Get to know our current fellows and fellowship leaders:

Second-year fellows (2022-2024)

Taha Mohamed Djirdeh, MD

Residency: Mercy Health Javon Bea Hospital
Medical School: International American University College of Medicine, Saint Lucia

Living in six nations on three continents, Taha learned how to be flexible in dealing with various situations and working in new, unfamiliar areas. “I grew up in countries where access to healthcare was woefully less available than here. This, I believe, has afforded me a humility in appreciating the severe stress that those who live in underserved communities may experience.”

Taha enjoys sports and is a big soccer fan. He likes to read, keep up with current events, and is interested in the humanities including history, philosophy, and political science. He has an interest in learning languages and has a basic fluency of French, Spanish and Arabic.

Favorite Pastime in St. Louis: Visiting the Arch
Favorite restaurant/bar: Polite Society Restaurant

Shelden Rodrigues, MBBS

Residency: Loyola Medicine MacNeal Hosp, Berwyn, IL
Medical School: Government Med College Thrissur, India

After moving to the US for residency, Shelden experienced first-hand how “exciting and rewarding” a career in nephrology could be. His rotations at hemodialysis centers and access centers opened his eyes as to how difficult life could be for someone with kidney disease. “I realized how much of a difference I could make in their lives. These experiences reinforced in me the belief that nephrology is where I should be.

Shelden loves to travel in his off-hours. “Road trips are my favorite, and I hope to travel to all 50 states in the US; currently, I’m at 18/50!” He is an ardent soccer fan and takes effort to watch his favorite team play. “I want to travel to Milan one day to watch a game live at our legendary home stadium.” He and his wife enjoy cooking and experimenting with new recipes. “We discovered a new interest in gardening during the pandemic and are almost halfway towards filling our apartment with greenery!”

Favorite Pastime in St. Louis: Visiting Forest Park and the Central West End
Favorite restaurant/bar: Turmeric 

Swathi Velagapudi, MD

Residency: The Brooklyn Hospital Center, Brooklyn, NY
Medical School: NRI Medical College, Guntur, Andhra Pradesh, India

While internal medicine is my passion, nephrology is where I truly belong. The complex physiology piqued my interest academically – it seems simple initially, but you soon learn how little you actually know.

Swathi is an avid traveler. She would love to visit Japan and it is next on her list. Being physically active is also important. She has won multiple swimming competitions and has a particular interest in MMA and kickboxing. In medical school she has won medals for various sports competitions and was Captain of the throwball team.

Favorite Pastime in St. Louis: Visiting Forest Park and the Arch
Favorite restaurant/bar: Shaved Duck

Abdullah Jalal, MD

Residency: Overlook Medical Center, Summit, NJ
Medical School: St. George’s University School of Medicine, Grenada, West Indies

Abdullah was drawn to nephrology because of the strong emphasis on problem-solving and critical-thinking skills needed, as well as the opportunity to develop meaningful patient–physician relationships. “Given the complexity of patients with advanced kidney disease, nephrologists often become de facto primary care providers and their patients’ strongest advocates.”

He is an avid hiker and enjoys visiting national parks. While the COVID pandemic prevented Abdullah from traveling during residency, he often watched travel videos in anticipation of his next journey abroad!

Favorite Pastimes in St. Louis: Cheering on the Cardinals and Blues at their games and exploring Forest Park
Favorite restaurants/bar: Turmeric 

Juan Sanchez, MD

Residency: Cook County Health and Hospitals System Program, Chicago, IL.
Medical School: Universidad de Guayaquil Facultad de Ciencias Médicas, Ecuador

A medical school nephrology professor is credited with inspiring Juan’s interest in the field of nephrology. “His ability to explain even the most complex acid base disturbances and electrolyte imbalances and their repercussions captivated me,” says Juan. “I was instantly hooked.

Juan enjoys playing sports, particularly tennis and soccer. He plays the saxophone, is into fitness, nutrition, video games and family!

Favorite Pastime in St. Louis: Visiting the Zoo and working out at Planet Fitness
Favorite restaurant/bar: Kingside Diner and Cocina Latina

Marco Thierry, MD

Residency: University of Texas, Rio Grande Valley-Doctors Hospital at Renaissance, McAllen, TX
Medical School: Windsor University School of Medicine, Saint Kitts and Nevis

Marco compares the clinical management of complex kidney pathologies to solving the Rubik’s cube. “At the start of my residency, I struggled with the clinical management of common kidney pathologies. However, what started out as a confusing subject, soon became an obsession and a very entertaining challenge.”
Marco’s off-hour activities and interests include powerlifting (he competed in the AAPF intro to Powerlifting in Lombard, IL) and Fantasy Football (he was league winner in 2016 and 2020). In Texas, he was the starting prop for the McAllen Knights Rugby Team.

Favorite Pastime in St. Louis: “Favorite things about St. Louis? Provel cheese, all the breweries and the St. Louis Hornets Rugby Club!”
Favorite restaurant/bar: Chris’s Pancakes and Nick’s Pub

First-year fellows (2023-2025)

Atlee Baker, MD

Residency: Ochsner Louisiana State University Health Science Center

Atlee enjoys cooking favorites from where he grew up in Maryland but is always willing to try something new.  His latest hobby is home brewing, and he’s looking forward to making his first batch of mead.

Muhammad Yasir Baloch, MBBS

Residency: Florida State University, Tallahassee Memorial Hospital

Yasir is a hobbyist photographer and has worked for National Geographic magazine as an aerial videographer (using his drone).  See his spectacular work documenting a Hindu pilgrimage here.

Alex Calderon, MD

Residency: SSM Health, St. Mary’s Hospital, St. Louis

Alex likes traveling and is a big soccer fan. He hopes to attend the next World Cup.

Felina Innaci Dass, MBBS

Residency: St. Luke’s Hospital, St. Louis, Missouri

Felina is an accomplished pianist.  She has been playing piano since the age of 4 and is board certified from the Associated Board of Royal Schools of Music (ABRSM), UK.

Audrey Netzel, MD

Residency: Ochsner Louisiana State, University Health Science Center

Audrey is a Wisconsin cheese lover!  She grew up in southern Wisconsin and enjoys sharing the “best cheese” in this country with family and friends.  Her favorite Wisconsin Cheese is Roth Cheese’s Grand Cru Surchoix, which has won multiple international awards and is made in her hometown.

Olga Postovitenko, MD

Residency: Berkshire Medical Center, Pittsfield, MA

In her free time, Olga enjoys different outdoor activities, especially hiking. One of her dreams is to visit 10 major National Parks in the next few years. So far, she has been able to enjoy hiking in four out of 10 parks.

Transplant Fellows (2023-2024)

Farah S. Abuazzam, MD

Nephrology Fellowship: Loma Linda University Health
Loma Linda, CA

Samer Abdulkhalek, MD

Nephrology Fellowship: University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA

Our Nephrology Fellowship leaders

Dr. Seth Goldberg

Seth Goldberg, MD
Training Program Director, Nephrology Fellowship

Associate Professor of Medicine
Washington University School of Medicine
660 S. Euclid Ave., Campus Box 8129
St. Louis, MO 63110
Phone: 314-362-7211

Favorite Pastime in St. Louis:  Sports scene, site of the 1904 Olympics, St Louis Cardinals, St Louis Blues, bar trivia, classic car shows.
Favorite restaurant/bar: Blackthorn Pub and Pizza

Frank O’Brien, MD, MRCPI
Senior Associate Program Director

Assistant Professor of Medicine
Washington University School of Medicine
660 S. Euclid Ave., Campus Box 8129
St. Louis, MO 63110
Phone: 314-362-7211

Favorite Pastime in St. Louis:    The unique individual neighborhoods of the city, The Missouri Botanical Garden.
Favorite restaurant/bar: Sidney Street Café, Yellowbelly

Morgan Schoer, MD
Associate Program Director

Assistant Professor of Medicine
Washington University School of Medicine
660 S. Euclid Ave., Campus Box 8129
St. Louis, MO 63110
Phone: 314-362-7211