AZUZ: Spina bifida is condition that occurs when the spine doesn't develop properly at birth and as a result, it doesn't entirely cover the spinal cord. The condition can be mild or severe, sometimes it can be corrected with surgery, sometimes it can't.
Spina bifida wasn't the only obstacle that Karin Muraszko had to face growing up, but the person she became and the accomplishment she made are the reason why she's today's character study.
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Twenty- five years after I first met her during my residency at the University of Michigan, Dr. Karin Muraszko is still teaching me about the wonders of the brain.
DR. KARIN MURASZKO, UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN, PROFESSOR, NEUROSURGERY: Our job is to kind of recapitulate what should have happened in nature.
GUPTA: Right now, Karin is operating on the brain of this two-year-old boy. She's training the next generation of neurosurgeons. And if that weren't impressive enough, she's doing it all from a wheelchair.
MURASZKO: Often I think people choose careers and jobs because they want to pattern themselves after someone. I didn't know anybody that was quite like me. And as a result, I kind of chose my own path and in some ways, that's extremely liberating.
GUPTA: Karin didn't just break the mold, she shattered it. And in 2005, became the first woman chair of neurosurgery in the country.
MURASZKO: Next time you see someone who doesn't fit the mold of what you think someone should be, think outside the box.
GUPTA: Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN, reporting.
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