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 genitourinary (GU) radiation oncology.
We work and learn together — in a single residents’ room — and consider the camaraderie of the residents and fellows one of the major strengths of our residency program.
Ishita Chen, MD, PhDI grew up in India and got my undergraduate degree in biomedical engineering from the University of Toledo in Ohio. In college I did medical imaging research at the Mayo Clinic. I obtained my PhD in biomedical engineering at Vanderbilt University in Nashville. While there I worked on adapting an atlas-based biomechanical model for a neurosurgical image guidance system. I attended medical school at Washington University in St. Louis, where I continued to work on image guidance in radiation therapy. I completed a preliminary medicine internship at St. Luke’s Hospital in Chesterfield, Missouri, prior to starting the Radiation Oncology Residency Program at MSK.
Xiaojing Huang, MD, PhDI was born in Guangzhou, China, and grew up in Utah and New Jersey, where I did my undergraduate degree in chemistry at Princeton University. After college I worked at Massachusetts General Hospital in a cardiac stem cell lab. I then moved to a medical scientist training program at Washington University in St. Louis. I did my graduate work in mass spectrometry–based metabolomics and macrophage metabolism. During my clinical years I extended my metabolomics studies to investigate how cervical cancer cells adapt their metabolic programs when undergoing chemoradiation. I completed my intern year in the internal medicine program at Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis.
Dillon Li, MD, MPHI grew up in Inner Mongolia, China. I attended Peking University in Beijing, where I received my undergraduate degree in biomedical sciences. I then joined Ramanujan Hegde’s lab at the National Institutes of Health to study membrane protein biology as a Student Intramural Research and Training Award recipient. I received an MPH degree from the University of Cincinnati prior to attending medical school at the University of Kentucky College of Medicine. In medical school I joined David Yu’s lab at Emory University in Atlanta and studied DNA damage repair. I was also involved in clinical research evaluating a stereotactic body radiation therapy boost for locally advanced lung cancer. I completed a transitional year internship at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center in California prior to joining the Radiation Oncology Residency Program at MSK.
Achraf Shamseddine, MD, PhDI was born in Lebanon and did my undergraduate studies at the American University of Beirut. I completed my MD/PhD at SUNY Stony Brook. My work focused on the role of sphingolipids in the cellular DNA damage response. It also involved devising strategies to chemosensitize and radiosensitize breast cancer cells through the manipulation of sphingolipid enzymes. I completed a transitional year internship at MSK before joining the Radiation Oncology Residency Program.
Neil Ari Wijetunga, MD, PhDI was born in North Dakota, but I grew up mostly outside of Philadelphia. I attended Boston University, where I majored in statistics and became interested in statistical genetics and public health. I then obtained a master’s degree in biostatistics at Columbia University. Afterward I joined the MD/PhD program at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx, New York, where I studied the genomic and epigenetic effects of environmental exposures, including oncogenic viral infection and radiation exposure. Before coming to MSK I completed a medical internship at NYU Winthrop Hospital.
Xin Cai, MD, PhD
I was born in China and grew up in Vancouver, Canada. I completed my undergraduate studies in chemistry and physics at Harvard University, where I also received a master’s degree in chemistry. I then joined the MD/PhD program at UT Southwestern Medical Center, where I studied the mechanism of innate immune and inflammatory signaling as a Howard Hughes Medical Institute fellow under the mentorship of Zhijian Chen. I completed a transitional year internship at MSK prior to joining the Radiation Oncology Residency Program.
Kelly Fitzgerald, MD, PhD
I grew up in Massachusetts and attended Boston College, where I received an undergraduate degree in biochemistry. I then entered the MD/PhD program at Yale School of Medicine. For my doctoral thesis, I designed and tested novel synthetic compounds that targeted prostate cancer for immune destruction. I completed a preliminary medicine internship at Yale New Haven Hospital before joining the Radiation Oncology Residency Program at Memorial Sloan Kettering.
Justin Haseltine, MD
I was born and raised in southwest Missouri. I majored in biomedical engineering at Duke. In college, my interest in research was sparked when I joined a lab focused on seeding human endothelial progenitor cells onto metal vascular implants with the goal of reducing blood clots. While earning my medical degree at Weill Cornell, I spent a year studying DNA damage repair in the lab of Simon Powell here at MSK. I was also fortunate to have the opportunity to spend a month of my medical training with radiation oncologists in India, which afforded me a unique perspective on the global delivery of care. I completed a medical internship at Brown University before joining MSK’s Radiation Oncology Residency Program.
Christopher Johnson, MD, PhD
I grew up in Chesapeake, Virginia, but spent much of my time across the state line in Currituck, North Carolina. After earning a chemistry degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, I entered the Medical Scientist Training Program at the Medical University of South Carolina. As an MD/PhD student in David Cole’s lab, I studied the role of cytokines in adoptive T cell therapy. Upon graduation, I completed a transitional year internship at MedStar Harbor Hospital in Baltimore before joining the Radiation Oncology Residency Program at Memorial Sloan Kettering.
Leslie Modlin, MD
I grew up on the North Shore of Chicago and attended Duke University, where I designed a major to explore the biopsychosocial determinants of health and conducted neuro-oncology research. Before medical school at Stanford, I worked on clinical trials evaluating hypofractionated stereotactic radiosurgery for brain tumors under the mentorship of Scott Soltys. As a medical student, I continued my clinical and translational research on circulating tumor DNA as a Radiological Society of North America grant recipient in the lab of Max Diehn. I also led medical student wellness initiatives. I completed my internship at Cambridge Health Alliance of Harvard Medical School before joining the Radiation Oncology Residency Program at Memorial Sloan Kettering.
Mira Patel, MD
I was born and raised in Rochester, New York, and attended Cornell University, where I received degrees in political science and biological sciences. Subsequently, I completed my medical training at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, where I studied tumor immunology in a preclinical model of glioblastoma as a Howard Hughes Medical Institute research fellow. Prior to joining Memorial Sloan Kettering’s Radiation Oncology Residency Program, I completed a categorical internship in otolaryngology-head and neck surgery at Washington University/Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis.
Thomas Beckham, MD, PhD
I grew up in Aiken, SC where I discovered my interest in science and the natural world. I developed an interest in scientific research particularly as it can be applied to improve human health during my undergraduate studies in Genetics at Clemson University. I found an amazing training environment as a physician scientist in the Medical University of South Carolina’s Medical Scientist Training Program. There I completed my MD training and my doctoral research in oncogenic sphingolipid signaling in prostate cancer. I completed my internship in the Transitional Year program at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center where I learned a great deal about clinical medicine as well as the unique challenges and rewards of caring for cancer patients. I am excited to be able to continue my training in the Department of Radiation Oncology.
Dana L. Casey, MD
I grew up by the beach in Clearwater, Florida, and received my undergraduate degree at Stanford University, where I studied psychology and mathematics. I then went to medical school at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City. During medical school, I spent a year doing pediatric oncology research at Memorial Sloan Kettering under the mentorship of Dr. Suzanne Wolden. I completed my transitional year internship at Memorial Sloan Kettering before entering the radiation oncology residency program.
Brandon Imber, MD, MA
I grew up on Long Island, NY and completed my undergraduate studies at Harvard University, where I majored in chemistry. At Harvard, I also received a masters degree in chemistry and chemical biology focusing on histone demethylase proteins. I then was a healthcare management consultant at McKinsey and Company for three years, with a special interest in oncology projects. I moved to the West Coast to attend medical school at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). At UCSF, I also completed a yearlong fellowship in clinical and translational research studying the brain cancer glioblastoma, specifically the role of Gamma Knife radiosurgery for recurrent disease. Prior to starting as a radiation oncology resident at MSKCC, I completed my internship in internal medicine at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago.
Leo Luo, MD
I was born in China and grew up in Nashville, Tennessee. I studied biology and mechanical engineering at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and stayed in Boston to attend Harvard Medical School. During medical school I became interested in cancer biology and spent a research year exploring ovarian cancer genomics as an HHMI research fellow. Before coming to Memorial Sloan Kettering, I completed an internship in internal medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital.
Ken Pitter, MD, PhD
I was born and raised in Westchester, New York. After completing my undergraduate studies in environmental chemistry and molecular biology at Colby College, I worked for two years as a research technician at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute studying programmed cell death. I then joined the Tri-Institutional MD-PhD Program of Weill Cornell Medical College, Rockefeller University, and Memorial Sloan Kettering. My thesis focused on using mouse models of glioma to investigate cancer biology and mechanisms of radiation resistance. I then completed a transitional year internship at Memorial Sloan Kettering before joining the Radiation Oncology Residency Program.
Emily Steinberger Weg, MD
I grew up in New Jersey and made the long trip across the bridge to attend Columbia University, where I majored in intellectual history. I then joined the Humanities and Medicine program at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. During medical school, I completed a year of clinical research at Memorial Sloan Kettering with Dr. Michael Zelefsky studying prostate cancer radiation with a focus on comparing the potential toxicities of various treatments to guide safer therapy. I also initiated a database to share research opportunities across the entire Sinai health system. After medical school, I came to Memorial Sloan Kettering for both the transitional year internship program and the radiation oncology residency program.
Minsi Zhang, MD, PhD
I was born in China and grew up in Massachusetts. I received my undergraduate degree in chemistry and molecular biology from Johns Hopkins University. Afterwards, I attended the MD-PhD program at Duke University. My thesis focused using primary animal models to study the role of hypoxia inducible factors on soft tissue sarcoma progression and response to therapy. I completed a year of preliminary medicine at Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn prior to joining the radiation oncology residency program at Memorial Sloan Kettering.
Erik Anderson, MD, PhD
I was born in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and received my undergraduate degree in biochemistry from the University of Pennsylvania’s Vagelos Program in the Molecular Life Sciences. During this time, I also completed a master’s degree in chemistry while studying the yeast heat shock response. I subsequently entered the MD/PhD program at UCLA, where my doctoral thesis focused on small molecule regulation of alternative mRNA splicing. I completed my internship in internal medicine at Olive View-UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles prior to entering the Radiation Oncology Residency Program at Memorial Sloan Kettering.
Suchit Patel, MD, PhD
I was born in India but have been a New Yorker since age nine. I completed the Tri-Institutional MD-PhD Program of Weill Cornell Medical College, The Rockefeller University, and Memorial Sloan Kettering and then did my medicine internship at the North Shore-LIJ Health System in Manhasset, New York, before joining the Radiation Oncology Residency Program at MSK.
Robert Samstein, MD, PhD
I was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. After completing my undergraduate studies in biomedical engineering and economics at Yale University, I joined the Tri-Institutional MD-PhD Program of Weill Cornell Medical College, The Rockefeller University, and Memorial Sloan Kettering. For my thesis research, I studied immune regulation mediated by regulatory T cells and their biology and function. I completed a transitional year internship at MSK before joining the Radiation Oncology Residency Program.
Aaron Wild, MD
I grew up in Waterford, Connecticut, and received my undergraduate degree in molecular biophysics and biochemistry from Yale University. Afterwards, I attended medical school at Johns Hopkins University, where I also completed a research fellowship focusing on gastrointestinal malignancies. During my research time, I had the opportunity to be involved in several clinical trials as well as translational laboratory research. I then completed my transitional year internship at Memorial Sloan Kettering before joining the Radiation Oncology Residency Program.
Amy Xu, MD, PhD
I was born in California and attended Harvard University, where I received an undergraduate degree in engineering sciences and a graduate degree in chemistry. I joined the combined Harvard-MIT Health Sciences and Technology Program for MD/PhD training. I obtained my PhD in biophysics under the mentorship of Timothy Springer in the Immune Disease Institute at Harvard. I used single molecule optical tweezers to investigate the role of vascular shear forces in regulating protein function. I completed my internship in the department of medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.
Victoria Brennan, MB, MRCPI, FFR RCSII grew up in Cork, Ireland, where I received my medical degree at University College Cork. I completed basic specialist training in internal medicine in Dublin and achieved Membership of the Royal College of Physicians, Ireland (MRCPI), in 2012. I joined a radiation oncology training program in Dublin and completed my final fellowship exams (FFR RCSI) in November 2016. During my training I wrote national guidelines for the treatment of Hodgkin’s lymphoma and was involved in research on lower gastrointestinal, genitourinary, and gynecologic cancers.
Chunzi Jenny Jin, MD, MSc, FRCPCI grew up in Toronto and attended the University of Toronto for my undergraduate and MD degrees. I completed a radiation oncology residency at Queen’s University in Kingston, Canada. At the same time as my residency training, I completed a master’s of science in epidemiology at Harvard University. My projects focused on the quality of cancer care across different populations. I then joined the Image-Guided Radiation Therapy Fellowship Program at MSK.