Current Residents 2022-2023


PGY-4 Neurology Residents


Gabriel Arismendi, MD. Chief Resident

Hometown: North Bergen, NJ

Medical School: Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, Newark NJ

Research Interests: Neuroimmunology and neuromuscular disorders

Hobbies & Interests: Competitive powerlifting and olympic lifting.

I'm a PGY-4 Resident Physician in the Adult Neurology Residency Program at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School. I am an awarded American Academy of Neurology Diverse Medical Student Scholar with published and ongoing work investigating the role of activated microglia in chronic neuroinflammation leading to neurocognitive impairment. Additionally, I am working to develop a predictive model of neurologic morbidity in virus-related illnesses.

I am on a physician scientist track, and providing appropriate patient care and educating budding physicians remains influential to me. I share my enthusiasm for Neurology and medicine at large with my mentees and students through career advisement and curbside teachings.

I am an alumnus of Rutgers New Jersey Medical School. Equally alongside my commitment to the Neurosciences are the relationships maintained with my family and friends. I appreciate the time I have to find the next scenic trail route, delicious tacos al pastor, or a great laugh!




Matthias Dunse, MD. Cheif Resident

Hometown: Burgstadt, Saxony Germany

Medical School: Martin-Luther- University Halle-Wittenberg Hale, Germany

Research Interests: epilepsy, neurologic disease in pregnancy

Hobbies & Interests: playing with my two children, swimming, triathlon, sports marketing

My name is Matthias Dunse and I am a PGY-4 neurology resident at Rutgers Health NJMS. I was born and raised in Chemnitz a small city in Germany. I did my medical school at Martin-Luther-University Halle-Wittenberg, and was involved in clinical research on the dry eye syndrome. As a medical student, I was intrigued by the challenge and the possibilities to clinically localize neurologic lesions with a skilled examination and a focused history taking – and I know very few neurologists that do not describe some similar fascination. I subsequently chose a 4-month clerkship in Neurology during the final year of medical school to gain the technical skills needed to perform a skilled examination and learn more about the field.

A career in Neurology promises to be very rewarding. I find it very gratifying to successfully treat a stroke with systemic thrombolysis or interventional thrombectomy and to have patients returning to their life sometimes without hem even realizing how close they got to a devastating functional impairment or fatality. My experience in the Rutgers Health NJMS neurology residency has been nothing but exceptional for me with a very supportive culture preparing me for clinical neurology with a strong emphasis on a variety of research topics.

During medical school, and while working in Germany I remained a competitive triathlete in the German Bundesliga and doing Ironman races. Athletics still play a role in my life and I luckily can have a vivid discussion with my wife (an NCAA D1 volleyball head coach) about concussion precautions on the kitchen table.




Andrew Beckwith, MD

Hometown: Florence, Alabama

Medical School: Georgetown University School of Medicine, MD

Research Interests: stroke, QI/QA projects, medical education

Hobbies & Interests:Science fiction and fantasy novels, thriller and horror movies, physics and astronomy, ancient history, jazz and electronic dance
music, salsa dancing, distance running, weight lifting, and martial arts

My name is Andrew Beckwith, and I am a PGY-4 in the Adult Neurology Program at Rutgers NJMS. Originally from Florence, Alabama, I attended Yale University as an undergraduate, where I obtained a BS in Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology. While there, I had the opportunity to participate in research investigating neuroplasticity and behavior in animal models which stimulated a lifelong interest in understanding the role of axonal regeneration in recovery from acute and chronic neurologic injury. Initially, I had thought to pursue a PhD to further develop my professional interest; however, while volunteering at Yale/New Haven Hospital I realized that I had a deep appreciation for clinical medicine and its capacity to directly enhance the quality of life of the people it sought to benefit. I carried this passion for clinical neurology and community service into my years at Georgetown University School of Medicine, where I was an active member of the Neurology and Neurosurgery interest groups, a regular volunteer at our student run free clinic (Hoya Clinic) as well as the site Coordinator for a phase II trial investigating novel delivery modalities for fast acting anti-epileptic abortive medications.

The Rutgers Health NJMS Neurology Residency is the ideal choice for me because of its strong commitment to service and because of its tradition of fostering the development of its resident physicians pursuing both academic and non-academic careers. Neurology is a rapidly expanding field that has seen great strides in recent years, particularly in the fields of neuroimmunology, epilepsy, and cognitive neurology, and I have received great support from faculty and my co-residents towards starting my own projects during my short time here. Outside of medicine, I am an avid weightlifter and runner. I also appreciate a good Sci-Fi/fantasy novel and have an eclectic musical taste ranging from Bebop Jazz to 90s R&B to Deep House.



Benjamin Puccio, MD

Hometown: Old Tappan, New Jersey

Medical School: Jagiellonian University Medical College, Poland

Research Interests: Movement disorders, neuro-oncology, and MRI neuroimagining

Hobbies & Interests: soccer, percussion instruments, snowboarding 

My name is Benjamin Puccio and I am a PGY-4 neurology resident at Rutgers NJMS. I grew up in Old Tappan, NJ and studied Biomedical Physics at Northeastern University. I became interested in neuroscience during a six-month internship at NeuroElectronics Research Flanders in Leuven, Belgium. I was introduced to computational neuroscience at the neuronal level, and became fascinated by how our brains our wired. After undergrad, I worked for one year in in the Computational NeuroImaging Laboratory at the Nathan Kline Institute for Psychiatric Research, focusing on the preprocessing of anatomical and functional MRI data. I attended medical school in Kraków, Poland at Jagiellonian University Medical College. In Poland, I was able to reconnect with family and gain clinical experience in a foreign medical system. I continued to follow my interest in neurology, as president of the Student Interest Group in Neurology.

I decided to pursue a residency in neurology in order to become a physician that manages a variety of pathologies in a complex system. The field is especially appealing since there so much space for exploration, and so many different paths to take from within. My current interests are movement disorders, neuro-oncology, and MRI neuroimaging. I chose Rutgers NJMS for the location and impression upon meeting residents and faculty at the interview. I thoroughly enjoy working with the diverse population of Newark and surrounding area, as well as treating veterans at the East Orange VA. My hobbies outside residency include music, snowboarding, and traveling.

fellowship for 2024: match pending


Pablo Ravenna, MD

Hometown: Buenos Aires, Argentina

Medical School: Universidad Abierta Interamericana Facultad de Medicina y
Ciencias de la Salud, Argentina

Hobbies & Interests: Travel, learning new languages, guitar-music composition, cooking, tennis.

My name is Pablo Ravenna and I´m one of the PGY-3 Neurology Residents at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School. I was born and raised in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where I earned a medical degree at the Universidad Abierta Interamericana. After medical school, I completed a residency in ophthalmology at San Isidro Central Hospital. After completing training, I moved to the United States to work in the field of medical research with an emphasis in Neuro-ophthalmology. I worked with the Neurology team at the Johns Hopkins Multiple Sclerosis Center as research coordinator where I was able to participate in a variety of clinical trials related to cognition and development of novel drugs. After my research experience I became fascinated about multiple sclerosis and other demyelinating disorders. My areas of interest are neuro-ophthalmology, vascular neurology and neuro-immunology.

I am passionate about teaching, which is why I am very happy to have the opportunity to train at RUH. Here, I will acquire the tools I need to become a successful neurologist while improving my teaching skills.

During my free time I enjoy traveling, learning new languages and meeting people from different cultures. I´m also a guitar player, graduated from the Buenos Aires School of Music.


PGY-3 Neurology Residents



Ahmad Saeed Abdelhamid Derbala Ali, MD

Hometown: Beheira, Egypt

Medical School: Alexandria University Faculty of Medicine, Egypt

Hobbies & Interests: Soccer: I used to play it professionally before medical school, Now I play it as often as possible. I am a big fan of Real Madrid, ever since childhood.
Gymnasium: I do cardio exercises, weight lifting and running on regular basis. This keeps me fit and refreshed.
Cooking: family and friends always trust my own recipes.
I love social gatherings with family and friends.




Nicholas Bellacicco, DO

Hometown: Stamford, CT

Medical School: Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine, Erie, PA

Research Interests: Medical education

Hobbies & Interests: 

1. Writing poetry: I have one book published and continue to publish poems in journals.

2. Skimboarding: I started skimboarding
when I was younger and I enjoy the opportunity to grow in this sport.

3. Blogging: My blog has 173 articles.

4. Running, Weight
Training: I completed what is known as "the hardest half-marathon in the state of Texas" during my senior year at Baylor University.

5.Medical Humanities: I have spoken at three conferences about the importance of Medical Humanities in medical

My name is Nicholas Bellacicco and I am a PGY-2 Neurology resident at Rutgers-NJMS. I grew up in Stamford, CT and went to college in Waco, TX at Baylor University. At Baylor, I studied Medical Humanities, which is the art dimension of medicine. I wrote my thesis on empathy in healthcare and discussed the importance of medical humanities in medical education. After Baylor, I went on to attend medical school at LECOM-Bradenton. I became fascinated with the field of Neurology in my third year of medical school during my patient encounters. During my clinical years of medical school, I completed research on the topic of RLS and Phantom Limb Pain. My current interest is in the field ofNeuro-Ophthalmology.


I am fortunate to be a Neurology resident at Rutgers-NJMS. I know that through this program I will receive exceptional training and grow in an encouraging environment.



Maria Anderina Hernandez, MD

Hometown: Caracas, Venezuela

Medical School: Universidad Central de Venezuela Escuela de Medicina Luis
Razetti, Venezuela

Hobbies & Interests: My hobbies include multiple types of crafting activities such as quilting, embroidery, collage, and calligraphy. In my spare
time, I enjoy watercolor painting, visiting art museums, and exploring design markets. I am an avid reader (historical novels and fiction) and love movies (I review them online).




Olga Mashinetc, MD/PhD

Hometown: Yekaterinburg, Russia

Medical School: Ural State Medical University, Russian Federation

Hobbies & Interests: I have been skiing since the age of 5 and have carried this passion throughout my life. Given my leadership skills, I am also the chairwoman of a small
international Mom's Club in Edison/Metuchen, actively for the past 6 years. Within this group we support and empower each other, helping one another
to overcome difficult situations and hurdles in our lives.




Roopa Sharma, MD

HometownChamba, India 

Medical School:  Lady Hardinge Medical College, New Delhi.

Research Interests: Neuromuscular, Clinical Neurophysiology

Hobbies & Interests: watching movies, gardening, and travel

My origins trace back to the Himalayan valley of Chamba in India, where I spent my formative years. Pursuing my medical career led me to New Delhi, where I completed Medical School at Lady Hardinge Medical College and furthered my completed my residency in Internal Medicine at Maulana Azad Medical College. I like watching thrillers - where you have to link clues to know who the culprit is. I feel a similar thrill with neurology - trying to find out the missing links and correlating different symptoms to make a diagnosis. During the course of my training, I have been increasingly discovering a genuine fascination and burgeoning passion for neuromuscular and neurophysiology. 


The program offers a wide-ranging exposure to a diverse patient population. Additionally, what appeals to me the most is the program's rich blend of residents and faculty from various backgrounds, fostering an enriching learning environment. This, coupled with a commendable work-life balance, has been an invaluable aspect of the program, all while enjoying the proximity to the bustling city of New York. 




PGY-2 Neurology Residents



Adonay Castillo, MD

Hometown: Newark, NJ

Medical School: Escuela Latinoamericana de Medicina, Havana Cuba

Research Interests: Neurorehabilitation and neurorepair

Hobbies & InterestsOutdoor sports such as Cross country paragliding, marathon running, swimming, long distance cycling, and soccer. I enjoy photography and wooden aircraft modelng. I help build and maintain community organoponic systems and spending time with family





Zachary (Zach) Lodato, DO

Hometown: East Islip, NY

Medical School: New York Institute of Technology College of Osteopathic Medicine, Old Westbury, NY

Research Interests: Endovascular Neurology

Hobbies & Interests: My hobbies include pizza, fitness/working-out, learning the bass guitar, and the Italian language. I enjoy making pizza from scratch, and trying different pizza places (especially in New York City). I try to workout at least 3 times per week, which includes a mix of weight lifting and resistance band training. I enjoy music and played viola during my childhood, so now I'm focusing on learning the bass guitar. Languages fascinate me, and I would like to achieve fluency in Italian.



Jade McLain, DO

Hometown: Atlanta, GA

Medical School: Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, Philadelphia PA

Research Interests: Vascular Neurology, Neurodegenerative Diseases

Hobbies & Interests: Obstacle Course Racing, Hiking, Baking

I am an obstacle course racer. Whether a Tough Mudder, Rugged Maniac, Savage Race, or a Spartan Trifecta, I love to be active in the sunshine! It is an incredible feeling to train for something and see yourself improve over time, and always a great surprise to see what crazy obstacles the designers have come up with. Racing is a hobby I started with my mom and continue even if we're not side by side cheering each other on. In between training and working, I enjoy experimenting with baking recipes. The science from start to finish is always so fascinating, and the process of decorating/garnishing is just as relaxing as it is rewarding to eat! As my hometown is in the south, my all-time favorite is a homemade red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting.




Sudheesh Ramachandran, MD

Medical SchoolAcademy of Medical Sciences Pariyaram, Kannur India

Hobbies & Interests: Indian classical music, travel, and reading




Yaqian (Heather) Xu, MD Sudheesh Ramachandran, MD

Hometown: Beijing, China

Medical SchoolWest China School of Medicine, Sichuan University, China

Reserach Interests: Movement Disorders, Telehealth, Healthcare Effectiveness and Outcomes

Hobbies & Interests: Photography, Snowboarding, going to musicals and operas, art exhibitions especially impressionism arts 







PGY-1 Neurology Residents, Internal Medicine Interns



John Acquaviva, DO

Hometown: Kinnelon, NJ

Medical School: Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine 

Research Interests: Movement Disorders, Neuromuscular Disorders

Hobbies & Interests:n my free time you can find me playing with my dog and cats, training Muay Thai Kickboxing, watching martial arts (MMA, boxing, Muay Thai), watching movies, yelling at the TV while watching the New York Jets, reading neurology textbooks or Stephen King novels, listening to the Neurology Podcast, and drinking way too much coffee. 

ALERT: This is a no “CNs II-XII grossly intact” zone.  





Manpreet Kaur, MBBS

Hometown: Amritsar, Punjab, India. 

Medical School: SGRDIMSR, Amritsar. India

Hobbies & Interests: Exploring new places, gardening, interior designing, shopping, listening to music. Next on my list- learning new languages.



Caleb McCardell, DO

Hometown: West Bend, WI

Medical School: Kansas City University College of Osteopathic Medicine. Kansas City, MO

Research Interests: Health care inequities

Hobbies & Interests: I enjoy cooking, especially East Asian and Indian cuisines, replicating traditional recipes with as much authenticity as possible. I've played guitar since age 12, and picked up banjo, mandolin, and bass since then. My favorite genres to play include jazz, bluegrass, alternative, and math rock. I also enjoy weight lifting, and make a point to do so 5-6 times a week.




Pravallika Putrevu, MBBS

Hometown – Kakinada, Andhra Pradesh, India

Medical SchoolRangaraya Medical College, Kakinada, Andhra Pradesh, India.

Research Interest – Neuro-critical care and rehabilitation.

Hobbies & Interests:  I love to cook, cooking is my stress buster. And I like to explore places and travel around. In my free time, I try my hand at art, like making decorative pieces from clay, paper, or cardboard.




Hariharan Venkataraman, MBBS

HometownChennai, India  

Medical SchoolJ.S.S Medical College, Mysore, Karnataka, India 

Research InterestNeuroimmunology, Movement disorders, Vascular Neurology, Cognitive disorders 

Hobbies & Interests: I am an avid quizzer. I was into GK quizzes before switching to medical quizzes. I’ve had a lot of experience making questions and organizing medical quizzes.

I was a national-level tennis player in India during my under-14 and 16 years. I’m not as competitive right now, but I’m always ready for a good hit. I also love watching all kinds of sports other than tennis, like cricket, soccer, and field hockey. Recent experiences of watching the NBA and NFL have been fun too! I also like swimming, medium-distance running, and light weight training to maintain my fitness.  

Music: I like playing Indian classical music on my wooden flute and can also sing Bollywood songs.  

I absolutely love reading books and listening to podcasts on history.