Meet Our Fellows

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, Chief Fellow
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.

Class of 2021

The Division of Rheumatology is pleased to welcome the fellowship class of 2021.  The fellows who entered the program on July 1st include:

Rebecca Blank, MDRebecca Blank, MD, PhD
Rebecca, a native New Yorker, attended the University of Pennsylvania where she majored in bio and psych. She did summer research with Dan Kessler (noggin expression in xenopus) and at NYU with Alan Frey (NOD mice and their cytokines). She moved west to UCSF for PhD training in immunology, studying the relationship between the host immune response and Schistosoma mansoni infection. After a post-doc in the lab of Dr. Yasmine Belkaid at NIAID (studying regulatory T cells in gut lymphoid tissue), she spent time as a Science and Technology Policy Fellow at the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and as a scientific program manager for a Gates Foundation funded global health project on malnutrition and diarrheal disease at the National Institutes of Health. Rebecca then matriculated at Mt Sinai School of Medicine where she received an IDSA Medical Student Scholarship, and directed the student ethics seminar. Rebecca then moved on to residency at Cornell, where she has been doing clinical research with Jessica Gordon on scleroderma. For fun, Rebecca likes running in Central Park and spending time in her kitchen experimenting with new recipes. She is also currently trying to facilitate a smooth transition for her cat who was once a single child to now having a new baby (human!) sister.

Allison (Alli) Guttmann, MDAllison (Alli) Guttmann, MD
Alli is our home-grown fellow for the class of 2021. She attended the University of Rochester (majored in biology and public health), and followed with an NIH intramural research training award spending a year at the NIH doing research in cancer epidemiology and genetics before coming to NYU for med school. She then remained at NYU for residency, where graduated at the top of her residency class. She is now spending a year as Chief Resident. Alli has worked with Michael Pillinger and Svetlana Krasnokutsky, resulting in two first-author papers. More recently, she has begun working with Ashira Blazer on a project examining the benefits of patient education in SLE. Alli also has an excellent record of teaching and community service, including teaching in med school classes at a level generally reserved for faculty. Ultimately, she hopes to integrate her interest in public health with her rheumatology career. Outside of the hospital, her personal interests include attending both musical theater and stand-up comedy shows.

Mayce Haj-Ali, MDMayce Haj-Ali, MD
Mayce born in Arlington, Virginia. She attended college at the University of Virginia, graduating with a degree in psychology and Middle Eastern studies. After college, she worked as an intramural research trainee at the NIH in the lab of William Simonds, studying the function of parafibromin, a tumor suppressor protein, in hereditary hyperparathyroidism-jaw tumor syndrome and the role of the signaling pathway of G proteins in brain and hormonal tissue. Before applying to medical school, she took part in several volunteer efforts, including volunteering at the Arlington Free Clinic and working with refugees at the International Rescue Committee. She then moved to Columbus, Ohio to attend medical school at Ohio State University. As a medical student, Mayce received the Noor Community Clinic Award, as well as the Helmick Scholarship. She was able to pursue her passion for global health during medical school by participating in a global health elective in Thailand and working with underserved communities in rural Morocco. Mayce returned to the DC area for her residency in internal medicine at George Washington University. As a resident, she worked with the Rheum Division Chief Victoria Shanmugam to study whether scleroderma patients with negative immunofluorescence anti-nuclear antibody had different characteristics and prognosis compared to scleroderma patients with positive immunofluorescence anti-nuclear antibody. Their abstract was accepted for podium presentation at the DC Rheumatism Society and the DC American College of Physicians meetings, and won awards at both. Her personal interests include traveling, experiencing ethnic cuisines, and watching documentaries.

Ben Plotz, MDBen Plotz, MD
Ben is a native New Yorker—actually a native Brooklynite. He attended college at the University of Chicago, where he majored in History, Philosophy and Social Studies of Science and Medicine. He then moved on to medical school at SUNY Downstate, and finally, to residency at George Washington University. Like all of our incoming fellows this year, Ben has had a fairly extensive set of research experiences. While in college, he did pediatric cancer research with Dr. Kenan Onel, looking at a particular P53 polymorphism and its role in melanoma cell lines. He also got experience in a human research project, recruiting subjects for the development of a pediatric cancer genetic biobank. Between college and med school, Ben spent a year in Steve Goldring's lab at HSS, studying osteoclastogenesis in mouse and cell culture models. During med school Ben worked with Ellen Ginzler, in a study examining the genotypic basis for ESRD in lupus. And during residency, Ben has been working at NIH with Andrew Mammen in the Muscle Disease Unit, on a project identifying anti-cortactin as a myositis associated antibody. Ben has also had leadership roles in a number of student organizations, including serving as Treasurer of the Wilderness Medicine Club at Downstate, and as a permanent member of the Downstate Honor Council.

Rheumatology Fellow of the Year Recipients

As voted by the Medicine Residents

2018–2019 Ruth Fernandez Ruiz, MD
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