UIC Periodontics Current Periodontics Residents
From left to right: Dr. Shakir, Dr. Nikolova, and Dr. Newman

Class of 2018

Dr. Taylor Newman was born in Miami, Fl and graduated from the University of Florida cum laude with a B.S. in Integrative Biology and a minor in Communication Studies in 2010. In 2011, she received her Master’s in Biomedical Sciences from Barry University in Miami, Fl. Dr. Newman decided to brave the cold, and attended Tufts University School of Dental Medicine in Boston, MA where she obtained her Doctor of Dental Medicine degree in 2015. 
While in dental school, Dr. Newman worked as a tutor in Physiology and Gross Anatomy, as well as a Teaching Assistant for the Medicine department. Dr. Newman presented her research, “Assessing the Level of Evidence in the Post-Graduate Experience at TUSDM” at Bates Andrews Research Day and won the “Peer Reviewed Award.” In addition, Dr. Newman was a recipient of the Dr. Alfred Osher, DG62, and Mrs. Suzi Osher Endowed Scholarship, given to students for “demonstrating exceptionally high standards for personal and work ethics.” Finally, Dr. Newman was the recipient of the Northeastern Society of Periodontics Certificate of Achievement award in her senior year. 
Dr. Newman enjoys cooking, reading, traveling, and spending time with her friends and family.

Dr. Farah Shakir grew up in Wilmette, Illinois. She attended New Trier High School. She completed her B.S. in Biology and Neuroscience from University of Illinois. Dr. Shakir completed a Master’s in Biotechnology from Rush University in 2009. Later, she obtained her DMD from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 2015. While attending dental school, she served as the President of the American Student Dental Association, served on many committees, and was a TA for the periodontics course. She was a facilitator for the small group curriculum and a recipient of the Albert Schweitzer fellowship, where completed 200 hours of community service. Upon graduation, Dr. Shakir received numerous awards including, the Robert Savage Award, The American Student Dental Association Award for Excellence, International College of Dentists Humanitarian Award, and the American Academy of Periodontology award for excellence and outstanding achievement in the field of periodontics. Dr. Shakir is passionate about health and community service. On her free time, Dr. Shakir enjoys traveling, participating in outdoor activities and working out.

Dr. Gergana Nikolova was born and raised in Bulgaria. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Biological Sciences from the University of Illinois at Chicago with a minor in Chemistry. Dr. Nikolova graduated from the UIC College of Dentistry with a DMD degree in 2015. During dental school she was active in many students organizations and received the Wanda Sabien Class of 1995 Scholarship Award in honor of exceptional commitment in care of others. Dr. Nikolova enjoys going on dental mission trips and has a passion for community service.

From left to right: Dr. Aljewari, Dr. Kaminsky, Dr. Finkielsztein, Dr. Ghoreishi, and Dr. Traxler

Class of 2019

Dr. Haider Aljewari was born and raised in Baghdad, Iraq and graduated from the University of Baghdad with a Bachelors in Dental Surgery. Following graduation, he practiced as a General Dentist in Baghdad. Dr. Aljewari continued his studies at the Texas State Technical College and at the University of Texas-Pan American (UTPA) - currently The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. At UTPA, he received a grant for his research project from the Research Scholar Initiative and worked as a Teaching Assistant in Mammalian Physiology. In 2015, Dr. Aljewari graduated from the Advanced Standing Doctor of Dental Medicine at the University of Illinois at Chicago. While at UIC, he served as his class representative at the college’s Curriculum Committee, and was involved in community work including his position as Team Captain at Goldie’s Place. He received multiple commendations including an award from the American Academy of Periodontology for outstanding achievement in periodontics, the Gould Memorial Scholarship Award in honor of his clinical and academic excellence and an award from the Academy of Dentistry International (ADI) for his exceptional case study presentation. Dr. Aljewari has been granted the Financial Assistance Program (FAP) with the United States Air Force and was commissioned as Captain in May, 2016. When Dr. Aljewari is not improving the smiles of his patients, he enjoys playing soccer, swimming and watching movies.

Dr. Reihaneh Ghoreishi was born in Esfahan, Iran. She completed her dental education at Kerman University, Iran obtaining her first DMD from her country. In 2008 she won the Honorary Dentist Society award from the Esfahan Public Security Insurance Hospital in Iran.  She later joined the advanced standing program at University of Illinois at Chicago in 2014, and graduated in 2016 receiving her second DMD.  She was nominated in 2015 for the OKU (Omicron Kappa Upsilon National Dental Honor Society) award. She worked with Dr. Joel Schwartz from the department of Oral Medicine and Diagnostic Sciences studying the Inhibition of EGFR Suppresses Ethyl Alcohol and Tobacco Cell Effect on Growth of Keratinocytes and HPV 16 Entry as a Function of Furin. She is currently working with Periodontics Faculty Dr. Tolga Tozum on Maxillary sinus study using cone beam computed tomography (CBCT). She has actively participated in many charity works such as providing free dental care to underserved families in Iran; She is also part of the Mission of Mercy Charity in the U.S. Besides dentistry Dr. Ghoreishi enjoys cooking Persian meals, writing poems, planting herbs such as basil and mint.  She is fascinated on knowing about different cultures and place and hopes that living in Chicago will open new windows for her to explore other aspects of the life.

Dr. Jessica Finkielsztein was born and raised in Newton, Massachusetts and speaks fluent Spanish. She graduated with a B.S. from the University of Rochester in 2012 majoring in Cell and Developmental Biology with a minor in Spanish. She received her DMD degree in 2016 from Boston University Goldman School of Dental Medicine. During her time as a dental student, she was Co-President of the Alpha Omega Fraternity and involved in ASDA.  Dr. Finkielsztein was the recipient of the American Dental Society of Anesthesiology Horace Wells Senior Student Award and the Senior Student Award from the American Academy of Periodontology. She graduated dental school Summa Cum Laude and was inducted into the Omicron Kappa Upsilon Honors Society. During her free time, Dr. Finkielsztein enjoys exploring the city and trying new restaurants with her husband along with cheering on the Chicago Blackhawks.

Dr. Elizabeth Kaminsky was born in Boston, Massachusetts and attended the University of Rochester for her Bachelors degree in Brain and Cognitive Science with minors in American Sign Language and Business. In 2014, Dr. Kaminsky received her DMD degree from the University of Connecticut. At UConn, she was president of her class, an Urban Service Track scholar and served as a delegate for the American Student Dental Association. In 2015, Dr. Kaminsky completed a general practice residency program at Swedish Medical Center and then worked as a general dentist in Seattle, WA before moving to Chicago. In her free time she enjoys traveling, hiking, learning to play guitar and being a foodie.

Dr. Chris Traxler was born and raised in San Diego, CA and graduated from Arizona State University with a Bachelor of Science in Supply Chain Management from the W.P. Carey School of Business. After working at The Boeing Company on the F-22 Raptor program, he pursued a career in dentistry, and received his Doctor of Dental Surgery from the University of California, San Francisco in 2016. In his free time, Dr. Traxler enjoys playing guitar, golfing, scuba diving, and fishing. He and his wife recently relocated to Chicago and are excited to explore this amazing city!

from left to right: Dr. Wu, Dr. Kulkarni, Dr. Shaltoni, Dr. Couto, Dr. Womack

Class of 2020

Dr. YuSyuan Wu was born and raised in Taiwan, and graduated from Chung-Shan Medical University with Doctor of Dental Surgery in Taiwan in 2008.  After completing her dental school, Dr. Wu had her two year PGY training in Mackay Memorial Hospital and Taipei Medical University – Shuang Ho Hospital in Taiwan. She then completed her three-year Postgraduate Prosthodontics residency at Tufts University School of dental Medicine in Boston in 2016. She practiced Prosthodontics in Taichung (Taiwan) prior to joining the Postgraduate Periodontics Program at University of Illinois at Chicago. In her free time, she enjoys cooking, traveling, and making flower arrangements. She has been learning Ikebana in Taiwan for 3 years. Ikebana is one of the three classical Japanese arts of refinement. What makes it special is it emphasizes natural shape, graceful line to create the form and there is certain rule towards it besides creativity. The concept is the same as Dentistry in that we have to carefully appreciate and respect the natural form and function of teeth and tissue before we perform treatment.

Dr. Varun Kulkarni was born in Mumbai, India. He completed his dental education (Bachelors Of Dental Surgery) from M.U.H.S, India; and was a recipient of the IDA-Colgate scholarship award. He has worked with the “Indian Dental association (IDA)-tobacco intervention initiative” and the Indian Medical Association-Mumbai. He has also been a recipient of the Homi Bhaba Academic Excellence in Science Award. He has been zealously engaged in the field of dentistry, research, as well as public healthcare, over the past few years. Dr. Kulkarni has had several international publications in the field of periodontology and immunology in esteemed journals like Journal of California dental Association, Frontiers in Immunology, International Journal of Molecular Sciences, Tumor biology, International Dental Journal. He is on the editorial panel for the journal EC dental sciences, UK. His research focuses on identifying and characterizing microRNAs regulating oral mucosal immunity with a focus on the functional characterization of miRNAs influencing key aspects of periodontal immunology. Currently, he has been working on Post-transcriptional modulation of oral mucosal immunity by microRNA and the role of Antigen-presenting cells like macrophages and dendritic cells in the inflammatory response to periodontal pathogens. He was the cricket captain of his dental school and has won many inter-collegiate tournaments. In his free time, he enjoys watching and playing Cricket.

Dr. Samer Shaltoni  was born and raised in LaGrange, IL and graduated Cum Laude from Benedictine University with a Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences. From there, he went on to pursue his dental training at the University Of Illinois College Of Dentistry at Chicago where graduated with a Doctor of Medicine in Dentistry (DMD). During his time as a dental student, Dr. Shaltoni was the president of the Association of Muslim Dental Students and a recipient of scholarships such as the Frances Best Watkins, the Dr. Karl. Halwass, and the Luz Bondoc awards. In addition, he was awarded the American Academy of Periodontics Student Award for Achievement in Periodontology. This award is given at each dental school to the graduating senior who displays the highest level of academic and clinical achievement related to periodontics. In his free time, Dr. Shaltoni is a big car enthusiasts and loves working on cars, spending time with family and friends, as well as playing and watching basketball

Dr. Sophie R. Couto was born and raised in Sudbury, ON, Canada. She earned her Honors Bachelor of Science degree with High Distinction from the University of Toronto in 2011. She completed a major in Human Biology and minors in Physiology and English. In 2016, Dr. Couto received her Doctor of Dental Surgery degree from the University of Southern California and was inducted into the Zeta Chapter of the Omicron Kappa Upsilon Honor Society. She is a recipient of the G. Donald Montgomery Excellence in Dentistry Award, the Julio Endleman Memorial Award, the Robert W. McNulty Memorial Award, the Alpha Omega Certificate of Academic Achievement Award, and the International College of Dentists USA Section and Procter & Gamble Student Leadership Award.  Dr. Couto practiced general dentistry in Sudbury, ON prior to joining the Postdoctoral Periodontics Program at the University of Illinois at Chicago. In her free time she enjoys baking, traveling, and watching TV. 

Dr. James Michael Womack was born in San Antonio, TX and graduated from the University of the Incarnate Word with a B.S. in Biology and a B.A. in Psychology.  He attended dental school at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio where he obtained his Doctor of Dental Surgery degree in 2013.  After graduating dental school Dr. Womack completed a one-year Advanced Education in General Dentistry residency at Wichita State University.  Following completion of his AEGD, Dr. Womack was accepted into the Graduate Prosthodontics program at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio and received his certificate in prosthodontics in May of 2017.  He has presented on the topic of implant assisted prostheses at The San Antonio ITI Study Club, American Equilibration Society, and at the Wichita State University AEGD.  In his free time Dr. Womack enjoys watching football, traveling, and exploring the Chicago food scene with his fiancé. 

Recent Alumni

Dr. Nima Ebrahimi

Dr. Charles DiFranco

Dr. Panagiotis Dragonas

Dr. Scott Drucker

Dr. Whitney Dunn

Dr. Erica Hsiao

Dr. Harrison Mackler

Dr. Ankur Patel

Dr. Nisha Maniar

Dr. Andrew Monestero

Dr. Andrew Carmosino

Dr. Jennifer Shango


Dr. Kate Quinlin

Dr. Rebecca Kibler

Dr. Samia Suleiman-Ata

Request an Appointment in Periodontics

Periodontists at UIC College of Dentistry in Chicago are experts in treating periodontal disease and replacing missing teeth with dental implants and in the management of implant diseases. We offer a wide range of periodontal therapy including: Non-Surgical TreatmentsGum Graft SurgeryRegenerative ProceduresDental Crown LengtheningDental ImplantsPocket Reduction ProceduresPlastic Surgery Procedures. New patients receive a free 30 minute screening and consultation that will include a brief examination and an initial estimated cost of treatment. 

For Appointments

phone-icon1-25.jpg  312.996.7374

download-icon.png  Periodontics Referral Form