Know Your Neighbors: Meet Dr. K

May 28, 2017 raguirre

Know Your Neighbors: Meet Dr. K
This dynamic medical educator is passionate about exam preparation, Tollywood movies, and pool—and he also makes a tasty chicken biriyani.

Name: Dr. Samuel Kadavakollu, Ph.D.

Hailing from: Eluru, Andhra Pradesh, India

Occupation: Assistant Professor of Biochemistry at the Burrell College of Osteopathic Medicine

Family: Dr. K. married wife, Subhavani Barma, in 2009. Their son, Isaiah David, 6, was born at Memorial Medical Center. Johnathan Ezekial, 1, was born at Gila Regional Medical Center in Silver City.

Becoming Dr. K: After triple majoring in mathematics, physics, and chemistry at Andhra University in India, Dr. K earned his master’s in organic chemistry and moved to the United States for a career in pharmaceutical research. An opportunity to pursue his Ph.D. in medicinal chemistry at NMSU shifted his career goals. He gives a lot of credit for his successes to his mentor, esteemed cancer researcher Dr. Jeffery B. Arterburn. “Dr. Arterburn is one of the best scientists in the nation. He trained me very well. Before him, I was Sam. He made me Dr. K.”

A Bonafide Local: Between Las Cruces and Silver City, Dr. K has spent a total of nine years in New Mexico and he says now that he and his family are back in Las Cruces, they consider it their official hometown. “I love this place. There is nowhere else I can imagine living and working. We go back to India every two years to share the culture with our kids, but Cruces is our home.”

While he loves his heritage, Dr. K says he’s embraced what it truly means to be a New Mexican. “I love Mexican food,” he confirms. “I’m used to eating spicy foods and I love chiles—both red and green. The weather is similar to where I’m from and there’s a really nice mixture of cultures in Las Cruces. I don’t feel different here.”

Outside the Classroom: “I like playing pool at Farley’s with some of the other BCOM faculty. That was a big hobby of mine in Silver City also. I used to play three or four hours every week. I’m a huge fan of Indian movies from Bollywood and Tollywood. That’s probably my hobby even more so than pool. I try and go any time they play a movie in El Paso and I’ve even driven to Phoenix to watch some.

More than anything, my hobby is playing with my two boys. I’m working a lot, so when I’m home, I’m playing croquette and baseball with them.” Dr. K also enjoys listening to music on 103.9 KGRT and 99.5 Zia Country.

Flavorful Kitchen: “Being a chemist, I love cooking. We’re friends with several other Indian families that live in Las Cruces and I’m famous in our group for making a spicy rice dish called chicken biriyani. My wife is also a great cook. She takes care of everything at home. She works more than I do. When both the boys are in school, she’s thinking about opening up an Indian restaurant.”

“In India, you have to compete with millions of students to get a free education. I was raised to believe that money shouldn’t stop your learning. That’s why I do these test prep courses—to ensure all students have an equal chance to achieve their goals. Plus, it’s a way to give back to the this community where I got my doctorate and now call home.”


While earning his doctorate, Dr. K started working as a teaching aid in NMSU’s Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry where he discovered his passion for teaching and found his niche in helping students prepare for exams.

After earning his doctorate, Dr. K accepted a position at Western New Mexico University in Silver City where he ran extremely successful exam prep summer camps for several years, increasing students’ ACT scores by 28 percent and MCAT scores by 44 percent.

“My passion is exam preparation,” he says. “These types of exams are very broad spectrum; they cover a number of different subjects. I can teach math, physics, and biology. I can teach organic chemistry, inorganic chemistry, and biochemistry, so this type of work is an ideal match for my background.”

Now, as a professor at BCOM, he’s launched a community MCAT prep course and he’s working with the BCOM students to prepare them for the rigorous board exams they are required to pass to graduate from medical school. “My goal is for our students to have the highest board scores in the nation,” he says.

He also hopes to bring his ACT prep camps to NMSU in the summer of 2018 in the hopes of putting local high school students on the path to becoming doctors or fulfilling whatever educational goals they may have.

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