Scanlan Family Scholars

AATS Foundation Summer Intern Scholarship.

The Scanlan Family Scholars – AATS Foundation Summer Intern Scholarship program was established to introduce the field of Cardiothoracic Surgery to first and second year medical students in a North American medical school and to broaden their educational experience by providing an opportunity to spend eight weeks during the summer working in a North American Cardiothoracic Surgery Department.


Nicolas Mourad.

Nicolas is originally born and raised in Egypt. After immigrating to Canada, he completed his undergraduate Bachelor of Science at the University of Waterloo. Upon graduating in 2022, he enrolled in medical school at the University of British Columbia, where he began, under the guidance of Dr. Cook, a clinical trial investigating de-airing techniques in cardiac procedures.

This summer, Nicolas is excited to be working at the SickKids Hospital under the guidance of Dr. Barron to explore hemodynamic patterns in two techniques of the Norwood procedure using Cardiac Magnetic Resonance flow parameters.


Yu Tong (Linda) Lu.

Linda Lu graduated from University of Toronto with an HBSc. in Immunology and Nutritional Science in 2019. Under the guidance of Dr. Siyun Wang, she then completed a MSc. in Food Microbiology at the University of British Columbia. Linda is now a second-year medical student at the University of Toronto, where she is exploring her interest in cardiac surgery under the mentorship of Drs. Elbatarny, Ouzounian, and Gramolini.  This summer she will be working with Dr. Maral Ouzounian at University Health Network in Toronto.


Rana-Armaghan Ahmad.

Armaghan is a rising third-year medical student at Michigan State College of Human Medicine. He graduated from the University of Michigan with a Bachelor of Science in 2020, dual majoring in philosophy and biomolecular science. During his undergraduate years, he interned at the Frankel Cardiovascular Center, where he worked on different clinical registries, sparking his interest in cardiac surgery. After enrolling in medical school, he joined Dr. Bo Yang’s clinical research team and is presently studying outcomes of acute type A aortic dissections and aortic aneurysms. Under Dr. Yang’s guidance, he has presented at multiple cardiac surgery meetings, including the annual AATS and STS conferences, and published numerous original research articles. Apart from research, Armaghan represented his school at the annual Michigan State Medical Society meeting as a student delegate to discuss policies on issues within the scope of the American Medical Association.;

Armaghan is excited to work with Dr. Bo Yang as his mentor at the University of Michigan this summer.


Cornell Brooks.

Cornell Brooks is from Woodbridge, Virginia, and earned his BA in Psychology from Amherst College in 2019. As an undergraduate, Cornell joined the lab of Dr. Nadia Biassou at the NIH, conducting a collaborative project with the FDA to test the safety of high magnitude MRI scans. Prior to graduating college, he worked as a research assistant at Yale New Haven Hospital under the supervision of Dr. Imran Quraishi. While working with Dr. Quraishi, he reviewed over 3000 electrocorticograms to determine ideal seizure onset patterns for implanted responsive neurostimulation (RNS) devices to accurately detect and record seizures. After graduating college, Cornell spent two years as a research associate in the Department of cardiac surgery at Yale school of medicine under the mentorship of section chief Dr. Arnar Geirsson and lead research resident Dr. Makoto Mori. His research focused on tracking cardiac surgery patients postoperative recovery trajectories over the course of 1 month. He also authored a manuscript looking into how volume outcome effects in cardiac surgery manifest across different case types on a center level in the state of New York.

Now a rising M2 at the University of Illinois Chicago, Cornell is eager to spend the summer conducting research investigating patient perception of risk when considering surgery and learning more about robotic mitral valve repairs with Dr. Geirsson at Yale School of medicine.


Siavash Zamirpour.

Siavash’s goals from the internship were to deepen his exposure to the field of cardiothoracic surgery and develop skills in scientific research toward his career aspirations in academic cardiothoracic surgery. His favorite memory was attending a Ross skills lab and seeing the major steps of the procedure demonstrated on a pig heart and assist with tying sutures. His experience as a summer intern furthered his interest in cardiothoracic surgery practice and research. In addition, his research proposal for the summer internship has been advanced by characterizing wall stress clusters and their association with 3-year outcomes in ascending thoracic aortic aneurysms.

Siavash worked with Dr. Elaine Tseng as his mentor at the University of California, San Francisco.


Benjamin Shou.

Benjamin is a 3rd year medical student at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. His primary project was the utilization of machine learning to predict outcomes in patients supported with extracorporeal membrane oxygenation. After the summer internship, his goal of becoming an academic CT surgeon was solidified. He saw bread-and-butter operations as well as new techniques from leaders in the field, learned immensely about how to take care of patients in the peri-operative period, and gained even more appreciation for how research can directly impact patient care. His interest in the cardiothoracic surgery has been molded into a deep passion and a desire to learn as much as possible.

Benjamin worked with Dr. Glenn Whitman as his Mentor at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.


Michal Schafer.

Michal graduated from Colorado School of Mines with a degree in Chemistry & Biochemistry in 2013. He then pursued his graduate studies in biomedical engineering at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus as a member of Dr. Dunbar Ivy’s pediatric pulmonary hypertension lab at Children’s Hospital Colorado. His research focused on investigating flow hemodynamics in pulmonary hypertension using 4-dimensional flow MRI imaging. In 2015, he earned a Master’s degree in biomedical engineering and continued his PhD studies, analyzing intracardiac flow patterns in congenital heart disease. In 2015, Michal joined the research team of Dr. Max Mitchell and began work on flow analysis in patients undergoing surgical repair of Tetralogy of Fallot and hypoplastic left heart syndrome. Under the mentorship of Dr. Mitchell and Dr. Ivy, Michal earned his PhD in 2018 in biomedical engineering. Michal Is presently a second-year medical student at the University of Colorado and is continuing his research efforts in cardiovascular imaging with the cardiothoracic team at Children’s Hospital Colorado.


Sohil Patel.

Sohil Patel was born and raised in the Bay Area and attended Columbia University, where he obtained a B.A. in biology and a concentration in computer science. At Columbia, he worked in a microbiology lab examining translation at rare codons in E. coli as well as investigating the role that antibiotics play in plasmid replication. As a first-year medical student at the University of California, San Francisco, Sohil has developed a keen interest in cardiothoracic surgery and is currently responsible for organizing faculty-led panels for medical students as part of UCSF’s surgery interest group. This summer, he will be working in the San Francisco VA Medical Center under the guidance of Dr. Elaine Tseng and Dr. Liang Ge, where he will examine the risk of aortic dissections in patients with aneurysms.


Irina Kolesnik.

Irina earned a BS in Biological Sciences with a specialization in Physiology and Neurobiology from the University of Maryland, College Park. During her time at UMD, she worked as an EMT which exposed her to a wide range of patients and sparked her interest in surgery. Irina is a first year medical student at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, where she takes every opportunity to gain more exposure to surgery. This is how she became involved with research in the cardiothoracic surgery department under the mentorship of Dr. Bartley Griffith and Dr. Muhammad Mohiuddin. Irina’s summer research project will focus on characterizing Perioperative Cardiac Xenograft Dysfunction (PCXD) in pig to baboon cardiac xenotransplantations.


Cameron Best.

Cameron graduated from Yale University with a BA in Linguistics in 2013. During his undergraduate career, he joined the laboratory of Drs. Christopher Breuer and Toshiharu Shinoka in the Vascular Biology and Therapeutics Program at the Yale School of Medicine. His work focused on the development of novel biodegradable scaffolds for vascular tissue engineering. In 2013, he relocated with the laboratory to Nationwide Children’s Hospital, where he was involved in the first FDA-approved clinical trial investigating the use of a tissue-engineered vascular graft for the surgical palliation of congenital heart defects. Between 2016 and 2019, Cameron earned a PhD in Biomedical Science at the Ohio State University. In 2019, he entered the Ohio State University College of Medicine’s Class of 2023. He is excited to experience firsthand the clinical processes related to cardiothoracic surgery and continue his research supporting the translation of tissue-engineering technologies to the pediatric population.


Rachel Yang.

Rachel Yang earned her BSE in Biomedical Engineering from Duke University in 2018. At Duke, she was involved in cardiac electrophysiology research, working in Dr. Nenad Bursac’s lab on rescuing impaired conduction in a fibrotic model by using engineered ion channels. As an incoming 2nd year medical student at the University of California, San Francisco, Rachel is further exploring her interests in cardiac surgery under the mentorship of Dr. Elaine Tseng. Her summer research project will include developing patient-specific models of transcatheeter aortic valve replacement to predict valve durability and indicate risk of post-surgical complications.


James Whitbread.

James Whitbread is originally from rural eastern Washington state, and attended Washington State University (WSU) for his undergraduate education. There, he graduated with a B.S. in Theoretical Mathematics and minors in Sociology, Chemistry, Molecular Biosciences, and Biology in 2018. At WSU, he was a researcher in Mathematics Education, Neuroscience, and Reproductive Molecular Biology, studying everything from student conceptualizations in a fully flipped Introduction to Mathematical Proof course, to the effects of Retinoic Acid Receptor Alpha on spermatogenesis in mice. He also worked as an Undergraduate Instructor of Mathematics and a leader in mental health advocacy and mental illness destigmatization. Currently, Joey is a rising second year at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. There, he is developing his interest in Surgery and CT Surgery through his work in the Cardiac Surgery Research Lab and the Cardiac Surgery Division at Johns Hopkins Hospital. He is currently investigating VAD’s effect on heart transplantations under the direction of Dr. Ahmet Kilic, and is also the president of his school’s CT Surgery Interest Group and Math in Medicine Club. In his spare time, he tutors math for 8th graders at a local middle school, and loves to keep up his own personal passions for reading and writing.


Iris Liu.

Iris Liu attended Dartmouth College, where she majored in Biology and minored in Applied Ethics. At Dartmouth, she worked as an HHMI scholar to study cancer signaling pathways, and she continued to work in cancer research prior to starting medical school at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). At UCSF, she has further developed her interests in translational oncology and thoracic surgery and is an intern at UCSF this summer under the mentorship of Drs. Johannes Kratz and David Jablons.


Kiah Williams.

Kiah Williams is originally from Evergreen, Colorado and earned her undergraduate degree in Biomedical Engineering at Dartmouth College in 2015. Kiah then worked as a consultant at ClearView Healthcare Partners in Boston for two years before joining the Stanford community. Kiah is now an upcoming second year medical student at Stanford University School of Medicine, where she is exploring an interest in cardiac surgery by working in Dr. Joseph Woo’s laboratory and routinely shadowing multiple cardiac surgeons. In the research setting, Kiah is continuing her lab’s investigation of how certain cyanobacteria may support the survival of cardiomyocytes. Kiah has been passionate about pursuing a career in medicine since childhood and is excited to continue working toward this ambition with the generous support of the AATS/Scanlan Family Summer Intern Scholarship. In addition to her research, Kiah enjoys serving as a Wellness Representative for her class, providing educational tea tastings for her peers as founder of the CommuniTea! initiative, leading the Cardiovascular Interest Group, and working as a teaching assistant for cardiac surgery skills and high school anatomy classes.


Benjamin Smood.

Attended the University of Oregon studying biology, political science, Spanish and chemistry. He taught 7th grade Science for two years before attending medical school at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Benjamin is an intern this summer at Children’s Hospital of Alabama under the mentorship of Dr. James Kirklin.


Nicole Westergaard.

Studied Health Policy and received an MPH prior to entering medical school at the Carver College of Medicine. Nicole’s academic pursuits are balanced between Cardiothoracics and health policy. She is an intern this summer at University of Iowa under the mentorship of Dr. Joseph Turek.