Meet the OHNS Residents


Dara Adams, MD

Dara hails from the Chicago suburbs and attended the University of Pennsylvania, where she studied Biological Basis of Behavior and Spanish. Following graduation, she worked for three years at Bain & Company in their Boston and London offices. She returned home to study medicine at the University of Chicago’s Pritzker School of Medicine, where she graduated with honors. Dara became interested in Otolaryngology during medical school and was fortunate to spend a dedicated research year pursuing epidemiology research on loss of smell in older adults. She is thrilled to continue her training at the University of Chicago. Dara is a member of the Phi Beta Kappa and Alpha Omega Alpha honor societies. Outside of medicine, Dara enjoys running, travelling, being sous chef for her husband’s cooking adventures, and playing outside with her daughters.

Adam Howard, MD

Adam was born and raised in San Diego, CA. He attended UC Davis with the intent of eventually applying for medical school. After earning a BS in Biochemistry and spending one year doing basic science research, he matriculated at Keck School of Medicine of USC. Adam is thrilled to have couples matched at the University of Chicago Medicine for Otolaryngology. Outside of the hospital, Adam spends his time playing guitar and drums, exploring the city, and exercising. He also loves to cook and eat (but especially eat) with his girlfriend, who is an Internal Medicine resident at the University of Chicago.

Avery Nelson, MD

Avery was born in Southeastern Wisconsin and spent most of her childhood there, except for 2 years during elementary school when her father's job took her family to the Netherlands. Avery left Wisconsin to attend Clemson University in South Carolina, where she received a degree in Biological Sciences. For medical school, she attended the University of South Carolina School of Medicine in Columbia. She became interested in Otolaryngology during her third year surgery rotation. Avery is excited to be returning to the Midwest and to be receiving her training at the University of Chicago. In her free time, she enjoys trying out new recipes and restaurants, attending stand-up comedy shows, and dancing.

Laura Petrauskas, MD

Laura was born and raised in the suburbs of Chicago. She attended Tulane University in New Orleans for undergrad where she studied Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. She then received her Masters of Medical Science at Loyola University here in Chicago. Not being able to resist the opportunity to return to one of her favorite cities, she attended Louisiana State University School of Medicine, where she graduated with honors and as Vice President of Alpha Omega Alpha. She instantly fell in love with the ENT program at University of Chicago and knew she wanted to come home! Her interests include anything to do with food, outdoor activities, yoga, running, hanging out with her husband, and being a dog mom!

Nirali Patel, MD

Nirali was originally born in Northern New Jersey and spent a few years living in India before returning to Rockaway, New Jersey where she spent her childhood with her older brother and parents. She graduated from Boston College with a double major in English literature and Biology. She subsequently returned to the Garden State to attend medical school at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School. She became interested in Otolaryngology during her third-year surgery rotation. During her fourth year, she rotated at the U of C and instantly fell in love with the program. Outside of work, Nirali enjoys listening to podcasts, cooking, spending time with her friends and family, and exploring (read: eating her way through) Chicago.

Zachary A. Warren, MD

Zach grew up in Southern California before moving to Austin, Texas with his family. He went to Texas A&M University (Gig ‘Em Ags!), where he studied biomedical sciences and graduated summa cum laude. For medical school, he attended the The University of Texas Medical Branch. During that time, he worked as a tutor for board preparation, which cultivated his passion for teaching, and was a writer for the school of medicine blog. He was inducted into the Gold Humanism and Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Societies, and graduated cum laude and as a physician healer scholar. After completing a sub-internship at UChicago during his fourth year of medical school, Zach fell in love with the program and its close knit family vibe.

A former barista, in his free time, Zach enjoys experimenting with making good coffee and cocktails. He loves to travel and engage in different cultures, and loves talking to people about their passions. He is an avid reader and claims to have never lost a Harry Potter trivia challenge. In Chicago, he has enjoyed making new friends, going to the beach (in the summer!), and experiencing the incredible food scene in Chicago.

Aaron Wallace, MD

Aaron was raised in Upstate New York, except for a year in Poland while his mother was a Fulbright scholar and an exchange to Russia in high school. He attended Cornell University, where he studied Biology and Russian. He then spent a year working as a medical assistant near Boston, prior to matriculating at the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine. He discovered otolaryngology during his third-year surgery clerkship, during which time he was quickly drawn to the field and culture. He is absolutely thrilled to be staying at the University of Chicago to continue his training. He is a member of the Phi Beta Kappa and Alpha Omega Alpha honor societies. Outside of medicine, Aaron enjoys exploring Chicago’s neighborhoods and food scenes, baking (particularly pies and tarts), running, yoga, studying languages, and spending time with his partner and his pug.

Samuel Auger, MD

Sam was born in Rhode Island, grew up in Ecuador, and has called Chicago home since attending North Park University, where he majored in Global Studies. Following graduation, he spent a year in Bulgaria on a Fulbright scholarship teaching English and travelling through Eastern Europe, and two years working in higher education IT writing code and drinking coffee. He studied medicine at Rush University Medical College where he discovered the wonderful field of otolaryngology and is very excited to be continuing his training at the University of Chicago, where spent a month during his fourth year rotations. Outside the hospital, Sam enjoys photographing local bands, running marathons, and tinkering with computers.

David Grande,  MD

David was born and raised in Park Ridge, IL. David attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison for his undergraduate studies, where he majored in Psychology. Afterwards, he worked in clinical research at Northwestern Medicine within the Division of Gastroenterology. He completed his medical degree at Loyola University Stritch School of Medicine where he was inducted into the Alpha Omega Alpha honor medical society. David couldn’t be more thrilled to join the University of Chicago Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery family. In his spare time, David enjoys cooking, making cocktails, winemaking, beekeeping, and watching stand-up comedy.

Maximilian Hemmrich, MD

Max was born and raised in a small town in Germany and moved to Michigan with his family when he was 8. He attended the University of Michigan (Go Blue!) for his undergraduate studies, graduating with a degree in Computer Science & Engineering. After a brief stint as a software engineer in the Bay Area, he matriculated at the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine. He fell in love with both the field of otolaryngology and the UChicago OHNS department during his third-year surgery clerkship and is overjoyed to be joining this incredible group for residency! In his free time, Max likes to lift things up and put them down, play chess with various department members, keep up with tech trends, and hang out with his fiancée and two kittens.

Onyekachi (Ezinna) Nnabue, MD

Ezinna was born in Nigeria and grew up in Los Angeles, California. He attended UCLA where he received his degree in Physiological Science. He received his medical degree from UCSF School of Medicine where he graduated with distinction. Ezinna discovered otolaryngology at the end of his third year in medical school and spent a year between his third and fourth year in a basic science laboratory studying submucosal glands in chronic rhinosinusitis. He looks forward to continuing his training at the University of Chicago and exploring all the city has to offer. Outside of work Ezinna enjoys playing with new tech and gadgets, outdoor activities, tennis, high-intensity exercise, and board games. In the future, he also plans to consider learning how to cook.

Julia Naman Thomas, MD

Julia was raised in Columbus, Georgia, located on the banks of the Chattahoochee River. She went to Yale University for undergrad and majored in Environmental Studies. After college, she received her Master of Science in Public Health from the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill where she focused on water, sanitation, and hygiene issues. Over the next two years, she had an assortment of jobs from public health work with a disaster relief organization in the Philippines and Greece to receptionist at a primary care clinic. She eventually realized her love for direct patient care and decided to pursue a degree at the Pritzker School of Medicine. During her clerkships, she discovered the incredible field of Otolaryngology and she’s overjoyed to be continuing her training at the University of Chicago, where her interest was initially sparked. In her free time, Julia enjoys rock climbing, trying to keep plants alive, exploring Chicago’s many parks, and most importantly, doing anything with her husband and very sweet baby boy.

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