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Current Residents

PGY-4 Residents

Lama Abdel Wahed, portrait

Lama Abdel Wahed, MD

Chief Resident

Medical School: University of Damascus, Syria

Career Interests: Neuroimmunology and neuroinfectious diseases. I hope to pursue a career in academic medicine with focus on medical education.

Why Iowa: I can talk nonstop about the rich and diverse patient population, the wide variety of educational cases from the common all the way down to the exotic and having a huge team of nation-wide renowned sub-specialists to learn from. However, the main reason that drew me to UIHC will always be its people, and the warm and welcoming environment as well as the sense of belonging they provide.

Jason Duchscherer, portrait

Jason Duchscherer, MD

Medical School: University of North Dakota

Career Interests: General neurology

Why Iowa: Small town feel, good place to raise a family, plenty of things to do outside of work.

Kevin Kay, portrait

Kevin Kay, MD

Chief Resident

Medical School: University of Minnesota

Career Interests: I'm pursuing fellowship training in movement disorders and have a particular interest in providing patient-centered care for patients with neurodegenerative disease. I'm interested in incorporating neuropalliative care approaches in my practice. I'm undecided about exact practice setting but hope to be able to make care for patients with Parkinson's disease compassionate and empathetic. 

Why Iowa: At Iowa, you are empowered and encouraged to pursue your own career goals whether that's private practice in a rural town or pursuit of NIH grants and an academic science career. We have residents interested in a lot of different things and none are more privileged above the others. The residents were all nice (still are!) and there was good camaraderie among the residents. There is a large and accomplished faculty with a diverse set of interests. It's a great place to train to become whatever kind of neurologist you want to become. 

Jason Maljaars, portrait

Jason Maljaars, MD

Medical School: St. George's University, Grenada

Career Interests: I am pursuing fellowship in stroke here at Iowa, after which I am planning on securing a position as a neurohospitalist with academic affiliation. 

Why Iowa: I was impressed with the friendly environment within the department, as well as the unique location being the only tertiary care hospital in the state. This translates to high volumes of patients and a wide variety of pathology to be experienced, including rare diseases. 

Adriana Rodriguez Leon, portrait

Adriana Rodriguez, MD

Medical School: Universidad Central, Venezuela

Career Interests: I have an interest in Neuro-Ophthalmology and Headache. I have always found profound fascination in how such an intricate and perfect circuit of neurons, connecting the brain and the eye, makes it possible for us to see the world. I hope to continue my career in an academic center and combine practice in the outpatient and inpatient setting.    

Why Iowa: The reason I chose to come to Iowa is actually simple, its people make this a great place to work. However, being this is such a large medical center, serving a large population of patients, from diverse backgrounds and ethnicities, you have the opportunity of seeing from the most basic “bread and butter” Neurology, to the rarest of cases.  

Stephen Rostad, portrait

Stephen Rostad, MD

Chief Resident

Medical School: University of North Dakota

Career Interests: General neurology in northern Minnesota after clinical neurophysiology fellowship at Iowa.

Why Iowa: I chose Iowa because I very much enjoyed my interview day and the people that I met here. They were very friendly, welcoming, and responsive and have continued to be so throughout my residency here.

Kanika Sharma, portrait

Kanika Sharma, MBBS

Medical School: Pravara Institute of Medical Sciences, India

Career Interests: Neuroimmunology and neurovirology

Why Iowa: I loved my interactions with the faculty members and residents at Iowa. The construct of our residency program offers ample opportunities for career development in research while making sure that residents evolve as a clinician.

Emily Tamadonfar, portrait

Emily Tamadonfar, MD

Medical School: Chicago Medical School

Career Interests: Movement disorders

Why Iowa: I was impressed by the faculty and the possibilities for career development during residency. I was selected for the Clinical Neuro-Educator Training Program (CNE-TP) and have found great mentorship to develop my career goals beyond residency in this training program. 

PGY-3 Residents

Hisham Abdelmotilib, portrait

Hisham Abdelmotilib, MD, PhD

Neurology Outpatient Clinic Liaison

Medical School: Ain Shams University, Egypt

Career Interests: Movement disorders in an academic institution with research focus on therapeutics development for Parkinson’s disease. 

Why Iowa: I chose Iowa for several perspectives. First, the neurology clinical training in University of Iowa is well-structured and very resident-oriented. Faculty are very attentive and respectful to residents. Second, the research aspect in the University is a big attraction point in terms of variety of projects and great mentors. 


Amjad Elmashala, portrait

Amjad Elmashala, MD

Medical Student Liaison

Medical School: Al-Quds University, Palestine

Career Interests: Neurocritical care and neuroimmunology

Why Iowa: Cute city and friendly people

Rami Fakih, portrait

Rami Fakih, MD

Stroke/SNICU Liaison

Medical School: American University of Beirut, Lebanon

Career Interests: Cerebrovascular and interventional neurology

Favorite thing about Iowa City: The people, tranquil vibe, no traffic, college town so great nightlife, affordable cost of living, and many other things!

Aayushi Garg, portrait

Aayushi Garg, MD

ED/Consult/General Inpatient Liaison

Medical School: All India Institute of Medical Sciences, India

Career Interests: Stroke

Why Iowa: Because I felt an "instant connection" with the faculty during my interview day. All the faculty are very approachable, and the residents are very well supported. 

Karina Gonzalez Otarula, portrait

Karina Gonzalez Otarula, MD

Wellness Liaison

Medical School: Universidad Nacional de Cuyo, Argentina

Career Interests: Epilepsy, clinical research

Why Iowa: I liked the Clinical Neuroscientist track that the program offers, I also liked the convenience of a big medical center located in a small city.

Caitlin Hof, portrait

Caitlin Hof, MD

VA Liaison

Medical School: University of South Dakota

Career Interests: Vascular & neuroimmunology, hospitalist medicine

Favorite thing about Iowa City: It is difficult to just choose one thing! The ease of living in a Midwest town with "big city" offerings--there is always a new restaurant opening up. We are no more than 15 minutes from many different attractions like the Coralville Lake, the Amana Colonies, and Hancher Auditorium.  My husband, two dogs, and I enjoy exploring town enjoy the many pet friendly patios for a bite to eat. Game day is also a fun experience, Go Hawks!

William Li, portrait

William Li, MD

EMU Liaison

Medical School: Wayne State University

Career Interests: Epilepsy and sleep medicine

Why Iowa: Renowned and approachable faculty. Residents are well advocated and supported, and everyone in the program is really friendly.

PGY-2 Residents

Erik Arneson, portrait

Erik Arneson, MD

Medical School: University of Iowa

Career Interests: Neuroimmunology

Why Iowa: The prestigious history of the program combined with the friendly faculty and welcoming atmosphere.


Alex Farris, portrait

Alex Farris, MD

Medical School: Indiana University

Career Interests: Varied, including stroke, cognitive, and sleep

Why Iowa: Excellent neurology residency program, familiar culture and climate (I grew up in Indiana). The value that the city places on local artists, writers, farmers, and activists. The city is as focused on national & global events as any Big Ten college town should be, but it also showcases all the people who make the city home & make the city better.

Oday Halhouli, portrait

Oday Halhouli, MD

Medical School: University of Jordan, Jordan

Career Interests: Academic

Why Iowa: Its people

Ryan Johnson, portrait

Ryan Johnson, MD

Medical School: University of Missouri

Career Interests: Neurophysiology, neuroimmunology, sleep medicine

Why Iowa: I was immediately impressed with the personable, dynamic faculty and residents, and with the sense of camaraderie within the department. It’s also a strong program with the right expertise and resources to treat its diverse patient population. I recognized that these factors would offer a rich training experience and the means to realize my career goals while working with a great group of people. 

Brooke Kubat, portrait

Brooke Kubat, MD

Medical School: University of North Dakota

Career Interests: My interests in neurology are very broad currently. I'm excited to explore the different areas of neurology and that we have the opportunity to experience most aspects of neurology here at UIHC.

Favorite thing about Iowa City: My favorite thing about Iowa City is the people. Everyone is so friendly and welcoming. There's also a lot to do in my downtime, especially in the summer, from walking trails to exploring shops downtown to going out to eat to visiting cultural colonies in the area.

Ryan Lechtenberg, portrait

Ryan Lechtenberg, MD

Medical School: University of Iowa

Career Interests: General neurology, neurophysiology

Favorite thing about Iowa City: As a medical student at Iowa, I was able to see first-hand how well the faculty and residents work together and are able to create a great learning environment. This combined with my love for Iowa City made it an easy decision to stay here for residency. Downtown Iowa City has great restaurants and frequent events, and Hawkeye sporting events are always a fun time.

Gloria Lopez Cardenas, portrait

Gloria Lopez Cardenas, MD

Medical School: Universidad Javeriana, Bogota, Colombia

Career Interests: Vascular neurology, neurocritical care, and neuro IR

Why Iowa: I had the opportunity to work in the department doing research before starting residency. During this time I was impressed by how everyone in the program was friendly and welcoming. Also, I saw how the neurology service works in coordination as a team. I recognized how in this program I would be exposed to a wide variety of cases and subspecialties within neurology, and I felt that this would provide a great training experience. 

Aditi Sharma, portrait

Aditi Sharma, MD

Medical School: Vardhman Mahavir Medical College, India 

Career Interests: Neuroimmunology and neurovascular

Why Iowa: I loved how friendly and welcoming the residents were at the interview dinner. A lot of great neurologists who I wanted to learn from. 

PGY-1 Residents

Busranur Agac, MD profile photo

Busranur Agac, MD

Medical School: Istanbul Universitesi, Turkey

Career Interests: Neuroimmunology, autoimmune neurology, neuroimaging

Favorite thing about Iowa City: Very nice and helpful people, safe and peaceful city


Aygün Asgarli portrait

Aygun Asgarli, MD

Medical School: Acibadem Universitesi, Turkey

Career Interests: I am mainly interested in sleep medicine, so that following my neurology residency training, I am planning to do a fellowship in that sub-specialty.

Why Iowa: University of Iowa Neurology Residency Program was my top choice mainly because of its extremely kind and supportive faculty, diverse patient population, unique clinical and didactic curriculum, well-established Sleep Disorders Center, availability of great research opportunities, resident wellness-related activities and resources. Moreover, Iowa City has a very kind population, peaceful environment, lots of activities and events which make it a wonderful place to live.

Kaancan Deniz, MD profile photo

Kaancan Deniz, MD

Medical School: Istanbul Universitesi, Turkey

Career Interests: As a medical student, I was involved with clinical epilepsy research. After graduating from medical school, I explored a research opportunity in neurodegenerative diseases mainly being Alzheimer’s disease from the perspective of genetics/transcriptomics and plasma biomarkers. I plan to do a fellowship in Behavioral/Cognitive Neurology with an aim to incorporate research to my clinical practice in an academic setting.

Why Iowa: I wanted to get my training in a Neurology department with a substantial impact on the history of neurology, a program where residents pursue their interests just because they wish to, not because it is a requirement. I think our program brings people with deep interests in clinical and basic neurosciences. On the day of my interview, I felt this enthusiasm from the faculty members and residents when I was asked about my previous publications and interests in neurology. I appreciated the professional, collegial and extremely friendly atmosphere in Iowa, and I wanted to become part of the Hawkeye family!

Beatriz Dinh portrait

Beatriz Dinh, MD

Medical School: University of Arkansas

Career Interests: Movement disorders, multiple sclerosis

Why Iowa: Faculty and residents who are passionate about neurology and love to teach

Mikenzy Fassel, MD profile photo

Mikenzy Fassel, MD

Medical School: University of Iowa

Career Interests: Neuroimmunology, cognitive neurology 

Favorite thing about Iowa City: One of my favorite things about Iowa City is the wide variety of great restaurants! My running list of favorites includes Exotic India, Thai Flavors, Clinton Street Social Club and Iowa River Power Restaurant (especially the Sunday brunch). 

Steven Kiel portrait

Steven Kiel, DO

Medical School: Des Moines University

Career Interests: My career interests are stroke and neurohospitalist. I chose Iowa because it has a long history of being a strong Neurology program, I did my undergraduate degree here at Iowa and used to work in the hospital, and my Neurology mentors did their residencies here. 

Favorite thing about Iowa City: My favorite thing about Iowa city is how much fun it is on a home football game Saturday. 

Max Liu portrait

Max Liu, MD, PhD

Medical School: University of Iowa

Career Interests: Developing Tau directed therapies in neurological diseases, neurodegeneration, Alzheimer's disease 

Favorite thing about Iowa City: Low cost of living, no traffic, plenty of family friendly activities, and good access to the symphony (Orchestra Iowa in Cedar Rapids) and shows at Hancher Auditorium. 

Tyler Schmidt, MD profile photo

Tyler Schmidt, MD

Medical School: University of Texas at Austin

Career Interests: Neurocritical care, vascular & interventional neurology

Why Iowa: I chose Iowa because of the program’s longstanding reputation for preparing residents to excel in academic medical careers, the collaborative research environment, the early exposure to neurocritical care beginning during PGY-1 in the SNICU, and perhaps most importantly, my enjoyable interactions with residents and faculty and the tangible camaraderie between them. As an added bonus, I love the college town setting that comes complete with top-notch sports! (Let’s go Hawks!)