- 1993 AB, University of Chicago
- 2001 MD, PhD, University of Illinois at Chicago
- 2001 JD, Chicago-Kent College of Law
- 2002 Internship, Phoenix Integrated Surgical Residency Program
- 2004 Fellowship in Stereotactic Radiosurgery, Barrow Neurological Institute (with Kris Smith, MD)
- 2006 Fellowship in Complex Spine Surgery, Barrow Neurological Institute (with Volker Sonntag, MD)
- 2007 Fellowship in Skull Base/ Cerebrovascular Surgery, Barrow Neurological Institute (with Robert Spetzler, MD)
- 2008 Neurosurgery Residency, Barrow Neurological Institute
The son of an obstetrician-gynecologist and homemaker from the Western suburbs of Chicago, I graduated from the University of Chicago with honors in 1993, majoring in biology, after having completed high school in 1988 at the age of sixteen. I was then enrolled in the Medical Scholars Training Program at the University Illinois at Chicago, and in 1999 I defended my PhD thesis in the Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology on the olivo-cochlear pathway. I developed a novel experimental model of the efferent pathway in the turtle’s analogue of the cochlea, the basilar papilla. Using whole cell patch-clamp recordings I was able to characterize the efferent synapse, which exhibited interesting permeability for a cholinergic receptor (similar to an alpha-9 cholinergic receptor). It was during my time in the laboratory that I developed an interest in both hearing research and neuroscience. It was also, not coincidentally, then that I first learned about the House Clinic and the groundbreaking clinical research being done there. It was also during my basic research years that I became familiar with confocal microscopy and other advanced optical imaging technologies, which I have endeavored to incorporate into neurosurgery practice. In 2001, graduated from the University of Illinois at Chicago with both MD and PhD degrees. It was also while I was in the MSTP program that I enrolled in law school at the Chicago-Kent College of Law at the Illinois Institute of Technology. I received by Juris Doctor degree in 2001 as well.
After I finished formal education in 2001, I completed an internship in general surgery in Phoenix, Arizona from 2001-2002. I began my neurosurgical career at the Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix under the auspices of two true “giants” of neurosurgery, Drs. Volker Sonntag and Robert F. Spetzler. At that time, the Barrow Neurological Institute was truly the epicenter of skull base and cerebrovascular surgery for the United States, if not the entire world. I was fortunate to receive additional Fellowship training in Skull Base and Cerebrovascular Surgery with Dr. Spetzler. I also completed a Fellowship in Complex Spine Surgery with Dr. Sonntag, and a Fellowship in Radiosurgery with Dr. Kris Smith, also at Barrow. I completed residency at BNI in 2008 after which I joined the House Clinic in Los Angeles.