Current Residents

2024 Neurosurgery Residents group photo
Ryan McCormack

Ryan McCormack, MD, PhD, PGY 7

Bachelor of Science in Biology/ Microbiology and Immunology: University of Miami, Miami, FL
Medical School: University of Miami Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine
About Dr. McCormack: Ryan McCormack, MD, PhD, grew up in Sarasota, Florida, and joined the honors program in medicine where he graduated from the University of Miami with a double major with Bachelor of Science in Biology and Microbiology and Immunology. He remained at the University of Miami for an MD/PhD, where he studied innate Immunology with Eckhard Podack. He graduated with distinction and was inducted into AOA. His clinical interests include epilepsy surgery and spine surgery. He spends his free time with his wife and two kids.

Joseph Withrow

Joseph Withrow, MD, PGY 7

Bachelor of Science in Biology: University of Georgia Athens, Georgia
Medical School: Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University
About Dr. Withrow: Joseph Withrow, MD, grew up in Atlanta and attended the University of Georgia, where he pitched for the bulldogs. He graduated with Magna Cum Laude with Honors with a B.S. in Biology and a Minor in Chemistry. He earned his M.D. at the Medical College of George where he was the president of the local AOA Chapter. His main clinical and academic interests are adult spinal deformity, spine trauma, spinal cord injury, spinal oncology, and cranial trauma. In his free time, he enjoys golfing, traveling, and spending time with his wife, his daughter, and his dog.

Shivani Bindal

Shivani Bindal, MD, PGY 6

About Dr. Bindal: Shivani Bindal, MD, was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, and grew up in Houston, Texas. She graduated with High Honors from The University of Texas at Austin as part of a combined 7-year BS/MD program and attended the University of Texas at Southwestern School of Medicine where she was elected into the Alpha Omega Alpha (AOA) honor society. Her clinical interests include neuro-oncology and general cranial and spine neurosurgery. In her free time, she enjoys cooking, using her Peloton, and spending time with her husband.


Elvira Lekka, MD, PGY 6

About Dr. Lekka: Elvira Lekka, MD, grew up in Sparta, Greece and attended medical school in Florence, Italy. She completed neurosurgical residency and an oncology fellowship in the United Kingdom. She moved to Houston and completed the Neurosurgical Endovascular Fellowship at UTHealth Houston. She then started residency in 2021 to become board certified in the United States. She enjoys playing tennis and piano and spending time with her husband and two kids.

Duncan Trimble

Duncan Trimble, MD, PGY 6

About Dr. Trimble: Duncan Trimble, MD, grew up in rural Michigan and graduated from the University of Michigan with a Bachelor of Science in Microbiology. He then attended medical school at McGovern Medical School at UTHealth Houston, where he graduated with distinction and was inducted into both the AOA Honor Society and the Gold Humanism Honor Society. He loved the neurosurgery program at UTHealth Houston and stayed for his residency. He loves the program’s case volume and variety, emphasis on neurosurgical education and leadership, and graduated operative autonomy. His clinical and academic interests include all aspects of spinal surgery. He enjoys spending time with his wife, working out, and investing.

Laura Ann Zima, MD, PGY 6

About Dr. Zima: Laura Zima, MD, grew up in rural Ohio. She then attended Occidental College in Los Angeles, CA and graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor’s in psychology. She was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa as a Junior Phi Beta. She then attended medical school at the University of Nebraska where she graduated with distinction and was inducted into AOA Honor Society. She then started residency at UTHealth Houston in 2019. She enjoys UT Houston’s case volume and autonomy as well as the comradery amongst residents.  Her clinical and academic interests include neurotrauma and epigenetics. She enjoys yoga, running, and trying new restaurants and wine tasting with her husband.

Ankush Chandra, MD, PGY 5

About Dr. Chandra: Ankush Chandra, MD, grew up in Boston, Massachusetts and he completed his undergraduate education at Boston University and graduated with honors in Neurosciences and Distinction in Biomedical Research. Further, he completed his graduate studies at Boston University School of Medicine. He graduated from Wayne State University School of Medicine with Research Distinction and was inducted into the Alpha Omega Alpha (AOA) honors society. During medical school, Ankush was awarded multiple research grants (AOA, NREF, Blue Cross Blue Shield) including the prestigious Howard Hughes Medical Institute research fellowship that enabled Ankush spend a dedicated research year in Dr. Manish Aghi’s laboratory at UCSF to study the tumor microenvironment and its role in drug resistance in glioblastoma. Ankush has published over 50 peer-reviewed scientific papers. His clinical interests include neurosurgical oncology (cranial and spine) and minimally-invasive spine neurosurgery. Outside of medicine, Ankush enjoys basketball, football, spending time with family, and traveling.

Dallas Sheinberg

Dallas Sheinberg, MD, PGY 5

About Dr. Sheinberg: Dallas Sheinberg, MD, is from Weston, Florida.  He graduated magna cum laude from Florida State University with a degree in Exercise Science. He attended medical school at University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. During medical school, he spent a year earning a Master of Science in Clinical and Translational Investigation while completing a vascular research fellowship investigating cerebral aneurysm pathogenesis. He is currently interested in all aspects of cranial and spinal neurosurgery. Outside of the hospital, Dallas enjoys working out and sports.

Antonio Dono Ostorga

Antonio Dono-Ostorga, MD, PGY 4

About Dr. Dono-Ostorga: Antonio Dono-Ostorga, MD, grew up in San Salvador, El Salvador. He graduated Summa Cum Laude from la Universidad Evangelica de El Salvador. After finishing medical school, he continued his training as a post-doctoral research fellow in Neurosurgical Oncology and Neuropathology at the Ballester-Esquenazi lab at the University of Texas Health Science Houston Center. During this time his research efforts in understanding the relationship between the gut microbiome and brain tumors, CSF cell-free DNA evaluation for the diagnosis of brain tumor, as well as genetic predictors of outcome in infiltrating glioma and brain metastases. His clinical interest is still broad but particularly in surgical neuro-oncology. Outside of the hospital, Antonio enjoys traveling, Houston’s symphony, and new restaurants with his friends.

Aria Sabbagh

Aria Sabbagh, MD, PGY 4

About Dr. Sabbagh: Aria Sabbagh, MD, was born and raised in Houston, Texas. He completed his undergraduate degree at the College of William and Mary in Neuroscience where he also competed as an NCAA All-Around gymnast. He obtained his medical degree at McGovern Medical School at UTHealth Houston. During this time, he performed research at MD Anderson Cancer Center in the department of Neurosurgery studying brain tumor immune therapeutic delivery using low intensity pulsed ultrasound. He is interested in all aspects of neurosurgery including translational research and Neurosurgical Oncology.

William Walker Wroe, MD, PGY 4

About Dr. Wroe: William Walker Wroe, MD, was born and raised in Austin, TX. He went to the University of Mississippi for his undergraduate education and then went on to get a masters in mechanical engineering at The University of Texas at Austin where he researched novel 3D printing techniques and materials. After working in the oil and gas industry for 2 years as an engineer he attended the McGovern Medical School at UTHealth Houston. His interests are vascular neurosurgery, Longhorn football, and watching Disney movies with his daughter.

Jawad Khazaal

Jawad Khazaal, MD, PGY 3

About Dr. Khazaal: Jawad Khazaal, MD, was raised in Dearborn, Michigan, and completed his undergraduate studies in Biology at Michigan State University. He remained at Michigan State University for medical school where he was inducted into AOA. During his undergraduate and medical training Jawad also served as a medic in the Michigan Army National Guard. His clinical interests include neurotrauma and spine surgery. In his free time Jawad enjoys working out, playing soccer, and exploring Houston’s food scene with friends.

Austin Tang

Austin Tang, MD, PGY 3

About Dr. Tang: Austin Tang, MD, grew up in Orinda, California where he had his first job at an ice cream shop before attending the University of California at Davis for undergraduate studies in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. He went on to obtain a master’s degree in public health under scholarship from the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice. Returning to California for medical school, he set his sights on neurosurgery at the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California. Now in residency, he is looking towards a career in pediatric neurosurgery and particularly loves the emotional aspects of the field. In his free time, he escapes into nature, goes to concerts, and has traveled to over 60 countries.

Si Yuan Yu

Si Yuan Yu, MD, PGY 3

About Dr. Yu: Si Yuan Yu, MD, grew up in Kai Yuan, China and moved to New Jersey at the age of eleven. He attended Cooper Medical School in New Jersey where he was inducted into the Alpha Omega Alpha honor society. He spent one year with Dr. James Evans studying clinical outcomes in pituitary surgery. He enjoys both cranial and spine surgery. In his free time, he enjoys traveling, exploring coffee shops in Houston, eating Hot Pot, and cheering on Philadelphia sports teams.

Dr Pedram Peesh

Pedram Peesh, MD, PGY 2

About Dr. Peesh: Pedram Peesh, MD, originally from Shiraz, Iran, brings a unique educational background in both engineering and finance, having earned a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Houston. His academic pursuits continued with a focus on the neuroimmunology of cerebrovascular diseases during his Medical Scientist Training Program at UTHealth Houston, where he employed advanced cytometry and sequencing techniques. His research was recognized through multiple funding agencies including NIH/NINDS Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) Predoctoral Fellowship from 2020 to 2022. As a resident, Pedram is exploring all areas of neurosurgery, however his special interest remains Cerebrovascular Neurosurgery.

Dr Victoria Scott

Victoria Scott, MD, PGY 2

About Dr. Scott: Victoria Scott, MD, grew up on a farm outside of Lexington, Kentucky. She graduated from Vanderbilt University with a major in Neuroscience and completed her Master’s at the University of Kentucky. She attended the University of Louisville for medical school where she was a member of AOA and graduated magna cum laude with a distinction in medical education in 2023. Her clinical interests in neurosurgery include functional and pediatrics. During her free time, she enjoys skiing, drinking bourbon and taking naps with her cat, Bowie.

Dr Yujia Shentu

Yujia (Yoga) Shentu, MD, PGY 2

About Dr. Shentu: Yujia Shentu, MD, is from Hangzhou in Southern China. She graduated with a combined Bachelor/Master’s degree in biomedical engineering from Washington University in St. Louis and double majored in Psychology and Brain Science. She spent the next two years working on clinical trials regarding opioid use disorder at Emory University. She went on to attend medical school at Dartmouth College where she was elected to AOA honor society and served as the Vice President for the chapter. Her clinical interest is in psychiatric neurosurgery and medical device development. Outside of work, she enjoys baking, gardening, and video gaming.

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Michael Goutnik, MD, MS, PGY 1

About Dr. Goutnik: Michael Goutnik, MD, MS, grew up in Sunny Isles Beach, Fl. He is a graduate of the Vagelos Molecular Life Sciences Program at the University of Pennsylvania, majoring in biochemistry and neurobiology, with a master’s in chemistry. He completed medical school at the University of Florida, where he was inducted into the Alpha Omega Alpha (AOA) honors society. His clinical interests are in neurosurgical oncology and vascular neurosurgery. Outside of the hospital, he enjoys working out, playing and watching sports, and traveling.

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Max Skibber, MD, PGY 1

About Dr. Skibber: Max Skibber, MD, was born and raised in Katy, TX. He attended Yale University, where he played Men’s Varsity Lacrosse and earned a major in Biomedical Engineering. Next, he earned a Master’s in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at Tulane University. He completed his medical degree at McGovern Medical School at UTHealth Houston and was inducted into Alpha Omega Alpha (AOA) for his academic achievements. During this time, he conducted translational research in the lab of Dr. Charles Cox related to novel stem cell therapies for traumatic brain injury and designed a dynamic, high-throughput blood-brain barrier model. His research has received numerous awards, including the AOA’s Carolyn L. Kuckein Student Research Fellowship. He is interested in continuing his translational research and pursuing Cerebrovascular Neurosurgery. In his spare time, Max loves fly fishing, art museums, and Formula 1.

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Rajiv Dharnipragada, MD, PGY 1