Current Residents

Class of 2021

Daniyal Asad

Daniyal Asad

Medical School: Lahore Medical and Dental College

I am from Lahore, Pakistan, where I completed my medical school. Prior to starting residency, I was a competitive debater and policy debating coach. I coached the Pakistan National Debate Team that won the World Karl Popper Debating Championship in 2012. I later worked for International Debate Education Association coaching debate to students in many countries including Scotland, Ireland, Turkey and China. My students, to this day, give me a great sense of pride and happiness.

Since critical thinking and analytical skills are also required in neurology, it seemed like a natural fit for me. During residency, I have found a keen research interest in cardioembolic stroke and markers of atrial cardiopathy. I will be pursuing a fellowship in Vascular Neurology at Massachusetts General Hospital and Brigham and Women’s Hospital- Harvard Medical School with an additional year as research fellow. I wish to pursue a career focusing on clinical research and medical education.

In my free time, I love to bike and run daily, obsessively read books on world history and cosmology... and try to come up with new puns, since they are the perfect PUNacea ( see what I did there?)

Hamza Coban

Hamza Coban

Medical School: Hacettepe University, Turkey

I was born and raised in small rural town in Turkey, in city of Konya, home of the great scholar and poet Rumi from the 13th century. I received my medical degree from Hacettepe University School of Medicine in Ankara, Turkey. After graduation, I worked as research fellow at UCLA, I studied hippocampal injuries, cortical microinfarcts and associated axonal reorganizations. Then, I was accepted for a postdoctoral research fellow position at UC San Diego. I studied Neuro-HIV and associated cognitive impairment. Currently, I’m interested in Neuro-immunology and Neuro-infectious diseases.

I will be doing my fellowship in Neuro-immunology at UPenn. I’m planning to pursue a career in academic Neurology studying immune activation and inflammation in causing neuronal dysfunction, particularly in the setting of CNS infections and inflammation-associated neurodegenerative disease.

I enjoy gardening, hiking and outdoor activities.

Biju Gopalakrishnan

Biju Gopalakrishnan

Medical School: Government Medical College, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, India

Hometown: Haripad, Kerala, India

When I started my first day as intern, I was in the Medical ICU. It was overwhelming, but the senior residents, attendings and the nursing staff were so supportive and helpful, I felt comfortable within a short period of time. Since then, I have felt the working atmosphere here was amazing and helped me reach the level where I am now.

With respect to the kind of neurology patient exposure we receive: we see all complex types of stroke patients, status epilepticus patients, patients with autoimmune disorders, demyelinating and neuromuscular disorders. The program's subspecialty outpatient clinics covers headache, movement disorders, neuromuscular disorders, epilepsy, strokes, cognitive disorders and neuro-oncology. So by the end of residency, one will get out having complete exposure to all types of neurology patients and will be confident to practice as a general neurologist or hospitalist. Residents get into fellowship programs of their choice and many of them join back as faculty, which again shows the quality of the work environment.

Teaching occurs at all levels, from bedside teaching to lectures, Grand Rounds and case conferences, thereby showing the strength of academics. A lot of research opportunities with enthusiastic faculty helps one to enter into the world of research and publications.

I feel this program has a perfect blend of clinical work, academics and research, in a friendly and helpful work atmosphere and I strongly recommend this program to all neurology aspirants.

 

Riya Luhar

Riya Luhar

Medical School: Western University of Health Sciences/College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific

What drew me to Neurology at UConn is its collegial work environment. Intern year in medicine was tough, but there is a good support system to help navigate the year; and I finally felt like a doctor capable to taking care of all basic medical disorders. Neurology boot camp, a whole month dedicated to introductory lectures and exposure to different subspecialty clinics was tremendously helpful in creating a smooth transition from medicine to neurology. Further, because of many social events offered by medicine and neurology, it was very easy to make friends. Connecticut offers ample opportunities for hiking, biking, and outdoor activities. Downtown West Hartford has lots of restaurants and shops. During weekends, I would frequently visit my family in Massachusetts, or explore New England and its various cities and beaches.

Smit Patel

Smit Patel

Medical School: Medical College Baroda, India

I was born and raised in the western part of India and I earned my medical degree from my home country. I was always fascinated by neuroanatomy and puzzling neurological scenarios. This interest led me to choose neurology as my career. I came to the United States in 2013 for post graduate studies. I obtained my Master of Public Health from San Diego, which enabled me to understand the U.S. healthcare system and to gain biostatistical expertise. Following the completion of my MPH, I joined the University of Pittsburgh as a clinical researcher in 2016 to further strengthen my research skills. I chose the University of Connecticut for my neurology training because I felt it would allow me to grow into the best neurologist I could be.

In my free time, I love to play cricket, one of the most well-known games similar to basketball, most commonly plays in Caribbean island. I also love to spend time with my family, hang out with friends, and explore new places. I am interested in neurovascular diseases, and therefore, I am going to UCLA for training in vascular neurology. My future goal is to join an academic center and continue practice as a clinical-researcher.

Isaac Zhang

Isaac Zhang

Medical School: Second Military Medical University, China

I was born in the central part of China where the Terra-Cotta Warriors are, but moved to the coastal province Canton at a young age. I did my medical school in Shanghai, it was during my 3rd year clinical rotation that neurology captured my heart: I found the logic of neuroanatomy and the localization approach to be very elegant and appealing.

Later in 2015, I came to US undertaking several rotations functioned as a senior medical student, and then worked as a research fellow in Brigham and Women’s hospital which certainly reinforced my interest in neurology. I will especially cherish my memory of UConn Neurology residency: the camaraderie between residents, the delicate clinical curriculums, the wisdom and knowledge imparted to me that I will take with me forever. I will be pursuing a clinical neurophysiology/neuromuscular fellowship in Harvard Medical School at the next juncture of my career.

I enjoy traveling, tasty cuisines around the world and classical music especially piano.

Class of 2022

Pireh Ansari

Pireh Ansari

Medical School: St. George’s University School of Medicine, Grenada

I majored in Neuroscience at the University of Toronto, so I pretty much always knew I was going into Neurology! I spent a year in between undergrad and med school teaching high school calculus. It was an incredible year, I think I learned more from my students than they learned from me! I then had a truly international medical school experience, I went to St George's University, did my first year of basic sciences in the UK, the second year in Grenada, and two years of clinical rotations in NYC.

I honestly believe that there's nothing in this world as endlessly fascinating or as beautifully complex as the human brain! I'm particularly interested in Behavioral Neurology and Movement Disorders.

Other than Neurology (of course), I am obsessed with movies, books (anything by Oscar Wilde, Jane Austen, Douglas Adams), I would take LOTR over Harry Potter any day (controversial opinion I know!), I love escape rooms and I truly believe chocolate = life!

"Expect problems and eat them for breakfast!" - Alfred Montapert

“Life is an exciting business, and most exciting when it is lived for others.” - Hellen Keller

Katrina Badiola

Katrina Badiola

Medical School: St. George’s University School of Medicine, Grenada

Born in the Philippines, raised in New Jersey, and spent some time in New York. I did my undergrad at Rutgers University, masters at CUNY Hunter, and medical school at St. George's University in Grenada. All of Neurology is stimulating, but I have a special place in my heart for Movement Disorders, Headache, and Sports Neurology.

You can probably find me doing any of the following: reading a good sci-fi book, watching movies, planning my next trip, karaoke in the car, dancing in front of the mirror, or caring for my house plants. I am also looking for a board game buddy to undertake campaigns!

"Sometimes you gotta work a little so you can ball a lot." - Tom Haverford

"The worst thing about prison was the dementors." - Michael Scott

Aakash Bhargava

Aakash Bhargava

Medical School: St. George’s University School of Medicine, Grenada

I was born and raised in the suburbs just outside of Toronto, and completed my undergraduate studies in life sciences at McMaster University. I attended St. George's University for medical school, and my connection to neurology developed during clinical rotations; the unique manifestations of pathology, the eloquence of the neurological exam, and the importance of rehabilitation strategies all drew me towards the profession.

UConn Neurology has been an exciting, supportive, and most importantly a friendly environment to train and learn. I'm extremely grateful for the close bonds and friendships between my fellow residents both inside and outside of work.

I still watch and root for my hometown teams, play golf and tennis, and enjoy all things trivia-related. I play the drums in a resident band (temporarily derailed due to Covid-19!).

Ian Dimaandal

Ian Dimaandal

Medical School: University of the Philippines, Manila

Hello everyone! I am Ian! I was born in Manila, Philippines where I grew up and spent most of my early adult life. Even when I was young, I have been very much interested in human biology and I have planned on becoming the first physician in my family. I was fortunate to complete my medical education as part of the INTARMED program of the University of the Philippines- Manila. After which, I moved to California where most of my family is currently.

There is definitely nothing far more complex that the intricacies of the human brain. I have always been interested in Medicine and Neurology, especially the fascinating art of localization through physical examination. I am particularly interested in Neuro-immunology and Headache.

During my free time, I particularly enjoy travelling and going on food trips, immersing myself in different cultures and night market, watching movies, playing video games, solving puzzles and escape rooms with friends as well as playing net sports (table tennis, badminton, tennis, volleyball).

“The brain is a world consisting of a number of unexplored continents and great stretches of unknown territory.” – Santiago Ramon y Cajal

“The brain is the last and grandest biological frontier, the most complex thing we have yet discovered in our universe” – James D. Watson

Danison Emmerson

Danison Emmerson

Medical School: Medical University of the Americas, Nevis

Hello all! I grew up mostly in the Toronto area. I moved around a lot so I've lived in the tiny towns of rural Ontario (Tottenham) and in the Toronto city proper. I went to the University of Toronto with my major in Paramedicine/Human Biology. I spent my time during undergrad on an ambulance counting the days until I could go on to medical school and become an Emergency Physician or Trauma Surgeon... Thankfully, I encountered neurology in medical school and it was love at first sight and no looking back. I am grateful to be a member of the UConn Neurology family and could not imagine myself anywhere else.

In my spare time I read (mostly re-read J.K Rowling, Neil Gaiman, and Patrick Rothfuss), hang out with my friends(who are also my co-residents :), and try whatever is interesting that week.

An interesting fact: Although my birth place was listed as Sri Lanka and I was given a birth certificate by Sri Lanka I was actually born in transit in Farum, Denmark.

I love all of neurology but my passion lies in stroke/critical care neurology and medical education.

"Would I rather be feared or loved? Easy. Both. I want people to be afraid of how much they love me." - Michael Scott

Sarah Germaine

Sarah Germaine

Medical School: Western University of Health Sciences/College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific

Hometown: Langley, BC, Canada

I was born in Vancouver BC and raised in Anchorage AK. In high school I took an anatomy class which sparked my interest in medicine and subsequently went to Montana State University for undergrad where I graduated from cell biology and neuroscience. Afterwards, I spent a year working as a psychiatric treatment counselor prior to going to medical school at Western University of Health Science COMP-NW in Oregon. During my first two years of medical school, I had the opportunity to be a part of the lifestyle medicine track at my school and help run the global health club.

My interest in Neurology stemmed from my neurology rotation in medical school in Montana where I became fascinated with how the brain works and the ongoing advancements that were being made in the field. I chose UConn for many reasons but most notably the supportive residents and faculty and the wonderful experiences that UConn provides in being exposed to countless interesting cases in the inpatient and outpatient setting.

In my free time I enjoy being outside hiking, biking and traveling to new places. I also love spending time with friends and family making food, watching movies and listening to live music.

Mariam Tsikvadze

Mariam Tsikvadze

Medical School: David Tvildiani Medical University, Georgia

I was born and raised in Tbilisi, Georgia. A small country located in eastern Europe, known for its great food, amazing wine with ancient style of wine-making and exceptional hospitality. Growing up I always knew I wanted to become a physician, but fell in love with neurology during medical school from the very first neuroanatomy class, introducing me to the complex but remarkable world of the nervous system. I graduated from David Tvildiani Medical University in 2016 as a valedictorian and decided to move to US for neurology residency. I moved 8846 km from home in order to pursue my dream of becoming a neurologist. Initially it was hard to adjust to being so far away from family and friends, however, UConn soon made me feel like home, further solidifying my decision and love for neurology.

I enjoy every aspect of being a neurologist, from the long lasting relationships you form with your patients in the outpatient setting to more complex acute cases you encounter in the hospital, however, I feel I'm at my best during the latter.

Outside of medicine I love reading books, watching movies, solving puzzles and playing board games, hiking, and playing tennis.

Class of 2023

Nida Akram

Nida Akram

Medical School: Nishtar Medical College and Hospital, Pakistan

I was born and raised in Multan also known as “City of Saints” located in Pakistan. I attained my medical education at Nishtar Medical University after which to broaden my horizons, I moved to USA. My fascination with the human brain and its complexity was always there but my passion for vascular neurology blossomed while I was working on various research and QI projects at Jackson Health System/UM in Miami, Fl.

Besides neurology, I enjoy reading, watching movies, cooking, crafts, and spending every minute I have with my family, especially my beloved daughter.

Hasmik Amirjanyan

Hasmik Amirjanyan

Medical School: Yerevan State Medical University Named for Mkhitar Heratsi, Armenia

I am from Yerevan, Armenia, where I grew up and spent most of my life. There I completed medical school and started my career in neurology. The curious world of diagnostic challenges of Neurology has always fascinated me. It amazes me how almost any function of the brain, spinal cord, or nerves can be tested clinically with smart and ingenious methods of neuro exam. Love for neurology is what brought me all the way to UConn. I am especially interested in epilepsy and neuromuscular disorders.

In my free time, I like swimming, hiking, reading or listening to audiobooks, and playing board games with friends.

Ahmed Elmashad

Ahmed Elmashad

Medical School: Ain Shams University Faculty of Medicine, Egypt

I was born in Egypt. After completing medical school in Ain Shams University in Cairo, I moved to the United States. My passion towards neurology started during the early years of medical school however I decided to peruse it as my career after my first neurology rotation in the U.S.

I enjoy everything neurology has to offer however my particular area of interest is vascular neurology, neuro-interventional and neurocritical care. I am grateful for being a part of UConn neurology family and be able to practice neurology in a friendly and supportive academic environment.

I grew up playing soccer. I also enjoy playing tennis, hiking, music, going to concerts, and attending sports events.

Ryan Kollar

Ryan Kollar

Medical School: University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine, Maine

I was born in southern New Jersey but moved to the shoreline region of Connecticut at a very young age, where my family lives to this day. I opted to remain in New England for the entirety of my post-secondary education and completed my undergraduate studies in bio-psychology at Tufts University and medical school training at the University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine. During my medical school tenure, I had the opportunity to teach neuroanatomy to other medical students, cementing my interest in pursuing a career in neurology.

While I am fascinated by many areas of the field, I am presently considering specialization in either movement disorders, neuro-immunology, or epilepsy. I have particular interest in the intersection of neurology and psychiatry, especially in the practical management of functional neurologic disorders.

Outside of the hospital, I enjoy running, hiking, singing, discovering exciting new restaurants, and spending time with my friends and family.

Keerthana Nalamada

Keerthana Nalamada

Medical School: Norwich Medical School, University of East Anglia, UK

I grew up in New York, and went to high school and college in New Jersey. For undergrad, I attended Rutgers College where I studied Cell Biology and Neuroscience, which laid the foundation for my interest in neurology. It was here that I had the life changing experience of studying neurosciences at a medical school in the UK. While in England, I fell in love with clinical neurology and my now husband.

I moved to England, where I attended medical school and completed a foundation year in the NHS. The experience gave me an appreciation and understanding for public health care and preventive medicine. Living in England, I took every opportunity to push myself out of my comfort zone to learn and grow—joining Model UN, rowing, arts, hitchhiking, backpacking, and making lifetime friends.

At the start of Brexit, I moved back to the US for a research opportunity in Movement Disorders, a specialty I am interested in pursuing for fellowship. I am so excited to join the neurology department at UConn. The camaraderie between residents, support from attendings, quality of teaching, and clinical exposure make me really proud and happy to be part of the UConn neurology residency program.

Shivanee Sodani

Shivanee Sodani

Medical School: Smt. Kashibai Navale Medical College and Hospital, India

Born and raised in Mumbai, I completed my early schooling there. I finished my medical studies in Pune under Maharashtra University of Health Sciences. Since my first year of medical school, I was absolutely fascinated by the intricate concepts of neuroanatomy. Neurology is one of the few fields in which an accurate history and skillful physical examination can lead you to the diagnosis. It continues to amaze me with its simplicity and complexity.

I am interested in pursuing vascular neurology after residency.

I love biking, playing badminton and traveling. I am huge Harry Potter and Friends fanatic!

Musab Zorlu

Musab Zorlu

Medical School: Hacettepe Universitesi Tip Fakultesi, Turkey

I am originally from Bolu, one of the greenest cities in Turkey with various kinds of trees in rich forests that cover 55% of its total area. Several tourist destinations in the city are among the best in the country which were probably the stemming points for my love of travel and exploring new areas. When I was in medical school in Ankara, I realized that there is much more to explore in brain! After my graduation, I spent some time at Weill Cornell Medicine working on the neurophysiologic characteristics of regaining consciousness after cardiac arrest.

I chose neurology simply because of the fact that I loved paying attention to details, every movement of the patients, twitch of their eyelids, changes in their pupil sizes and many other fascinating clinical manifestations of a complex system.

In my free time I enjoy playing basketball, spending time with friends and continue to explore the different areas in the northeast region.

Class of 2024

Mohamed Afify

Mohamed Afify

Medical School: Tanta University Faculty of Medicine, Egypt

I come from Egypt, the land of the Pyramids! I was born and raised in a city called Tanta, where went to high school and afterwards Tanta University School of Medicine. After graduating, I worked as a primary care physician in underserved rural village for 6 months. Afterwards, I did an internship at the Italian Military hospital in Alexandria for a year. Then I started critical care residency for 8 months, before I moved to the US to work as a research fellow at Yale University comprehensive epilepsy center. There my love for neurology blossomed and so, I decided to take the next step and seek residency training in neurology. It was the happiest moment of my life when I learned I matched into neurology at University of Connecticut. I'm thrilled to go through this new journey at my new home.

My favorite thing to do in my free time is reading, especially fantasy. My favorite author is J.R.R.Tolkien and I'm a big fan of Harry Potter. Other than that, I would go running for exercise or watch a match of my favorite soccer team (P.S. Liver Pool).

Juan Cabrera Pulla

Juan Cabrera Pulla

Medical School: Universidad de Cuenca Facultad de Ciencias Médicas, Ecuador

I was born and raised in Cuenca, a small city in Ecuador. From an early age, I knew that I wanted to study medicine. I graduated from the University of Cuenca and decided to come to the United States to continue my medical preparation. Being away from my family and friends has been quite challenging but at the same time, they are the ones who have supported me since the beginning of this journey.

My interest in Neurology began when I was a child after my great grandmother was diagnosed with Parkinson’s at age 60. This was a crucial moment where I realized the importance of the nervous system. I’ve always been fascinated with the human brain, because of how it allows us to define our reality, perceive and react to our environment, determine our personality, and relive countless memories.

I had the opportunity to work as a physician in different clinical settings during my year as an intern in Ecuador. I believe that treating neurological disorders results in the improvement of all aspects of life that make us who we are: how we think, move, communicate, or even accomplish the most complex activities.

Besides medicine, I love animals especially dogs, I like reading, jogging, doing outdoor activities with friends and family.

I am very thankful for being part of this wonderful program for my training in Neurology.

Sherif Elsayed

Sherif Elsayed

Medical School: Ain Shams University Faculty of Medicine, Egypt

Hello everyone! I am originally from Mansoura, a city in the north of Egypt. I went to medical school at Ain Shams University in Cairo then moved to the US for clinical rotations and research experience.

I love the field of Neurology especially the vascular and critical aspects of it. I am also interested in research and statistics which I would like to continue improving throughout my career. I find UConn a wonderful place to train especially for its friendly and welcoming environment.

Outside of medicine, I love spending time with family, soccer, reading, history, and recently got interested in the current issues facing the environment, climate, wildlife, and marine life.

Shriya Gupta

Shriya Gupta

Medical School: Dayanand Medical College and Hospital, India

I was born and brought up as a Punjabi, North Indian girl from India and did my medical school from Dayanand Medical College and Hospital, India. Since I entered medical school, I have had the desire to explore myself and the world and to reach beyond my limits, so I decided to pursue my residency and further training in the U.S and was beyond thrilled when I got matched at UConn.

I have always been captivated to traverse towards the unknown which led me to follow my passion towards being a Neurologist and make an effort in trying to understand the workings of the ever elusive human brain!

Besides medicine, I dabble a little in painting, especially with soft pastels, sketching, a little bit of singing, dancing, baking and always eager to learn new things and add another feather in my cap!

 

Neeharika Krothapalli

Neeharika Krothapalli

Medical School: University of New England COM

I was born in India and lived in Singapore for about six years before moving to Connecticut with my family when I was younger. I discovered my deep passion for neurology in middle school with exposure to amazing role models in the field. I attended Dartmouth College for undergrad, majoring in neuroscience. During my time in college, I had the opportunity to spend a semester abroad in Tanzania working in clinical research trials on malaria and pregnancy through the Harvard School of Public Health. There, I discovered my interest for global health that informed the journey I took in pursuing a Master’s in Global Medicine at the University of Southern California. Through the program, I also spent time with Floating Doctors to serve remote island communities in Panama before attending medical school.

In my spare time outside work, I enjoy dancing, cooking, traveling and taking long walks on the beach. After being away for a while, I am thrilled to be back home in Connecticut to complete my residency training at UConn!

Ethan Miller

Ethan Miller

Medical School: Saba University School of Medicine

I was born and raised in Toronto, Canada. I attended Queen’s University in Kingston, where I received a Bachelor of Science in chemistry. I became interested in neurology as soon as I started studying the nervous system in medical school. I enjoy learning about the complexities of the brain and spinal cord, and being able to localize lesions. My academic interests are vascular neurology and epilepsy; but I am still exploring the various subspecialty fields within neurology, as it is all intriguing! Outside of medicine, I enjoy traveling the world, fishing on weekends, playing the guitar and piano, practicing karate, and watching movies.

Fun facts: I hold a black belt in Shotokan karate and I was the lead guitarist and singer in a rock band.

Aysha Siddika

Aysha Siddika

Medical School: St. George’s University School of Medicine, Grenada

I was born in Bangladesh but grew up in Brooklyn. I completed undergrad at Stony Brook University, but have yet to complete my MPH there (kind of got distracted with med school). I’m the first in my family ever to go to college and beyond, so the struggle has been real. According to my mom I've done PhD in Harry Potter, but I also enjoy watching SNL, That 70s Show and really anything that makes me laugh. I love traveling to new places and learning about history. I enjoy finding hidden gems of gentrified Brooklyn. I’m a proud New Yorker.