Our current residents report that our rotations and electives, stimulating research opportunities and supportive faculty constitute a rewarding training environment.
Undergrad: Ramapo College of New Jersey
Med School: George Washington School of Medicine and Health Sciences
Dr. Justin M. Cappuzzo was born and raised in Northern New Jersey. He attended Ramapo College of New Jersey for his undergraduate studies, graduating Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry (ACS Certified) in 2011. Dr. Cappuzzo spent the following year working as a chemistry teacher at Roxbury High School, where he attended high school just a few years earlier. Afterwards, Dr. Cappuzzo attended medical school at the George Washington School of Medicine and Health Sciences in Washington, DC, and graduated in 2016 with a Research Track specialization for which he earned the Health Services Scholarship for his research on the role of FoxD4 on neuronal differentiation. He was also elected by his peers as the Commencement Speaker for the graduation ceremony. Dr. Cappuzzo subsequently completed his internship in General Surgery at the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, MA, in 2017 before joining the Department of Neurosurgery the following academic year. Dr. Cappuzzo’s clinical interests include cerebrovascular/endovascular neurosurgery, as well as surgical education. He has a diverse research background including organic chemistry, physics, and neuroscience. He is also interested in using technology to improve patient care in healthcare. In his spare time, Dr. Cappuzzo enjoys cooking, reading, and spending time with his family and friends.
Undergrad: Baylor University
Med School: University of Minnesota
Dr. Matthew McPheeters grew up in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and completed his undergraduate education at Baylor University in Waco, Texas, where he graduated magna cum laude with a degree in health science studies. He received his Medical Doctorate and Master of Business Administration at the University of Minnesota, where he served as the president of the medical student council and worked as a health and medicine content creator at Khan Academy. His clinical interests include open and endovascular neurosurgery as well as minimally invasive spine surgery.
Undergrad: Emory University
Med School: Medical College of Georgia
Born and raised in Atlanta, GA, Dr. David Smolar attended Emory University for his undergraduate studies. He returned to Emory to earn his Master of Science in chemistry, researching therapeutics that modulate post-stroke inflammatory damage. David also worked as a chemist for an Atlanta biotech company producing biologically friendly methods to recycle paper. David earned his doctorate of medicine from the Medical College of Georgia. His clinical interests in neurosurgery are broad, but he is considering specializing in spine surgery. His research interests lie in improving care for patients with neurotrauma and closed head injuries.
Undergrad: University of Tennessee
Med School: University of South Florida
From humble beginnings in rural eastern Tennessee, Dr. Steven B. Housley completed his undergraduate studies in Anthropology at The University of Tennessee. Prior to attending medical school, he completed a Master of Science and spent two years in Alzheimer’s and neurodegenerative disease research at the University of South Florida. His specific research foci were frontotemporal dementia and similar tauopathies. During medical school at the University of South Florida, Dr. Housley completed a scholarly concentration in Law & Medicine, where he focused on analysis of the intricate medico-legal environment of today’s healthcare system. His specific interests on this front relate to healthcare management, cost-effectiveness, and the ever-increasing integration of healthcare law into medical practice. This has translated into several research projects involving the feasibility of Medicaid expansion and cost-effectiveness of Vagus nerve stimulation in the treatment of medically refractory epilepsy. Dr. Housley has diverse interests in the field of neurosurgery, and looks forward to a long and fruitful career. Outside of clinical practice, he enjoys time with family and being outdoors.
Undergrad: University of Pittsburgh
Med School: Drexel University College of Medicine
Dr. Matthew Recker grew up in Central Pennsylvania and completed his undergraduate education at the University of Pittsburgh, graduating magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Science degree in Neuroscience. He earned his Medical Doctorate from Drexel University College of Medicine in Philadelphia, PA, where he was elected to the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society for his academic achievements. He also received the Alpha Omega Alpha Carolyn L. Kuckein Student Research Fellowship for his work investigating the mTOR signaling pathway and its link to axonal regeneration after spinal cord injury. Dr. Recker has a particular interest in providing surgical care to the developing world and is considering specialized training in pediatric neurosurgery, skull base neurosurgery, and neurosurgical oncology.
Undergrad: Ithaca College
Med School: Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences
Dr. Alexander Becker is a native of Buffalo and attended high school in Williamsville, NY. He went on to Ithaca College where he graduated Magna Cum Laude with a degree in Exercise Science with a Medical Emphasis and Chemistry minor. He returned home to Buffalo to attend medical school at the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at the University at Buffalo. In medical school, he served as president of the Neurosurgery Interest Group, a group that aims to enhance medical students’ exposure to the field of neurosurgery.
Dr. Becker is excited to continue his training with University at Buffalo Neurosurgery and be able to further treat patients from Western New York. His interests in neurosurgery are vast and include pediatric and skull base surgery, as well as research in quality improvement. In his free time Dr. Becker enjoys cycling, sailing and spending time with friends and family.
Undergrad: Emory University
Med School: Vanderbilt University School of Medicine
Dr. Jaims Lim was born and raised in Queens, New York, and he completed his undergraduate education at Emory University, graduating summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Science in Biology. He then went on to complete his medical education at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine earning his Medical Doctorate in 2018. In medical school, Dr. Lim actively pursued research on hydrocephalus, traumatic spinal injuries, and stroke as a research fellow of the Surgical Outcomes Center for Kids at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.
Dr. Lim has particular clinical research interests in pediatric, vascular, and oncological neurosurgery. He enjoys spending time with his wife, friends, and family.
Med School: Aga Khan University – Medical College
Dr. Hussain Shallwani received his medical education from the Aga Khan University – Medical College in Pakistan. Along with a passion for Neurosurgery, Dr. Shallwani developed an interest in academia during his early years in medical school. He was actively involved in a number of research projects and published a number of articles focused on outcomes and prognosis after surgery. He continued his academic endeavors as a research fellow at the Department of Neurosurgery at State University of New York at Buffalo, where he published extensively on the topic of endovascular treatment and its outcomes for stroke and aneurysms.
Dr. Shallwani is enthusiastic about his clinical training in Neurosurgery at the State University of New York at Buffalo. He is motivated to continue his research, with emphasis on outcome-based studies. His interests include skull-base and cerebrovascular surgery, and neurosurgical oncology.
Undergrad: University at Buffalo
Med School: Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences
Born and raised in Buffalo, Dr. Hess attended University at Buffalo for both his undergraduate and medical education. As an undergraduate he majored in Biomedical Sciences with a minor in Pharmacology and Toxicology, graduating summa cum laude in 2015. He continued his education at the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences where he was elected to the Alpha Omega Alpha honor society, ultimately earning his MD summa cum laude in 2019. Throughout his career Dr. Hess has received several awards for excellence in the basic sciences including the Merck Award for Excellence in Organic Chemistry and the Witebsky Award for Excellence in Microbiology. He was also among the first teachers nationwide trained by Kaplan to tutor for the new MCAT exam. Dr. Hess’ research interests include endovascular therapies, cost-analysis of medical treatments, and medical education. He hopes to earn an MBA in the future. In his free time Dr. Hess enjoys traveling, learning languages, cooking, and playing video games.
Undergrad: University of Michigan - Dearborn
Med School: Oakland University William Beaumont SOM
Dr. Moleca M. Y. Ghannam was born in Detroit, Mich. She graduated early, summa cum laude, from the University of Michigan-Dearborn with a double major in biology and anthropology. There she researched miRNA markers in glioblastoma multiforme. She received her medical degree from Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine. Her interest in tumor research carried into medical school where she used novel brain imaging segmentation analysis to compare meningioma grade. She also looked at proteomics data and miRNA networks that impact neuronal growth and regeneration.
Dr. Ghannam has a strong interest in global neurosurgery. She spent time at Harvard University where she studied theories in globalization and development. She worked as a health advocate and researcher looking at the rates of tobacco and hookah use in the Arab and Chaldean American communities on a project sponsored by the Michigan State Department of Health. She founded Hakeemah, a virtual library of resources to improve positive health seeking behaviors in Muslim women by addressing the intersectionality of medicine and faith without compromising either.
Her clinical interests include central and peripheral nervous system tumors. In her free time, she enjoys traveling across the United States with her family. She has visited over 30 states and is working on seeing all 50. She also enjoys horseback riding and calligraphy.
Med School: Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland
Dr. Asham Khan was raised in Buffalo, NY and completed his medical education at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland where is passion for neurosurgery was ignited. After graduating from medical school, Dr. Khan obtained a research fellowship with the department where he published extensively in the realm of spine surgery, in particular, robotic spine surgery. His clinical interests include complex spine surgery and skull base neurosurgery, in the future hopes to complete fellowships in these fields, and advance research in these fields. Dr. Khan also has a keen interest in business and is co-founder and CEO of Fusion Medical Software, a startup company aiming to improve patient flow, simplify clinical practice and connect neurosurgeons for the betterment of patient care. In his spare time, he enjoys playing chess, basketball, and spending time with family and friends.
Undergrad: University of Texas
Med School: University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston
Dr. Elizabeth Nyabuto was born and raised in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex in Texas. She has always had a desire to become a doctor and took advantage of all opportunities growing up to achieve this goal. Prior to completing undergraduate education, she attended the Texas Academy of Mathematics & Science, an early college entrance program for gifted high school aged students interested in STEM. Afterwards, she received her Bachelor of Science and Arts in Biochemistry from the University of Texas in Austin, where she spent two years and worked as a Biostatistics Teaching Assistant in her final semesters. She then went on to complete medical school at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, serving as the Vice President of the Class of 2020 for her last two years and graduating as a Global Health Track Scholar. She spent 4 weeks observing neurosurgeons in Cape Town, South Africa prior to beginning residency, and hopes to utilize the skills she acquires to help people in her family’s hometown in Kenya. Her research interests include indications for intracranial pressure monitoring for various neurologic disorders. Her clinical interests include vascular and pediatric neurosurgery, and central nervous system tumors. Dr. Nyabuto enjoys volleyball, singing, playing guitar and piano, and watching random Youtube videos. She also loves meeting new people and spending time with her family and friends
Undergrad: Saint Bonaventure University
Med School: George Washington School of Medicine
Dr. Neil D. Almeida is from Fremont, California and completed his undergraduate education at Saint Bonaventure University, graduating summa cum laude with Honors Thesis with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology. He earned his Medical Doctorate from the George Washington School of Medicine and Health Sciences in Washington, DC, and graduated in 2021 where he was elected to the Alpha Omega Alpha (AOA) Honor Medical Society. He also received the AOA Carolyn L. Kuckein Student Research Fellowship for his work investigating diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma. During medical school, Neil was awarded the American Association of Neurological Surgeons – Young Neurosurgeons Committee Mission Fellowship and American Brain Tumor Association Medical Student Fellowship. He enjoys working on interdisciplinary research projects involving biomedical engineering and contributed to George Hacks at GW. For his research accomplishments, Neil was awarded the Doris DeFord Speck and George Speck, MD Endowed Prize from GW. His hobbies and interests include spending time with family and friends, exploring Buffalo, Los Angeles Lakers, and EDM.
Undergrad: Tufts University
Med School: Virginia Commonwealth School of Medicine
Dr. Matt Moser is originally from Northern Virginia, he completed his undergraduate education at Tufts University where he majored in Biochemistry, volunteered as an EMT, and played varsity baseball all four years as a pitcher and shortstop. He then attended Virginia Commonwealth School of Medicine in Richmond, VA where he earned the Internal Medicine Clerkship award along with being inducted into the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Society. During medical school, his research and publications included peripheral nerve repair techniques using processed acellular nerve allografts along with improvements in operative techniques for frame-less fiducial-less DBS surgery using a poised cannula technique. His neurosurgical interests are broad and include critical care, open and endovascular surgery, neurosurgical oncology, and functional neurosurgery.
Undergrad: Cornell University
Med School: Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at the University at Buffalo
Dr. Kyungduk Rho grew up in Albany, New York, and completed his undergraduate education at Cornell University, where he graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Science in Biology in 2015. He continued his education at the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences where he was elected to the Alpha Omega Alpha honor society, ultimately earning his Medical Doctorate summa cum laude with Honors in Research. In medical school, Dr. Rho actively pursued research on cerebrovascular disease, endovascular therapies, and robotic spine surgery. His clinical interests include open and endovascular neurosurgery, as well as neurosurgical oncology. Dr. Rho enjoys playing golf, basketball, traveling, and spending time with his friends and family.
Undergrad: University of California, Davis
Med School: University of Central Florida College of Medicine
Dr. Tanya Singh grew up in San Mateo, California and completed her undergraduate degree under and independent major program at the University of California, Davis where she studied cognitive neuroscience and statistics. She completed a master’s in biophysics and physiology at Georgetown University and went on to earn her MD from the University of Central Florida College of Medicine. Dr. Singh subsequently completed her internship and PGY-2 year in general surgery at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Her clinical interests remain broad, and she has a particular interest in providing surgical care to the developing world. She is considering specialized training in pediatric neurosurgery, skull base neurosurgery, and cerebrovascular surgery. Outside of the hospital, Tanya enjoys spending her free time travelling with family and friends, running and reading.
Undergrad: Binghamton University
Med School: Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences
Dr. Alexander Fritz grew up in Buffalo and completed his undergraduate education at Binghamton University where he volunteered as an EMT and graduated magna cum laude with degrees in biology and philosophy. He went on to medical school at Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. In medical school, Dr. Fritz pursued research in spine and endovascular neurosurgery. He additionally engaged in volunteer work with UB HEALS, an outreach organization group that aims to facilitate medical care for the homeless population of Buffalo. Dr. Fritz’s clinical interests include endovascular and skull base neurosurgery. He enjoys spending time with his family, watching the Bills, golfing and traveling.
Undergrad: Florida State University
Med School: Florida State University
Dr. Devan Patel was born and raised in Seminole, Florida. He completed his undergraduate training at Florida State University and studied biology and chemical engineering. He remained at Florida State University for medical school. During medical school, he co-founded Leadership in Medicine, a four-year leadership development program for medical students and other health care professionals. The program received multi-year grant funding from the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society. He also conducted basic science research on inflammation in brain aneurysms at the University of Florida in Dr. Brian Hoh’s lab. During his research time, he received grant funding from the Brain Aneurysm Foundation. Following medical school, he completed his general surgery internship at the University of North Carolina. Upon graduation, he received the Department of Surgery’s Outstanding Intern of the Year award and Excellence in Pediatric Surgery award. His research efforts have focused on novel treatments for cerebrovascular diseases. His clinical neurosurgery interests remain broad. Outside of medicine, he enjoys spending time with his family and is an avid Tampa Bay sports fan.
Undergrad: Government College University, Lahore, Pakistan
Med School: Hamdard University Karachi, Pakistan
Dr. Muhammad Waqas completed his medical education at Hamdard University, Karachi as a gold medalist. He went on to graduate from the Aga Khan University neurosurgery program before moving to Buffalo to pursue his passion for academic neurosurgery. He published well over 100 manuscripts and dozens of book chapters related to cerebrovascular neurosurgery, during his stay with UB Neurosurgery, first as research and then as a clinical fellow. He is a junior editor for the journal “Interventional Neuroradiology.” His research interests include arteriovenous malformation, stroke, and aneurysm treatment and outcomes. He has been actively working to explore and address heath care disparities with regards to access to stroke care in the United States. He wishes to optimize stroke systems of care to ensure equal access to all irrespective of gender, race and geography. Dr. Waqas enjoys music, poetry, traveling and spending time with his friends and family.