Radiation Oncology Residency: Our Residents & Fellows

Memorial Sloan Kettering's radiation oncology residents and fellows Memorial Sloan Kettering's radiation oncology residents and fellows.

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.

First-Year Residents (July 2014-June 2018)

Natalie Ausborn, MDNatalie Ausborn

I was born and raised in Gadsden, Alabama, and received my undergraduate degree in chemistry from Birmingham-Southern College in Birmingham, Alabama. I attended medical school at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, where I was involved in translational oncology research. Additionally, I helped develop interdisciplinary graduate education in patient safety and quality improvement. I then completed a transitional year internship with the Baptist Health System in Birmingham before joining the radiation oncology residency program at Memorial Sloan Kettering.

Samuel Bakhoum, MD, PhDSamuel Bakhoum

I was born in Nigeria and grew up in Alexandria, Egypt, before attending the United World College in the Italian town of Duino, Trieste. I later went to college in Vancouver, where I majored in molecular biology and biochemistry and completed a minor as well as undergraduate research in physical chemistry. I then joined the MD/PhD program at Dartmouth College, where I studied the mechanisms of chromosomal instability. Since completing my PhD, my work has focused on understanding the consequences of chromosomal instability on tumor evolution and prognosis. Before joining the radiation oncology residency program at Memorial Sloan Kettering, I completed a medicine internship at Mount Auburn Hospital of Harvard Medical School.

Jonathan Leeman, MDJonathan Leeman

I grew up in Newton, Massachusetts, and received my undergraduate degree in molecular biology from Harvard University. Before medical school, I worked on a multicenter clinical trial assessing the use of CT scanning as a screening tool for early detection of lung cancer. I earned my medical degree from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine's Physician Scientist Training Program, then came to Memorial Sloan Kettering for both the transitional year internship and the radiation oncology residency program.

Quincey LaPlant, MD, PhDQuincey LaPlant

I grew up in Texas and completed my undergraduate studies at the University of Texas at Austin, where I majored in neuroscience. I entered the MD/PhD program at UT Southwestern Medical School, where I studied epigenetic mechanisms of drug addiction and depression, then transferred to and obtained my medical degree from Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City. During medical school, I spent a year as a postdoctoral fellow at Memorial Sloan Kettering, where I worked on cellular mechanisms of radiation resistance in glioblastoma multiforme. Prior to starting my radiation oncology residency at MSK, I did my internship year at Englewood Hospital in Englewood, New Jersey.

Joanna Yang, MDJohanna Yang

I grew up in Princeton, New Jersey, and attended Stanford University, where I majored in human biology. Though it was difficult to leave sunny California, I then returned to the East Coast to attend medical school at Mount Sinai in New York City. During medical school, I completed a year of clinical research with Memorial Sloan Kettering radiation oncologist Suzanne Wolden, examining novel uses of radiation therapy to treat and cure pediatric cancers. Prior to joining the radiation oncology residency program, I was a transitional year intern at MSK.

Second-Year Residents (July 2013-June 2017)

David Barron, MD, PhDPictured: David Barron

I grew up in Texas and completed my undergraduate studies at Rice University where I majored in biochemistry. During college, I spent a year at the University of Oxford where I worked for a laboratory designing novel cancer therapeutics. I then entered the MD/PhD program at the Baylor College of Medicine where I studied the tumor microenvironment in human prostate cancer progression. After a transitional year internship at the Methodist Hospital in Houston, I started my radiation oncology residency at Memorial Sloan Kettering.

Freddy E. Escorcia, MD, PhDPictured: Freddy E. Escorcia

I was born in León, Nicaragua, lived for a short time in Toronto, Canada, and spent my high school and college years in central Illinois. I first discovered scientific research working as a Howard Hughes Undergraduate Research Fellow, an interest I continued to nurture as a National Institutes of Health Research Scholar working at the National Cancer Institute. This led to my joining the Tri-Institutional MD-PhD Program of Weill Cornell Medical College, The Rockefeller University, and the Sloan Kettering Institute. While under the mentorship of Sloan Kettering Institute researcher David Scheinberg, my thesis work involved engineering and evaluating the efficacy of alpha-particle radioimmunotherapy agents, which target the tumor vasculature. Following completion of the transitional year internship at Memorial Sloan Kettering, I joined the radiation oncology residency program to cultivate my combined interests in basic science, technology, and clinical oncology.

Carl J. DeSelm, MD, PhDPictured: Carl J. DeSelm,

I was born and raised in Telluride, Colorado, and grew up an avid skier. I completed my undergraduate degree in biochemistry and cell biology at Dartmouth College and in the summers worked on a squid boat in Cape Cod at the Marine Biology Laboratory. I then obtained an MD at Washington University in St. Louis, as well as a PhD in cell biology, specifically studying osteoclast function and the cellular mechanisms of bone breakdown in disease states. Upon graduation, I completed an internal medicine categorical year at Washington University/Barnes-Jewish Hospital before moving to Memorial Sloan Kettering for my radiation oncology residency.

Benjamin Lok, MDBenjamin Lok

I received my undergraduate degree in management and organizational analysis from the New York University Stern School of Business. I completed my medical training at the NYU School of Medicine and studied pathways of DNA repair as a Howard Hughes Medical Institute research fellow. After a visit to Haiti in 2008, I co-founded For Hope International, an organization dedicated to empowering Haitian health professionals. Prior to joining the radiation oncology residency program, I completed an internship in internal medicine at NYU Langone Medical Center and Bellevue Hospital.

Neil K. Taunk, MD, MSNeil K. Taunk

I was born in Philadelphia and grew up in Princeton, New Jersey. I attended Cornell University where I majored in economics. I went to medical school at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. I completed a master’s degree in clinical and translational sciences focusing on statistical methods, and wrote my dissertation on clinicopathologic prognostic markers in breast cancer. Prior to joining the radiation oncology residency program at Memorial Sloan Kettering, I completed an internship in internal medicine at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York City.

Third-Year Residents (July 2012–June 2016)

Carla Hajj, M​DCarla 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, PhDZachary 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, PhDRyan 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, MDPaul 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, MDJeremy 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.

Tzu-I Jonathan Yang, MDT. 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.

Fourth-Year Residents (July 2011–June 2015)

John Cuaron, MDJohn 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, MHSNeil 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, MDNaamit 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, MDDaniel 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, MSZachary 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.

Brachytherapy Fellow (July 2014–June 2015)

Nicola J. Nasser, MD, PhDNicola J. Nasser

I was born in Israel, spent my childhood in Nazareth, then studied medicine at Hadassah School of Medicine of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and did an internship in medicine at the Chaim Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer. Following that I completed a PhD in the field of evolutionary biology and tumor angiogenesis at the University of Haifa and the Ruth and Bruce Rappaport Faculty of Medicine in Haifa, Israel. I then specialized in medical oncology at Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem and radiation oncology at the Rabin Medical Center (Beilinson Campus) in Petach Tikva. Subsequently I completed a one-year fellowship in genitourinary radiation oncology at the Princess Margaret Cancer Center in Toronto. In July 2014, I started a brachytherapy fellowship at Memorial Sloan Kettering.

Lymphoma Fellow (July 2013–June 2015)

Shunan Qi, MDShunan Qi

I finished my medical education in Guangzhou and Beijing, China, and subsequently joined the Cancer Hospital of Chinese Academy of Medical Science as a radiation oncologist. Now I work as a first-year lymphoma fellow in the Department of Radiation Oncology at Memorial Sloan Kettering.

Clinical Translational Research Fellow (July 2013–June 2015)

Daniel Higginson, MDDaniel 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.