Our residents come from diverse educational and personal backgrounds, but all share a passion for radiation oncology clinical practice and research. We are also fortunate to have two fellows as part of our department, specializing in brachytherapy and translational research.
We work and learn together — in our recently renovated residents’ room — and consider the camaraderie of the residents and fellows one of the major strengths of our residency program.
Carla Hajj, MD
I was born and raised in Lebanon. I received an MD degree from the Medical School of Saint Joseph University in Beirut, Lebanon, and completed my internal medicine internship at the American University of Beirut. During that time, I was also a health reporter for Noun Magazine, a publication focusing on women’s issues. Before joining the radiation oncology residency, I completed a two-year research fellowship on radiation-induced apoptotic death and DNA repair in Zvi Fuks's laboratory, under the guidance of radiation biologist Adriana Haimovitz-Friedman.
Zachary Kohutek, MD, PhD
I am originally from the Ohio River Valley and moved to Virginia during high school. I attended the College of William and Mary, where I studied biology and music. I entered the MD/PhD program at the University of Virginia in 2003. During my PhD training in the Department of Pathology, I studied the role of protein kinase C in regulating the migration and invasion of glioblastoma cells. After a transitional-year internship at Memorial Sloan-Kettering, I joined the radiation oncology residency.
Ryan Lanning, MD, PhD
I am originally from San Diego, California. I studied biology and chemistry at the University of California, Irvine. After graduation, I spent a year as an optical engineer at the Beckman Laser Institute developing novel noninvasive techniques to characterize breast cancer in patients. Next, as an MD/PhD candidate at the Harvard-MIT Health Sciences and Technology program, I completed my doctoral dissertation in medical engineering at MIT. My internship was in internal medicine at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston.
Paul Romesser, MD
I was born and raised in Redondo Beach, California. I earned a combined BA/MD at Boston University. As a Howard Hughes Medical Institute research scholar, I studied genetic mechanisms of lymphomagenesis and oncogene addiction at the National Cancer Institute between my second and third years of medical school. After completing a transitional-year internship at Memorial Sloan-Kettering, I joined the radiation oncology residency. I have served on Memorial Sloan-Kettering’s Ethics Committee, and am a member of the Medical Society of New York Bioethics Committee.
Jeremy Setton, MD
I was born in Seoul, South Korea, and spent a good portion of my childhood in England before coming to the United States at the age of ten. I received my undergraduate degree in biochemistry from Tufts University before completing medical school at Stony Brook University in 2011. Prior to joining the radiation oncology residency, I completed an internship at Winthrop University Hospital.
T. Jonathan Yang, MD
I was born in Taiwan and moved to Los Angeles at a young age. After completing my undergraduate studies in radiologic sciences at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, I worked as a radiation therapist at the UNC Comprehensive Cancer Center. I went on to medical school at Yale School of Medicine, during which I spent a year at the Netherlands Cancer Institute as a research fellow. I joined the radiation oncology residency program after completing a transitional-year internship at Memorial Sloan-Kettering.
John Cuaron, MD
I was born and raised in Aurora, Colorado. I attended Stanford University and majored in human biology. After graduation, I stayed in the Bay Area and worked in a laboratory dedicated to developing novel therapies for neurodegenerative diseases. I moved to Boston in 2006 and attended medical school at Boston University. I completed my internship at Carney Hospital in Dorchester, Massachusetts, prior to joining the radiation oncology residency program.
Neil Desai, MD, MHS
I was born and raised in a suburb of Los Angeles, although I spent a year of my childhood in India. I attended Dartmouth College for my undergraduate studies, where I majored in biology and minored in international relations. I completed medical school at Yale University before moving to New York for a transitional-year internship at Memorial Sloan-Kettering. I subsequently entered the radiation oncology residency program.
Naamit Kurshan Gerber, MD
I grew up in New York and completed my undergraduate studies at Harvard University, where I majored in the history of science. I then came to New York for medical school at Mount Sinai School of Medicine. During medical school, I spent a year at the National Cancer Institute as a research fellow studying the effects of radiation on cell signaling pathways. I completed my internship year here at Memorial Sloan-Kettering before beginning the residency program.
Daniel Spratt, MD
I have lived all over the United States, and grew up primarily in Eugene, Oregon. Prior to pursuing a career in medicine, I studied exercise physiology and sports nutrition at the University of Hawaii. While working as a personal trainer, I changed my focus toward a degree in chemistry at Georgia State University, and completed my MD at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. I completed a transitional-year internship in South Carolina, before coming to Memorial Sloan-Kettering.
Zachary Zumsteg, MD, MS
I was born and raised in Rochester Hills, Michigan. I received my undergraduate degree from the University of Miami, majoring in music engineering. I subsequently enrolled in graduate school at Stanford University, where I earned a master’s degree in electrical engineering. Following this, I went to medical school at UCLA and spent a year as a Howard Hughes Medical Institute research fellow. I spent my intern year at UCLA-Olive View Medical Center before joining the radiation oncology residency at Memorial Sloan-Kettering.
Michael R. Folkert, MD, PhD
I was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and raised in Minot, North Dakota. I completed my bachelor’s, master’s, and PhD degrees in nuclear engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). I held appointments in accelerator physics at MIT and medical physics at the Massachusetts General Hospital Department of Radiation Oncology before completing my MD degree at Harvard Medical School in the Harvard-MIT Health Sciences and Technology program. I came to Memorial Sloan-Kettering after a medicine internship at Mount Auburn Hospital in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Sarah Milgrom, MD
I am originally from Denver, Colorado. I attended Princeton University, where I majored in molecular biology. After spending a year involved in translational research at the National Institutes of Health, I matriculated to Yale School of Medicine. One highlight of my medical school experience was spending three months working at a clinic in rural Ecuador. I completed the transitional-year internship at Memorial Sloan-Kettering before joining the radiation oncology residency.
Carmen A. Perez, MD, PhD
I was born and raised in Puerto Rico, where I also completed my undergraduate studies in microbiology. I subsequently moved to Nashville, Tennessee, where I earned my MD/PhD degree from Vanderbilt University Medical Center. My graduate work focused on the molecular function of transcription factors involved in cancer biology. I then came to New York for my transitional-year internship at Memorial Sloan-Kettering before starting the radiation oncology residency program.
Nadeem Riaz, MD
I was born in Manhattan, but raised in the suburbs of New Jersey. I completed undergraduate work in computer science and philosophy at Rutgers University before heading to Stanford for medical school and a master’s degree in bioinformatics. I stayed at Stanford for a preliminary year in internal medicine before beginning my residency at Memorial-Sloan Kettering. My research interests are in the genetic determinants of radiation sensitivity, head and neck cancer, bio-informatics, and imaging biomarkers.
Sewit Teckie, MD (2012–2013 Chief)
I am of Eritrean origin, born in Swaziland and raised in Westchester County, New York. I studied economics at Harvard College, and then completed my MD at Harvard Medical School. I came to Memorial Sloan-Kettering in June 2009, for both the transitional-year internship and the radiation oncology residency. As a PGY-4, I will spend a research year in the Ping Chi lab, part of the Human Oncology and Pathogenesis Program, investigating the genetic and epigenetic drivers of sarcomas.
Kavita Dharmarajan, MD
I was born in New York City, but was raised in Terrell, Texas. I went to college at the University of Texas at Austin, completed a master’s degree in social policy at the London School of Economics, and received an MD degree from the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. I spent the initial part of my postgraduate training in pediatrics at Massachusetts General Hospital before joining Memorial Sloan-Kettering’s radiation oncology residency program. One of my research projects involves analyzing results from an international randomized trial from the Children’s Oncology Group in Hodgkin lymphoma.
Gaorav Gupta, MD, PhD (2012–2013 Chief)
I was born in Delhi, India, but spent most of my upbringing in Illinois. I completed my undergraduate studies in biological chemistry at the University of Chicago, and subsequently entered the Tri-Institutional MD/PhD program at Memorial Sloan-Kettering, Weill Cornell Medical College, and The Rockefeller University. After a transitional-year internship at Memorial Sloan-Kettering, I joined the radiation oncology residency. I am a Holman research pathway resident, and my research examines DNA damage responses in breast cancer.
Ana Ponce Kiess, MD, PhD
I grew up in Virginia Beach and attended the University of Virginia, where I studied chemical engineering. I completed an MD/PhD in biomedical engineering at Duke University under the mentorship of Mark Dewhirst before joining Memorial Sloan-Kettering’s radiation oncology residency program. As a PGY-5 resident, I am currently performing laboratory research with Martin Pomper on PSMA-targeted radiotherapy with alpha emitters.
Marsha Laufer, MD, PhD
I have spent most of my academic life in New York City, completing my undergraduate studies and a combined MD/PhD degree at Columbia University. I came to train in radiation oncology at Memorial Sloan-Kettering after an internal medicine internship at New York University. My research interests include the molecular pathogenesis of breast cancer and cancer epigenetics.
William Tong, MD
I received my medical degree from the Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry at the University of Western Ontario, in London, Canada. I subsequently completed my radiation oncology training at McGill University in Montreal, Canada. I joined Memorial Sloan-Kettering in 2012 as a one-year clinical fellow on the Brachytherapy Service.
Daniel Higginson, MD
I completed an undergraduate degree in chemistry at the University of Utah, where I worked for three years in an HIV virology lab. I went to medical school at Johns Hopkins University, where I spent an additional year doing research as a Howard Hughes medical fellow in the laboratory of Solomon Snyder. After an internship in internal medicine at Georgetown University and a residency in radiation oncology at the University of North Carolina, I now work as a research fellow at Memorial Sloan-Kettering, with the goal of becoming a physician-scientist.