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Meet the new KU Neurosurgery residents

Martin McCandless from the University of Mississippi and Ari Williams from Indiana University begin their residencies in July.

The Department of Neurosurgery at the University of Kansas Medical Center is delighted to welcome two new residents for the 2023-24 academic year.

“Both of these young doctors will bring a wealth of academic accomplishments, motivation, and genuine enthusiasm for this specialty,” said Paul J. Camarata, M.D., chair of the Department of Neurosurgery. “They will make an outstanding addition to the team!”

Martin McCandlessMartin McCandless comes to the department from the University of Mississippi School Medicine. He received his bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering with a minor in mathematics from Mississippi State University, where he graduated summa cum laude with a 4.0 GPA. He also is pursuing his master’s degree online in applied biomedical engineering from Johns Hopkins.

McCandless received several awards and honors while in medical school. He was elected to the Alpha Omega Alpha (AOA) Medical Honor Society and earned awards for both his academic performance and extracurricular activities while in medical school. He has given several presentations and has published 10 peer-review papers, a book chapter and multiple abstracts.  

He also volunteered as the information director for the Jackson Free Clinic, mentored high school engineering students for various projects and helped with several initiatives to improve academic life.

McCandless first became interested in neurosurgery because of the intricacies of his neurobiology class. He became more involved in neurosurgery research and felt comfortable, as it was similar to the dedication he felt was needed for aerospace engineering. He greatly appreciated the continuous innovations in neurosurgery, the ability to work with his hands, the ongoing opportunity to further his medical knowledge and make a difference in someone’s life. He also has a personal interest in cardiovascular disease and stroke.

Martin has conducted research with Muhammad Chohan, M.D., neurosurgeon from the University of Mississippi Medical Center, using statistics to measure surgical-site infections using negative-pressure wound therapy in patients with metastatic spinal disease. Through this experience and departmental colloquia, he learned of the uncertainties involved in various neurological conditions and the impacts following non-surgical/surgical intervention and managements. He feels neurosurgery allows him to use his kinesthetic abilities in ways that affect patient outcomes in considerable ways.

Outside of the medical world, his interests are flying large-scale radio-controlled aircraft and private aircraft as well as attending car shows and airshows, especially Experimental Aircraft Association AirVenture. He also enjoys long-distance cycling.

Ari WilliamsAri Williams comes to us from The University of Indiana School of Medicine. He received his bachelor’s degree in human biology at The University of Indiana.

Williams initiated a public wellness campaign to help the general population recognize the signs of stroke. He wrote the lyrics and recorded the song in a studio where he not only sang but also played guitar, keyboard and MIDI bass. He also created the music video on a website he, too, created. To further educate the general public, Ari performed the song live (and handed out flyers) in Indianapolis.

His interest in neurosurgery piqued with his grandfather’s diagnosis and passing of a brain tumor. Ari appreciates that neurosurgery is a balance of beauty and melancholy. He believes that in music, as in neurosurgery, there is an element of “perseverance on demand” whereby one must minimize the chance of mishaps (equipment failure in music, for instance) and become adept at improvising to circumvent the unforeseeable (in neurosurgery, preparing in advance for possible complications in the OR). Williams indicates that the aphorism “The show must go on” aptly applies to music performances but could equally apply to many situations in the OR when something doesn’t go as anticipated.

Ari has conducted research from 2020 to present with Drs. Maria Mankin and Brad Bohnstedt. With Dr. Mankin the research involved a murine model evaluating visual cortex neural activity in relation to pupillary size. For Dr. Bohnstedt, Ari performed an analysis comparing three flow-diverter stents. This work produced a first author abstract as well as poster presentations.

Ari’s hobbies include, as already mentioned, being a musician. He plays several instruments but especially enjoys guitar. He also enjoys ancient Roman history and athletics.

Department of Neurosurgery

University of Kansas Medical Center
3901 Rainbow Blvd.
Mailstop 3021
Kansas City, KS 66160
Phone: 913-588-0356
Fax: 913-588-6061