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Please help me in welcoming our incoming group of residents and fellows.


General Surgery

  • Amin Afrazi, from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, brings extensive research experience to UW. His PhD thesis examines the pathology and possible therapies for necrotizing enterocolitis. He enjoys swimming and playing soccer.
  • Jenny Ciske is a Wisconsin native and an UWSMPH graduate. Jenny is staying in Wisconsin to gain experience in surgery before beginning an ophthalmology residency at UW. She enjoys water sports, baking, cooking, knitting and sewing -– a great hobby for any surgeon!
  • Juan Sebastian Danobeitia is a familiar face in the Department of Surgery. He was a researcher in Dr. Luis Fernandez’s lab while he pursued his PhD in biomedical sciences. Prior to his PhD coursework, Sebastian graduated from Pontificia Universidad Javeriana Facultad de Medicina in Bogota, Colombia, and provided emergency medicine care to patients in underserved areas of Colombia.
  • Alex Fisher is a graduate of the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine. His medical school research project focused on readmission and complications for chronic pancreatitis. This native Iowan “bleeds black and gold” and enjoys hiking and camping.
  • Joseph Imbus is a graduate of the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine. He participated in research projects developing animal models for ischemic heart failure with the Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery at The Ohio State University. Joe is an experienced home brewer and also has a green thumb, having volunteered in community gardens to promote healthy lifestyle choices among children.
  • Jenny Philip joins us from the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine, but it’s likely that you have seen her at the UW while she completed a fellowship in Dr. Akhter’s lab. Jenny was a varsity college soccer player and enjoys running marathons when she isn’t running on the field.
  • Brooks Rademacher comes to UW from the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry. He has more than five years of experience as a researcher and laboratory manager in translational research with the Oregon Health & Science University Prostrate Cancer Research Program. Brooks took his passion for medicine into the community and was an active volunteer in cancer charities and free clinics in Oregon.
  • Alexander Riveron is returning to the Badger state after graduating from the Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine. His family’s deep roots in the medical profession inspired Zander to provide care to underserved populations in Chicago, Peru, the Dominican Republic and Zambia.


  • Katy Leavitt completed medical school at the University of Kansas School of Medicine. Prior to finding a passion in medicine, Katy trained in ballet.
  • James Thompson earned his MD from Drexel University College of Medicine. James is an adept pianist with interest in classical pieces, stride piano, ragtime, music composition and blues improvisation.

Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery

  • Becky Farmer joins us from Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine. Her PhD research is focused on synthesizing and testing novel small molecules as potential inhibitors of prostate cancer metastases.
  • Katherine Rose earned her MD from the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry. Her current research examines feeding outcomes following mandibular distraction osteogenesis in infants with Pierre Robin sequence.
  • Ruston “Rusty” Sanchez earned his MD from the Louisiana State University School of Medicine in New Orleans. He is a jazz musician and an accomplished artist with a special expertise in medical illustration. Rusty has been involved in fund raising efforts for Operation Smile, an international organization that provides craniofacial surgery for children in developing countries.


  • Matt Pipho is a graduate of the University of Miami Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine. This Iowa native played offensive lineman for the University of Miami, 2005-2009. Throughout undergrad and medical school, Matt volunteered his time to a variety of causes, including mentoring undergraduates, collecting toys for and visiting the local children’s hospital, and partaking in an annual medical mission to the Dominican Republic.
  • Ruchi Sharma earned her MD and PhD in Translational Biology and Molecular Medicine from Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas. Her hobbies include writing poetry, gardening, traveling, and Kathak, an Indian classical dance.


  • Dan Shapiro earned his MD at UWSMPH. He has been playing piano for more than 13 years and enjoys reading history and fiction.
  • Brian Sninsky comes to us after earning his MD from the University of Florida. He plays acoustic and electric guitar, enjoys competitive sports, and spends his time outdoors biking, kayaking, fishing, and camping.
  • Jonathan Wang earned his MD at the University of Washington. While he enjoys cycling, cooking, and playing piano and violin, he adds, “I am also a prolific eater and enjoy engaging in food challenges.”

Vascular Surgery

  • Jason Le attended medical school at Rosalind Franklin University outside of Chicago. Jason has practiced martial arts since 2005, including karate, ninjutsu, kickboxing and Krav Maga. He is a lefty who writes with his right hand; his stronger scalpel hand is yet to be determined.


Mike Thomas is the incoming Cardiothoracic Surgery Fellow at the UW. He earned his MD and completed his general surgery residency at Southern Illinois University School of Medicine in Springfield, Illinois. Mike is a member of the Illinois Army National Guard and enjoys hunting, fishing, scuba diving and working on cars.

Patrick Phelan is our new Vascular Surgery Fellow. He attended UW-Madison as an undergrad, Emory University School of Medicine for med school and the University of Washington for his General Surgery residency. Aside from his medical research and accomplishments, Patrick is an amateur furniture builder.

The Division of General Surgery welcomes new Endocrine Fellow Courtney Balentine, joining us from the Michael E. DeBakey Department of Surgery, Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas. This Iowa native is returning to the Midwest after nearly 20 years in the South. A distinguished surgical scientist, he has more than 25 publications.

Alain Elian is our new MIS/Bariatric Fellow. He earned his MD at Ross University School of Medicine and completed his general surgery residency at Michigan State University Kalamazoo Center for Medical Studies. Alain is fluent in English, French and Arabic. In 2012, he finished fifth place in Surgical Jeopardy, a contest sponsored by the American College of Surgeons.

Chad Whited joins us as a Laryngology Fellow after completing his MD at the University of Texas at Houston Medical School and residency at Duke University. Chad is an avid runner.

Joseph Scalea, one of two new Transplantation Surgery Fellows to join us this year, received his MD from the University of Maryland School of Medicine, where he also completed his surgery residency. From 2009 to 2011, he worked on research fellowship in the Transplantation Biology Research Center at Harvard Medical School.

Our second Transplantation Surgery Fellow, Emre Arpali, hails from Turkey, where he completed his medical training. Emre earned his MD from Erzurum Ataturk University School of Medicine in 2001 and his PhD in Medical Biology-Transplantation Immunology at Istanbul University in 2014. He also completed a urology residency in 2008 and a clinical fellowship in organ transplantation in 2014. Copyright © 2017 The Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System