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 2021-2022 academic year, beginning July 15, 2021. Our interview period will run from September-October 2021. 

    IMPORTANT DATES STEPS IN APPLICATION PROCESS
    July 7, 2021 Applications can begin being submitted electronically
    July 21, 2021 Deadline for receipt of completed application
    Sept.- Oct. 2021 Interviews conducted, applications evaluated
    November 2021 Rank order list certification deadline
    December 2021 Match results released
    July 1, 2022 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

Maria Borrero, MD

Maria Borrero

 Dr. Maria Borrero received her MD from the University of Utah and completed her Internal Medicine Residency at Northside Hospital in Atlanta, GA. Originally from Colombia, Dr. Borrero has always had a strong interest in studying cancer health   disparities, survivorship, and quality of life, particularly as it relates to the Hispanic community. Over the last decade, she has spent time at Sylvester Cancer Institute at the University of Miami, Lurie Cancer Center at Northwestern University, and   Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah, where she has focused her efforts on developing culturally tailored interventions that improve access to cancer screening and treatments for underserved populations and developing   behavioral multilingual interventions that optimize quality of life of cancer patients. She is passionate about mentoring students from underserved backgrounds who are interested in a career in STEM and has both participated and developed  pipeline programs aimed at increasing the number of minority students pursuing medicine. In her free time, she likes to spend time with her husband and two toddlers, hike, interior design, cook, and travel. 

Amin Firoozmand, MD

Amin Firoozmand

 Dr. Amin Firoozmand completed medical school and internship training with honors from Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Iran. He did a Post-doctoral research fellowship in stem cell research as well as GI- Oncology at Johns Hopkins. He   collaborated with Dr. Gregg Simenza (Winner of Nobel Prize in 2019) on a project to investigate the effects of Hypoxic Inducible Factor on burn wound healing of Bone Marrow Derived Angiogenic Cells. His work in solid tumors led to several   publications as well as presentations in national meetings. He later did internship and residency training in Internal Medicine at the University of Maryland Capital Region Health. He then worked as an assistant professor of Medicine and academic   Hematology- Oncology Hospitalist in Seidman Comprehensive Cancer Center in Cleveland. During this time, he had the opportunity to be engaged in medical student, as well as resident training, and was a part of Internal Medicine residency   selection team as an interviewer. He completed a clinical fellowship in Stem Cell Transplant and Cellular Therapy at Cleveland Medical Center. During fellowship, he presented his research work in major national meetings such as ASH and ASCO.   His main area of research interests is Bone Marrow Transplant as well as malignant hematology. He joined the Hematology & Oncology Fellowship at the University of Minnesota in 2021. Outside work, he enjoys playing tennis and spending time   with family and friends.

Thuy-Hong Le Kumar, MD

Thuy-Hong Le-Kumar Dr. Thuy-Hong Le-Kumar is a California native. She completed her B.A. degree in Integrative Biology at the University of California, Berkeley and then went on to obtain her MD at St. George's University in Grenada. Afterward, she finished her   internal medicine residency at Hofstra/Northwell School of Medicine. She is currently interested in benign and malignant heme, as well as GI solid tumors. Outside of medicine, she enjoys raising and spending time with her son and going on   challenging trail hikes with her husband.

Minnu Monu MBBS

Minnu Monu

 Dr. Minnu Monu earned her medical degree from Mahatma Gandhi University, India and completed her Internal Medicine residency from the University of North Dakota, Fargo. Subsequently, she joined the Internal Medical   Program at OHSU as an Assistant Professor. During the final year of her residency, she had the honor to serve as one of the chief residents of her program. Prior to residency, she had the opportunity to pursue research at   the University of Minnesota, Oncology department and published several research papers in oncology. She was also granted the William P. Newman research award from the University of North Dakota for her numerous   case presentations and research publications. Outside of work, she enjoys yoga, biking and spending time with her family. Dr. Monu joined the hematology, oncology and transplantation fellowship in 2021. 

Miheer Pujara, MD 

Miheer Pujara

 Dr. Miheer Pujara was born and raised just north of Dallas, Texas. He studied in a combined BS/MD program at Pennsylvania State University in State College, PA and Jefferson Medical College in   Philadelphia, PA. He relocated to Denver for Internal Medicine residency at the University of Colorado, where he was able to pursue his interest in medicine, as well as exploring the Rocky Mountains.   After residency, he worked as an academic hospitalist at Brown University at The Miriam Hospital in Providence, RI while his wife completed her residency in Radiation Oncology. He served in an   Information Technology role on their Hospitalist COVID-19 team and attended on the COVID-19 unit during the pandemic in 2020. He has an interest in Clinical Informatics and the use of health   technology to improve the delivery of cancer care. Outside of work he is an avid snowboarder, backpacker, and triathlete.

Karan Ramankrishna, MBBS

Karan Ramakrishna

 Dr. Karan Ramakrishna received his medical degree from St. John’s Medical College in India. He went on to complete a residency in Internal Medicine at SUNY Upstate Medical University in Syracuse, NY where he was elected to the Alpha Omega   Alpha Honor Society and was nominated for the Resident Teaching Award in the College of Medicine. He completed a year as Chief Resident in the same program during which he participated extensively in quality improvement and patient safety   endeavors. He has a strong interest in medical education and helped in residency curriculum development during his time as chief resident. He has participated in breast oncology research and has a clinical interest in leukemias/lymphomas. Dr.   Ramakrishna began his fellowship in Hematology/Oncology at the University of Minnesota in July 2021. Outside of work, he enjoys running, trivia, indie cinema and exploring coffee cultures. 

Alex Tsai, MD, PhD

Alex Tsai

 Dr. Alex Tsai is originally from the Twin Cities and completed his undergraduate degree and MS in clinical laboratory science at the University of Minnesota. He then completed his MD and PhD in the MSTP at the University   of Maryland (during which time he was elected to the Alpha Omega Alpha Medical Society). His PhD thesis work focused on T cell-based immunotherapies for various malignancies, primarily melanoma. He joined the   Physician Scientist Training Program (PSTP) and completed his internal medicine training at the University of Minnesota. His clinical and research interests lie in applying and advancing immunotherapies for solid   malignancies. Outside of his career, Alex enjoys sports, cooking, baking, and spending time with family.

 

Second Year

Dr. Zalaya Ivy

Ivy

Dr. Zalaya Ivy received her MD from Meharry Medical College in Nashville, TN. While in medical school she was awarded funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation for a project centered on pulmonary complications in individuals with Sickle Cell Disease, which resulted in a presentation at the ASH annual meeting and publication. She completed her Internal Medicine residency at the University of Minnesota as a member of the Physician Scientist Training Program, during which time she received an award for her core values of clinical excellence, hard work, education, scholarship, teamwork, and leadership within the residency program. Her chief interests include benign hematology, with a focus in Sickle Cell Disease. Outside of work she enjoys roller-skating, cooking, knitting, and spending time with family. Dr. Ivy joined the Hematology, Oncology, and Transplantation fellowship in July 2020. 

Dr. Aditya Jain

Jain

Dr. Aditya Jain received his MD from India. He subsequently relocated to the US and went on to complete an internal medicine residency at MedStar Union Memorial Hospital, Baltimore MD. He next did a nuclear medicine residency followed by PET/CT fellowship both at the University of Wisconsin, Madison WI. Influenced by his close encounter with medical oncology through the extensive oncologic applications of molecular imaging, he was drawn to the field of oncology and wanted to be more directly involved in the care of cancer patients. This led him to work as a hospitalist with the Division of Hematology, Oncology and Transplantation at the University of Minnesota. He later joined the fellowship program in 2020. 

Dr. Roy Kao

Kao

Dr. Roy Kao grew up in western Oklahoma and southern California, went to college and medical school at Brown University, and residency in combined internal medicine and pediatrics through Jefferson University's program at Christiana Care and A.I. duPont Hospital for Children in Delaware. After serving as chief resident in internal medicine, he went on to pediatric hematology/oncology fellowship followed by a few years as junior faculty at UCLA Medical Center and Miller Children's Hospital in Long Beach, CA. His goals now are to pursue a career in bone marrow transplant, gene therapy, and other cellular therapies for adults with non-malignant disorders, such as the hemoglobinopathies as well as many other exciting indications to come. He joined the Hematology, Oncology and Transplantation Fellowship Program in July 2020. 

Dr. Cameron McDonald-Hyman

McDonald

Dr. Cameron McDonald-Hyman is originally from Muir Beach, California. He completed his undergraduate degrees in Biology and Biochemistry at Carleton College in 2009, and then completed his MD/PhD training at the University of Minnesota in 2018. His PhD research focused on Immunotherapy for graft-versus-host disease (GVHD). As a medical student he was elected to the Alpha Omega Alpha (AOA) Medical Society, along with the Gold Humanism Honor Society. He then completed his residency in Internal Medicine at the University of Michigan as part of the Physician Scientist Training Program. He is interested in hematologic malignancy and transplantation for both his research and clinical careers. Outside of the hospital, he enjoys playing with his daughter, updating his house and is an avid baseball fan. He joined the Hematology, Oncology and Transplantation Fellowship Program in July 2020.  

Dr. Haixia Qin

Qin

Dr. Haixia Qin earned her M.D. degree at Xi’an Jiaotong University, China, and Ph.D. degree at Medical College of Georgia. She completed internal medicine residency training at Morehouse School of Medicine, where she received GA chapter winner award for ACP clinical vignette and ACP young achiever award. She was an assistant professor of medicine at Mayo Clinic and an associate professor of medicine at Loma Linda University. During her work as an oncology hospitalist, she developed her interest in the adverse effects of immune-checkpoint inhibitors. She has published more than 30 peer viewed articles in cancer genetics and prognosis. Her current research interest is lung cancer treatment and prognosis. She and her husband have 3 lovely daughters. She joined the Hematology, Oncology, and Transplantation Fellowship program at the University of Minnesota in July 2020.

Third 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.

Fourth Year

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.