3 Questions for the 2024 Barrow Graduating Class

As the academic year comes to an end at Barrow Neurological Institute, we’re celebrating the latest graduates of our research, residency, and fellowship programs in neurosurgery, neurology, and neuroradiology.

We asked our 2024 graduates to share their most memorable moments at Barrow, the advice they would give to their younger selves on their first day of training at the Institute, and which individuals at Barrow influenced them the most. We’ve compiled their responses below.

“Congratulations to the remarkable graduates! Their achievement in completing their training at the renowned Barrow Neurological Institute signifies the culmination of years of hard work in neurology, neurosurgery, and neuroradiology.

Their pursuit of excellence, compassion for patients, dedication to research and innovation, and friendship with one another will continue with them throughout their careers. For over 60 years, Barrow has trained specialists in the neurosciences, and they now join this proud tradition.

As they embark on their careers, they will carry with them the skills and values gained at Barrow and add to them their additional experience. They are ambassadors of a legacy built on hard work and commitment to improving lives.

We are incredibly proud of them and look forward to their future contributions to neurological sciences. Congratulations again to the graduates, and best wishes for their continued success.”

Terry Fife, MD, Designated Institutional Official, Graduate Medical Education, Barrow Neurological Institute

Neurosurgery Residents

Arnau Benet, MD

New role: Director of Vascular Neurosurgery, Los Robles Hospital, Thousand Oaks, California

  1. My most memorable moment of residency was after cleaning the last day of junior call.
  2. The advice I would give to my younger self on my first day at Barrow would be that there is no pain that lasts 100 years (my late grandpa’s saying) and to keep my eyes open to learn all regardless of my passion.
  3. The people at Barrow who have influenced me the most have been Drs. Michael Lawton, Nader Sanai, Jay Turner, Kumar Kakarla, David Barranco, Andrew Little, Kris Smith, Steve Chang, Zaman Mirzadeh, Robert Spetzler, and Volker Sonntag.
Arnau Benet, MD

Harrison Farber, MD

New role: Neurosurgeon, Carolina Neurosurgery and Spine Associates, Charlotte, North Carolina

  1. My most memorable moments of residency were early mornings and late nights rounding, operating, and surviving with my three co-residents.
  2. The advice I would give to my younger self on my first day at Barrow would be to appreciate every case as a valuable learning opportunity.
  3. Drs. Jay Turner, Juan Uribe, and Kumar Kakarla have been my closest mentors and had the greatest impact on my surgical education and training.
Harrison Farber, MD

Timothy Gooldy, MD

New role: Pediatric Neurosurgery Fellow, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

  1. My most memorable moments of residency were operating until the late hours of the night with my co-residents and finishing with that unique mixed feeling of exhaustion, accomplishment, and camaraderie; being part of the BNI softball dynasty and traveling to NYC to win the annual neurosurgery residency tournament year after year; and getting to teach other residents in the OR, passing along the tips and tricks that were handed down to me.
  2. The advice I would give to my younger self on my first day at Barrow would be to try and take full advantage of every opportunity Barrow has to offer. Do every case possible, and get as much free food as you can. You are lucky to be here, not just for the premier reputation and unmatched training, but more importantly for the special culture and family you get to be part of. Leave this place better than you found it. Go Save ‘Em!
  3. The people at Barrow who have influenced me the most have been my fellow residents, who have truly become my friends and family.
Timothy Gooldy, MD

James Zhou, MD

New role: Neurosurgeon, Mount Sinai Medical Center, Miami, Florida

  1. There have been countless memorable moments over the past seven years of training. One of my fondest memories is celebrating the end of junior residency with my co-residents, Harrison, Arnau, and Tim. I cannot imagine having gone through the trenches of junior call without the three of them, and I am grateful to have had such great classmates to learn from and rely on throughout residency.
  2. I would advise my younger self to be patient. I remember having a lot of anxiety about my progress through residency—whether I was meeting milestones and keeping up with my peers. In retrospect, I realize now that residency is a journey that everyone progresses through at their own pace.
  3. All of my attendings have contributed so much to my growth as a surgeon that it’s hard to pick anyone specific. I would like to thank Drs. Jay Turner, Kumar Kakarla, and Juan Uribe for allowing me to spend extra time with them during my elective periods. The experience I gained by spending time on their clinical services has been invaluable in helping me develop my own surgical skills and clinical reasoning.
James Zhou, MD

Neurosurgery Fellows

Badih Daou, MD

New role: Neurosurgeon, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan

  1. The whole year was memorable. I will remember it forever.
  2. The advice I would give to my younger self on my first day at Barrow would be to sit back and enjoy the ride; it’s going to be a great year.
  3. The person who has influenced me the most has been my co-fellow, Jennifer Kim, MD.
badih daou

Aristotelis Filippidis, MD, PhD

New role: Neurosurgeon, Ascension Group, Jacksonville, Florida

  1. The most memorable moment of my fellowship was the moment I realized that with the knowledge I obtained at Barrow was able to help a patient with drug-resistant epilepsy become seizure free. He had multiple debilitating seizures per day. With Dr. Kris Smith, and our epilepsy team, we meticulously designed a strategy for our sEEG electrode placement, and two of the electrodes were exactly at the presumed epileptogenic zone. Based on this, we did a tailored topectomy, and the patient became seizure free. I will never forget his smile at every clinic appointment—freed from a death sentence. Barrow was the first place I visited in the United States after my training in Greece in 2010. It was the place that inspired me to become a neurosurgeon in the U.S. and pursue this dream at all costs. Now I was able to apply this knowledge to change someone’s life. That dream became a reality, and Phoenix and Barrow have a special place in my heart and became my personal Ithaka.
  2. The advice I would give to my younger self on my first day at Barrow would be that it is not a sprint; it is a marathon.
  3. The people who have influenced me the most have been Drs. Kris Smith, Francisco Ponce, Andrew Yang, and Zaman Mirzadeh.
aristotelis filippidis

Jennifer E. Kim, MD

New role: Neurosurgeon, Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio

  1. My most memorable moment of fellowship was participating in the BNI Olympics.
  2. The advice I would give to my younger self on my first day at Barrow would be: Don’t leave anything in your car in the summer.
  3. The people who have influenced me the most have been my mentors: Drs. Felipe Albuquerque, Andrew Ducruet, and Ashutosh Jadhav.
jennifer kim

Redi Rahmani, MD

New role: Endovascular Neurosurgery Fellow, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

  1. My most memorable moment of fellowship was treating my first aneurysm as a solo attending.
  2. The advice I would give to my younger self on my first day at Barrow would be: Learn to ski!
  3. The people who have influenced me the most have been Dr. Michael Lawton, Michele Ellis and office staff, Carol Blazier, Erin Michele and OR staff, my co-fellows, and the residents.
redi rahmani

Nasser Yaghi, MD

New role: Clinical Assistant Professor and Director of Neurosurgical Oncology, University of Michigan Health-Sparrow, Lansing, Michigan

  1. My most memorable moment of fellowship was doing my first awake language mapping tumor resection as an independent attending. I will also remember hiking the Grand Canyon Rim to Rim.
  2. I would tell my younger self on my first day at Barrow: It’s going to be great. Work hard and be nice to people; it comes back around. If it’s not your job, it might be your opportunity.
  3. The person who has influenced me the most has been Dr. Nader Sanai.
nasser yaghi

Aqib H. Zehri, MD

New role: Spine Specialist, The Oregon Clinic and Providence Brain and Spine Institute, Portland, Oregon

  1. My most memorable moments at Barrow were learning new skill sets and the time spent outside of the operating room with my co-fellows.
  2. If I could go back in time and give one piece of advice to my younger self on my first day at Barrow, it would be: Push yourself to be a better surgeon and a better human each day.
  3. My biggest influence at Barrow has been the entire Barrow spine team—OR staff, residents, and attendings.
aqib zehri

Graduates who did not submit responses:

Joshua Catapano, MD
Joshua Catapano, MD
jonathan lee
Jonathan Lee, MD

Neurology Residents

Elizabeth Anderson, MD

New role: Vascular Neurology Fellow, Mount Sinai Hospital, New York, New York

  1. Most memorable moments at Barrow were our group hike at the start of intern year—and the chaos that ensued—as well as our end-of-intern-year trip as a class to Prescott Valley. We made it an effort to spend lots of time together as a class, especially because of the COVID pandemic—and because of that became very close.
  2. The advice I would give to my younger self on my first day at Barrow would be to never settle/always challenge yourself to push for new goals, even if people tell you it is outside your reach. 
  3. The people at Barrow who have influenced me the most have been my classmates and co-residents. They have been by my side through thick and thin, and I would not have been able to make it through residency without them. Also, specialty credit goes to the stroke faculty, who helped train me and foster my love for vascular neurology.
Elizabeth Anderson, MD

Ada Breitenbucher, MD

New role: Hospice and Palliative Medicine Fellow, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota

  1. Some of my most memorable moments at Barrow have been with my co-residents in the resident workroom, sharing moments of laughter, sorrow, and compassion as we forge ahead on this unique path.
  2. To my younger self, I would send a reminder and a promise that this journey is not just about the destination but the process as well. Take it all in, the good and the bad.
  3. The people who have influenced me the most at Barrow have been my greatest teachers: my patients. They are my greatest inspiration and have been the foundation of my residency. I am eternally grateful for the patients and families I have met along the way who have shaped me as a doctor and as a human being. I carry their stories forward as reminders of the courage, love, and spirit that we see every day in the world of healing and medicine.
Ada Breitenbucher, MD

DeJarra Johnson, MD

New role: Cognitive Behavioral Fellow, Barrow Neurological Institute, Phoenix, Arizona

  1. My most memorable moments at Barrow have been the many wellness events and holiday parties with my fellow co-residents, where we embody the motto of ‘work hard, play hard.’
  2. The advice I would give my younger self would be to not worry about being perfect; just do your best and forget the rest.
  3. The people who have influenced me the most have been the cognitive faculty and most especially Dr. Marwan Sabbagh, who introduced me to field of cognitive neurology and how impactful we can be as providers to help those affected by cognitive impairments.
Dejarra Johnson, MD

Anita Venkatesh, MD

New role: Neuromuscular Fellow, University of Rochester, Rochester, New York

  1. There are so many memorable moments of residency that it’s difficult to pick one. Most of my memorable moments have occurred while hanging out with co-residents and just having a good time, either in the workroom or outside of the hospital.
  2. The advice I would give to my younger self on my first day at Barrow would be: Don’t be afraid to speak up and push yourself to learn as much as you can.
  3. The people at Barrow who have influenced me the most have been Drs. Erik Ortega, Shafeeq Ladha, and Ayushi Chugh.
Anita Venkatesh

Connor Welsh, DO

New role: Vascular and Interventional Fellow, University of Michigan Health-Sparrow, Lansing, Michigan

  1. I don’t think my time at Barrow can be distilled into one memory, but one of my most formative was working with Drs. Bryan Franzen, Daniel Gonzalez, Joshua Catapano and Andrew Ducruet to provide a life-saving thrombectomy on a young woman who was also pregnant, and getting to watch her leave the hospital with practically no needs. If there was one case that confirmed going into stroke and interventional neurology was the right thing for me, it was that one.
  2. The advice I would give to my younger self on my first day at Barrow would be: Don’t be afraid to ask others for help earlier on, and mistakes are only really mistakes if you don’t learn from them—take everything as a learning opportunity and just do better next time.
  3. Honestly everyone I’ve worked with at Barrow has influenced me for the better, but a couple of the most notable have to be Dr. Daniel Gonzalez, Dr. Supreet Kaur, Ann Chowdhury-Johnson, Dr. Susan Herman, Dr. Aditya Kumar, and Dr. Fiona Lynch—as well as a couple others like Dr. Bill Jacobsen, Dr. Sana Aslam, and Dr. Asim Haque who are no longer on staff here. All of them, as well as so many more, have pushed me to do and be better in some way and/or imparted some valuable lesson, be it about patient care, learning, teaching, or just being a better person.
Connor Welsh, DO

Graduates who did not submit responses:

Adela Miller, DO
Adela Miller, DO
Allison Martin
Allison Martin, MD

Neurology Fellows

Amputch Karukote, MD

New role: Private Practice Neurologist, Bumrungrad International Hospital, Bangkok, Thailand

  1. My most memorable moment at Barrow was when I first programmed deep brain stimulation in refractory essential tremor patients. I saw how deep brain stimulation can improve the quality of the patient’s life, and it affirmed that I had made the absolutely right decision to become a movement specialist.
  2. The advice I would give to my younger self on my first day at Barrow would be: Please enjoy every single moment here. What you learn from Barrow will be the best foundation for your lifelong career.
  3. All of my movement disorder attendings are my role models. I have learned how to treat the patients as humans, not as diseases. They taught me the importance of detailed history-taking and physical examination and treating with updated evidence-based information. They also have sharpened my clinical skills. It has been a wonderful two years of experience during my fellowship training here at Barrow.

Tulio Bueso, MD

New role: Neurologist, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, Texas

  1. My most memorable moments at Barrow were seeing the many patients with resistant epilepsy who had successful surgeries and had major improvements in their lives.
  2. The people at Barrow who have influenced me the most have been Drs. Vladimir Shvarts and David Harris.

Kelly Breaux, MD

New role: Private Practice Neurohospitalist, Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center, Baton Rouge, Louisiana

  1. My most memorable moments of fellowship were the fun conversations with co-fellows, attendings, EEG techs, and EMU nurses.
  2. The advice I would give to my younger self on my first day at Barrow would be to enjoy the ride. It flies by.
  3. The people at Barrow who have influenced me the most have been all of the attendings. They each bring special qualities that provide the best learning experience.

John Eaton, MD

New role: Epilepsy Fellow, Barrow Neurological Institute, Phoenix, Arizona

  1. My most memorable moments of fellowship were the joy of seeing some of my patients through the path to getting a surgical/device treatment for medication-resistant epilepsy.
  2. My advice to my younger self on the first day of fellowship would be that the faculty will be great and will help you along the way to developing your expertise in reading electroencephalograms (EEGs), an essential component of epilepsy fellowship.
  3. I greatly appreciate all of the faculty in epilepsy at Barrow, but Drs. David Harris and Courtney Schusse in particular have both been influential mentors with interests similar to my own. They are always reliable and clear when asking for advice or their impression of a case or an EEG finding.

Olivia Kingsford, DO

New role: Neurologist, Barrow Neurological Institute, Phoenix, Arizona

  1. Getting to focus on headache medicine this year has been rewarding, including having patients who have been able to get back to doing things they want to do. I remember having one patient come in for nerve blocks with her eyes squinted shut. After the nerve blocks, she could walk out with her eyes wide open because she had significant relief of her photophobia.
  2. The advice I would give to my younger self on my first day at Barrow would be to learn as much as you can from every opportunity.
  3. The people at Barrow who have influenced me the most have been Dr. Kerry Knievel, Dr. Courtney Schusse, and Ann Chowdhury-Johnson.
Olivia Kingsford, DO

Laura Greenwood, DO

New role: Neurologist, The Permanente Medical Group with Kaiser Permanente, Walnut Creek, California

  1. My most memorable moments of fellowship were spending time with my co-fellows in the fourth-floor workroom and working with my attendings and many neuroimmunology patients to find the best DMT for their condition.
  2. The advice I would give to my younger self on your first day at Barrow would be to enjoy the journey and take it one step at a time.
  3. The neuroimmunology department has been wonderful to learn from, including Drs. Aimee Borazanci, Michael Robers, and Rinu Abraham, with a special thanks to Dr. Robers for being my mentor this last year.
Laura Greenwood, DO

Vikas Dalwadi, DO

New role: Neurologist, Evergreen Health, Kirkland, Washington

  1. My most memorable moments of fellowship were every time I saw an interesting and rare case but also every interaction where I could make a patient feel like they were cared for properly.
  2. I would advise my younger self to be confident and curious; you will have a chance to impact a lot of lives.
  3. The people at Barrow who have influenced me the most have been Drs. Erik Ortega and Shafeeq Ladha.

Ahmer Asif, MD

New role: Neurohospitalist, PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center, Vancouver, Washington

  1. One of the most unforgettable moments of my fellowship at Barrow was when a patient’s family, desperate to find out who made the life-saving decision for TNK and thrombectomy, finally discovered it was me. Seeing their eyes light up with gratitude and relief, and witnessing their heartfelt expressions of thanks, filled me with an overwhelming sense of purpose and joy. It was in that moment I truly realized the profound impact our work can have on the lives of patients and their families.
  2. The advice I would give to my younger self on my first day at Barrow would be: Stay confident in your skills, and remember that every difficult case is a chance to grow. Lean on your team, and never stop learning from those around you.
  3. The person who has influenced me the most during my fellowship is Dr. David Wang. He is a great mentor, a wonderful clinician, and an amazing teacher. Despite being a program director and a guru of stroke, he remains incredibly humble. Dr. Wang has significantly influenced me as a stroke doctor, teaching me how to stay calm during tough, life-saving decisions and stay knowledgeable about new trials and apply them when needed. I am profoundly grateful for everything he has taught me.

Bryan Franzen, DO

New role: Vascular Neurologist, Barrow Neurological Institute, Phoenix, Arizona

  1. My most memorable moments at Barrow were pushing tPA for the first time and seeing my patient instantly get better, and spending time with my co-fellows who have become my closest friends both in the hospital and out.
  2. The advice I would give to my younger self on my first day at Barrow would be that time will go by fast; continue to find joy in the small things.
  3. I am grateful to all my Barrow mentors for their patience and effort in training me over the years. In particular, I’m grateful for my stroke attendings, Drs. David Wang, Daniel Gonzalez, Supreet Kaur, and Lynn Ashby, for helping to make me the vascular neurologist I am today.
Bryan Franzen, DO

Graduates who did not submit responses:

Pireh Ansari, MD
Jonathan Bryant, MD
Jonathan Bryant, MD

Neuroradiology Fellows

Joel Hayden, MD

New role: Neuroradiologist, Northwell Health, New York, New York

  1. My most memorable moments at Barrow were playing ping pong in the conference room with the neuroradiology fellows as a medical student and getting to know Danielle Andazola, who was the best ‘Barrow Mom.’ She welcomed me and motivated me to pursue fellowship here. It has been pretty awesome to come full circle and now be a fellow who plays ping pong with other fellows/residents while spreading good vibes.
  2. The person who has influenced me the most at Barrow has been Dr. Raza Mushtaq, aka ‘Big Raz.’ His mentorship forever changed me and inspired me to be the best Barrow physician that I could be. I try to model all aspects of his game. Also, Dr. Dirk Wristers played a big role in my fellowship experience.

Dane Hellwig, MD

New role: Private Practice Radiologist, Santa Fe, New Mexico

  1. I think my greatest memories during my time at Barrow are from my Barrow Global trip to Tanzania with Dr. Jeremy Hughes and Dr. John Karis. It was a very unique and special trip.
  2. The advice I would give to my younger self on my first day at Barrow would be: Don’t worry; things will get easier!
  3. The people at Barrow who have influenced me the most have been Drs. Hughes and Karis for helping in setting up our collaboration with KIlimanjaro Christian Medical Centre’s radiology department.

Omar Kaddurah, MD

New role: Emergency Radiologist, Orlando Health Medical Group, Orlando, Florida

  1. One of my most memorable moments at Barrow was our fellowship welcome gathering at The Yard, getting to meet the faculty and fellows and their families outside of work and spending time together.
  2. The advice I would give my younger self on the first day would be to enjoy every day because the year passes by before you know it.
  3. The people at Barrow who influenced me the most have been my neuroradiology staff, with their expertise, and my co-fellows, with their wonderful attitudes and personalities.

Zak Ritchey, MD

New role: Radiologist, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana

  1. My most memorable moment at Barrow was during fellowship orientation. Upon meeting my fellowship class, I immediately knew that I had joined an amazing group of people from whom I could learn.
  2. If I could go back in time and give one piece of advice to my younger self on the first day at Barrow, it would be: Take more time to ask your neurology and neurosurgery colleagues about their thoughts on cases.
  3. The neuroradiology attendings and staff at Barrow have been my biggest influences.

Brandon Welbourn, MD

New role: Radiologist, RP Valley Radiology, Phoenix, Arizona

  1. My most memorable moment at Barrow is the remembrance of the greatest PACS ever created: DR Systems.
  2. The advice I would give my younger self on my first day at Barrow would be to remember to save my list.
  3. I idol my game after the GOAT, Dr. Kevin King.

Justin Owens, DO

New role: Private Practice Radiologist, Birmingham Radiological Group Grandview Division, Birmingham, Alabama

  1. My most memorable moment of fellowship was curing a patient’s chronic severe headaches by performing my first high volume epidural blood patch.
  2. The advice I would give to my younger self on my first day at Barrow would be that Barrow volume cannot be created or destroyed only redistributed.
  3. The person at Barrow who has influenced me the most has been Dr. Dirk Wristers.

Michelle Hunt, MD

New role: Private Practice Neuroradiologist

  1. My most memorable moments of fellowship were working alongside the most incredible group of co-fellows. 
  2. The advice I would give to my younger self on my first day at Barrow would be to enjoy the academic year and learn all that you can.
  3. The people at Barrow who have influenced me the most have been the neuroradiology staff for their teaching.

John Wallace, MD

New role: Neuroradiologist, Baylor Scott & White Health, Dallas, Texas

  1. My most memorable moments of fellowship were working with Dr. Alan Pitt on the first day of a PACS change, and learning the hard way about craniosynostosis and the foramen of vesalius.
  2. The advice I would give to my younger self on my first day at Barrow would be that the more you try to be productive, the lazier you’ll be.
  3. The people at Barrow who have influenced me the most have been Drs. Raza Mushtaq, Nicholas Matthees, and Dirk Wristers.

Graduates who did not submit responses:

Micheal Adondakis, MD

Neurosurgery Research Fellows and Interns

Andrea Lucia Castillo Matus, MD

New role: Skull Base Clinical Fellow, Tucuman, Argentina

  1. My time at Barrow was filled with memorable moments that strengthened my professional and personal character. Highlights include practicing skull base dissections in the lab, participating in courses, and attending neurosurgical congresses. These experiences deepened my technical skills and kept me updated on the latest advancements. Dr. Michael Lawton’s rounds, with their insightful discussions of complex surgical cases, were particularly impactful, enhancing my understanding and appreciation of neurosurgery.
  2. The advice I would give to my younger self on my first day at Barrow would be to stay focused and remember why you came here. Time flies. Take responsible breaks to explore, exercise, relax, and interact outside of medicine. Balance and creativity are crucial.
  3. Drs. Ali Tayebi-Meybodi, Mark Preul, and Michael Lawton significantly influenced my journey at Barrow. Dr. Tayebi-Meybodi’s meticulous and innovative approach to neurosurgery, combined with his dedication to teaching, profoundly shaped my surgical skills. His commitment to excellence set a high standard for my aspirations. Dr. Preul’s vast knowledge of research, neurosurgery, and history, along with his emphasis on continuous learning, inspired me to delve deeper into the academic aspects of neurosurgery. His support and guidance were invaluable, highlighting the importance of contributing to our field through practice and inquiry. Dr. Lawton’s insightful analysis and detailed explanations of complex surgical cases provided me with a deeper understanding of neurosurgical techniques and decision-making processes. His mentorship was instrumental in enhancing my surgical acumen. All three mentors exemplified dedication, compassion, and continuous improvement, profoundly shaping my professional journey.

Ali Tayebi-Meybodi, MD

New role: Neurosurgical Resident, Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, Newark, New Jersey

  1. My most memorable moments at Barrow were working with rest of the fellows and Dr. Mark Preul in the lab.
  2. I would advise my younger self to be organized—always!
  3. The person at Barrow who has influenced me the most has been Steve Marsh, our lab technician who assisted with every single problem I would encounter during work. He would go above and beyond to help me. He is personable, kind, and fun to work with.

Irakliy Abramov, MD, PhD

New role: Preliminary Surgery Resident, Banner Healthcare, Phoenix, Arizona

  1. Most memorable moments during my research fellowship are related to the great hikes and wonderful people I met. My first “Hike from Hell” was a psychological challenge that left my legs sore for days. The Grand Canyon Rim-to-Rim hike really pushed me to the limits, offering unforgettable scenic views and strengthening our team spirit. Lastly, I want to highlight the teaching rounds led by Dr. Michael Lawton, which I found to be very educational and integrative in managing different challenging neurosurgical cases.
  2. The advice I would give to my younger self would be: Make sure to find those things that would remind you to enjoy every day of your life.
  3. My biggest Barrow influence has been Dr. Mark Preul and the research fellows, who helped me broaden my experience and approach to different things.

Oscar Alcantar

New role: Medical Intern, Houston, Texas

  1. Probably one of the most memorable moments here is the day in which I did glioblastoma cell culture for the first time.
  2. The advice I would give to my younger self on my first day at Barrow would be: Just go for it. Embrace all the opportunities that Barrow provides. Be like a sponge: Ask as many questions as possible, and learn from everyone and everything.
  3. I especially want to thank Dr. Mark Preul for trusting me and giving me the opportunity to come to Barrow. Also, I want to thank Thomas J. On, Dr. Yuan Xu, Dr. Andrea Castillo, Dr. Ali Tayebi-Meybodi, and Dr. Ahmet Ozak for their continuous mentorship and support throughout my time at Barrow.

Ahmet Ozak, MD

New role: Assistant Professor, Akdeniz University Faculty of Medicine, Antalya, Turkey

  1. When I think of the most memorable moments at Barrow, the day I interviewed the legendary neurosurgeon Dr. Robert Spetzler stands out. His advice on neurosurgery, balancing lab work, and personal life will forever be etched in my memory. Another unforgettable moment was during teaching rounds with Dr. Michael Lawton. He asked me my first question, and I realized how nerve-wracking it can be to answer something you know well. These priceless memories and the support from the entire team are something I will always cherish.
  2. Reflecting on my time spent in the lab, clinic, and operating room from early mornings to late nights, I might advise my younger self to explore a bit more and perhaps indulge in some sightseeing. Although that aspect was somewhat lacking, I have no regrets as every minute spent was invaluable.
  3. It’s difficult to name just one person who influenced me the most at Barrow. Dr. Spetzler, with his foresight and problem-solving acumen, Dr. Lawton, for his surgical expertise and brilliant teaching methods, and Dr. Mark Preul, for his incredible support, openness, and intellectual generosity, all profoundly impacted my academic journey. They weren’t just mentors; they showed me what it means to be a mentor, and for that, I am immensely grateful.

ASU-Barrow Neuroscience PhD Program

“As the director of research education at Barrow and the director of the ASU-Barrow Neuroscience PhD Program, I am extremely proud of the accomplishments of our PhD graduates this year. It is a privilege to empower our students to push the boundaries of knowledge in neuroscience, which will ultimately lead to better care and treatments for individuals affected by neurological diseases.”

-Rita Sattler, PhD, MSc, Director, ASU-Barrow Neuroscience PhD Program

Lynette Bustos, PhD

New role: Postdoctoral Fellow, Ionis Pharmaceuticals, Carlsbad, California (Graduated Aug. 2023)

  1. My most memorable moments at Barrow were with my lab mates, discussing how to set up an experiment or what type of analysis to perform for a given data set. I also remember just chatting while we were all at our benches doing experiments.
  2. The advice I’d give to my younger self would be to relax; you are here to learn and grow. It’s OK to ask questions and ask for help when you need it, because you are surrounded by incredibly talented and caring people in the Sattler Lab.
  3. The individuals at Barrow who influenced me the most were Dr. Rita Sattler, my PhD mentor, and my fellow lab mates, Dr. Stephen Moore and Dr. Lauren Gittings. They all taught me so much about being a good scientist and asking and designing experiments to answer the hard questions.
lynette bustos

Please note: Some responses have been edited for style and clarity. Illustration by Dani VanBrabant, Barrow Neuroscience Publications.