Meet the current fellows in the neonatal perinatal fellowship program at Indiana University School of Medicine.
Merve Denizli, MD
PGY 6 FOREIGN DENTAL SCHOOLS
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.
PGY 6 Campbell University School Of Osteopathic Medicine
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.
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!)
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.
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.
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.
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.
PGY 4 University of Cincinnati College of Medicine
Undergraduate School: University of Michigan Medical School: University of Cincinnati Residency: Cincinnati Children’s
Hobbies/Interests: Home improvement, running, spending quality time with my husband and baby, traveling, and scrapbooking.
Research/QI Interests: I am interested in Neuro NICU and may be starting a project related to neurodevelopmental outcomes. Additionally, I have interest in becoming more involved with efforts to improve neonatal resuscitation in lower resource settings around the world.
Why NICU? Neonatology is a very fulfilling field! The neonatal period is the most vulnerable time for a chlid's survival, and it is an honor to be trusted by families to care for their most precious possessions throughout their NICU stay and beyond. It is so satisfying to see babies get bigger and healthier and finally get to go home with their families. There is also plenty of opportunity to think critically about all the different organ systems.
Why IU/Riley? As the referral NICU for the entire state, I knew that there would be ample exposure to both common and uncommon conditions. Neonatologists who trained at Riley would be prepared to take care of any baby! Everyone at Riley was very inviting and excited about the program. No matter your interest, chances are that there is someone at Riley who can help you fulfill your scholarly goals.
Undergraduate School: University of Notre Dame Medical School: Tufts University School of Medicine Residency: Categorical Pediatrics Residency at UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh
Hobbies/Interests: Outside of medicine, I love being active - my fiancé and I love to bike the trails to local restaurants and breweries. I also love group workout classes and skiing. I’m a huge sports fan - my favorite teams are the University of Notre Dame, all Pittsburgh sports teams, and professional women’s soccer (both USWNT and NWSL- Go Bats).
Research/QI Interests: Currently, I am interested in Palliative Care and Bioethics, especially in the setting of perinatal counseling and parental decision making. I also have an interest in work with extremely premature infants.
Why NICU? I have known I wanted to go into NICU since I was in medical school. I have always been interested in the unique and complex physiology of fetal/newborn medicine. I love that the NICU has a combination of complex medical needs, procedural opportunities, and longitudinal relationships with families.
Why IU/Riley? During my interview, I really connected with Dr. Niehaus’ perspective of fellowship as time of clinical growth and focusing on your passions with scholarly activity. I appreciated the program’s willingness to help us determine our passion for our future career and how we can develop that interest in fellowship. I also wanted a high volume and high acuity program with a level 3 NICU, level 4 NICU, and delivery center where I can hone my skills in various aspects of Neonatology.
Undergraduate School: Case Western Reserve University Medical School: University of Pittsburgh, School of Medicine Residency: Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center
Hobbies/Interests: I love gardening both indoor and outdoor. I particularly love caring for orchids and currently have about 13 orchids and hoping to add more fragrant ones soon! My husband and I also enjoy cooking together and will try out recipes from different countries. Recently, have been exploring the board game world.
Research/QI Interests: I am interested in fetal and neonatal nutrition (breastfeeding, TPN, microbiome) as well as advocacy focused on improving equity around access to healthy food. Currently, figuring out my specific research project/direction.
Why NICU? I chose medicine because I loved anatomy and physiology. In neonatology, we get to apply our understanding of physiology when caring for patients through the rapidly evolving fetal to neonatal to newborn stages and when caring for unique congenital anomalies. In addition, I love the detail-oriented, collaborative team-based approach in NICU where we can continue caring for patients through their entire hospitalization.
Why IU/Riley? My interview experience! The program leadership reached out beforehand to discuss my career interests and worked to have me interview with faculty who could be potential mentors. On interview day, the faculty and fellows were kind, enthusiastic, approachable, and straightforward. In addition, the program provides a wide range of educational opportunities and has built-in flexibility that allowed fellows to develop their own interests/career. Ultimately, it was the “feeling” and building excitement that I had for the program.