Weill Cornell Medicine provides a highly competitive, demanding environment for neurosurgery residents. Our seven-year program produces some of the top neurosurgeons in the country. About the Program
Evan Bander, M.D.
Evan Bander received a biological science bachelor’s degree from Cornell University in 2011, with a concentration in neurobiology and behavior. In 2016, he received his M.D. from Weill Cornell Medical College and won the Sidney and Viola Borkon Memorial Prize, awarded annually to the student who places at the top of their class for scholastic performance upon completion of their preclinical curriculum. He was selected for membership in the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society in 2015.
Dr. Bander's extensive research experience includes service as a Howard Hughes Medical Institute fellow at Weill Cornell Medicine, during the summer of 2012 as well as during his 2014-15 academic year with Dr. Shahin Rafii in the Ansary Stem Cell Institute. He spent two years working with Dr. Chris Schaffer in the Cornell University Department of Biomedical Engineering, and three summers working with Dr. David Scheinberg in the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center Department of Molecular Pharmacology and Chemistry. Dr. Bander's extensive list of co-authored, peer-reviewed articles includes several with Dr. Jeffrey Greenfield concerning pediatric brain tumors and with Dr. Theodore Schwartz concerning skull base surgery.
Joseph Carnevale, M.D.
Joseph Carnevale, MD, is a chief resident in neurosurgery at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center, with fellowship training in endovascular neurosurgery. He has particular interest in cerebrovascular disorders — including aneurysms, arteriovenous malformations, brain tumors, and carotid occlusive disease — as well as neurotrauma, neuro-endoscopy, global neurosurgery, and medical device innovation.
Dr. Carnevale is a 2017 graduate of the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University, in Providence, Rhode Island. He received his B.A. summa cum laude in biology and theology from Fordham University in 2011, then worked around the world — from mobile health clinics in rural Kenya to teaching in western China to clinical trials research at Weill Cornell Medicine Hematology-Oncology, and finally to the World Health Organization — prior to starting medical school. As a medical student, Dr. Carnevale was elected to the Alpha Omega Alpha honor society. He earned honors in both service and research, including the 2017 Stanley Aronson Award for Excellence in Neuroscience, the Rhode Island Chapter of the American College of Surgeons Award, and the Fordham University Leadership Service Award.
Dr. Carnevale's research and publications have focused on a variety of neurosurgical areas, culminating in numerous publications, national conference presentations, and multiple ongoing clinical research projects. Currently, he is a leader in multiple clinical research efforts surrounding intracranial aneurysms, carotid occlusive disease, middle meningeal artery embolization for non-acute subdural hematomas, carotid body tumor embolization and resection, venous sinus stenting for idiopathic intracranial hypertension or tinnitus, intra-arterial chemotherapy for retinoblastoma and other neoplasms, as well as other areas of cerebrovascular, minimally invasive, and endovascular neurosurgery. See Dr. Carnevale's publications.
John Chae, MD
John Chae received his MD this year from Weill Cornell Medical College, where he was a member of Alpha Omega Alpha, the national medical student honor society. During his tenure at Weill Cornell, John was awarded the 2019 Siegel Family Student Prize for high academic achievement and leadership as well as the 2018 Marcus M. Reienberg, M.D. Award in Community Service. He received a Bachelor of Arts in chemistry from Williams College, where he was a member of Phi Beta Kappa. John has been an active member of the Weill Cornell Medicine AANS Neurosurgery Interest Group, where he twice directed the Medical Student Neurosurgery Training Camp, and helped organize a medical student publication group. John has served as a mentor with HPREP, designed to boost medical school enrollment rates of underrepresented groups. Among his research projects are several conducted under the mentorship of Dr. Jeffrey Greenfield on congenital brain malformations, including the creation of a novel pathophysiology-based classification system.
Andrew Garton, MD
Andrew Garton received his MD from Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, where he was a member of both the medical student honor society Alpha Omega Alpha and the Gold Humanism Honor Society. As a medical student, Dr. Garton worked in Dr. E. Sander Connolly's Cerebrovascular Laboratory, where he was awarded a NIH/NIA T-35 grant for his investigation into biomarkers of functional outcome in intracerebral hemorrhage.
Dr. Garton earned his bachelor’s degree with honors and high distinction from the University of Michigan, with concentrations in the Psychology, Biochemistry, and Statistics departments. He completed his honors thesis under the direction of Dr. Nestor Lopez-Duran, PhD, investigating cognitive vulnerabilities to depression and the psychoneuroendocrine effects of sleep deprivation, among other projects. Dr. Garton has taught medical students in many roles, including leading workshops for third-year medical students aiming to improve communication skills for doctors having end-of-life and goals-of-care conversations.
Jacob Goldberg, M.D.
Jacob Goldberg, M.D., is a 2017 graduate of the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health. From 2014-15, Dr. Goldberg spent a year completing a Howard Hughes Medical Institute medical research fellowship. He received his medical microbiology and immunology B.S. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2012.
Dr. Goldberg has performed neuroblastoma research at the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis and pediatric hematology and oncology research at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health. In addition to frequently publishing and presenting his work, he actively provides community service through mentoring and tutoring initiatives.
Natasha Kharas, MD, PhD
Dr. Natasha Kharas received her MD and PhD degrees 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. Dr. Kharas 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.
Gary Kocharian, M.D.
Dr. Gary Kocharian completed his M.D. at Weill Cornell Medical College after receiving a Bachelor of Arts from Rutgers University Honors College. Dr. Kocharian completed an extra year of research during his time at medical school in the Laboratory of Molecular Neurosurgery, where he helped develop a novel method for profiling changes in gene expression in specific populations of brain cells following vector-mediated viral gene therapy.
Throughout his time at medical school, Dr. Kocharian worked with Dr. Mark Souweidane on a variety of projects to advance the field of pediatric neurosurgery. He has also served as president of the Weill Cornell Medical College student chapter of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons. An avid musician and athlete, Dr. Kocharian is also fluent in multiple languages.
Alexandra Giantini Larsen, MD
Alexandra Giantini Larsen is a graduate of Harvard Medical School, where she was vice president of the AANS medical student chapter and co-president of the Harvard Medical School chapter of the Association of Women Surgeons. She earned her bachelor’s degree with honors in Molecular and Cellular Biology at Johns Hopkins University.
Dr. Larsen spent a year as a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Medical Research Fellow in the laboratory of Dr. E. Antonio Chiocca, Chairman of Neurosurgery at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, where her research was focused on viral therapies for glioblastoma. She also has spent time as a researcher in the Vascular Biology Program at Boston Children's Hospital with Dr. Edward Smith and in the Brain Tumor Stem Cell Laboratory at Johns Hopkins Hospital with Dr. Alfredo Quinones-Hinojosa. She was an observer in our own department during her college years, when we recognized her emerging talents, and we are delighted to have her join us for her residency.
Alexander D. Ramos, M.D., Ph.D.
Alexander D. Ramos received his bachelor’s degree in biochemistry summa cum laude from Washington University in St. Louis in 2008. In 2014 he received a Ph.D. in biomedical sciences from the University of California, San Francisco, where in 2016 he received his M.D.
Dr. Ramos has an extensive list of publications and awards to his credit. He was the Washington University Alejandro Ramirez Scholar in 2004, and was awarded a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship in 2007. He has also been awarded an NIH Medical Scientist Training Fellowship, a California Institute for Regenerative Medicine Training Grant, and an NIH F31 Training Grant. His peer-reviewed publications include work investigating the roles of long noncoding RNAs in neural development and glioma progression, the regulation of neuronal differentiation of embryonic and postnatal neural stem cells, and astrocyte-to-neuron reprogramming.
Maricruz Rivera, M.D., Ph.D.
Dr. Maricruz Rivera completed her M.D. and Ph.D. at the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. Her Ph.D. work centered around mechanisms by which glioblastoma develops resistance to radiation therapy; in particular, she explored novel pathways activated in gliomas that repair damaged DNA and prevent DNA damage responses necessary for inducing tumor cell death following radiation. Dr. Rivera received her biochemistry undergraduate degree from the University of California, Riverside, where she also continued to work with developmentally disabled adults at a state-licensed care home that she founded while in high school.