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Meet the Fellows

Current Fellows

Samantha Bruni, MD

Samantha Bruni, MD (2019-2022)

  • Program: Gastroenterology
  • Undergraduate: University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, MI
  • Medical School: Wayne State University School of Medicine, Detroit, MI
  • Residency: Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago/McGaw Medical Center of Northwestern University
Read Bio

 

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Why did you choose Lurie?

It is a large academic center where you will see everything and have a plethora of resources and support but it is small enough that I know everyone in the department personally. And honestly, what I love most is how down-to-earth and approachable all of the attendings are.  I felt extremely supported my first year of fellowship which I think is really important.

What do you do for fun or to relax?

Mostly spending time with my husband and friends on dog friendly patios or in parks.  I used to love going to cycling classes (in the era of COVID, I have been riding my peloton hard).  Otherwise, I consider myself a connoisseur of true crime podcasts and reality TV.

What do you love most about Chicago?

I'm completely biased but I think Chicago is the best city. I love being outside and Chicago has a great lakeshore that you can walk/bike/run on or you can go boating or kayaking.  I love that it is a pretty healthy city with active people and a ton of neighborhoods to explore and restaurants to eat at.

What has been the most rewarding experience so far?

Finishing my first colonoscopy without someone else touching the scope and getting into the TI!! 

What are your research interests?

My main project is identifying biomarkers to predict diagnosis of GALD and improve outcomes in neonatal acute liver failure. I am also working on a study to evaluate the immunophenotype of psoriasiform dermatitis in patients on TNF-alpha inhibitors.

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Natalie Hoffmann, MD

Natalie Hoffmann, MD (2019-2022)

  • Program: Gastroenterology
  • Undergraduate: University of California Berkeley, Berkeley, CA
  • Medical School: University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, MI
  • Residency: Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA
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What are your research interests?

I am interested in eosinophilic gastrointestinal disorders and esophageal motility disorders.

Why did you choose Lurie?

I was impressed by the camaraderie within the fellowship and throughout the department, the breadth of clinical and educational opportunities, and the program’s support for fellows’ research and career interests. The program, department, and hospital provide a fantastic learning environment.

What do you do for fun or to relax?

I enjoy exploring the city and all of the unique neighborhoods, trying new restaurants, and walking/running/biking along the lakeshore path.

What do you love most about Chicago?

I love the number of parks and outdoor spaces, the lakeshore, the awesome food scene, and the museums. It’s a very active city with endless things to do in all seasons (even in the winter!).

Caitlin Cutler, MD

Caitlin Cutler, MD (2020-2023)

  • Program: Gastroenterology
  • Undergraduate: Loyola University Maryland, Baltimore, MD
  • Medical School: Rutgers, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, New Brunswick, NJ
  • Residency: Children's National Medical Center, Washington, DC
Read Bio

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Why did you choose Lurie?

I considered many things during fellowship interviews including size of program/hospital and location.  I was looking for a program with a medium to large sized department.  Coming into fellowship, I did not know where my specific interests in the field lie.  At Lurie the faculty have diverse interests, so you’ll experience most everything GI and Liver have to offer!  I was also drawn to Chicago, a fun city I could enjoy in my free time.  

What has been the most rewarding experience so far?

Leaving residency was bitter sweet, I was excited to move on to my next chapter but becoming a fellow was daunting.   Moving to a new city, new hospital, new role as a fellow was quite an adjustment but everyone in the department was so welcoming and made the transition easier!   

What do you do for fun or to relax?

I enjoy cooking, baking, and running.   Lake shore trail is a great spot for running/walking/biking or picnicking!

What do you love most about Chicago?

Can’t lie, I’m nervous about the Chicago winters!  But I love living in a big city with endless restaurants and activities.   There is still so much of the city I need to explore.    Side note, I am OBSESSED with my dog Heidi.  Unfortunately, she lives in NJ with my parents, but for you dog owners Chicago is super dog friendly!

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Shaunte McKay, MD

Shaunte McKay, MD (2020-2023)

  • Program: Gastroenterology
  • Undergraduate: Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD
  • Medical School: University of Virginia School of Medicine, Charlottesville, VA
  • Residency: Duke University Hospital, Durham, NC
Read Bio

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What drew you to the field?

Gastroenterology, Nutrition, and Hepatology is such a diverse field that allows you to think critically of the interplay between many organs while still being a subspecialist. I personally feel as though it is the best field because of the numerous procedures you can do without losing long term continuity of care with your patients.

Why did you choose Lurie?

I chose Lurie because I was particularly interested in an institution that would provide a wide array of clinical complexity, strong support for research endeavors, and significant diversity within their patient population. I needed an institution that would allow me to continue my interests in community advocacy and health disparities work for the underserved as well. Lurie Children’s GI/Hepatology provided all of these robust opportunities in addition to having supportive faculty members and a warm family feel! I am very happy with my choice.

What do you do for fun or to relax?

I love traveling! I have been to over 20 countries and have been to 5 out of the 7 continents. I love learning about new cultures and particularly enjoy lounging on the beach (Chicago also has a beach! Which is an extra plus for me since I can lounge on it in the summer time). I also love cooking Jamaican food since the aromas make me feel closer to home and my roots

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Swati Antala, MD

Swati Antala, MD (2021-2022)

  • Program: Gastroenterology
  • Undergraduate: Princeton University, Princeton, NJ
  • Medical School: Rutgers- Robert Wood Johnson School of Medicine, Piscataway, NJ
  • Residency: Yale School of Medicine, New Haven, CT
  • Fellowship: Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition Fellowship, Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago
  • Research: characterization of immune mechanisms in biliary obstruction
Read Bio

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What drew you to this field?  

I first became interested in GI/liver as a medical student, but it was not until residency when I realized that I truly wanted to pursue a career as a hepatologist.  I helped take care of a complex post-transplant patient in the ICU, and while I didn't realize it fully at the time, it became pretty clear throughout residency that I was most interested in the liver patients!

What are your research interests?

For my primary fellowship research, I am currently in a lab setting working on a translational project looking at immune mechanisms in biliary obstruction

Why did you choose Lurie?

I chose Lurie because I wanted a fellowship experience in which I would be well-trained in both GI and liver diseases with a great foundation in the "basics" as well as the unique and super-specialized.  Lurie really does offer all of that, and the people are amazing to work with, not to mention experts in their fields!

What do you do for fun or to relax?

I got a puppy a year ago, so a lot of my personal time is very willingly spent relaxing with her.  I'm a big fan of exploring my neighborhood (mostly by eating) and taking frequent walks to the water.

What do you love most about Chicago?

I love all the outdoor park space and being so close to the water while still having all the perks of being in a big city.  I also travel a lot (other than during a pandemic), and it's nice to be able to get anywhere easily from O'hare.

What advice would you give a resident thinking of entering the field?

The advice that I would give a resident thinking of pediatric GI/hepatology/nutrition is that as long as you're interested in it, you can't really go wrong with choosing this field! There's such a great variety in terms of what you can focus on and how you can adapt your career.  There's also a great national network (and thus engaging and fun conferences).  

Jonathan Lebowitz, MD

Jonathan Lebowitz, MD (2021-2024)

  • Program: Gastroenterology
  • Undergraduate: New York University, New York, NY
  • Medical School: New York University Grossman School of Medicine, New York, NY
  • Residency: New York University Grossman School of Medicine, New York, NY
Read Bio

What drew you to this field

I was drawn to pediatric GI for a variety of reasons. I was always interested in the physiology and pathophysiology involving the GI tract. There is so much variety and so many important connections to other important organ systems. Additionally, the day to day is always varied and I enjoy the procedural aspect of the specialty. 

What are your clinical interests? How did you become interested in this area?

I’m still figuring out what my clinical interests are! But I started fellowship with an interest in Celiac. 

What are your research interests

I’m not sure yet what my research interests are! But I have always enjoyed going medical education work and I would love to incorporate Med Ed research into my research work in the future. 

Why did you choose Lurie?

The faculty seemed amazing. The fellows seemed smart and hard working and fun! Also Chicago is a great city. I came here because I thought it would be a great environment and a great education.

What do you do for fun or to relax?

Reading. I love reading, fiction mostly. But I also recently moved to Chicago and have been exploring the city in my free time. There are so many great neighborhoods and restaurants to explore.

What do you love most about Chicago?

The summer! Chicago in the summer is great. There are so many awesome outdoor activities just steps away from wherever you live.  

Ariel Porto, MD

Ariel Porto, MD (2021-2024)

  • Program: Gastroenterology
  • Undergraduate: University of Florida, Gainesville, FL
  • Medical School: Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, MA
  • Residency: University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, Aurora, CO

Past Fellows

First Position After Graduation

Bridget Whitehead, MD (2018-2021):  Transplant Hepatology Fellowship, Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago/McGaw Medical Center of Northwestern University

Victoria Shakhin (2017-2020): Pediatric Transplant Hepatology Fellow, Children's Hospital Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA

Amanda Wenzel (2017-2020): Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, Attending Physician, Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago/Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, IL

Anna Banc Husu (2016-2019): Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, Attending Physician, Texas Children's Hospital, Houston, TX

Marc Elias (2016-2019): Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, Attending Physician, University of Chicago

Hillary Bashaw (2015-2018): Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, Attending Physician, Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, Atlanta, GA

Scott Bolton (2015-2018): Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, Attending Physician, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, Cincinnati, OH

Catherine Chapin (2014-2017): Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, Attending Physician, Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago/Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, IL

Sonal Patel (2014-2017): Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, Attending Physician, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, Atlanta, GA

Chantal Lucia-Casadonte (2013-2016): Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, Dell Children's Medical Center of Central Texas, Austin, TX

Michael Malandra (2013-2016): Health Systems Clinician, Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago/Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, IL

Sunpreet Kaur, MD (2012-2015): Assistant Clinical Professor, UC Davis Children’s Hospital, Sacramento, CA

Jacob Kurowski, MD (2012-2015): Attending Physician, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, OH

 

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