Vihas  Abraham, MD

Vihas Abraham, MD

Where I am from: I grew up in South Africa and moved to Chicago when I was 12. I majored in Biochemistry, Biology, Chemistry and Natural Sciences at Case Western Reserve University. Afterwards, I obtained a Masters in Pharmacology from Tulane University before completing my medical training at the University of Illinois at Chicago. I fell in love with the unique and diverse pathologies of pediatric neurology late in my third year of medical school and the field continues to intrigue!

Where I am going: I am interested in several fields currently, including neurocritical care, neuroimmunology, neuromuscular diseases and epilepsy! All of these fields are rapidly expanding with novel developments in therapies and imaging, and I hope to be part of it going forward.

Why I am here: The support. The passion. The camaraderie. My interviews were over Zoom, and the enthusiasm that the residents and faculty had for the field was still so obvious! We have already had opportunities to meet with and get to know several attendings in the first few months. There are also constant opportunities to get involved in research. In addition, all the residents that I have met have been kind, down to earth, and so welcoming!  Finally, the city of St. Louis is charming! We are close to Forest Park, which offers tons of activities, from biking, golfing, and tennis to the art museum and theatre and even holds the St. Louis Zoo! There are also several trendy restaurants and shops nearby, with the opportunity to explore distinct neighborhoods just a few miles away!

Natasha  Mehta, MD

Natasha Mehta, MD

Where I am from: Houston, TX, Baylor College of Medicine for medical school. Undergraduate at Rice University.

Where I am going:  Neurocritical care and neurodevelopmental outcomes research

Why I am here: Pediatric neurology subspecialties are well-represented, low cost of living, lots of greenery, great research support

Asia  Payne, MD

Asia Payne, MD

Where I am from: I grew up in the suburbs of Memphis, TN. I then attended the illustrious Spelman College in Atlanta, GA where I majored in Biology and completed a dual BS/MS Masters in Neuroscience program through Morehouse School of Medicine. I then received my MD from Wright State University Boonshoft School of Medicine where I was involved in pediatric headache research and intellectual and developmental disability advocacy.

Where I am going: I have lots of interests right now, but I find epilepsy, neurogenetics, neuroimmunology and neonatal neurology interesting. I’m hoping to chart a career that allows me time to complete clinical research and teach at an academic hospital.

Why I am here: I have always admired St. Louis Children’s Hospital and WashU for its cutting edge research and commitment to clinical excellence. I knew I found a home with this program when I realized that this program gave me everything I wanted in a program: opportunities for cutting-edge research, a supportive clinical learning environment, a mid-sized city with lots of culture and a hospital culture that cultivates leaders.

Laura  Perez-Arnold, MD

Laura Perez-Arnold, MD

Where I am from: I was born here in St. Louis, but I’ve bounced back and forth between STL and Texas all my life. My love for neurology originally grew out of 15+ years working with the Epilepsy Foundation while I lived in Texas. I came home to STL to do my undergraduate at WashU, majoring in psychological and brain sciences. Then it was back to Texas for Medical School at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, where I did ventriculoperitoneal shunt research. In between undergrad and medical school I spent a year and a half doing ABA therapy for children with Autism.

Where am I going: I have a special place in my heart for Epilepsy and have enjoyed learning about EEG. In addition to epilepsy, I think the most exciting things in neurology are happening in neurogenetics and neuroimmunology. The research happening in those fields are going to completely change what’s possible for our patients in the future, so I am excited to explore that during residency. I also love pulmonology, so I think I would like to learn more about neuromusclular medicine too. I’m excited to see where residency takes me!

Why am I here: I knew I wanted a medium sized city with a strong, collaborative, medical community, a comprehensive pediatrics program, and pediatric neurologists who could offer advanced training supported by influential research. Early in the interview process I could already tell that the pediatric neuro residents were energized about what they were doing and that they were genuinely excited to share it amongst themselves and with applicants. WashU and St. Louis attract collaborative and compassionate people who have a passion for teaching and service, and I wanted to be a part of that community. Ultimately, St. Louis is my home, and I just didn’t feel done here yet. Plus it’s pretty hard to beat Forest Park, Cardinals baseball, and toasted ravioli!

Casey  Vickstrom, MD, PhD

Casey Vickstrom, MD, PhD

Where I am from: I grew up about an hour outside of Chicago in Algonquin, Illinois. I went to Northwestern University for undergrad where I majored in biological sciences with a concentration in neurobiology. After graduation I moved to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where I did a combined MD/PhD program at the Medical College of Wisconsin. During my PhD, I studied the role of endocannabinoid signaling in specific neural circuits in regulating anxiety and depressive-like behaviors in rodents.

Where I am going: I did a lot of electrophysiology during my PhD, and I am currently most interested in epilepsy. But I am also drawn to neuroimmunology and neurogenetics, so I will see where residency takes me! I plan to pursue a significant basic science/translational research career and would like to study rare neurological disorders with the goal of developing new, innovative treatments.

Why I am here: St. Louis Children’s Hospital and WashU are premier clinical and research institutions that will allow me to receive excellent clinical training while pursuing my research interests. Although I have only been in St. Louis for a few months, it has been a great place to live so far! I love that it is a medium-sized city with great food (especially BBQ) and fun things to do but is also close to great outdoor activities like hiking and mountain biking. And Forest Park is pretty amazing.