Read about New Chapter alumni.
Anantha Santhanam, Ph.D. (ANES ’06), is pursuing a career in delivering solutions for precision medicine. After postdoctoral training and two additional years at Mayo Clinic, he left academia for entrepreneurship. He got his MBA, joined a start-up company that uses big data to drive variation and redundancy out of health care, and cofounded a nonprofit organization to advance Alzheimer’s disease diagnostics and care. He has taken the position of vice president of product marketing for CQuentia to deliver pharmacogenomic solutions and advance human health by leveraging advancements in molecular science and technology.
Almudena Martinez-Fernandez, Ph.D. (CV ’12, CV ’13), was enmeshed in cardiovascular research at Mayo Clinic for six years, completing a fellowship in cardiac regenerative medicine. Her research focused on finding the best stem cells to regenerate the heart. Her mentors at Mayo Clinic described her as being in the forefront of cardiac regeneration and someone who would drive the field forward. Two years ago she left Mayo Clinic to focus on translational regenerative medicine — bringing projects to clinical trials. Despite a new focus, she’s determined to be a force in driving regenerative medicine forward.
Darren Casey, Ph.D. (ANES ’11), isn’t a Midwesterner by birth, but he is by choice. He grew up in southern California and lived in New York and Florida before landing in at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, for a postdoctoral research fellowship. Since 2013 he’s been in Iowa City, Iowa, studying cardiovascular physiology. He plans to stay in the Hawkeye State as long as the work remains rewarding. In fact, he’s told his wife he won’t retire — he plans go to well beyond age 70, saying, “As long as there’s interest, I’ll keep doing it.”
Janelle Fox, M.D. (PRES ’07, U ’11), completed a urology residency at Mayo Clinic in Rochester during a deferment of her military training. Since completing a fellowship in pediatric urology at Children’s Hospital in Pittsburgh, she’s served in the U.S. Navy, based out of Portsmouth, Virginia. A pediatric urologist in the Navy, you might ask? She provides pediatric urology care to military dependents at three locations in Virginia and North Carolina as well as provides general urology services. Semper fortis.
Christine Klassen, M.D. (I ’15), trained at Mayo Clinic in Arizona and is now on staff at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, focusing on the Breast Clinic. She’s involved with efforts to study breast cancer in neurofibromatosis patients who, it’s recently been discovered, are at high risk for breast cancer at an early age. She felt drawn to work in breast cancer because her mother is a survivor of stage 3 triple negative breast cancer.
Juliana Perez Botero, M.D., a native of Colombia, had never considered training in the Midwest. But fate landed her at Mayo Clinic in Rochester for a visiting clerkship in 2010. “It’s hard to find medical centers in the U.S. that will take students from other countries, especially from a new medical school like mine,” she says. Once she was at Mayo, it became her dream to train there, but she didn’t think she’d get in for residency. “Mayo must have seen potential in me.” She stayed for six years of residency and fellowship. She recently found her dream job at the BloodCenter of Wisconsin.
At the end of his clinical training in cardiology in his native Argentina, Alejandro Chade, M.D., went to Mayo Clinic in Rochester for a few months to learn echocardiography. He was tempted to return to Mayo for a yearlong research fellowship and seized the opportunity. That decision changed the course of his career. He gave up clinical practice for an academic research career — now studying therapeutic strategies for renovascular disease and chronic kidney disease at the University of Mississippi.
As science communications director for Delos Living, Aurelie (Lili) N’songo, Ph.D., focuses on translating complex scientific concepts into approachable, accurate language. She trained as a neurogeneticist at Mayo Clinic in Florida, studying the pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s disease. A career development internship opened her eyes to opportunities outside the lab, and she’s never looked back.
For the last year Matthew Klein, M.D., has been a senator in the Minnesota Legislature by day and hospitalist by night. When he’d been in office for only a couple of months, most of his medical colleagues were in the dark about his dual identify. When Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton fainted in January 2017 during his televised State of the State address, Dr. Klein (DFL, District 52), seated near the front, ran to catch the falling governor. Dr. Klein’s colleagues at Hennepin County Medical Center (HCMC) suddenly learned one of their own was in the state legislature.
Kara Bliley Cross, Ph.D., has worked for Medtronic for the last seven years — first in Colorado and now in Orange County, California. With an undergraduate degree in biomedical engineering and a graduate degree in biomedical engineering from Mayo Clinic Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, she thought she’d work in medical device design and development. Her career path led her toward product quality assurance for structural heart valve therapies, and she loves her role at a leading device manufacturer.
Christopher Boswell, M.D., is only a year past training but feels right at home teaching medical students and family medicine residents and practicing full-spectrum family medicine at Mayo Clinic in Rochester. His patients stand to benefit from his unique experience on the other side of the exam table — he battled cancer during medical school.
Victoria Gómez, M.D., is from Texas by way of Santiago, Chile, trained at Mayo Clinic in Florida and in Rochester, and assumed she’d return to Texas, where her parents live. But the appeal of the Jacksonville area and the “dream job” intervened, and she’s on staff in GI endoscopy at Mayo Clinic. In addition to her regular practice, she pioneered a bariatric endoscopy practice that expanded this fall.
Jason Golbin, D.O., says many of his fellow lifelong New Yorkers believe medicine begins and ends in the Empire State. He gave the Upper Midwest a chance for his fellowship and “was blown away” by the quality of care delivered at Mayo Clinic. In his new position as chief quality officer for the Catholic Health Services system of Long Island, he is emulating Mayo’s approach to patient care.
Katrin Wacker, M.D., completed a postdoctoral clinical research fellowship in the Department of Ophthalmology at Mayo Clinic in Rochester. She fit the fellowship into her residency program in her native Germany. She has returned home to Germany and continues to collaborate with Mayo Clinic. She hopes to further an evidence base for more precise treatment of Fuchs’ endothelial corneal dystrophy.
Thais Coutinho, M.D., has broken the glass ceiling only four years since completing her training. She’s the first woman – and the youngest person – to have a division chief position at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute. Read about the new chapter of this alumna who journeyed from Brazil to Minnesota to Canada to make her mark on medicine.
Elena (Ellie) Jelsing, M.D., is a physical medicine and rehabilitation and sports medicine physician at Mayo Clinic Sports Medicine in downtown Minneapolis, where Mayo is the exclusive medical provider for the NBA Timberwolves and WNBA Lynx. Dr. Jelsing also is the head team physician for the USA Curling team and a team physician for the U.S. Ski Team.
In a world of Mayo alumni overachievers, Andrew Landstrom, M.D., Ph.D., is an overachiever’s overachiever. He’s simultaneously completing postdoctoral clinical and research fellowships at Baylor College of Medicine in pediatric cardiology and molecular physiology/biophysics, respectively. He’ll finish the three-year clinical fellowship this summer and a five-year research fellowship in 2018.
As the new deputy medical director for the Minnesota Department of Health, Malini DeSilva, M.D., has had to hit the ground running. She assists with infectious disease outbreaks, including a recent measles outbreak in the Somali community in Minneapolis. She shares lessons learned from this and international disease outbreak experiences.
Three years post-residency, Jewel Kling, M.D., is focused on establishing and building her practice in women’s health at Mayo Clinic in Arizona. She’s co-medical director of a new community-based clinic in downtown Phoenix, in conjunction with St. Vincent de Paul, where students from the brand new Mayo Clinic School of Medicine – Arizona campus will care for patients.
After completing his residency in dermatology at Mayo Clinic, Ali Alikhan, M.D., joined the dermatology staff at the University of Cincinnati, where he is director of clinical trials, co-director of the residency program and clinical assistant professor of dermatology. He’s about to embark on another new chapter — moving to the Sacramento area in California, where he’ll join a large multispecialty dermatology practice.
Jill Barnes, Ph.D., is an assistant professor of kinesiology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and affiliate faculty member at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health. She completed a postdoctoral fellowship in human integrative physiology at Mayo Clinic School of Biomedical Sciences in 2013. She received the 2014 Edward C. Kendall Mayo Clinic Alumni Association Award for Meritorious Research for her work exploring the interactions of aging, sex differences and cerebral blood flow regulation in humans. Soon thereafter she left Mayo for a tenure-track faculty appointment at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Minerva Carrasquillo, Ph.D., is an associate consultant in the Department of Neuroscience and an assistant professor of neuroscience at Mayo Clinic in Florida. She has a big goal. She’d like to find a cure for Alzheimer’s disease, or at least contribute to a cure through genetic research. She recently received a grant from the Florida Department of Health to investigate Alzheimer’s disease in African-Americans – one of eight Alzheimer’s grants Mayo Clinic in Florida received from the state. She juggles her research responsibilities with raising three children – ages 12, 8 and 5.
Amine Issa, Ph.D., is a research fellow in the Division of Cardiovascular Diseases at Mayo Clinic in Rochester. He also is co-creator of Mobalytics, winner of TechCrunch’s 2016 Startup Battlefield. Born in Lebanon, Dr. Issa finished high school at 14, played video games professionally and even climbed Mount Everest for research. Today he’s found a way to marry his two passions – physiology and video games – to create a rewarding, challenging and unpredictable career.
Katheryn Norris, D.O., is a physician at Yakima Valley Farm Workers Clinic at Grandview Medical-Dental Clinic. She’s also the residency director of the Sollus Northwest Family Medicine Residency Program and the 2016 Washington Osteopathic Medical Association’s Physician of the Year. As a physician, residency director, mentor, spouse and mother, Dr. Norris shares her thoughts on her career, her time at Mayo and what makes a great mentor.