Pathology News

Welcome the Resident Class of 2023

By Dustin Johnston | 8 July

The department has welcomed another strong resident class with diverse backgrounds and interests. During orientation, each was asked to share a little bit about themselves. Get to know who they are, where they are from, and why they are excited about being at the University of Michigan.

 


Batoul Aoun, DO

Batoul AounQ: What motivated you to choose a career in pathology?

My first experience with pathology, outside of the classroom, was during an elective rotation in my third year of medical school. Every morning, my attending handed me a set of unknown slides providing only the patient’s age, gender, and tissue location. I spent most of the day eagerly viewing each slide, flipping through the chapters of Robbins, and writing down everything that I saw under the microscope. The problem-solving and diagnostic challenges of pathology are precisely the reason I chose to pursue this career. I also developed an immense appreciation toward pathologists and the pivotal role they play in medicine. The right diagnosis yields the right treatment. And that just happens to change a patient’s life. 

 

Batoul Aoun at the shores of San Diego.Q: What excites you the most about joining the U-M Department of Pathology?

I’ve lived in Dearborn, Michigan, for thirteen years now and I’ve always wanted to be part of the Wolverine family and legacy. So, joining U-M Pathology as a resident means much more to me than just a title. It is a goal that I’ve put years of hard work and dedication toward. Last year, I did an elective rotation in pathology here and not only was I amazed by the diversity and complexity of the cases, but the collaborative environment between the residents, fellows, and faculty truly stood out to me. Of course, the location is amazing and I plan on exploring Ann Arbor (one coffee shop at a time). 

 

Q: What do you like to do in your free time? 

You can find me relaxing on a beach or a lake somewhere. I grew up in Lebanon ten minutes from the coast of the Mediterranean Sea, so the water gives me a sense of peace. I also love to travel, bake desserts, write creative non-fiction narratives and hang out with my family and friends. 

 


Geoffrey Halling, MD

Geoffrey HallingQ: What motivated you to choose a career in pathology?

During undergrad, I really enjoyed lectures that discussed disease processes and thought it would be a fun area of research to be involved in during college and after graduation. While doing research, I had an opportunity to get involved in a variety of translational projects and realized I also wanted to be more directly involved in the clinical aspects of medicine. Pathology seemed like a great way to capture my interest in both science and medicine.

 

Geoffrey Halling on hiking trip.Q: What excites you the most about joining the U-M Department of Pathology?

 I’m excited to get to see a wide variety of clinical cases and have the opportunity to be involved in interesting research; while also being in a city that has a ton of fun outdoor sporting activities.

 

Q: What do you like to do in your free time? 

In my free time, I enjoy playing any and all sports, as well as hiking and biking. If I’m feeling less active, I enjoy reading fiction, usually sci-fi or fantasy, and re-watching shows on Netflix. 

 


Ryan Landvater, MD

Ryan LandvaterQ: What motivated you to choose a career in pathology?

Growing up I could never decide if I wanted to be a scientist or a physician, which is great because now I get to be both. I spent most of my time as a kid on a 168-acre farm in rural Vermont. I attended Cornell University majoring in Chemistry and Chemical Biology, and the Biological Sciences, graduating magna cum laude in 2014 and then received a masters of engineering in Biomedical Engineering from Cornell in 2015. I then returned home to attend the University of Vermont’s Larner College of Medicine. 

Pathology is the perfect bridge between the fascinating world of scientific exploration and the life-altering work of clinical medicine. Importantly, it underpins our understanding of natural phenomena and the critical question of why this complex human biology breaks down. I think this is incredible. 

 

Q: What excites you the most about joining the U-M Department of Pathology?

The University of Michigan Department of Pathology really has it all: the program’s faculty and residents are inviting, frequently eccentric in the best possible way, and passionate. Michigan as an institution and hospital are really world-class. This is the type of tertiary center you would expect could only exist in a city; however, the number of outdoor activities you can do in Ann Arbor and the surrounding area really drew me to this place. 

 

Ryan Landvater on hiking trip.Q: What do you like to do in your free time? 

In my free time I enjoy back-country skiing (which will be a bit challenging with Michigan’s topography) in the winter, and hiking/cycling in the summer. I spend a lot of time photographing and have been moving from portrait-based and street photography towards wild-life photography. It is something I hope to continue to pursue here. I try and host a weekly dungeon and dragons campaign. I know the pathologist playing dungeon and dragons really feeds that stereotype, but I’m pretty unabashed by how into it I get. I write artificial intelligence computer programs in my spare time as well, which initially stemmed from my love of neuroscience. I also really enjoy “throwing” or making pottery; it’s a really centering activity that I have done since high-school.

 


David Nai, MD

David NaiQ: What motivated you to choose a career in pathology?

Since I was a young child I had a great fascination with science; I loved understanding biology and how the human body works.  I am also a very visually-oriented person.  At one point, I was deciding between pathology and radiology.  During the third year, I had a surgical pathology rotation that impressed me with the scope of knowledge that the residents and attendings had.  Two of my friends were also going into pathology, one of whom matched here at the University of Michigan.  I did research with professor Dr. Andre Balla at the University of Illinois which cemented my interest and was thrilled when I matched here.

 

David Nai with colleagues.Q: What excites you the most about joining the U-M Department of Pathology?

Michigan is a pathology paradise.  As one of the top pathology programs (maybe the best) in the world, it is a storehouse of pathology knowledge, and the faculty is incredible!  Other institutions send-out their cases here.  One thing that I didn't know before starting here was that my co-residents would be the most amazing people I've ever met.  I feel like part of a warm, loving family working here.

 

Q: What do you like to do in your free time?  

Aside from swimming, running and going to the gym, I like reading (currently on The Picture of Dorian Gray), journaling, walking on nature trails, trying out new Meetup groups, and spending time with friends and family.  I've been learning acoustic guitar and would like to get better at tennis.  My other ambition is to learn to program.

 


Emile Pinarbasi, MD, PhD

Emile PinarbasiQ: What motivated you to choose a career in pathology?

I was drawn to pathology because I like solving puzzles.  I enjoy the quick pattern-recognition diagnoses, but my favorite cases are those in which you have to think deeply to reconcile the one finding that doesn't quite fit. 

 

Emile with husband traveling.Q: What excites you the most about joining the U-M Department of Pathology?

I'm looking forward to training at U of M in large part because of the breadth of interesting cases that I'll be exposed to.  I am especially excited to be joining a department that places a priority on basic science research.  

 

Q: What do you like to do in your free time? 

Previous hobbies include traveling (most recently to Spain), hiking with my husband and two dogs, and reading mysteries.  Current hobbies include keeping one baby alive.

 


Jaclyn Plotzke, MD

Jaclyn PlotzkeQ: What motivated you to choose a career in pathology?

I decided on a career in Pathology during my second year of medical school, but looking back I feel like the choice fit my personality for a long time. I have always been very interested in asking questions and figuring out puzzles, which is a lot like the field of Pathology. I further explored the specialty through electives and research and haven’t looked back since!

 

Jaclyn's Corgi, Gabe.Jaclyn and her husband. Q: What excites you the most about joining the U-M Department of Pathology?

I’m so excited to be a part of a community of such kind, compassionate people who are leaders in their field of study. The resources and innovation that exist at the University of Michigan make me feel like the possibilities for the future are endless.

 

Q: What do you like to do in your free time? 

In my free time, I love to spend time outdoors with my family and my Corgi, named Gabe. I enjoy going to concerts, reading, and I think I nap more than anyone else on the planet.

 


Julianne Szczpanski, MD

Julianne SzczepanskiQ: What motivated you to choose a career in pathology?

As a naturally curious person, I loved asking questions and the process of discovering the answers. Because of this, Nancy Drew detective computer games were (and still are) a favorite pastime of mine. During medical school, I quickly discovered that pathology is a specialty that constantly encourages you to ask questions and investigate the answers using a combination of visual skills, problem-solving, intellect, experience, and pattern recognition. In this field, everything that I naturally enjoyed as a Nancy Drew detective enthusiast can be used to aid the care of real-world patients.

 

Julianne as a former collegiate soccer player.Q: What excites you the most about joining the U-M Department of Pathology?

I am so excited to learn from and collaborate with my co-residents, fellows, and faculty. The learning environment in this department is bolstered by incredibly passionate and friendly people. I am looking forward to a place where I feel supported by these friendships, but also feel very motivated to improve my skills and provide quality care.

 

Q: What do you like to do in your free time? 

I am from a big soccer family and was a former collegiate soccer player myself. So, I spend a lot of my free time participating in recreational soccer teams with my husband, Josh, and my siblings. Besides Nancy Drew detective computer games, I also enjoy hiking, playing ping-pong, trampoline tricks, and being the favorite aunt of my many nieces and nephews.

 
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