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.
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.
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.
Samuel Bakhoum, MD, PhD
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, MD
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, PhD
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.
Natalie Ausborn Lockney, MD
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.
Joanna Yang, MD
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.
David Barron, MD, PhD
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, PhD
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, PhD
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, MD
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.
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.
Neil K. Taunk, MD, MS
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.
Aman Taggar, MD, MS, FRCPC
I was born in India and moved to Canada as a teenager. I received my undergraduate honors degree in Organic Physical Chemistry from the University of British Columbia, Canada and studied properties of liquid crystals using magnetic resonance spectroscopy . I then earned my M.Sc. in Advanced therapeutics and Oncology with focus of my research on development of new drug formulations using liposomes. I went on to complete my medical degree from the University of British Columbia. After completing medical school I commenced Radiation Oncology Residency at Tom Baker Cancer Centre through University of Calgary. During residency I developed strong interest in prostate cancer and brachytherapy which led me to Memorial Sloan Kettering as a brachy fellow.
Tomer Charas, MD
I grew up in Haifa, Israel, and received my MD degree from Semmelweis University in Budapest, Hungary. After 1-year internship at Carmel Hospital in Haifa, I joined radiation oncology residency program at Rambam Health Care Campus. During my residency, I focused on genitourinary cancers, and lead several technological projects aiming to improve accuracy of radiation treatments, reducing toxicity and improving patients’ quality of life. My translational research aimed at increasing thyroid cancer sensitivity to radioactive iodine. After completing my residency in 2015, I worked as an attending at Rambam, and then came to Memorial Sloan Kettering for radiation oncology genitourinary fellowship program.