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Meet Our Residents


Hershel Cannon    PGY-1

Hometown: Miami Beach, FL

Neighborhood: River North

Clinical Interest: Neuro-Oncology, Cerebrovascular, Skull Base, Spine, Spine-Oncology 

Why RUSH? “Strong clinical program that emphasizes operative competency and technical expertise. Abundance of volume with comprehensive subspecialty exposure. Reputation for genuine camaraderie amongst residents and faculty. Unique rotating sites with robust clinical/patient diversity. Strong mentorship from leaders in the field. Opportunity to train in one of the nation’s greatest cities.”

Medical School: Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University

Hershel Cannon
J. Roberto Varela  PGY-1

Hometown: McHenry, IL, and Mexico City

Neighborhood: West Loop

Clinical Interest: Neuro-Oncology, Skull Base, General Neurosurgery

Why RUSH? “Seeing firsthand how talented the residents are, both in the operating room and in their medical management, really stood out. This wouldn’t be possible without the excellent mentorship provided by the Rush neurosurgery faculty. Lastly, everyone knows that Chicago is the greatest city in the world!”

Medical School: Rush Medical College of Rush University Medical Center

Jesus Varela

Ayodamola Otun, AY PGY-2

Hometown: Akure, Nigeria
Neighborhood: I am not sure at this point
Clinical Interest: Hydrocephalus research, Skull base and cerebrovascular, Spine
Why RUSH? “A collegial resident group, county hospital experience, opportunity to work with an underserved population, prolific faculty, supportive departmental culture, exceptionally large case volume, and Chicago is an awesome city! ”
Hobbies: Video games, Interior design, cooking, music, dance, anything in the water (I am a bad swimmer by the way)
Medical School: Washington University in St. Louis School of Medicine


Ayodamola Otun

Dominick Richards, PGY-2

Hometown: Zion, IL
Neighborhood: West Loop
Clinical Interest: Skull base
Why RUSH? “RUSH provides excellent case volume and autonomy  that is juxtaposed with insightful attending mentorship, all of which facilitates personal and professional growth. Further, the resident culture is hard-working with a high degree of camaraderie and self-ownership. It was great working with the team as a medical student, and I'm proud to be joining their ranks as a resident."
Hobbies: Playing and watching soccer, cooking, playing music, reading.
Medical School: RUSH University Medical College 


Dominick Richards

Elsa Olson, PGY-2

Hometown: Barrington Hills, IL
Neighborhood: West Loop
Clinical Interest: Neurooncology, Skull Base, Neurotrauma
Why RUSH? “The high volume, variety in caseload as well as hospital setting, and exposure to a wide breadth of subspecialties really makes RUSH stand out. I could tell during the interview how close all of the residents are and I was drawn to the resident cohort and the opportunities for mentorship from incredible faculty at the cutting edge of their field. Add all of this to living in Chicago and it doesn't get any better!" 
Hobbies: I am a big fan of winter sports, particularly hockey (I'm a lifelong Blackhawks fan) and skiing. I love exploring new restaurants and bars with friends, and I also love reading and listening to podcasts. 
Medical School: University of Illinois College of Medicine-Peoria


Elsa Olson

Lucinda Chiu

Hometown: Needham, MA
Neighborhood: West  Loop
Clinical Interest: Neuro-oncology, Neurotrauma, Global Neurosurgery
Why RUSH? "I  chose RUSH for the collegiality amongst residents and attendings, the commitment to compassionate care for our diverse patient population, and the competency we acquire within the wide breadth of neurological subspecialties."
Hobbies: Anything outdoors! Hiking with my dog, backpacking, and running along the Lakefront.
A close second is culinary exploration, whether through kombucha brewing, food photography, or eating my way through West Loop.
Medical School:University of Massachusetts Medical School
Lucinda Chiu

Nathan Pertsch

Hometown: Hillsborough, CA
Neighborhood: South Loop
Clinical Interest: Undecided
Why RUSH? "RUSH stands out as strong clinically-oriented program in a world-class highly efficient healthcare system. The faculty and my co-residents are extremely impressive, both with many diverse career interests and life perspectives. The culture here is of hard work and camaraderie, with an emphasis from the top down on personal growth and career development."
Hobbies: Woodworking, beer brewing, statistics, and enjoying Chicago.
Medical School: The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University
Nathan Pertsch

Ryan Kelly

Hometown: Clarendon Hills, IL (40 mins west of Chicago)
Neighborhood: West Loop
Clinical Interest: Spine Oncology
Why RUSH? "Besides being close to home and in a great city, the program offers unparalleled case volume and autonomy in the OR. Also, the residents all get along with each other and want to hang out outside of the hospital."
Hobbies: Running, backpacking, traveling, cooking
Medical School: Georgetown University School of Medicine 

Jacob Mazza

Hometown: Marlton, NJ
Neighborhood: Gold Coast
Clinical Interest: General neurosurgery 
Why RUSH? "Work hard atmosphere with residents and attendings with great camaraderie."
Hobbies: Hanging out/walking my dog, rollerblading around the city. Preferably a combination of the two
Medical School: Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson 

Daniel Wolfson

Hometown: Marietta, Georgia
Neighborhood: Near West Side
Clinical Interest: General Neurosurgery
Why RUSH? " Busy, well-rounded clinical training in one of America's greatest cities marked by resident camaraderie and enveloped with faculty support."
Hobbies: Fencing, classic film, piano, modern fiction, Napoleonic history
Medical School: Vanderbilt University School of Medicine

John Paul Kolcun

Hometown: Jacksonville, FL
Neighborhood: River West
Clinical Interest: Spine deformity, neurotrauma/spine trauma/SCI
Why RUSH? "Great city, great clinical experience, great faculty. Residency structure allows you to create a fairly personalized experience based on clinical/research interests."
Hobbies: Exercising, making music, cooking, Co-host of The Neurosurgery Podcast
Medical School: University of Miami LM Miller School of Medicine 

Bradley Kolb

Hometown: Plymouth, MI
Neighborhood: Ukrainian Village
Clinical Interest: General neurosurgery
Why RUSH? "High volume, early autonomy, strong mentorship, ample advanced practice provider support, all in one of America’s great cities ."
Hobbies:Running, cycling, hiking. Collecting books and records. The Chicago food and drink scene. Vacationing in Northern Michigan with family.
Medical School: Wayne State University School of Medicine

Adewale Bakare

Hometown: Ekiti, Nigeria
Neighborhood: Elmwood Park Suburan- 20-25 mins west of Chicago
Clinical Interest: Cervical deformity, cervical and lumbar degenerative disk disease, both minimally invasive and open spine surgeries
Why RUSH? "The moment I walked in during the interview, I knew this is was the place. I knew RUSH offered immense clinical and patient management training upfront coupled with outstanding surgical training with tremendous operative opportunities right from the get go. The varying training experience with opportunities to rotate at different hospitals with diverse group of patients with wide-ranging pathologies was a no-brainer for me. Also coming in, I knew I will be well trained in minimally invasive spine surgery, an important skill to have for someone interested in spine surgery of 21st surgery. Finally, Chicago is great  city to live, so why not."
Hobbies:: I love sports, especially soccer growing up and I am an avid supporter of Chelsea football club in England for almost 20 years now. I love spending time with my family including my lovely wife and daughter. Also love road-tripping with opportunity to explore different states/cities etc
Medical School: Indiana University School of Medicine

Joseph Morrison 

Hometown: Chicago, IL
Neighborhood: LaGrange Park-suburb 20min west
Clinical Interest: Vascular and Skull Base
Why RUSH? "Apart from the clinical volume, diversity of pathology, and early surgical exposure the resident culture was the biggest draw for me."
Hobbies: Running, live music, snowboarding, scuba diving 
Medical School:  University of Illinois College of Medicine 

John Pearce

Hometown: Philadelphia,PA
Neighborhood: Streeterville
Clinical Interest: Stereotactic and Functional Neurosurgery
Why RUSH? "Great faculty, strong operative experience, wonderful city."
Hobbies: Saxophone, Irish History, Languages, Hiking, Travel
Medical School: Temple University School of Medicine 

David Fessler

Hometown: Chicago, IL
Neighborhood: Lakeview
Clinical Interest: Spine, minimally invasive spine, spinal cord injury
Why RUSH? "Top notch training (especially Spine) in a program with fantastic people and in the best city in the world.  I can’t imaging being happier anywhere else."
Hobbies: mixology, fitness, golf, Chicago sports (Bears/Cubs/Blackhawks/Bulls), dog dad
Medical School: University of Cincinnati College of Medicine 

Andrew Wong

Hometown: New York, NY
Neighborhood: West Town
Clinical Interest: Skullbase
Why RUSH? "The diverse clinical experience and collegial atmosphere - all in a great city."
Hobbies: Hiking, trying different restaurant in the city, watching movies
Medical School: SUNY Buffalo School of Medicine 

Krishna Joshi

Hometown:  Bangalore, India
Neighborhood: West Loop
Clinical Interest: Cerebrovascular, Skull base and Neuro oncology 
Why RUSH? "RUSH because of its amazing faculty, high volume of complex clinical cases and the experience of working in a world class hospital."
Hobbies:When not in the hospital, I love spending time with my kids. We love biking on the lakeside or visiting one of the many parks/museums in and around Chicago
Medical School: Ramaiah Medical College