Alumni Spotlight 

We recently caught up with three members of MIR’s 2013 residency class: Ignacio R. Lopez-Costa, MD, a partner at Clinical Radiologists in Glen Carbon, Illinois; Robin R. Quazi, MD, vice chair of radiology at Scripps Clinic in San Diego, California; and Ting Y. Tao, MD, assistant professor of radiology and chief of pediatric radiology at MIR. We talked about why they chose MIR, the impact it had on their careers and what they’re up to now.

Why did you choose MIR for your residency training?

Lopez-Costa: When I first visited MIR as a medical student from Chile, I was awed by the size of the program, the world-renowned faculty and the incredible range of cases — not only at the work stations, but also at the multiple conferences. It became clear to me that it would be an amazing opportunity to train here.

Quazi (right), his brother and college friends in front of a seaplane during a nine-day trip exploring North Cascades National Park.

Quazi: I had a very enthusiastic adviser in medical school who insisted it was the best specialty to pursue. I didn’t know much about radiology when I applied and, unsurprisingly, I started my residency with two lead eyes. It’s a real testament to MIR that its training program turned me into what I am today.

Tao: I chose MIR for residency training for the incredible, patient-centered training in all subspecialties of radiology.

How would you describe your time at MIR? 

Quazi: Almost all rotations are resident-run, meaning you’re expected to carry the workload. All cases are read out face-to-face with an attending in small batches throughout the day before signing off. You try your best to make the diagnosis but then learn from the experts in the field right there.

Tao: A memorable four years of learning from and working with some of the most talented radiologists in the world.

Did any faculty members leave a particularly strong impression on you?

Lopez-Costa (left), who enjoys traveling in his free time, explores the Atacama Desert in his native Chile.

Lopez-Costa: Stuart Sagel, Sanjeev Bhalla, Fernando Gutierrez, Cooky Menias, Bill Middleton, Cary Siegel and Barbara Monsees to name a few. Their passion for teaching was impressive, and they were generous with their knowledge. I try to carry their dedication to patient care and clinical excellence with me.

Quazi: Sanjeev and Cooky bear the brunt of my pleas for help with cases (without complaint), and I know I am fortunate to keep on learning from the best. Sometimes I wish I could take a break and go back, sit in those reading rooms and go to noon conferences. But next time, I should probably be the one shelling out cases!

What were some highlights about your specific residency class ( Class of 2013)?

Quazi and his wife, Janice, enjoyed a family vacation in Mexico that included seaside activities such as surfing and quality beach time.

Quazi: So many great characters. Chris Norbet: never had a dull moment and a great guy. Michael Yu was unflappable, and I heard he became a shining star at Duke for fellowship. I work with Robbie Honey now, I’m still in touch with that genius Colin Thompson, and I have met up with Nacho at conferences and went to his wedding.

Tao: We were the last residency class to take oral boards and got to bond over this experience. One of the unique aspects of MIR is that you make lasting friendships both within and outside your residency class.

In what way did your training at MIR prepare you for your career path? 

Lopez-Costa: It was very well-rounded, a fact I didn’t fully appreciate until my first job. I took a position in a small hospital in southeast Missouri, and I was the only radiologist on site. I had to do everything — the whole spectrum of diagnostic imaging plus interventional procedures. My time at MIR gave me the skills and confidence to succeed.

Quazi: MIR taught me to try to make the most likely diagnosis, keeping reports short and differentials relevant, and to always follow up.

What are some of your interests beyond radiology? 

Tao, who practices taekwondo when not in the reading room, breaks a board with a kick.

Lopez-Costa: I’m lucky to have the chance to travel to many different countries and experience their cultures and cuisines. I always try to bring back a cookbook from my trips and then recreate some of the dishes for my friends.

Tao: Taekwondo, traveling and trying different cuisines.

Published in Focal Spot Winter 2024 Issue