Originally from Allentown, PA, Ben is loving his new home in Chicago (Go Cubs!). He attended the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine and was selected to the Medical Scholars Program, with a focus on Ethics and Humanities. His surgical interests include microsurgery and pediatric plastic surgery. He’s also passionate about healthcare technology and recently launched an App to help patients recover after surgery. Outside the OR, Ben enjoys playing soccer, sculpting balloons, and writing music and poetry.
Ben lives in the South Loop with his wife, Michelle, a Pediatric Endocrinology Fellow at the University of Chicago, and his 1-year-old daughter, Hannah. She’s the cutest.
Growing up in Northbrook, Ill., Chad lived the majority of his life in the Chicagoland area. Other than studying for five months in Spain while in college, the farthest Chad has ventured outside of Chicago is Ann Arbor, Mich., where he attended college at the University of Michigan. He majored in brain, behavior and cognitive science and was inducted into the Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society. Chad returned to Chicago to study medicine at Pritzker, from which he graduated AOA and with honors. He is thrilled to be at the University of Chicago for residency training in plastic and reconstructive surgery. Outside of medicine, Chad enjoys sports, plays the guitar and takes every opportunity to see live performances. He also travels and enjoys exploring the many different and unique neighborhoods of Chicago.
Jeff grew up in sunny Southern California and moved north to attend Stanford University where he received his bachelors degree in computer science. Shortly after graduating, he was inspired to forego his tech startup aspirations in Silicon Valley and decided to instead pursue his true passion in medicine. He participated in clinical pancreatic cancer research at the Stanford Cancer Center before heading back down home to Orange County, where he matriculated at University of California, Irvine for medical school. Now he is thrilled to be at the University of Chicago for his surgical training and looks forward to enjoying all the things the great city of Chicago has to offer. In his spare time, Jeff enjoys traveling, checking out new restaurants/bar scenes around the city, biking, playing tennis/basketball and generally staying active.
Laura grew up on the east coast in Baltimore and Philadelphia. She completed her undergraduate studies at Duke University and her medical education here in Chicago at Northwestern University. She feels lucky to be part of an enriched, challenging, and supportive training environment, and plans to incorporate reconstructive microsurgery and craniofacial surgery into her professional practice. Laura treasures her time with her husband and daughter.
Originally from Wilmette, IL, Maureen went to Northwestern University in Evanston for her undergraduate studies, where she majored in biology. After spending a year performing research at the National Institutes of Health in Washington, D.C., she returned to Chicago to complete medical school at The University of Chicago. Maureen spent an additional year performing research in Dr. Russell Reid's craniofacial biology laboratory. She is very excited to remain at University of Chicago for her plastic surgery training. In her spare time, Maureen enjoys playing basketball, exploring Chicago, and spending time with family and friends.
Born and raised in Zion, IL, Jesse attended both undergraduate as well as graduate school at the University of Southern California and the Wrigley Institute for Environmental Studies, ultimately pursing a MS in marine and environmental biology. He then deferred enrollment at Georgetown University School of Medicine to further explore his interest in the field of marine science, working as a marine biologist for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration aboard commercial fishing and seismic vessels off the North Pacific and Southeast coastlines. After two chilly winters in the Bering Sea and Gulf of Alaska, Jesse relocated to Washington, D.C., to earn his MD. He is very excited to be back in the Midwest near family and old friends. In his free time, Jesse enjoys bike rides along the lakefront and gathering with good friends to explore the many outdoor food and music festivals downtown Chicago has to offer.
Born to two Egyptian parents, Kareem has lived in seven different states and 10 different cities. He attended the University of Arizona where he received a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science with minors in Spanish and Pre-Health. There he became an avid fan of the Wildcats and he continues to cheer them as they dominate the NCAA. He has spent time He took a year off after college to join AmeriCorps where he worked in an underserved community in the San Francisco Bay Area. He then returned to the University of Arizona, where he furthered his knowledge of the Pacific 12 conference and earned his medical degree. In his free time, Kareem likes long walks on the beach, traveling with friends, brunch, and dominating his fantasy football league.
Tulsi was born in Washington D.C., but grew up in nearby Rockford, IL. She completed her undergraduate degree at Case Western Reserve University in Biology and History & Philosophy of Science. She went abroad to pursue her M.Sc. in History of Science, Medicine, and Technology at the University of Oxford, where she wrote her dissertation on Robert Boyle and 17th century history of science. She then returned to the US to complete her medical degree at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN before coming closer to home for her surgical training. In her spare time, Tulsi enjoys watching stand-up comedy, beatboxing, and singing opera.
Tim Bruce, MD
Tim was born in Milwaukee, WI, and raised in near-by Brookfield, WI. He completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Wisconsin where he majored in History. Tim then returned to his hometown for medical school at the Medical College of Wisconsin. Following graduation, he served as a Diving Medical Officer with the US Navy at various duty stations across America and the world. In his free time, Tim shares his love of the Green Bay Packers and Milwaukee Brewers with Chicagoland natives, enjoys hanging with his two dogs (Charlie and Sullie), spending time with friends and family, and counts skydiving and spear-fishing as two of his favorite hobbies.
Lydia Williams, MD
Originally from Savannah, GA, Lydia ventured north for high school at St. Paul’s School in Concord, NH. After graduating magna cum laude from Brown University, where she concentrated in biology and architectural studies, she headed to the University of Regensburg, Germany, where she studied and worked in the “House of the Ribosome” lab, before returning to Georgia to complete her medical degree at the Medical College of Georgia. While at MCG, she was inducted into the Gold Humanism Honor Society and served as president of the American Medical Women’s Association chapter. Outside the hospital, Lydia is gallery represented for her oil paintings, which she works on in her spare time. She also enjoys exploring Chicago’s fantastic architecture and rich art scene.
Hannes Prescher, MD
A native of Hamburg, Germany, Hannes moved to the United States when he was 11 years old. After seven years in New York, he moved to the West Coast to attend the University of California Berkeley where he completed dual bachelor degrees in Molecular and Cell Biology and English Literature. Following a brief return to Hamburg, Hannes moved to Tucson, Arizona, to complete his medical studies at the University of Arizona. After five years in the desert, Hannes is excited to live near the water again and thrilled to be joining the Section of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery at the University of Chicago. In his spare time, Hannes enjoys trail running, biking along the Lakefront, reading, writing and exploring Chicago.
Afaaf Shakir, MD
Born to Indian parents, Afaaf lived in three countries and two states before settling in South Mississippi. After completing high school, she moved to New York to attend New York University and earned a Bachelors in Neuroscience with Minors in Chemistry and American Sign Language. After college, Afaaf moved to the West Coast to complete medical school at Stanford University. While in the Bay Area, she completed a year of research with Dr. Gordon Lee initiating a randomized clinical trial evaluating nerve blocks in breast reconstruction patients. Afaaf is very excited to finally make it to the Midwest and complete her plastic and reconstructive surgery residency at the University of Chicago. In her free time, Afaaf enjoys traveling, cooking new foods, catching up on television, running, and climbing.