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Class of 2024


Shawn Barton, MD, PhD

Undergraduate Institution: University of Maryland

Medical School: Vanderbilt University

PGY-1: Emory University

Shawn grew up in Frederick, MD. He attended University of Maryland, Baltimore County where he earned his bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry & Molecular Biology. While an undergraduate, he conducted research in a structural biology laboratory studying viral RNA. However, he developed an interest in translational neuroscience research being conducted by physician scientists, which led him to enroll in the Medical Scientist Training Program at Vanderbilt University. There he earned his PhD in Neuroscience with his dissertation project focused on developing noninvasive methods of visualizing retinal pathology as a potential biomarker for Alzheimer’s disease. Shawn chose to train at Emory for the incredible research opportunities during residency, multiple clinical sites with diverse patient populations, and outstanding and supportive faculty. In his free time, Shawn trains for and races ultramarathons. He also enjoys hiking, watching movies, and exploring new restaurants with his girlfriend Sadella.  



Gabriela Bou, MD

Undergraduate Institution: University of Florida

Medical School: University of South Florida

PGY-1: Emory University

Gabriela was born in Tampa, FL to Puerto Rican parents and was raised in Tampa as well.  She attended the University of Florida for her undergraduate education and then University of South Florida for medical school.  She has been interested in neurology since high school and cannot imagine another field more fascinating and intellectually stimulating than neurology.  She has an interest in movement disorders and neuroimmunology, but would like to continue to explore other sub‐specialties during residency.  In her free time, she loves to travel, run on the Beltline, and explore the diverse neighborhoods of Atlanta.



Brianna Burlock, MD, MPH

Undergraduate Institution: Spelman College

Medical School: Wright State University

PGY-1: Emory University

Originally from metro-Atlanta, Brianna is a Spelman College alumna, where she received her B.S. in Biology with a minor in mathematics. Continuing her journey into medicine, she attended Boonshoft School of Medicine (BSOM) in Dayton, OH, where she also pursued a Masters in Public Health in addition to her medical education.  Amongst her various leadership roles at BSOM, Brianna participated in the creation of a new curriculum feature geared towards the Neurology Boot Camp for PGY2 residents. Enjoying this aspect of academia within neurology, Brianna chose the rigorous Emory University as the best place to continue her path to become a dedicated leader in the field. Given all that Emory’s Neurology Residency Program offers, she was further impressed by the supportive and diverse environment which she believes is truly invaluable to her development. Brianna is also passionate about health in minority communities, particularly in Black communities, and plans to continue to incorporate these passions into her career as a neurologist. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with family and friends, doing home improvement projects, exploring hiking trails, great restaurants, mini-golf, traveling and mentoring.  



Pressley Chakales, MD

Undergraduate Institution: University of Georgia

Medical School: University of Central Florida

PGY-1: Emory University

Pressley is an Atlanta native who attended University of Georgia for her undergraduate education, graduating with a Bachelor’s degree in Biology and Psychology. She later received her M.D. from the University of Central Florida where she was inducted into the Alpha Omega Alpha honor society. Pressley chose Emory for residency due to her strong personal ties to Atlanta and her desire to care for the diverse population of Georgians that she grew up with. The unique opportunity to train in multiple health care systems at Emory, Grady, and the VA and to learn from these different systems and populations was a major draw to the program.  She was also attracted to the wide variety of neurologic sub-specialties at Emory and looks forward to exploring her interests in stroke, neuroimmunology, and more.  In her free time, she loves listening to music and going to shows, riding horses, exploring the outdoors - like the Beltline and the many Georgia parks, traveling, and spending time with family and friends.



Melley Fesseha, MD

Undergraduate Institution: University of North Carolina

Medical School: University of North Carolina

PGY-1: University of North Carolina

Melley was raised in Charlotte, NC. She attended UNC-Chapel Hill where she studied History and Economics. She stayed at UNC for medical school where she developed her love for neurology during her preclinical neurology course and outpatient neurology clinics. Emory was the obvious choice for residency for the exposure to different patient populations, opportunities for clinical research, supportive faculty, and friendly and smart residents. Melley is currently undecided and is looking forward to exploring the different aspects of neurology. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with family, exploring new restaurants, and traveling. 



Nilushi Karunamuni, MD

Undergraduate Institution:  Case Western Reserve University

Medical School: Wayne State University

PGY-1: Emory University

Nilushi was raised in Fort Myers, Florida. She completed her undergraduate studies at Case Western Reserve University in Ohio. She then earned her master's degree at the University of South Florida and remained in Tampa to gain more clinical experience after her graduate studies. It was during this time that she worked as medical scribe in a neurology clinic, and this experience is what sparked her passion for the field. She completed medical school at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan, before once again returning south for residency at Emory. Nilushi’s early subspecialty interests include vascular and critical care neurology, though she is also interested in exploring other procedural fields, such as neurointervention and pain medicine, during her time in residency. She chose Emory because of the unparalleled clinical training with the opportunity to serve a diverse population, the vibrant city of Atlanta, and, most importantly, the amazing residents, faculty, and staff who make up the Emory Neurology family. In her free time, she loves to travel and is always down for a round of trivia with friends.



Henssey Ngo, MD

Undergraduate Institution: University of Georgia

Medical School: Medical College of Georgia

PGY-1: Emory University 

Henssey was born in Manilla, Philippines and raised in Columbus, Georgia. She attended the University of Georgia where she studied Biology and minored in Spanish. She then attended the Medical College of Georgia where her love for neurology was found unexpectedly in a 3rd year clerkship. Henssey was drawn to Emory for its diverse patient populations between the various hospitals, massive stroke center, camaraderie amongst residents, and emphasis on resident wellness. In her free time, Henssey enjoys rock climbing and playing tennis and is a part of the Atlanta Lawn Tennis Association (ALTA). 



Cherisse Onuigbo, MD

Undergraduate Institution Washington University in St. Louis

Medical School: University of Texas Southwestern

PGY-1: Emory University

Cherisse was spent most of her childhood in the Netherlands before moving to Texas for middle school. She attended Washington University in St. Louis and majored in biomedical engineering with a minor in mechanical engineering. She then went to UT Southwestern in Dallas, where she was heavily involved in community outreach and mentorship in the minority communities, as well as global health. She was drawn to Emory mainly due to the various opportunities to continue engaging in minority communities in a program that has pathways already paved to bring neurology to under-resourced areas of the city. Currently, Cherisse's specific interests in neurology are vast but she knows that she wants to pursue a subspecialty in which she will be able to continue engaging in and educating different under-resourced communities without being too far removed from them. In her free time, she likes to learn dance choreographies, play video games, and cook. 



Jennifer Ro, MD

Undergraduate Institution: Emory University

Medical School: Medical College of Georgia

PGY-1: Emory University

Jennifer was born and raised in Baltimore, MD and attended Emory University where she studied biology and minored in music. She then worked at Emory for two years in the Department of Interventional Cardiology as a clinical research coordinator before starting medical school at the Medical College of Georgia, where she developed a passion for neurology during her clinical rotation. She chose Emory for her residency training due to the diverse patient population, broad clinical exposure, wonderful faculty and fellow residents, and the opportunity to further explore her interest in movement disorders at a well-established program. She also loves the city of Atlanta for its food, beautiful scenery, and multitude of fun places to explore. In her free time she loves skateboarding or biking around town as well as trying new trendy food spots with her friends.