About David



David Teplica MD, MFA  is a board-certified plastic & reconstructive surgeon, photographer, and researcher based in Chicago, IL.

Dr. Teplica uses his unique dual training in the Fine Arts and Plastic Surgery to guide scientific investigation of human anatomy. The information generated enriches both his artistic explorations, but also allows for a more natural approach to surgical manipulation of body form in his profession as a plastic surgeon. Dr. Teplica has proposed a new concept of “anatomic predetermination” after performing background scientific work that showed that anatomic features are genetically predetermined for both their 3-dimensional location as well as the timing of their expression on the surface of the body.

Using his interest in twin research and his dual training in the Sciences and Fine Arts, Dr. Teplica employs tools from the visual arts to develop techniques for highly standardized digital imaging and analysis of anatomy. With these techniques, he can "virtually dissect" the body and provide critical insights that inform his surgical, academic, and artistic work.  Insights resulting from this approach have included new ideas about surgical analysis, embryologic growth and development of the human body, aging patterns, gender difference, skin appearance, and the symmetry/asymmetry of surface anatomy. They have also inspired several new bodies of photographic work.

Dr. Teplica started taking a cross-disciplinary approach during his education. As a Penn State undergraduate, he was permitted to create a unique major to study the human system–drawing and sculpting the body while learning its anatomy and physiology. His thesis on the anatomic evolution of man helped garner entrance into Dartmouth Medical School. During his seven-year surgical residency at the University of Chicago, Dr. Teplica received the Trustee’s Scholarship from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and earned a Master of Fine Arts Degree. Concurrently, he also launched his twin research efforts with a Surgical Scientist Training Grant from the National Institutes of Health in 1989, and that project continues to this date.

Professionally, Dr. Teplica manages a busy practice in plastic surgery and cares for patients from around the globe.  His creative photography is exhibited widely and prints are held in prominent collections,  including the Museum of Contemporary Photography, the Art Institute of Chicago, the J.P. Morgan Chase Bank Collection, NY, the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC, and the national Portrait Gallery of Canada.  Many media venues have featured Teplica’s work, including the New Yorker Magazine, ABC’s 20/20, the BBC, the Learning Channel, the Encyclopaedia Britannica, and the cover of Wally Lamb’s #1 New York Times best-seller (and Oprah Winfrey’s Book Club pick) I Know This Much is True.

Dr. Teplica continues his creative/scientific efforts while serving on the Clinical Faculty in the Section of Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery at the University of Chicago. He is also working to define the anatomy of gender as Senior Research Fellow of The Kinsey Institute. With the help of colleagues, he recently created The 803 Foundation to further investigations of the interface between Art and Science.


1977-1981:  Degree of Bachelor of Philosophy, with High Distinction. Pennsylvania State University; University Park, PA

1981-1985:  Degree of Medical DoctorDartmouth Medical School; Hanover, NH

1985-1988:  Residency in General Surgery. University of Chicago Hospitals; Chicago, IL

1988-1990:  Research Fellow, Section of Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery.  National Institutes of Health Surgical Scientist Training Grant. University of Chicago Hospitals; Chicago, IL

1988-1990:  Degree of Master of Fine Arts in PhotographySchool of the Art Institute of Chicago; Chicago, IL

1990-1992:  Residency in Plastic & Reconstructive SurgeryUniversity of Chicago Hospitals; Chicago, IL

7-12/1992:  Post-graduate Fellowship, Aesthetic Reconstruction of the Face. Under the direction of Gary C. Burget, MD. Saint Joseph Hospital; Chicago, IL

Clinical Appointment

Attending Surgeon, Section of Plastic Surgery, Saint Joseph Hospital, Chicago, IL, 1993-Present

Academic Appointments

Research Fellow, Center for Study of Multiple Birth, 1989-1992 and 1998-Present

Clinical Associate, University of Chicago, Section of Plastic Surgery, 2007-Present

Affiliated Faculty, The Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender, and Reproduction, Bloomington, IN, February 2011 – June 2013

Senior Research Fellow, The Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender, and Reproduction, Bloomington, IN, June 2013 to present


Illinois: Physician and Surgeon, expiration 31 July 2017


The American Board of Plastic Surgery, Certificate # 5312, expiration 31 December 2020

CITI (Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative) for Responsible Conduct of Biomedical Research and also for Human Research, expiration 3 June 2015


  • American Association of Plastic Surgeons
  • American Society of Plastic Surgeons
  • BioCommunications Association
  • Chicago Medical Reserve Corps
  • Illinois Society of Plastic Surgeons
  • International Society of Twin Studies
  • Midwestern Association of Plastic Surgeons
  • Penn State Alumni Association, Life Member

Curriculum Vitae

You can obtain Dr. Teplica's full CV in PDF format using the button below.