex procedure allows the surgical team to monitor language, motor, and sensory function, and avoid damage to critical parts of the brain. He also provides neurovascular care, including the treatment of brain aneurysms and brain arteriovenous malformations.

Dr. Lesniak is regularly listed each year as one of the Best Doctors in America and America’s Top Surgeons. He is the recipient of the Castle Connolly Top Doctors award, as well as the Patients’ Choice Award, which recognizes doctors who make a difference in the lives of their patients. This honor is given annually to only those physicians who receive near perfect scores as voted by their patients.

Dr. Lesniak is the director of neurosurgical oncology and neuro-oncology research in the University of Chicago Brain Tumor Center. This multidisciplinary physician team provides a comprehensive approach to brain tumor care, and offers the newest, most innovative therapies. The Brain Tumor Center actively participates in clinical trials sponsored by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Dr. Lesniak's research interests include gene therapy, stem cell therapy, immunotherapy and nanotechnology. He is the recipient of the Outstanding Investigator Award from the American Society of Gene and Cell Therapy. Dr. Lesniak also holds a faculty appointment on the Committee on Cancer Biology at the University of Chicago. An active scholar, he has published more than 250 articles, book chapters, and abstracts related to clinical innovations, surgical outcomes, and research as they pertain to the care of patients with brain cancer. Dr. Lesniak is a frequent speaker at national and international conferences. He serves on the editorial board of many scientific journals and on steering committees of clinical trials in brain cancer, both in the United States and abroad. In addition, he helps to review brain tumor research in the United States and the European Union. His own research has been continually funded by the American Brain Tumor Association, the American Cancer Society, and the National Institutes of Health.

Practice Location

Duchossois Center for Advanced Medicine
5758 S. Maryland Avenue
Chicago, IL 60637

Year Started Practice


Board Certification

Neurological Surgery

Medical School

Johns Hopkins University

Residency and Fellowship

Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore, MD

Physician Photo

Clinical Interests

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Read More About Dr. Lesniak

Learn how Dr. Lesniak uses creativity to develop innovative strategies for the treatment of aggressive brain tumors, including glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) and metastatic brain tumors.

Learn more about Dr. Lesniak’s groundbreaking research in brain cancer.

When breast cancer repeatedly metastasized to a young woman's brain, Dr. Lesniak skillfully removed the stubborn tumor and used local chemotherapy to prevent future recurrence. Read Eloise's story.

Doctors were unable to identify the cause of Iona Williams' headaches until she arrived at the University of Chicago medical center in 1982. Under the surgical care of Dr. Lesniak, Iona no longer experiences the severe pain once caused by a benign epidermoid tumor at the base of her brain. Read Iona's story.

Through his highly innovative research, Dr. Lesniak is transforming the treatment of cancer and setting a vision for the future of cancer therapy. Watch an ABC7 Healthbeat segment featuring his work.

Dr. Lesniak skillfully removed a mixed glioma that was intertwined with functional areas of Anna’s brain -- while she was awake. Learn more about this awake craniotomy procedure and its unique benefits. Read Anna’s story.

Read about Dr. Lesniak’s involvement in a multidisciplinary research study investigating the risk of brain metastasis in breast cancer patients.

Selected Publications

View a partial list of Dr. Lesniak's publications through the National Library of Medicine's PubMed online database.


American Association for Cancer Research
American Association of Neurological Surgeons
American College of Surgeons
American Society of Clinical Oncology
Congress of Neurological Surgeons
North American Skull Base Society
Society of Neuro-Oncology

Languages Spoken



Office Phone

(773) 834-4757

Office Fax

(773) 834-2608

Office Postal Address

Maciej S. Lesniak, MD
The University of Chicago Medicine
5841 S. Maryland Avenue, MC 3026
Chicago, IL 60637