After a months-long process of interviews and evaluations, the matches have been made: Nalini Tata and Natasha Kharas will join the neurosurgical residency program at Weill Cornell Medicine and NewYork-Presbyterian this summer. In an unusual year of firsts due to Covid, including virtual interviews, informational videos, and live remote interactions to provide a personal sense of our program, this year our announcement includes a more historic first: Both of our new residents are women.
“We are delighted to have been matched with two such excellent candidates,” says Dr. Philip E. Stieg, department chair. “Both of these young doctors are highly accomplished, with impressive credentials, and we couldn’t be happier to have them join us. I’m also happy to note that the entire pool of candidates this year was not only outstanding in their experience and qualifications, but also remarkably diverse, which is a promising development for the future of neurological surgery.”
Natasha Kharas will receive her MD and PhD this year from McGovern Medical School at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston. A native New Yorker, Natasha earned her undergraduate degree in neural science (with highest honors) from NYU before enrolling in the MD/PhD program at McGovern, where she was elected to the medical student honor society Alpha Omega Alpha. Natasha has been working with Dr. Casey Halpern’s lab at Stanford University to examine the role of intracranial stimulation in epilepsy, and with Dr. David Sandberg at McGovern on a translational research project examining the safety and pharmacokinetics of injecting the chemotherapy drug panobinostat directly into the fourth ventricle to treat posterior fossa tumors in children. She received an NIH F31 grant for her PhD dissertation research, which examined the neural underpinnings of how sleep improves cognitive performance; she also performed research that examined the neural basis for how unconscious visual stimuli alter behavior.
Nalini Tata will receive her MD from Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago with a concurrent Master of Public Policy (MPP) degree from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Nalini, who hails from New York as well, was also elected to the Alpha Omega Alpha medical student honor society. Nalini received her undergraduate degree in neurobiology from Brown University, then earned a Master of Philosophy degree from the University of Cambridge in England before enrolling in medical school. As a student researcher with Dr. Rees Cosgrove at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, she helped study asleep DBS practices and outcomes. She has also written about ethics and philosophy of neurosurgical practice during and beyond the time of the Covid-19 pandemic with Dr. Nader Dahdaleh at Northwestern Memorial Hospital.