Pulmonary & Critical Care Fellowship Programs

Our Fellows

PCCM and CC Fellows

First Year Fellows

Critical Care

Hi Everyone! My name is Puja. I moved from India to NYC during high school and spent about 14 years there before moving to Buffalo for residency and then New Haven, CT for Nephrology fellowship. Critical care intrigued me when I started that rotation while in residency. The intricate complexity of each case, how no two cases are the same, and being able to be there for family members during their difficult times, made me decide to pursue Critical Care. At the same time, I loved the physiology inherent in Nephrology and how understanding it helped me to work through finding solutions. In Nephrology fellowship itself, I most enjoyed rotating through ICU consults. It provided a solid base for understanding base-acid, electrolyte disturbances, and fluid balance, issues inherent in most ICU patients.  I chose University of Chicago for my critical care training due to the breadth of pathology which will enhance my clinical experience. I also witnessed the friendliness and supportiveness when I interviewed at University of Chicago, and it seemed to meet my criteria of wanting to train at a rigorous but supportive place.  Upon completion of fellowship, I envision myself practicing in Critical Care and Nephrology.  

Puja Mehta, DO

Medical School: New York Institute of Technology College of Osteopathic Medicine, Residency: University of Buffalo, Nephrology Fellowship: Yale School of Medicine

Pulmonary/Critical Care

“Hi I’m Dylan. I was born and raised in the Chicago northwest suburbs (Buffalo Grove) and haven’t ventured very far away from home. I attended medical school at Loyola Stritch School of Medicine and completed my residency training here at UChicago. I chose to continue my training at UChicago for many reasons, but mainly because of the current fellows/faculty as well as the patient population we work with. My current research interests are in the field of ILD and I hope to continue this throughout fellowship.

Outside of work you can find me with my golden retriever Theo. We take full advantage of the Chicago summer (short, but worth it!) by hanging out on the lakefront, which is only a 5-10 minute walk away from our apartment.”

Dylan Douglas, MD

Medical School: Loyola University, Residency: University of Chicago

Pulmonary/Critical Care

“Hi I’m Claire! I’m from Kansas City and went to the University of Kansas. I completed undergraduate degrees in trumpet performance and clinical laboratory science.

I’m still in the exploration phase of what my career in pulmonary and critical care will look like, but I like interventional pulmonology, large airway disease, exercise physiology, as well as research and can think of more than a few ways to permute them! In my free time I am either open water swimming, running or biking along the lake, enjoying the symphony or ballet, or kicking it with my two pups.

I chose the University of Chicago after observing the collegiality and vigorous discussion spurred by morning report with the literal guideline-writing experts at the table weighing in. The curriculum was strong in procedural training and also had the flexibility to explore a lot of different interests. The Hyde Park community and the people in its surrounding neighborhoods are a genuine pleasure to serve, and I could not be happier to be here.”

Claire Smith, MD

Medical School: University of Kansas, Residency: University of Kansas

Pulmonary/Critical Care

“Hi, I’m Hanna! I grew up in Ames, Iowa – about 5 hours west of Chicago. I attended the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis for undergrad before attending medical school here at the Pritzker School of Medicine. I loved my four years at U of C and fell in love with the tight knit nature of the community and the patient population we serve. I took a brief hiatus away for internal medicine residency in Boston at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. It was there that I decided to pursue pulmonary/critical care. I found the complexity of medicine in the ICU fascinating, and was equally struck by the challenges and rewards of guiding patients & families through critical illness and complex goals of care discussions. When considering programs, I was drawn to the University of Chicago for many reasons —  the strong clinical training, emphasis on teaching, level of fellow autonomy, research excellence, and the patient population, among others. I’m so excited to be back here for my fellowship training! I’m still figuring out where exactly my career in PMCC will land me. Right now, I have strong interests in critical care and palliative care communication research in the ICU. Outside of the hospital, I love trying new restaurants and bars with my fiancé (the Chicago restaurant scene is hard to beat), hiking/spending time outdoors, and swimming in Lake Michigan in the summer.” 

Hanna Vollbrecht, MD

Medical School: University of Chicago, Residency: Brigham and Women’s Hospital

Pulmonary/Critical Care

Hi everyone, I’m Jack. I moved a lot but call Champaign, IL home. I completed my education at Yale before finishing residency here at the University of Chicago. I am fortunate to be able to continue my training as a Pulmonary Critical Care fellow. 

This is a great program! There is strong clinical training, fellow autonomy, and ample research opportunities all with a friendly Midwest feel. My current focus is in ICU outcomes but I look forward to exploring what fellowship has to offer –  from obstructive lung disease to interventional to transplant. 

I currently live downtown with my significant other and our Scottish Fold, Nora. We like to explore restaurants, see games and shows, and plan trips across the world. 

Jack Zhao, MD

Medical School: Yale University, Residency: University of Chicago

Third Year Fellows

Nicholas de la Rua, MD

Medical School: Louisiana State University, Residency: Rush University

“Hi y’all! I’m Chris, originally born and raised between the southwest suburbs and south side of Chicago. I went to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where I studied chemistry, molecular and cellular biology, and math. From there I kept it in the academic family and went to medical school at University of Illinois in Chicago. Taking a break from the cold, I did internal medicine residency in Houston followed by a chief year in part dedicated to building a skill set in patient safety and quality improvement. Eventually I came to my senses and returned home!


When I’m not at work, I love being able to enjoy the city with my significant other and friends. Between a never-ending food scene, plenty of outdoor recreation (shameless plug for life in the Lakeview neighborhood), comedy and sports, there is always something to do. We also love to travel, and as a central hub, the city makes it easy to explore new places around the world. I recently started running for reasons unclear to me at the present, and I’ll have my first marathon coming up in the fall here in Chicago, which I’m really looking forward to!
What I love about the University of Chicago is difficult to distill into to a few sentences. We are a small, collegial section but we make a lot of noise in research, clinical care, education, and outreach. Given our location in the city, we are given the incredible privilege to care for some of Chicago’s sickest and most vulnerable patients, offering them access to the resources and care that only a major academic center can provide. We are so incredibly supported by our mentors and program leadership to build upon a rich history of discovery to ask important or controversial questions and are empowered to begin the work to answer them!”
Christopher Nemeh, MD

Medical School: University of Illinois Chicago, Residency: Baylor College of Medicine

Hey everyone, I’m August. I grew up in Madison, Wisconsin (Go, Pack, Go) and came to Chicago initially for undergrad at Loyola University, where I graduated with degrees in Biology and Spanish.  When my childhood dreams of an NBA career eventually fizzled out, I went to medical school in Detroit where I met my wife. We then ventured out of the Midwest for residency at Boston University, where I stayed on for an additional year as chief resident.  Always looking for a challenge, we decided to have two kids during those four years of training. We came back to the Midwest for fellowship training to be closer to family (someone’s gotta help us with these kids…) and because we love Chicago!  I chose the University of Chicago for its combination of unmatched clinical training, the patient population we serve, and the phenomenal research support the department provides for its trainees. My favorite parts of the program thus far are our tight-knit and supportive department, and the daily morning reports (it’s nerve wracking the first time you do it, but you learn a lot!). My clinical and research interests are in interstitial lung disease and pulmonary hypertension, as well as medical education.   

When I’m not in the hospital you can find me at one of the city’s awesome parks or museums (the MSI and Peggy Notebaert Museum are particular favorites if you are, or have, a toddler), pretending to be a hipster foody in Logan Square, cultivating my amateur urban garden, or wrestling toddlers into bed by a semi-reasonable hour.  

Oh, and we are expecting baby # 3 this fall! As I mentioned, always up for a challenge…

August Sigelko, MD

Medical School: Wayne State University, Residency: Boston University

Hi everyone, I’m Michael. I was born and raised in Puerto Rico. I attended medical school in Puerto Rico and then moved to New York where I completed my residency at Weill Cornell Medical Center. Afterwards, I stayed in New York working as a hospitalist for 4 years. I realized my true passion was in pulmonary and critical care and ended up being lucky enough to move to the Midwest to complete my fellowship at the University of Chicago.  

I love the training at the University of Chicago. The clinical training is excellent with a perfect balance of fellow autonomy, a significant amount and variety of procedures and a faculty that is incredibly dedicated to fellow education. Throughout my training, I became interested in Interventional Pulmonology and I am currently applying for the fellowship. 

Outside of work, I enjoy spending time at the gym, cooking, exploring the amazing Chicago restaurants, and planning my next trip.”

Michael Torres Lizardi, MD

Medical School: University of Puerto Rico, Residency: Weill Cornell/New York Presbyterian

Fourth Year Fellows

Hi! I am Kevin. I grew up Switzerland and attended medical school and worked for two years at the Imperial College School of Medicine in London. After a brief stint at the Mayo Clinic during a visiting student elective, I decided to pursue further training in the US and took advantage of the US passport I inherited through my American father. I moved to Vanderbilt for internal medicine residency where I discovered my passion for critical care medicine. 

I chose the University of Chicago for its hands-on rigorous clinical training in both critical care and pulmonary medicine and it’s guaranteed T32 spot for all fellows. As a current research fellow and student in the Master of Science in Public Health Sciences for Clinical Professionals, I am working with large longitudinal multicenter datasets trying to predict untreated infection in all hospitalized patients using machine learning techniques. 
Outside work, my fiancé and I enjoy spending time on the beach, biking around the city, and exploring the unlimited food scene that Chicago offers.
We love the city for its diversity, close proximity to the lake, and restaurants.”
Kevin Buell, MBBS

Medical School: Imperial College London, Residency: Vanderbilt University

Mario Fonseca-Paricio, MD

Medical School: Thomas Jefferson University, Residency: Thomas Jefferson University

“Hi, I’m Mark! I grew up in the Chicago suburbs and studied Philosophy at the University of Notre Dame before returning to Chicago for medical school and residency. I was drawn to Pulmonary and Critical Care by the challenging and subtle physiology, and I chose the University of Chicago for fellowship for both the rigor of the education and the balance between its clinical and research training. I am interested in the role of the microbiome in the development of pulmonary disease and am currently researching its relationship to bronchiectasis.

Outside of the hospital, I really enjoy cooking and trying new restaurants with my wife (and sometimes with our two kids). I also enjoy wine (without our kids), playing music, and watching Terrence Malick films.

Mark Tancredi, MD

Medical School: Loyola University, Residency: Loyola University

Former Fellows


Ajmani Gaurav Interventional Pulmonology Fellow, John Hopkins University
Bajaj Tushar Physician, US Acute Care Solutions for Glendale Memorial Hospital and California Hospital, Los Angeles
Selvan Kavitha Assistant Professor, Northwestern University 




Gray Sarah Staff Physician, Northshore University Healthsystem
Neborak Julie Assistant Professor, Rush University
Nowalk Nathan Sleep Medicine Fellowship, University of Chicago
Potts Kyle Staff Physician, Northwest Pulmonary Associates
Shamaa Obada Coggeshall Instructorship, University of Chicago
Strykowski Rachel Staff Physician, Hennepin County Medical Center, Minnesota
Szafran Jennifer Assistant Professor, University of Chicago



Pearson Steven Staff Physician, Duly Health, Illinois
Stahlbaum Danielle Assistant Professor, University of Michigan
Stutz Matthew Assistant Professor, Rush University and Staff Physician, Stroger Hospital Cook County



Han Susan Assistant Professor, Tufts University
Lee Cathryn Coggeshall Instructorship, University of Chicago
Miller W. Dwight Assistant Professor and PCCM Fellowship Program Director, University of South Florida



MacKenzie Erica Assistant Professor, University of Kansas
Bhavani Siva Assistant Professor, Emory University
Kimmig Lucas Assistant Professor and PCCM Fellowship Program Director, University of Chicago
Lin Julie Assistant Professor, University of Texas MD Anderson



Dugan Karen Staff Physician, Kaiser Permanente, Portland, Oregon
Duong Heng Assistant Professor, Santa Clara Valley Medical Center/Stanford
Katsis James Assistant Professor, Rush University
Parker William Assistant Professor and Assistant Director, MacLean Center for Clinical Ethics, University of Chicago
Rojas Juan Assistant Professor and Director of Clinical Informatics and Data Science, Rush University



Schoettler Nathan Assistant Professor, University of Chicago
Wolfe Krysta Assistant Professor, University of Chicago
Wu David Staff Physician, Kaiser Permanente, Oakland, CA



Adegunsoye Ayodeji Assistant Professor, University of Chicago
Witt Leah Assistant Professor and Pulmonary Associate Chief for Ambulatory Affairs University of California San Francisco



Bonham Catherine Assistant Professor, Scientific Director of Interstitial Lung Disease Program, University of Virginia
Mason Joshua Staff Physician, Arizona Pulmonary Specialists
Shah Tina Medical Director of Virtual Health, Wellstar Health System, Georgia



Greenberg Jared Associate Professor, Rush University
Laxmanan Balaji Senior Director, Clinical Development, Lung Cancer Initiative, Johnson & Johnson
Oldham Justin Associate Professor, University of Michigan
Patel Bhakti Assistant Professor, University of Chicago



Becker Julia Staff Physician, Spectrum Health, Grand Rapids, MI
Doeing Diana Staff Physician, Amita Health, Joliet, IL
Takahashi Stephenie Staff Physician, WakeMed, Raleigh, NC
Verhoef Philip Associate Professor and Medicine Residency Associate Program Director, Kaiser Permanente, Honolulu, Hawaii



Cardasis John Section Chief, White Plains Hospital, Montefiore Health, NY
Churpek Matthew Associate Professor, University of Wisconsin
Hovda Margaret Staff Physician, St. Vincent’s Healthcare, Jacksonville, FL
Mahajan Amit Medical Director, Interventional Pulmonology, Inova Medical Group, Fairfax, Virginia
Patel Shruti Associate Professor and Vice Chair of Medicine, Loyola University
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