Hematology, Oncology and Transplantation Fellowship Program

Image of HOT Fellowship members in conference

We will begin reviewing applications for the 2020-2021 academic year beginning July 15, 2020 and our interview period will run September-October 2020.

The Fellowship Training Program Hematology, Medical Oncology and Transplantation is directed by Yvonne Datta, MD, Professor of Medicine. The major goal of the Fellowship Training Program is to train physicians for independent and productive academic or clinical careers. Leading to dual-board eligibility in hematology and medical oncology, the three-year program emphasizes clinical training in all areas of hematology, oncology, and transplantation, along with developing the skills needed for a successful academic career in basic or clinical/population outcomes research. The training program is flexible and customized according to the needs and interests of the individual fellow.

  • Fellowship Training Program
  • Research Path
  • Clinical Path
  • Application Process
  • Fellowship Training Program

    The Division offers a mentored, 3-year training program in hematology and medical oncology leading to dual- board eligibility.

    Year 1: Clinical Training The goal of the first year of the training program is to provide a creative clinical environment for the fellow to develop skills and experience in the comprehensive care of cancer patients and in the diagnosis and management of hematologic diseases. The fellow will rotate on a monthly basis to clinical services at the University of Minnesota, HCMC, Regions Hospital, and the Veterans Administration Medical Center (VAMC). Fellows will receive a broad exposure to all aspects of hematology, oncology and stem cell transplantation during their first year. Each fellow will be assigned a longitudinal clinic at the VAMC.

    Year 2‐3: Research and Clinical Training During the first year of fellowship, all fellows will identify at least three mentors to serve as a Career Development Committee to assist them in developing a Career Development Plan to support their goals. The Career Development Plan will be reviewed by the Fellowship Committee meeting. For the first-year fellow entering training year 02, a final decision on training pathway assignment will be made by the Committee with mentors and fellow input. Depending on project goals, clinical interests, and grant funding, the fellow will have 3-9 months of research time per year. Each fellow has the flexibility to train for a career in basic science/translational research, clinical or education research, or clinical care. Each fellow will participate in 1⁄2 day of continuity care clinic throughout fellowship.

  • Research Path

    For fellows planning an academic career in which the majority of time is spent in research, the fellow can focus on research training in clinical/population science research or laboratory/translational research. Fellows considering this option will typically have significant prior research experience. Fellows with T32 or individual grant support will have 18 months of dedicated research training (9 in fellowship year 02; 9 in year 03) and 18 months of clinical training (12 in fellowship year 01; 3 in year 02; 3 in year 03). Clinical assignments will be based on the fellow’s progress in reaching required milestones. A fourth training year composed of 12 months of research training is strongly encouraged, but is contingent upon performance and obtaining funding.

    Research intensive milestones by the end of fellowship year 02 include the following:

    • Trainees are expected to present their research at division conferences.
    • Submit one abstract to and attend a national scientific meeting
    • Present a poster at the annual Department of Medicine Research Day
    • Complete 3 months of clinical training in areas related to research interests 

    Required milestones by the end of fellowship year 03 include the following:

    • Submit one abstract to and attend a national scientific meeting.
    • Present a poster at the annual Department of Medicine Research Day.
    • Write and submit two manuscripts for publication.
    • Write and submit a career development grant.

    Depending on circumstances this may be an application for a K award, an NRSA, or a Foundation Grant. Mentors will help guide these efforts. The final versions will be read and critiqued by the trainee’s Career Development Committee. A fourth training year composed of 12 months of research training is strongly encouraged, but is contingent upon performance and obtaining funding. Additionally, complete 3 months of clinical training in areas related to research interests.

  • Clinical Path

    Trainees planning a career with the majority of time spent in clinical research and care of patients, this path focuses on developing the skills to meet the individual fellow’s goals. The balance of time spent on research and clinical training is individualized to prepare each fellow for a career in an academic, academic- affiliated or private practice setting as desired. Clinical skills of the trainee are honed through broad exposure to non-malignant hematology, hematologic malignancies, medical oncology, and stem cell transplantation. There is opportunity for clinical electives based on the trainee’s interests. This training will also include education in enrolling and caring for patients on clinical trials and the completion of a scholarly activity or research project. Projects can include case reports, reviews, quality improvement projects, curriculum development, clinical outcomes research, epidemiology, and clinical trial development.
    Clinical research and care milestones by the end of fellowship year 02 include the following:

    Trainees are expected to present their research or scholarly project at division conferences.

    • Attend a regional or national research meeting
    • Present a poster presentation of research, quality improvement or clinical case report at the annual Department of Medicine Research Day
    • Complete 6-9 months of clinical training

    Required milestones by the end of fellowship year 03 include the following:

    • Submit one abstract to and attend a regional or national research meeting.
    • Present a poster presentation of research, quality improvement or clinical case report at the annual Department of Medicine Research Day
    • Write and submit one manuscript for publication.
    • Complete 6-9 months of clinical training in areas related to clinical interests

    For those interested in an academic career, a fourth training year composed of 12 months of research training may be considered, but is contingent upon performance and obtaining funding. Mentors will help guide these efforts for an application for a K award, an NRSA, or a Foundation Grant.

  • Application Process

    Timeline

    We will begin accepting applications for the 2020-2021 academic year beginning July 15, 2020, and our interview period will run September-October 2020. 

    IMPORTANT DATES STEPS IN APPLICATION PROCESS
    July 15, 2020 Applications can begin being submitted electronically
    August 15, 2020 Deadline for receipt of completed application
    Sept.- Oct. 2020 Interviews conducted, applications evaluated
    November 15, 2020 Rank order list certification deadline
    December 2020 Match results released
    July 1, 2021 Start of fellowship

     

    How to Apply

    The Fellowship Training Program accepts applications only through the Electronic Residency Application Service (ERAS) and offers positions through the National Resident Matching Program (NRMP). Once your completed application has been reviewed, we will contact you regarding its status and the possibility of a visit to our institution for interviews with the program's faculty.

    VISA Policy
    Visa Sponsorship: The J-1 alien physician visa sponsored by ECFMG is the preferred visa status for foreign national trainees in all UMN graduate medical education programs; therefore, the Hematology and Medical Oncology Fellowship sponsors only J-1 visas. We do not sponsor H-1B visas. More information can be found on the J-1 visas.

Current Fellows

First Year

Nivedita Arora

Dr. Nivedita Arora received her MD from Maulana Azad Medical College in New Delhi, India. She completed her residency in Internal Medicine at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, Texas. Prior to residency, she was a post-doctoral research associate in the Basic and Translational Research division at the University of Minnesota where she worked on investigation of mechanisms of action of pre-clinical novel therapeutic agents for gastrointestinal malignancies. During residency, she was actively involved in research focussing on HIV associated malignancies and malignant hematology. She received the Most Published Resident Award during her final year of residency. She joined the Hematology, Oncology and Transplantation Fellowship program in July 2019.

Marie Hu

Dr. Marie Hu received her MD from the Ohio State University College of Medicine. She then completed her internal medicine residency at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN. During residency, she was involved in clinical research studying outcomes after transplant for multiple myeloma and characterizing adult Langerhans cell histiocytosis. She plans to continue her focus in malignancy hematology after fellowship. Outside of her work, she enjoys biking, traveling, and cooking. She joined the Hematology, Oncology, and Transplantation fellowship program in July 2019.

Daniel O’Leary

Dr. Daniel O'Leary is Boston native who completed his undergraduate degree in Organismic and Evolutionary Biology at Harvard in 2009. He went on to receive his MD from Tufts University School of Medicine in 2016, and completed his Internal Medicine residency at the University of Minnesota in 2019. His chief interests include leukemia and lymphoma. Dr. O'Leary joined the Hematology, Oncology and Transplantation Fellowship Program at the University of Minnesota in July, 2019.

Smitha Sagaram

 Dr. Sagaram earned her medical degree from Gandhi Medical College in India and completed an internal medicine residency from the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha. During residency, she was nominated to the Gold Humanism Honor Society and Alpha Omega Alpha Honor society. She also received several teaching awards including the annual resident educator award. Prior to residency, she received a master's degree in health informatics and healthcare management from the University of Texas and Harvard University respectively. During her graduate studies, she published several research papers in the area of consumer health informatics and health promotion. Previously, she worked as a management consultant in the biotechnology industry. Dr. Sagaram joined the hematology, oncology and transplantation fellowship in 2019.

Wael Toama

Dr. Wael Toama graduated in 2005 from the Faculty of Medicine of Damascus University, the most prestigious medical school in Syria. He completed his residency in internal medicine (IM) in 2010 at Aleppo University Hospital in Syria. Dr. Toama moved to the United States to complete an additional IM residency at Conemaugh Memorial Medical Center in Johnstown, PA. After residency graduation in 2016, Dr. Toama began working as a Bone Marrow Transplant (BMT) Hospitalist at Washington University School of Medicine in St Louis, MO.
Dr. Toama’s firm belief is that great efforts are needed to discover the unknowns in medicine, and this has driven him to pursue a combined clinical and research-based approach to hematology & oncology. His areas of interest include leukemias and lymphomas, and he has succeeded in publishing papers related to his interests and hematology & oncology. Dr. Toama started fellowship in hematology/oncology at the University of Minnesota 2019. He is fond of reading old history, drawing icons and playing basketball.

Second Year

Dr. Annie M. Jacobsen

jacobsenDr. Annie M. Jacobsen received her MD from the University of Minnesota where she was elected to the Gold Humanism Honor Society. She completed her residency at Hennepin County Medical Center, followed by a year as a Chief Resident. In 2018, she was recognized by medical students for superior teaching skills, winning the Distinguished Teaching Award, Resident Instructor from the University of Minnesota. Her research interests include myelodysplastic syndromes and chronic lymphocytic leukemia. Outside of work, she enjoys spending time with her husband and two daughters, doing Kundalini yoga, cooking, and writing. Dr. Jacobsen joined the Hematology, Oncology and Transplantation fellowship program in July 2018.

Dr. Bhaskar Kolla

kollaDr. Bhaskar Kolla completed medical school training from Guntur Medical College, India and received MBBS with multiple honors including the best outgoing student of his batch. He later did internship and residency training in Internal Medicine at St Francis Hospital, Evanston, during which he received best in-training and best educator awards. Then he worked as a Hospitalist in Mayo Clinic Health System, Eau Claire for 3 years before moving to the University of Minnesota as an Assistant Professor and Hospitalist in the Hematology, Oncology and Bone Marrow Transplantation Division. During this time, he was engaged in clinical research in various topics including cardio-oncology, small cell lung cancer genomics and response to novel therapies, analyzing the role of autotransplant in mantle cell lymphoma in the era of biologic therapies, and studying the impact of adjuvant chemotherapy in appendiceal cancer. The results were presented at major international meetings including ASCO, ASH and ESMO. He joined Hematology & Oncology Fellowship at the University of Minnesota in 2018.

Dr. Grigori Okoev

okoevDr. Okoev received his MD in 2002 and earned his Ph.D. degree in 2009 from Yerevan State Medical University, Armenia. He completed an Internal Medicine residency at MedStar Health (Harbor Hospital), Baltimore, Maryland. Before starting residency, Dr. Okoev was a research fellow at Georgia Cancer Center, Augusta where he worked on the development of combinational cancer immunotherapies and investigation of the evaluation of tumor-mediated immune suppression. After fellowship, Dr. Okoev plans to continue his focus on hematologic malignancies.  Outside the work, he enjoys spending time with his family.

 

Dr. Haiyun Wang

wangDr. Haiyun Wang earned her medical degree with honors at Zhejiang Medical University in China. She received her MPH degree at Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health. She completed her residency training at Geisinger Medical Center in Danville, Pennsylvania. She then continued her career as a hospitalist at Geisinger for 7 years. During that period, she conducted researches on breast cancer chemoprevention. Dr. Wang is interested in precision medicine in breast cancer treatment and prevention. She joined the Hematology, Oncology and Transplantation Fellowship program in July 2018.

Dr. Allison Watson

watsonDr. Allison Watson completed her MD and PhD at the University of South Dakota Sanford School of Medicine, where her research focused on identification and characterization of diagnostic and prognostic markers in breast cancer. She completed her residency in Internal Medicine at the University of Minnesota, and then spent a year as a hospitalist for the inpatient hematology, oncology and bone marrow transplant teams at the University of Minnesota. She joined the Hematology, Oncology and Transplantation Fellowship program at the University of Minnesota in July 2018.

Dr. Nicholas Zorko

zorkoDr. Nicholas Zorko is a native of Canton, Ohio. He graduated from the Ohio State University in 2015 with his MD and PhD degrees. His PhD project focused on developing clinically-relevant models of AML for mechanistic and therapeutic studies. He completed residency in Internal Medicine at the University of Minnesota as a member of the Physician Scientist Training Program. He plans to continue studying hematologic malignancies with a focus on novel therapeutic development. He is also interested in optimizing the use of electronic medical records in research and clinical practice and is a certified Epic Physician Builder. Outside of the hospital he enjoys cycling, cross country skiing, and growing heirloom tomatoes. He joined the Hematology, Oncology and Transplantation Fellowship program in July 2018.

Third Year

Dr. Jeremy Allred

allredDr. Jeremy Allred completed his MD with Honors in Research from the Medical College of Wisconsin. During residency, Dr. Allred was awarded a Howard Hughes Medical Institute research fellowship exploring transcriptional regulation of hematopoietic stem cells and malignant transformation. He completed Internal Medicine residency as a part of the Physician Scientist Training Program at the University of Minnesota and will be pursuing a career in as an academic physician-scientist with a focus on novel immunotherapies for hematologic malignancies. Dr. Allred joined the University of Minnesota Hematology, Oncology and Transplantation fellowship program in July, 2017.

Dr. Se young Han

hanDr. Se young Han received his MD from Kyunghee University College of Medicine, South Korea in 2002. He did his internal medicine residency at Presence Saint Francis Hospital, Evanston, Illinois in 2010. He worked as an assistant professor at Southern Illinois University for 3 years, then continued his career as a BMT hospitalist at Washington University in St. Louis for 4 years. During this period, he was involved in multiple clinical research projects, mainly in hematologic malignancies and their transplant outcomes. His interests are lymphomas, acute leukemia, and immunotherapies in various hematologic malignancies. Dr. Han joined the Hematology, Oncology and Transplantation fellowship program at the University of Minnesota in July 2017.

Dr. Amit Kulkarni

kulkarniDr. Amit Kulkarni received his MD from Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College, Belgaum, India in 2009. He completed his Internal Medicine residency at Greater Baltimore Medical Center, Baltimore, Maryland. Prior to residency, Dr. Kulkarni was a research fellow at Mayo Clinic, Rochester where he worked on genetics of Chemotherapy-induced Peripheral Neuropathy and genomics of small intestinal neuroendocrine tumors. Dr. Kulkarni joined the University of Minnesota Hematology, Oncology and Transplantation in July, 2017.

Dr. Sean I. Tracy

tracyDr. Sean Tracy received his MD/PhD from Tufts University, where his dissertation focused on interactions between the Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV) and host B-cells. Following this, he completed his residency in Internal Medicine at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN. During residency, he was involved in several research projects focused on survival outcomes among patients with lymphoma. His interests are in malignant hematology and bone marrow transplantation. Dr. Tracy joined the Hematology, Oncology and Transplantation Fellowship program in July 2017.

Dr. Shijia Zhang

zhangDr. Shijia Zhang received his MD from Tongji University School of Medicine, China. He earned his PhD in Biomedical Sciences from Tulane University School of Medicine, where he studied the immunomodulatory properties of bone marrow- and adipose-derived mesenchymal stem cells. Dr. Zhang completed his residency training in Internal Medicine at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School. During residency, he presented posters at both ASH and ASCO. Dr. Zhang joined the Hematology, Oncology and Transplantation fellowship program in July 2017.

Fourth Year

Dr. Aimee Merino

aimeeDr. Aimee Merino completed her MD and PhD in the MSTP at the University of Alabama Birmingham. Her thesis work was in natural killer cell receptors and their HLA ligands in HIV-1 infection and transmission. She has done both epidemiologic and bench research in infectious disease and immunology. She completed her internal medicine residency in the Physician Scientist Training Program at the University of Minnesota. During residency, she piloted a project using a video decision tool to aid hospitalized patients in understanding and choosing their code status. Her ongoing research interest is in adoptive transfer of natural killer cells to treat malignancy. Outside of work, her interests include spending time with her two children, riding horses, and advocating for environmental stewardship.

Dr. Winston Woan

woanDr. Karrune (Winston) Woan completed the MD/PhD program at the University of Florida in 2014. He completed his thesis work at Moffitt Cancer Center where he studied the role of HDACs in tumor and T-cell immunobiology in the context of immune tolerance under the mentorship of Dr. Eduardo Sotomayor. He was then accepted into the Physician-Scientist Training Pathway at the University of Minnesota in 2014. Dr. Woan has research interests in basic and translational tumor immunology. He joined the Hematology, Oncology and Transplantation fellowship program at the University of Minnesota in July 2016.