Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine

Department of Medicine

Pulmonary/CCM Fellowship

Meet the individuals currently in the Pulmonary and Critical Care Clinical Fellowship Program.

First Year

Michael Alexander, MD

Michael Alexander, MD

Undergrad: University of Wisconsin
MD: University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine
Residency: New York Presbyterian
Justin Fiala, MD

Justin Fiala, MD

Undergrad: University of Illinois at Chicago
MD: University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine
Residency: Mayo Clinic College of Medicine
Anne Levenson, MD

Anne Levenson, MD

Undergrad: Harvard University
MD: Icahn School of Medicine at Mt Sinai
Residency: Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
Annie is a first year pulmonary and critical care fellow at Northwestern. She did her undergraduate studies at Harvard, medical school at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, and residency at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.
Luisa Morales-Nebreda, MD

Luisa Morales-Nebreda, MD

Undergrad: Universidad Centrale de Venezuela
MD: Universidad Centrale de Venezuela
Residency: Northwestern University McGaw Medical Center
Katharine Secunda, MD

Katharine Secunda, MD

Undergrad: Northwestern University
MD: Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine
Residency: Northwestern University McGaw Medical Center

Second Year

Keith Ferguson, MD

Keith Ferguson, MD

Undergrad: Washington University St. Louis
MD: Southern Illinois University School of Medicine
Residency: University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics
Keith’s research interests are currently in the realm of basic science with the possibility of translational research in the future. He is currently involved in research into the effects of hypercapnia on apoptosis of macrophages in the setting of Influenza A virus infection in the lab of Peter H. S. Sporn, MD. He has a strong interest in medical student, resident, and fellow education during and after his current fellowship. His clinical interests currently involve general pulmonology, pulmonary hypertension, and a large interest in critical care.
Sheiphali Gandhi, MD

Sheiphali Gandhi, MD

Undergrad: University of Southern Indiana
MD: Indiana University School of Medicine
Residency: University of Minnesota Medical Center
Elizabeth Malsin, MD

Elizabeth Malsin, MD

Undergrad: University of Minnesota
MD: Drexel College of Medicine
Residency: Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania
Beth is interested in basic science research related to pulmonary mitochondrial DNA damage leading to inflammation and fibrosis. She is working with Dr. David Kamp to study levels of mtDNA damage in both cell culture and murine lungs that have undergone exposure to fibrotic agents, specifically asbestos. She has also been influenced by the work done in Dr. Karen Ridge's lab demonstrating that vimentin is necessary for the activation of the intracellular inflammasome. Her goal is to link mtDNA damage to activation in the inflammasome, and eventually to different fibrosis-inducing pathways. For her career, Beth hopes to continue to focus on the molecular pasthways leading to pulmonary fibrosis in the lab, with the goal of identifying possible treatment or preventative targtes. Clinically, her favorite places are the MICU and bronchoscopy suite, and she would like to focus her clinical time there. She is also in the second year of the Medical Education Clinical Scholars (MCES) program, with a goal of generatig early medical student and resident enthusiasm for basic science research.
Lakshmi Sivarajan, MD

Lakshmi Sivarajan, MD

Undergrad: University of Pennyslvania
MD: Vanderbilt University School of Medicine
Residency: Northwestern University McGaw Medical Center
Gabriel Thornton, MD

Gabriel Thornton, MD

Undergrad: University of Miami (Florida)
MD: Florida International University Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine
Residency: University Hospitals, Case Medical Center

Third Year

Alexander Brueder, MD

Alexander Brueder, MD

Undergrad: University of Georgia
MD: Georgia Regents University Medical College of Georgia
Residency: University of Alabama Birmingham
Alex is involved in research with the Interventional Pulmonary group – Drs. Colin Gillespie and Christine Argento. He is working on a study that evaluates patients prior to their VATS procedure with Thoracic US to check for lung sliding to see if it correlates with adhesions intraoperatively.
Alexandra Frogameni, MD

Alexandra Frogameni, MD

Co-Chief Fellow
Undergrad: University of Notre Dame
MD: Loyola University Stritch School of Medicine
Residency: Northwestern University McGaw Medical Center
Ali’s research interests include quality improvement and simulation training for medical education. She is currently doing a simulation fellowship, through which she is developing a curriculum for improved critical care training for residents with a focus on ventilator management. Ultimately, she hopes to tailor this curriculum to include training for a wider variety of clinicians and to demonstrate improved patient care outcomes. She is also working on quality improvement projects to implement sedation holidays in mechanically ventilated patients and improve end of life care for patients with respiratory disease.
Peter Hountras, MD

Peter Hountras, MD

Undergrad: Wheaton College
MD: Wright State University Boonshoft School of Medicine
Residency: Loyola University Medical Center
Peter is interested in studying the lung microbiome in patients with severe community-acquired pneumonia to determine the complete etiology and microbiome pattern, including patients with monomicrobial and polymicrobial disease, based on the amplification of bacterial rRNA with deep sequencing.
Joseph Paonessa, MD

Joseph Paonessa, MD

Undergrad: University of Florida
MD: University of Florida College of Medicine
Residency: Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
Joe Paonessa has focused on quality improvement within the field of critical care through mentorship from Dr. Richard Wunderink. He validated a novel MRSA PCR test's operating characteristics for use with bronchoalveolar lavage fluid and conducted a randomized controlled trial to limit excessive use of vancomycin and linezolid in MICU pneumonia patients. This test is now available for clinical use at Northwestern and is utilized by other intensive care units as well. Joe then completed a seven month patient safety and quality improvement course where he led an interdisciplinary team to increase use of spontaneous awakening trials. His team designed the necessary medical record system changes to implement this safely which was also built into the Epic inpatient roll out for 2018. Joe has also had involvement with testing and evaluating different medical devices in addition to participating in pharmaceutical trials mostly focused on new antibiotics for pneumonia. His current career path is focused around optimizing critical care delivery through quality improvement.
Rahul Sharma, MD

Rahul Sharma, MD

Co-Chief Fellow
Undergrad: Indiana University
MD: Indiana University School of Medicine
Residency: Emory University
Rahul is interested in non-invasive ventilation (NIV) and airway clearance strategies with a focus on neuromuscular disease patients. He has been working with Dr. Lisa Wolfe to study new devices in patients with nocturnal NIV dependence. Additionally, they are studying new airway clearance devices for home use in patients with cystic fibrosis and ALS. Rahul's future plans are to pursue a sleep fellowship.