Meet Our Fellows

Class of 2019

Robert FrelichRobert Frelich, MD, PhD
Robert Freilich first studied electrical engineering, getting both a bachelors and master’s degree in the field.  He subsequently changed his interest to medicine and medical research, and completed his MD/PhD in Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics at Boston University School of Medicine.  His thesis research concerned the role of microRNA (miRNA) in fine-tuning the neuroinflammatory
response of microglia.  Rob joined the NYU Internal Medicine Residency in the Basic Science Fast Track program in 2015.  In that program, he is completing his residency after only two years and will devote additional years to rheumatology research after completion of our clinical fellowship.  Rob has extensive publication and educational experience and has received multiple awards for his work.  In addition to his medical training, Rob has had significant experience in industry; in his earlier career he worked for multiple telecommunications, defense and aerospace corporations, including Grumman and Loral.  Rheumatology may not be rocket science, but if it ever becomes so, NYU will be ready with our very own rocket scientist!

Rebecca HabermanRebecca Haberman, MD, Chief Fellow
Rebecca Haberman attended Brown University, where she majored in psychology, conducted bench research on the impact of H pylori on p27 knockout mice, and was graduated Magna Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa.  She attended medical school at NYU, where she first worked in the Blaser lab studying the effects of microbiota on estrogen metabolism.  As a resident she has done colonoscopy research with Dr. Michael Poles, Chief of Gastroenterology at the VA.  More recently, Rebecca has been working with Jose Scher, looking into the connection between psoriatic arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease.  Rebecca also has published a case report with Michael Belmont and Peter Izmirly, based on a case she saw while on rheumatology rotation. Among her personal interests are 20th Century art and 18th and 19th Century American history.  Rebecca, we are glad that you elected to stay at NYU.

Justine ShumJustine Shum, MD
Justine Shum was an Intel Semifinalist and a nationally ranked junior tennis player before she ever got to college.  She studied ecology and evolutionary biology at Princeton, where she did her honors thesis on the biology of ciliate mitochondrial genomes.  She then spent two years as a clinical research coordinator at the Hospital for Special Surgery before obtaining her medical degree from Drexel (with a stop at the NYU Division of Rheumatology for a student elective).  She returned to New York to train in internal medicine at Montefiore Medical Center.  While at Montefiore, Justine has been conducting research with Chaim Putterman and his group, studying the effects of novel targeted agents on murine models of systemic lupus.  We are delighted that Justine has chosen to join us in Manhattan!

Anastasia SlobodnickAnastasia Slobodnick, MD
Stasy (Anastasia) Slobodnick—Stasy was born in Ukraine and came to the US as a child.  She attended Stuyvesant High School and thereafter has been NYU all the way.  She attended NYU for college, where she majored in Art History.  As a medical student, Stasy conducted research at the Visual Science Lab of Columbia University under the direction of Professor Donald Hood, looking at ocular nerve defects in glaucoma. She also worked in the NYU Department of Population Health substance abuse program.  As a fourth-year medical student, Stasy received an ACR/RRF Medical Student Preceptorship Award and worked with Dr. Svetlana Krasnokutsky and Dr. Michael Pillinger on a review of the mechanisms of action of colchicine, that was published in the American Journal of Medicine.  In residency, Stasy has been working on a collaborative project between the Division of Rheumatology and Dr. Fritz Francois of the Division of Gastroenterology to study the impact of gout on colon cancer rates. Stasy was also accepted to the pilot class of the NYU Medicine Residency Clinical Investigator Track and participated in INTREPID, the CTSI's summer intensive research program.

Class of 2020

The Division of Rheumatology is pleased to welcome the fellowship class of 2020.  The fellows who entered the program on July 1st include:

Konstantin Brodetsky, MDKonstantin Brodetskiy, MD
Konstantin Brodetskiy was born in Ukraine and later came to the U.S. at age 5.  Konstantin is a product of NYU for his undergraduate and medical student training. His research during that time was in a fruit fly lab studying color vision where he learned to dissect fly retinas by hand under a microscope. After a brief visit to Mount Sinai for residency Konstantin is back at NYU for his rheumatology fellowship.

Rochelle Castillo, MDRochelle Castillo, MD
Rochelle Castillo was born in rural Illinois grew up in a bustling city in the Philippines.  Prior to completing her internal medicine training at the University of Connecticut she completed a dermatology residency at the Philippines’ largest tertiary referral center. During that time she developed an interest in autoimmune connective tissue diseases and inflammatory arthritides which led her to the NYU Rheumatology fellowship.

Ruth Fernandez Ruiz, MDRuth Fernandez Ruiz, MD
Ruth Fernandez Ruiz grew up in a small town in Venezuela and moved to Caracas for medical school. After 6 years at the Universidad Central de Venezuela and a 2-year internal medicine residency she moved to Oak Park, Illinois (a Chicago suburb), where she completed a second internal medicine residency at the University of Iowa before joining our program.

Craig Smuda, MDCraig Smuda, MD, PhD
Craig Smuda grew up outside Detroit and attended the University of Michigan as an undergraduate. An early research experience motivated him to apply to med school and attend the MSTP at Northwestern, where his PhD work involved exploring mechanisms of allergic disease and granulocyte function. He completed his residency at Emory University prior to joining the NYU Rheumatology fellowship.

Rheumatology Fellow of the Year Recipients

As voted by the Medicine Residents

2017-2018 Rebecca Haberman, MD
2016-2017 Michael Toprover, MD
2015-2016 Nicola Berman, MD
2013-2014 Ashira Blazer, MD
2012-2013 Dodji Modjinou, MD
2011-2012 Janice Lin, MD
2010-2011 Kristen Lee, MD
2009-2010 Louisa Ziglar, MD
2008-2009 Jose Scher, MD
2007-2008 Jose Scher, MD
2006-2007 Mark Fisher, MD / Jean Park, MD
2005-2006 Jennifer Sloane, MD
2004-2005 Peter Izmirly, MD
2003-2004 Belinda Birnbaum, MD
2002-2003 Carlos Sesin, MD