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First Year Fellows

Styliani Karanika

Medical School, Grad Year: University of Athens, 2011
Residency: Boston University, 2019

Stela grew up in Athens, Greece and studied medicine in the University of Athens. She served as a rural physician in south Crete for one year after her graduation and then worked as a resident in Athens for another year. Next, she explored the field of Cancer Immunology at MD Anderson Cancer Center at the University of Texas, where she worked as a postdoctoral research fellow leading projects on novel therapeutic approaches for metastatic prostate cancer focused mainly on the DNA damage response, activation of immune signaling and mechanisms of apoptosis in in-vitro and in-vivo models. She then moved to Brown University where she ran epidemiologic studies on C. difficile, MRSA and ESBL gram negative bacteria and was involved in clinical trials investigating novel diagnostic nanotechnology-based molecular assays for the diagnosis of bacteremia and candidemia. Following her research years, she completed her Internal Medicine Residency at Boston University Medical Center. Her academic interests include HIV and immune-mediated non-infectious complications.


Walid El-Nahal

Undergrad: University of Virginia, 2011
Medical School: University of Virginia School of Medicine, 2015
Residency: University of Virginia Health System, 2019

Walid was born in Maryland, living in Bowie for the first eight years of his life. He then moved to Cairo, Egypt, where his family is originally from. After ten years there he moved back to the US to begin his undergraduate years at The University of Virginia, where he majored in chemical engineering. He would spend twelve years there, completing his undergraduate degree, medical school, and residency at the UVA Health System’s Internal Medicine program. His clinical interests include both HIV and transplant, while his research interests lie in studying the impact of health policy changes and differences at the federal, state and local level on outcomes for patients with infectious diseases, particularly patients living with HIV.


Sonya Krishnan

Undergrad: Carleton College, 2010
Medical School: George Washington University, 2016
Residency: Johns Hopkins University, 2019

Sonya grew up in Minnesota and obtained her BA in Biology from Carleton College in Minnesota. After college she spent a two years at the NIH studying predictors of IRIS as well as inflammatory markers in Elite Controllers with Dr. Irini Sereti. She then completed her MD at George Washington University and subsequently moved to Baltimore for internal medicine residency at the JHH Osler Medical Training Program. Sonya’s academic interests include HIV and non-infectious complications of HIV. When she is not in the hospital she enjoys spending time with her silky terrier and gardening.


L. Leigh Smith

Lauren Smith

Undergrad: Brown University
Medical School: Howard University, 2015
Residency: Jackson Memorial/University of Miami

Leigh grew up in Southern California and received her undergraduate degree from Brown University.  She then moved to DC and received her medical degree from Howard University College of Medicine and ultimately completed residence at Jackson Memorial/University of Miami in Miami, FL.  She spent the last year working as an academic hospitalist where she grew up in California at Loma Linda University Medical Center.  Her clinical interests include outbreak response, disaster & emergency preparedness as well as emerging infectious disease.  She enjoys hiking, running and trying new foods.