Welcoming the Columbia Orthopedics Residency Class of 2029

We are proud to introduce the newest members of the Columbia Orthopedics and New York Orthopaedic Hospital family. Learn more about this exceptional group of future orthopedic surgeons.

Varun Arvind, MD, PhD

Research Track

Medical School: Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

Undergraduate: Rutgers University

Dr. Varun Arvind is currently completing his research year at Columbia Orthopedics and will begin his internship this June 2024. He hails from New York. He completed his BS in Biomedical Engineering at Rutgers University (supported by the Barry Goldwater Scholarship), followed by MD/PhD training at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. His PhD work in basic research focused on the role of regulatory T cells in tendon regeneration and scar formation. During his time at Mount Sinai, Varun also pursued clinical research in machine learning and big data techniques to improve surgical outcomes following spinal surgery and patient care. During the COVID-19 pandemic, he applied Epic data to assist the hospital in real time to monitor infection control and used machine learning to predict intubation among at-risk patients, which was published in the Journal of Critical Care. More recently, Varun has developed an independent project focused on the role of tendon in the development of neuromuscular contractures. Varun has an impressive 39 peer reviewed publications, and many scientific poster and podium presentations at national and international meetings. His basic science and clinical research have been recognized by numerous awards including the F31 Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award, the Ortho regeneration Education Grant, Best Paper award at NASS, Mount Sinai 4D Technology Development Program Award ($40,000), CTSA Technology Development Award ($35,000), POSNA microgrant, and more. Outside of medicine and science, Varun’s interests include cooking diverse dishes, photography, and hiking. Columbia Orthopedics celebrates Varun and his wife Neha Sikka as part of the family.

Cristina Rose DelPrete

Medical School: Rutgers, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School

Undergraduate: Johns Hopkins University

Cristina Del Prete is a New Jersey native. Her path to orthopedic surgery is deeply rooted in her upbringing in an Italian American family, where Sundays were marked by the dual traditions of tending to the garden and crafting homemade meals. Inspired by her grandfather's craftsmanship and her grandmother's culinary skills, Cristina developed a profound appreciation for working with her hands and nurturing a healthy lifestyle from a young age. Driven by her passion for promoting health and wellness, she initially pursued pre-medicine during her undergraduate studies. However, her experiences as a personal trainer for clients with chronic health conditions highlighted the transformative power of orthopedic surgery in restoring mobility and improving quality of life. This realization led her to pursue a master's degree in nutrition and exercise physiology, where she continued to explore the intersection of preventative healthcare and orthopedics. As Cristina embarks on her residency in orthopedic surgery, she remains committed to advancing diversity and mentorship within the field. With a focus on research that addresses gender differences in orthopedic surgery, she aims to contribute to a more inclusive and equitable healthcare landscape. Dr. DelPrete looks forward to thriving in an environment that values collaboration, education, and excellence, while continuing to advocate for the advancement of orthopedic surgery for all. Cristina is AOA and has published 7 peer reviewed articles, and has presented at national conferences, including serving as the MSOS Mentorship Co-chair. Columbia Orthopedics welcomes Cristina and husband Victor to the family.

Vikranth “Vik” Mirle

Medical School: University of Chicago, Division of the Biological Sciences, The Pritzker School of Medicine

Undergraduate: Ohio State University

Vik’s journey into orthopedic surgery has been shaped by his early fascination with percussion instruments and the intricate movements of drumming. Starting with a drum set, he was drawn to the powerful rolls and rhythms reminiscent of rock and roll. However, as he explored both Western and South Asian drums, he discovered a deeper appreciation for the finesse of subtle movements, mirroring the journey he would later pursue in orthopedic surgery. Entering medical school with a background in mechanical and aerospace engineering, Vik was interested in the biomechanical principles and unique approach of orthopedic surgery. The satisfaction he derived from understanding the forces acting on fractures and achieving optimal reduction and fixation solidified his commitment to the field. He also recognized the tangible improvements patients experienced through orthopedic interventions. During a year-long research fellowship in sports medicine and shoulder surgery at Rush University, Vik gained insight into the value of treating not only limb-threatening injuries but also those impacting quality of life. This iinspired him to advocate for patient-centered research and address disparities in access to quality musculoskeletal care. His experiences with underserved populations, including incarcerated individuals and refugees, deepened his commitment to improving access to orthopedic surgery. Vik has over 24 peer reviewed publications and more than 44 national presentations and has served on the Medical Student Orthopedic Society Education Committee. Columbia Orthopedics welcomes Vik and his partner Atiya to the family.

Vibav Mouli

Medical School: University of Michigan Medical School

Graduate: Tufts School of Public Health & Professional Degrees

Undergraduate: Harvard University

Vibav’s interest in orthopedic surgery has been profoundly influenced by his personal experiences and his mother's resilience in overcoming a devastating injury. As a teenager, Vibav witnessed his mother fall from a second-floor deck, sustaining a severe thoracolumbar injury. This event ignited Vibav’s 's ambition to pursue a career in orthopedics. Driven by his desire to make a difference, he has actively engaged in clinical experiences and pursued academic research to propel clinical innovation and address healthcare disparities. Drawing from his personal experiences and professional background in digital health, he has evaluated the impact of socioeconomic factors on access to care and explored the role of telemedicine in improving patient outcomes. Vibav’s dedication to supporting future student investigators reflects his commitment to mentorship and fostering growth within the field. He is determined to continue reducing distance for patients at every step of their journey. A native New Yorker, Vibav is looking forward to joining the orthopedic residency program at Columbia, where he anticipates fostering camaraderie among residents and benefiting from a supportive environment focused on mentorship and professional growth. Vibav joins Columbia Orthopedics with experience as a Radcliffe Fellow at Harvard. He has eight peer reviewed publications and 12 national presentations, and is member of the American Orthopaedic Association. A fun fact about Vibav is his skill as a South Indian Carnatic vocalist! Columbia Orthopedics welcomes Vibav and fiancée Pratyusha to the family.

Grace Plassche

Medical School: Columbia University Vangelo’s College of Physicians and Surgeons

Undergraduate: Brown University

Grace’s journey to orthopedic surgery has been guided by the principles of continual improvement and community cultivation. Since childhood, she has pursued excellence in various pursuits, including violin performance, athletics, and long-distance running, all of which have instilled in her the values of determination, discipline, and teamwork. Beginning violin at the age of five, she learned the importance of deliberate practice and the joy of human connection through music. Her journey continued through various sports, where she developed relationships with teammates and honed her work ethic. As a Division I lacrosse player at Brown, she learned to balance her academic and athletic pursuits. Her transition to long-distance running further reinforced her appreciation for the incremental progress required to achieve success, culminating in completing the TCS New York City Marathon and qualifying for the elite Boston Marathon. Grace has completed many research endeavors with Dr. Christen Russo, Associate Professor of Orthopedic Surgery at Columbia, including the Perry Initiative to encourage young women to pursue orthopedics. Along with Dr. Russo, Grace is co-founder of the “Distanced Traveled” program which introduces high school students to the field of orthopedic surgery. Grace is dedicated to teaching and mentoring the underserved and underrepresented population and hopes to spark their dreams for a career in medicine. She has published three-peer reviewed manuscripts, two book chapters and has presented at numerous conferences. Columbia Orthopedics welcomes Grace to the family.

Nitya Venkat

Medical School: Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University

Undergraduate: Vanderbilt University

Nitya’s interest in orthopedic surgery began during her first year of medical school as the Value-Based Health Care Summer Research Intern at the University of Texas at Austin Dell Medical School. The internship sparked her interest and passion in care delivery transformation and policy advancement in orthopedics. Engaging in research on using AI in shared decision-making and exploring quality gains associated with orthopedic co-management solidified her interest in value-based care. Additionally, her clinical experiences, including observing arthroplasty cases in the operating room and witnessing the improvement in patients' post-operative quality of life, inspired her to pursue orthopedics. During her time at Rothman, she delved into research on surgical outcomes and post-acute care utilization, particularly among socially vulnerable patients. This experience reinforced her vision for the future of healthcare: to deliver high-quality, cost-effective musculoskeletal care to all individuals, regardless of social or economic status. Nitya envisions the future of healthcare as a harmonious blend of cuttingedge technology, diverse talent, and patient-centered care. She believes orthopedic surgery will play a pivotal role in enhancing the lives of patients worldwide. Nitya is a member of American Orthopedic Association, has 12 peer-reviewed publications, and over 10 national presentations. She credits seeing new technologies, both expanding access and augmenting the patient experience of arthroplasty care, as solidifying her interest in orthopedic innovation and equity. Nitya is also a trained yoga instructor. Columbia Orthopedics welcomes Nitya to the family.

Alexander “Alex” Dash

Research Track, Class of 2030

Medical School: Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

Undergraduate: Macalester College

Alex will begin his residency research year at Columbia Orthopedics in June 2024. Alex values the transformative power of orthopedic surgery. Witnessing patients regain autonomy and vitality through orthopedic interventions resonated deeply with him. Initially, Alex was certain that he would become an oncologist, driven by his personal experience with cancer and his work in oncology research. His career path redirected to orthopedics with a impactful experience as research coordinator at HSS studying metabolic bone diseases with Dr. Emily Stein. Alex proclaims his journey to orthopedic surgery was shaped by personal loss, professional revelation, and a profound desire to make a tangible difference in people's lives. He is drawn to orthopedics not only for its technical challenges but also for its ability to restore mobility, vitality, and joy to patients. Alex’s various accomplishments include being a TL1 scholar on NIH grant with PORTAL program 2022, American Society for Bone and Mineral Research (ASBMR) Student Cohort Member. He graduated Magna Cum Laude from Macalester College and obtained a Medical Student Summer Research Fellowship at HSS. He has authored 16 peer-reviewed publications, one book chapter, and he has presented 20 podiums and posters at national conferences. Columbia Orthopedics welcomes Alex to the family.