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Current Fellows

4th Years

19645-Lajiness, Jacquelyn

Jacquelyn Lajiness, MD, PhD

PGY 7

Undergraduate School: Hope College
Medical School: Indiana University
Residency: Indiana University
Hobbies: I am married and have two kids. We enjoy getting outside as much as possible: playing soccer in the backyard, going bike riding, and taking our dog on walks. I also enjoy rock climbing and the occasional yoga class when I get the chance.
Research/QI Interests: My research looks at maternal and in utero factors which affect allergic predisposition in offspring. My project specifically focuses on how the lipids that a mom eats or the lipids that her body makes when she is exposed to something she is allergic to affect her baby. I use mouse models to investigate the mechanisms of how the immune cells (especially dendritic cells) are affected by maternal lipids while in utero and how this leads to allergic predisposition in offspring.

Why NICU?
I’ve always been fascinated by embryology and the physiology at work in the neonatal population. The transition from fetal to neonatal life is complex, and it is such an honor to take care of our patients and their families at this critical time. For me, the NICU has always been a great balance of the critical care involved in stabilization, the longer term considerations such as optimizing nutrition and growth, and the opportunity for building relationships and counseling families.

Why IU/Riley?
At every stage of training I’ve interviewed around the country and have chosen to stay at Riley because of the people. Don’t get me wrong, the training here is fantastic! I love that I am involved in top-notch research and interact with amazing physician scientists on a daily basis, and, from a clinical aspect, you see pretty much everything. But the thing that set Riley apart from other prominent academic institutions is the atmosphere created by people who truly love the work they do. From the faculty to my co-fellows to the support staff, Riley feels like home.

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3rd Years

50506-Creed, Priya

Priya V. Creed, MD

PGY 6

Undergraduate School: Loyola University Chicago
Medical School: Stritch School of Medicine at Loyola University Chicago 
Residency: Rush University 
Hobbies: I love travelling and exploring new cultures/cuisines. Some of my favorite vacation spots are in Central/South America. I enjoy cooking and find it to be quite therapeutic. I will forever strive to be as good of a cook as my mother. During downtime, I like to binge crime TV and podcasts. There’s nothing like a good whodunit!
Research/QI Interests: My scholarly project is a QI project that focuses on improving screening for metabolic bone disease of prematurity and the subsequent impact on growth after the initiation of this project. In addition to QI, I am passionate about improving care through simulation-based education as well. Through the Clinical Educator Training Pathway, I am designing a simulation curriculum focusing on newborn resuscitation for emergency medicine residents.  

Why NICU?
I love being able to treat the whole baby rather than focusing on one organ. Also, I think it is very rewarding to be able to take care of the patient from birth, which may have included some seemingly endless nights, to discharge. 

Why IU/Riley?
I know it sounds cheesy, but it was the “feeling” after my interview day. I could genuinely feel a sense of family and comradery. I wanted to pick a place that was supportive yet had a well-rounded training experience.

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51807-Groden, Catherine

Catherine M. Groden, MA, MD

PGY 6

Undergraduate School: University of Notre Dame
Medical School: Northwestern Feinberg School of Medicine
Residency: Medical College of Wisconsin 
Hobbies: I read more (fun) books than most people would consider normal, and I also sometimes write things. In pre-pandemic times I also liked going to sporting events.
Research/QI Interests: My research focuses on NICU end-of-life and bereavement practices, and experience of bereaved parents in the NICU. I am also interested in clinical ethics  

Why NICU?
Hospital-based + continuity + wide range of acuity + deliveries + best patient population!

Why IU/Riley?
It sounds like a cliché but it just felt right on interview day. I wanted a large program where I would take care of a lot of patients with a variety of pathology, and I also liked the dedicated ethics curriculum for fellows. But at the end of the day, I felt like I clicked with the people here and that was very important.

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38185-Welch, Blair

Blair N. Welch, MD

PGY 6

Undergraduate School: Loyola University Chicago
Medical School: Chicago Medical School/Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science
Residency: Riley Hospital for Children
Hobbies: I love reading for fun, knitting while binge-watching TV shows, and traveling with my husband, Patrick.
Research/QI Interests: My research focuses on improving non-invasive ventilation strategies and decreasing intubations for premature infants using quality improvement methods. Other interests include simulation and medical education.  

Why NICU?
I loved my NICU experiences in residency and was constantly drawn to the NICU patients on subspecialty services. I have always been fascinated by neonatal physiology and development. I also enjoy the continuity in the NICU in that we often get to follow patients throughout their entire hospitalization.

Why IU/Riley?
I wanted to stay at Riley for fellowship training for multiple reasons.  I knew I would receive excellent clinical training given the volume of patients and diverse pathology at Riley. Additionally, there are such a wide variety of research opportunities with supportive mentors eager to engage with fellows on scholarly projects.

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2nd Years

60395-Denizli, Merve

Merve Denizli, MD

PGY 5

Medical School: Gaziosmanpasa University Faculty of Medicine
Residency: Saint Louis University 
Hobbies: Outside of work I love spending time with my husband and 2 kids. We enjoy travelling and exploring new places together. I also enjoy cooking (mostly Turkish cuisine), walking and riding bikes. 
Research/QI Interests: I am interested in basic science/translational research. My research focuses on the effects of maternal obesity on offspring health. In particular, my project aims to define the impacts of maternal obesity exposure on offspring hematopoietic stem and progenitor cell function and elucidate the molecular mechanisms underlying altered offspring HSPC function and the role of HSPC in regulating glucose metabolism. 

Why NICU?
I find it very rewarding to be able to provide specialized care for fragile neonates, help them overcome huge obstacles for their size and support their families during their most challenging times. The NICU allows me to experience a variety of clinical encounters, procedures, and family and patient interactions.

Why IU/Riley?
I was amazed by the dedication of the program leadership and their efforts to help fellows become what they want to be. Riley is able to offer a wide variety of research opportunities in addition to excellent clinical training with a large volume of patients and wide range of pathology.

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60394-Irwin, Caitlin

Caitlin N. Irwin, DO

PGY 5

Undergraduate School: University of Akron
Medical School: Campbell University School of Osteopathic Medicine
Residency: University of Tennessee Health Science Center
Hobbies: I spend most of my free time chasing my toddler and goldendoodle around the house! We love being outside, hiking, heading to the beach and baking sweet treats. I also really enjoy reading and helped start a book club in residency!
Research/QI Interests: My research focuses on improving macronutrient delivery of human breastmilk in neonates. I am also interested in improving breastfeeding rates in the NICU and am a member of our Human Milk QI project.

Why NICU? 
I love the pace of the unit and the opportunity to do procedures. I also really love that the NICU offers a degree of continuity of care that you often miss in a hospital based or ICU setting. 

 Why IU/Riley? 

IU offered everything I was looking for in a fellowship -- a wide range of pathology, a large number of patients to care for and top notch facilities that would provide me with the resources I needed to become a well trained neonatologist. But more importantly, the people at IU made me feel at home from my very first interaction. The program director reached out before my interview to ensure that I could chat with faculty who shared my interests and the fellows went out of their way to answer questions and give an honest view of the program. Both program leadership and the faculty are committed to ensuring we become proficient neonatologists while also helping us find our passion within the unit. And as a born-and-raised Midwesterner, we were happy to be back closer to family (even if it means more snow!)

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60391-Posorske, Alyx

Alyx D. Posorske, MD

PGY 5

Undergraduate School: Butler University
Medical School: Saint Louis University School of Medicine
Residency: UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh
Hobbies: Volleyball, hiking, cooking, baking
Research/QI Interests: POCUS (Point of Care Ultrasound) implementation within the NICU. QI for PICC line placement after implementation of POCUS. I am working on a bench project looking at CHD in a specific genetic defect within a mouse model. We will also be looking for this genetic change in a genetic database of CHD patients.

Why NICU? 
I knew I liked procedures and critical care when I was trying to decide what I wanted to do. I considered PICU but at the end of the day I knew when I was in the NICU I was the most excited and interested. I enjoy the patient population, the pathology, and helping parents through a really difficult time.

Why IU/Riley? 
When I was looking at programs, I had my check lists of what I wanted my training to look like from an academic perspective. IU checked off all of the things on the list. After that, It came down in the end to feel I got during my interview day. The people were very friendly, engaging, and they seemed genuinely happy to be at work and to be talking to me.  I also had lived in Indy before, so I knew it was a place I liked being outside of the hospital.

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1st Years

44064-Chmielewski, Jennifer

Jennifer L. Chmielewski, MD

PGY 4

Undergraduate School: University of Michigan
Medical School: Eastern Virginia Medical School
Residency: Indiana University
Hobbies: I love college sports (Go Blue!), relaxing at breweries, traveling, pickleball (with dreams of becoming a good tennis player one day), and stand up paddle boarding. More than anything else, I love spending time with my husband, son, and pup Wrigley.
Research/QI Interests: I am interested in neonatal nephrology, specifically in regard to improving recognition and management of neonatal AKI. 

Why NICU? 
I can’t think of a more fulfilling field than neonatology. The pathophysiology is fascinating, and, with all that we still have to learn about tiny humans, it is a field that will always be intellectually stimulating. I love being able to provide acute care while simultaneously caring for patients over several weeks to months. It is incredibly rewarding to help the sickest babies thrive through a critically ill period in their lives while supporting their families. 

Why IU/Riley? 
I loved my experiences in the NICU during residency and knew early on that I wanted to stay here for fellowship. I was surrounded by people who were determined to provide the best care for babies while teaching and mentoring trainees. The program leadership is committed to pushing fellows to reach their goals in a supportive atmosphere that feels like family.

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40138-Matharu, Preet

Preet Matharu, MD

PGY 4

Undergraduate School: Indiana University
Medical School: Indiana University
Residency: University of Wisconsin-Madison
Hobbies: I enjoy reading (for fun!), exploring new restaurants, watching movies, working on art projects (anything from paper crafts to sewing and painting) and practically anything Disney-related
Research/QI Interests: Research possibilities are endless in neonatology! My primary interests currently include neonatal endocrinology (such as improving newborn screening practices for endocrine disorders), education, and the use of simulation as a teaching tool in the NICU. 

Why NICU? 
I love the fact that this is a very distinct field within pediatrics that encourages us to think critically about a very specific population, while still focusing on encompassing all organ systems and pathologies. It’s an amazing field where we get the chance to care for the tiniest humans and watch them grow and develop. I especially love getting to know the NICU families and building long-term relationships with them.

Why IU/Riley? 
I had a great educational experience at IU during medical school and knew that the NICU program was a particularly strong one where residents and fellows could gain a ton of experience and be exposed to a multitude of patient cases and opportunities. My fellowship interview experience was great and particularly memorable- all the fellows were very involved and enthusiastic during the interview process, and their camaraderie was evident. The faculty and staff were also very welcoming and clearly dedicated to providing the best educational opportunities within the fellowship program.

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62253-Pidaparti, Mahati

Mahati Pidaparti, MD

PGY 4

Undergraduate School: Northwestern University
Medical School: Northwestern University
Residency: Northwestern University
Hobbies: Cooking/baking, singing, playing board games, going on walks, watching sitcoms
Research/QI Interests: Still figuring it out but at this time, fetal care and prenatal counseling for patients with congenital heart disease 

Why NICU? 
I enjoy the mix of critical care, inpatient medicine and continuity of care with patients. I love that we follow babies from when they’re very sick to when they’re ready to go home for the first time!

Why IU/Riley? 
On my interview day, we started by listening to Monday morning conference, where they discuss the admissions from the weekend. I was amazed and impressed by the wide array of pathology they saw in one weekend and knew that my clinical training would be incredible. At the fellows lunch, the sense of comradery and friendship was very evident and it was clear that they were all genuinely happy. The program leadership is also incredibly supportive and to fellows’ education and  professional development.

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