Residency & Fellowship Programs

Meet our Residents and Recent Graduates

Photo of Susan HsiaoSusan Hsiao, M.D., Ph.D
Training Track: AP (Chief Resident 2012-2013)
Current Position: Fellowship in Molecular Genetic Pathology (Pittsburgh)

What do you think the strengths of the program are?

I think the training opportunities and the flexibility offered by the program are unique and impressive. We get the best training, plus the ability to tailor our training to our interests and career goals. The faculty are leaders in their field, but very approachable and enjoy teaching.

As a first year resident, I was unsure if I wanted to pursue AP, CP, or combined AP/CP training. I found the structure of our program which allows residents to experience both AP and CP rotations in the first year, and get a sense of all that pathology encompasses, to be a huge advantage in helping me to decide what area of pathology I wanted to focus on. In addition, the faculty were approachable and provided me with invaluable mentorship and career advice.

In terms of training, I like how Columbia has a mix of general and subspecialty sign-out. In a way, we have the best of both worlds. We have an interesting cases of general surgical specimens (both adult and pediatric),which include complex resections, as well as separate services for GI/liver, neuro, heme, cytopath, gyn, and renal.

Do you think your training here has prepared you well for the future?

Absolutely. The faculty are fantastic teachers, the case mix is really great. We see a good volume of a mix of routine and complex, challenging cases of both adult and pediatric pathology. There is definitely graduated responsibility as one progresses through training, and by the mid to end of training, residents are taking ownership of cases, dictating reports, ordering immunostains, and communicating with clinicians.

What is your favorite thing about living in NYC?

I’ve actually lived in NYC for most of my life, and what I love is how dynamic and ever-changing this city is. There are always new and interesting things to do, another part of the city to discover and explore (or re-explore), and new restaurants/cuisines to try.

Best/most surprising thing you discovered about the program?

I think before I started residency, I hoped that my co-residents would be nice, smart, interesting colleagues; what I didn’t expect was how incredible a group of people they would be, and how we would all be more than just colleagues to each other. We all learn from each other, help each other out and hang out together. It’s a great environment to be in, and I’m really happy that I came to Columbia for my residency training!

Photo of Mark Ewalt, M.D.Mark Ewalt, M.D.
Training Track: AP/CP (Chief Resident 2011-2012)
Current Position: Fellowship in Hematology (Stanford)

Why did you choose Columbia for your residency training?

I wanted to stay in New York City and Columbia Pathology has the strongest reputation in the city with a legacy from the early days of pathology with greats such as Drs. Arthur Purdy Stout and Raffael Lattes. I was also looking for a program with strong Anatomic and Clinical Pathology training as I knew in medical school that I wanted to pursue Hematopathology, a field which combines aspects of both AP and CP.

What do you think the strengths of the program are?

I think that our program is overall a strong program in all areas of AP and CP. However, within Anatomic Pathology, we are an extremely strong center in Renal Pathology and Neuropathology. In addition, we have excellent training in Surgical Pathology and GI/Liver Pathology. Within Clinical Pathology, our Transfusion Medicine service is the strongest of the core rotations, however, our clinical labs offer a complete menu of tests and as residents we get exposure to all areas of Laboratory Medicine during our training.

Do you think your training here has prepared you well for the future?

I feel very well prepared by my training at Columbia. I have rotated at other institutions while looking at fellowship programs and have always felt ready for signouts and that my residency training has well prepared me to work with other pathologists from anywhere.

What do you plan to do after residency (or fellowship)?

After residency I will continue my training with hematopathology and molecular genetic pathology fellowships. Following that, I hope to find an academic position primarily signing out hematopathology or running a molecular diagnostics lab while pursuing research in molecular hematopathology.

What do you do in your spare time?

I play with my puppy, explore the city with friends including the food, nightlife, and arts, and cook.

Photo of Richard FrancisRichard Francis, M.D., Ph.D
Training Track: CP (Chief Resident 2009-2010)
Fellowship: Transfusion Medicine, NYBC
Current Position: Assistant Professor of Pathology and Cell Biology

Why did you choose Columbia for your residency training?

I was an MD/PhD student here and had gotten to know people in the department. My PhD was through the pathology department and during my time in graduate school I spent quite a bit of time with Glen Markowitz learning about what a career in pathology would offer.

Why did you choose the CP training track?

I had an interest in hematology and transfusion medicine and wanted to have time to be involved in research. Being CP only allowed me to work in my field of interest and have time for research projects.

What do you think the strengths of the program are?

The greatest strengths of the program are the world-renowned knowledgeable faculty, the constant supply of educational cases, and the opportunity to purse one's academic and career interests.

What was your favorite rotation and why?

My favorite rotation was on the transfusion medicine service because it gave me the opportunity to see patients.

What research projects have you been involved in?

As a resident I was involved in research projects both with our clinical microbiology laboratory as well as our special hematology/coagulation lab.

What do you plan to do after residency (or fellowship)?

After residency I did a transfusion medicine fellowship at the New York Blood Center and then was fortunate enough to obtain a faculty position at Columbia where the majority of my time is spent doing research.

Photo of Nadeja Tsankova, M.D., Ph.D.Nadeja Tsankova, M.D., Ph.D.
Training Track: AP/NP
Current Position: Assistant Professor of Pathology and Cell Biology, Columbia University

Why did you choose Columbia for your residency/fellowship training?

I picked Columbia for residency because I was looking for an excellent AP as well as NP training and Columbia definitely offered both. The AP training was outstanding and I was well prepared for the boards. The NP training was also superb. There are several neuropathologists who share the clinical service, all of whom are expert in a particular part of neuropathology, from muscle and nerve to gliomas to dementias, and there is a very active neurosurgical and neuroncological clinical service.

What do you think the strengths of the program are?

We have a very active surgical service, which provides a wealth of surgical material for pathological diagnoses. We have amazing pathologists, who are all experts in certain area of pathology, and are also great teachers. The pathologists are also actively involved in research, clinical and basic science, and provide a great source of up-to-date, in depth knowledge in their areas of expertise.

What were your favorite rotations and why?

I really enjoyed Hematopathology and Renal Pathology. I liked that there was a lot of clinico-pathological correlation in both subspecialties. I also like the molecular and cytogenetics integration with histology in Hematopathology. Neuropathology is another rotation which integrates clinical, radiological, cytogenetics, and molecular data into making a pathological diagnosis. We interact with clinicians (neurosurgeons, neurooncologists, neuroradiologists) on a daily basis informally and during our weekly tumor board meeting more formally, which provides a constant intellectually stimulating atmosphere.

What research projects have you been involved in?

I spent my second year of the Neuropathology fellowship establishing a translational research project under the mentorship of a well-established basic scientist and an expert in the field of stem cell biology, Dr. Fiona Doetsch. My initial project is to isolate and characterize neural stem cells from infant and adult human subventricular zone. I am continuing this and establishing other projects now as a tenure-track Assistant Professor in the department of Pathology.

What do you do in your spare time?

I play with my 2 children (6 and 2-years old). We explore NYC public parks, nature, museums, theaters, and restaurants.

Best/most surprising thing you discovered about the program?

The cultural and philosophical diversity of residents and attendings, which really comes out during our weekly TGIFs.

Photo of Marcela Salomao, M.D.Marcela Salomao, M.D.
Training Track: AP
Fellowship: Combined GI and Liver/Surgical Pathology
Current Position: Assistant Professor of Pathology and Cell Biology, Columbia University

Why did you choose Columbia for your residency and fellowship training?

When I applied for my residency, I had been living in NY for several years and was not planning to leave. Luckily, Columbia offers one of the leading training programs in pathology and has the upside of being in New York. It was an obvious pick.

What do you think the strengths of the program are?

The department has a highly experienced group of attending professors, who are not only outstanding pathologists but also superb educators. In addition, we are in one of the best hospitals in the country, handling highly complex cases on a daily basis. These offer the perfect milieu for pathology training. Moreover, the department encourages and supports residents in their scientific activities, from basic research to applied or translational science, by offering funding and the appropriate infrastructure in a number of associated Research Centers.

What was your favorite rotation and why?

My favorite rotation was Frozen Section. As a resident, I could closely interact with surgeons, understand their questions, correlate clinical, radiologic and gross findings and provide almost immediate answers.

Do you think your training here has prepared you well for the future?

Absolutely! All pathology residents that graduated from Columbia University were able to obtain fellowship positions in leading universities. We have 100% pass-rate in the pathology board certification exams and our alumni hold positions in top pathology institutions across the country.

What research projects have you been involved in?

I have special interest in liver pathology, particularly hepatocellular carcinoma and NAFLD. I am also working on projects involving transplant pathology, including small bowel transplant and recurrent chronic hepatitis C in the post-liver transplantation setting.

Photo of Jean Hou, M.D.Jean Hou, M.D.
Training Track: AP/CP (Chief Resident 2011-2012)
Fellowship: Renal Pathology Fellow, Columbia University (2012-2013)

Why did you pick the AP/CP training track?

I wasn't sure what I would end up doing eventually. As it turns out, my CP training and experiences in apheresis brought me to my choice to pursue renal pathology as a career.

What do you think the strengths of the program are?

Columbia pathology has a very rich history, with lots of prominent/influential people having studied/worked here. I think the pathology program has tried to honor that tradition through the years. Even now, we've got world renowned pathologists working here, and it's always nice to be able to say "oh yeah, we discovered that here".

As a whole, I think that the residents are a very diverse group. It ranges from fresh out of med school to older (such as myself having taken 10 years off to do research). They've got different majors and degrees (MD and MD/PhD) with majors ranging from biology to English literature. People have done other things prior to residency (research/business), and socially there is also a diverse mix (gay/straight, married/single, with kids/without kids).

The program is typically very supportive of residents pursuing research (combined tracks, paying for meetings, etc).

If you are interested in practicing CP, of the New York programs, Columbia will prepare you to be able to actually hit the ground running. The opportunities to learn how to sign out the different modalities (blood bank, hemoglobinopathies, SPEP/UPEP, coags, cytogenetics, molecular diagnostics) are all here.

What was your favorite rotation and why?

I think that as intense as surgical pathology is, it's probably the most high-yield and best organized. You really get to know the attending since you're signing out one on one for an entire month, and the range of specimens is pretty impressive.

What is your favorite thing about living in NYC?

The food!!!!! There is no other place in the world where you can get any cuisine from any country at any hour of day or night.

What do you do in your spare time?

Go out to eat as much as possible, cook (I only know how to cook in large volumes so I keep the residents fed), and wander around the city.

Best/most surprising thing you discovered about the program?

That so many people stay on for fellowship/jobs. Happy hour on Friday with food and alcohol paid for by the department is definitely a plus as well.

 
 
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