First year orthodontic residents

Dr. Raj Desai

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Dr. Raj Desai grew up in Edison, New Jersey, the birthplace of the light bulb. He traveled across the Hudson River to New York City where he graduated with honors from New York University with a B.A. in Biology and earned his Doctor of Dental Surgery degree from Columbia University. Raj then headed to the west coast, completing a general practice residency at the San Diego VA Hospital. 

Apart from school, Dr. Desai enjoys spending time with family and friends, visiting museums,  watching films, playing basketball and tennis, and exploring the latest and greatest attractions in the city of Chicago. His post graduation plans include entering private practice and helping advance the profession through teaching.

Dr. Peter Durbin

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Dr. Peter Durbin grew up in Prospect Heights, Illinois. He earned his BS in Science-Business from the University of Notre Dame in 2015. Dr. Durbin then attended the University of Michigan School of Dentistry, graduating in 2019. While at the University of Michigan, Peter served on the executive board of the American Student Dental Association chapter and participated in lab research.

During his free time, Dr. Durbin enjoys cooking, traveling, golfing, spending time with friends and family, and attending as many Notre Dame football games and Cubs games as possible. Upon graduation, Dr. Durbin plans to become board certified by the ABO, enter private practice with his father, and participate in advocacy efforts for his profession.

Dr. Matan Farhi

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Dr. Matan Farhi grew up in Riverwoods, Illinois and earned a Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology in 2015 from the University of Minnesota. He then continued his education at the University of Illinois-Chicago College of Dentistry, receiving his DMD in 2019. 

In his spare time, Dr. Farhi enjoys staying active, playing music and enjoying good food with family and friends. In the summers, he enjoys spending time at the lake or pool. Upon graduation, he plans on becoming ABO certified and entering practice in the Chicagoland area.

Dr. Jessica Hedger

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Dr. Jessica Hedger grew up in Steger, Illinois. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Molecular and Cellular Biology and minor in Chemistry from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2013. Dr. Hedger then attended the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Dentistry, graduating in 2019 with a Doctor of Dental Medicine degree with honors and received the American Institute of Orthodontics Award.

During her free time, Dr. Hedger enjoys traveling, exploring Chicago and spending time with her dog and two cats. Upon graduation, Dr. Hedger plans to become ABO certified and enter private practice.

Dr. Karen Homsi

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Dr. Karen Homsi is an Illinois native and proud Chicagoan. Her love of education and life-long learning led her to earn two bachelor’s degrees: one from Loyola University Chicago in the arts with concentrations in International Studies and Visual Communications and the other in Biological Sciences from the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). In 2019, she graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Doctor of Dental Medicine degree (DMD) from the UIC College of Dentistry and was the recipient of the American Association of Orthodontists Award.

Dr. Homsi has a special interest in AI technology, patients with special needs and craniofacial anomalies and dental education.

In her free time, Dr. Homsi enjoys exploring the Chicago food scene with her fiancé, and spending time with family, friends and dog.

Dr. Ruidan Ma

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Dr. Ruidan Ma is originally from Guangzhou, China, but her desire to explore the world led her to live in 7 different cities in 3 different countries since the age of 11. She graduated Summa Cum Laude from Vanderbilt University majoring in Spanish and Chemistry. She then completed her Doctor of Dental Surgery degree (DDS) from University of the Pacific in California, during which she received the American Student Dental Association Award of Excellence and OKU Award in Complex Restorative.
 
During her free time, Ruidan enjoys performing arts (she got on stage to talk about life of orthodontic residency during her first Second City audience experience), running, cooking and reading. Upon graduation, she plans to enter private practice and serve in a global context through patient care, education or research.

Dr. Vivian Snider

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Dr. Vivian Snider was born in Minneapolis, MN and raised in Colorado Springs, CO. She attended Dartmouth College where she played Division 1 volleyball and earned her Bachelor of Arts in Human Biology. Dr. Snider then moved to New York City to attend Columbia University College of Dentistry and received her DDS degree in 2019.

In her free time, Dr. Snider loves being outdoors and can often be found playing basketball and volleyball with friends, rollerblading, and hanging out by the pool. 

Dr. Samim Taraji

 

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Dr. Samim Taraji hails from Skokie, Illinois. He earned his bachelor’s degree with honors at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). He then attended dental school at UIC and completed his DMD degree with Summa Cum Laude honors in 2018. Dr. Taraji received the ADA Award for Academic Excellence and Leadership, the Chancellor Service Award, Frances Best Watkins Award, and the DMD Orthodontics Interest Award. After practicing general dentistry for one year and completing additional courses in cosmetic dentistry and smile design, he returned to UIC College of Dentistry to pursue his Orthodontics training.

Dr. Taraji loves traveling and architecture. He is a self-proclaimed food and film critic. Strangely, he fears dolphins. 

Dr. Michael Yang

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Dr. Michael Yang grew up in Vancouver, Canada. After eight years at the University of British Columbia, initially in for the Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy, Dr. Yang graduated with the Doctor of Dental Medicine degree. He is excited to join the Orthodontic program at UIC and experience what Chicago has to offer.

In his spare time, Dr. Yang enjoys working out, basketball, and traveling with his girlfriend.

Second Year Orthodontic Residents

Dr. Galina Bulatova

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Dr. Galina Bulatova graduated with honors from Dental Faculty of Moscow Medical Academy in 2008. She completed 2 years of postgraduate training at Federal Institute of Postgraduate Education, Moscow and then practiced for 6 years. Dr. Bulatova has a special interest in CBCT, pre-prosthetic and customized Orthodontic Treatment and strives to provide excellent care for her patients. In her free time, she likes playing piano, cooking and reading about art.  

Dr. Katerine Cardona Salazar

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Dr. Katerine Cardona obtained her DMD degree at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Prior to that she had earned her Doctor of Dental Surgery degree from Universidad del Valle, Cali-Colombia and a Master of Science in Biology from Texas A&M University where she graduated summa cum laude. 

Dr. Cardona’s dedication to her profession has led her to be inducted to Omicron Kappa Upsilon, National Dental Honor Society. She was also the recipient of the Outstanding Achievement Award of the Academy of Operative Dentistry. 

During her free time, Dr. Cardona enjoys spending time with friends and family, running along the Chicago lakefront, swimming and dancing.

Dr. Leslie Cohen

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Dr. Leslie Cohen comes from Buffalo Grove, Illinois and earned her Bachelor of Science in Psychology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2014. Leslie graduated from the University of Michigan School of Dentistry in 2014. While in dental school Leslie was an active member in the American Student Dental Association and Orthodontic Club. She also participated in both community and international outreach programs. 

In her spare time Dr. Cohen enjoys spending time with friends and family, working out and traveling. Upon graduation Dr. Cohen plans to become board certified by the ABO, enter private practice and would also like to teach. 

Dr. Stephen Degenhardt

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Dr. Degenhardt is a Michigan native who grew up in metro-Detroit. Stephen  studied Human Biology while playing lacrosse at Michigan State University. Dr. Degenhardt then received his D.D.S. from Columbia University College of Dental Medicine in 2018. He was recognized as a Dean’s Scholar, signifying academic achievement in the top 10% of his class. 

Stephen enjoys staying fit, watching Michigan State sports, traveling with his fiance, and spending time with family and friends. Dr. Degenhardt plans to enter private practice upon graduation and hopes to join academia early in his career.

Dr. Juliana Lee

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Dr. Juliana Lee grew up in Lincolnwood, Illinois where she played golf in high school and qualified for the Girls’ State Sectionals. She graduated summa cum laude from Loyola University Chicago in 2011 with a Biological Sciences major as well as a Spanish minor and attended UIC College of Dentistry, receiving her DMD in 2015. She is a member of the American Dental Association, Illinois State Dental Society, Chicago Dental Society, and the American Association of Orthodontics. 
 
Following her values in giving back to the community and lifelong learning, Dr. Lee has provided dental care for Special Olympics athletes and has participated in local outreach through the Christian Medical and Dental Society. She is passionate about teaching and served as an adjunct clinical faculty at UIC College of Dentistry. Dr. Lee is committed to providing the best care possible for her patients and staying current with the latest procedures. 
 
Dr. Lee loves spending time with her family, friends, and church community. During her free time, you’ll catch her traveling, swimming, playing golf, and hiking.

Dr. Tyler Ramir

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Dr. Tyler Ramir grew up in Addison, Illinois. He earned his Bachelors in Integrative Biology and minors in Chemistry and Spanish from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana in 2014. Dr. Ramir then attended the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Dentistry where he graduated in 2018. While at the UIC College of Dentistry he completed an externship at Muhimbili National Hospital in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, as well as an externship at Salud Family Health Center in Frederick, Colorado.

During his free time Dr. Ramir enjoys working out, traveling, hunting, fishing, and golfing. He also enjoys spending time with his family and friends. Upon graduation, Dr. Ramir plans to become board certified by the ABO, enter private practice, and start a family.

Dr. Laurie Susarchick

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Dr. Laurie Susarchick is a New York City native.  She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Public Relations from Rowan University.  After volunteering abroad with the Israel Service Corps, she went on to complete her Post Baccalaureate Certificate in Pre-Medical Sciences at Columbia University.  She then continued on to earn her D.D.S degree from Columbia University College of Dental Medicine in 2018.  
 
In her spare time, Laurie enjoys relaxing with friends and family, camping, hula hooping, fostering adorable dogs, and parallel parking. 

Dr. Insia Virji

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Dr. Insia Virji is from Toronto, Canada. Like all Canadians it’s the daily does of maple syrup in her coffee that makes her so sweet and apologetic.  She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Kinesiology from The University of Western Ontario.  She then continued on to earn her DMD degree from Midwestern University College of Dental Medicine in Illinois in 2017. From there she worked in private practice for 1 year in Toronto before returning to Chicago.

In her spare time, Insia enjoys relaxing with friends and family, traveling, doing yoga, and watching movies. 

Third Year Orthodontic Residents

Dr. Sibel Eljach (Altun)

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Dr. Sibel Eljach (Altun) is passionate about improving each one of her patient’s smile.  She prides herself in providing a personalized care approach by consistently customizing treatment planning options to optimally improve each patient’s smile aesthetic. Dr. Eljach is currently an Orthodontics Master of Science resident at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) where she also completed her Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD) degree. During her dental school, Dr. Eljach became inducted in the Omicron Kappa Upsilon Honors Society Sigma Chapter for her top-of-class grades and her exemplary patient treatment ability. Concurrently, she became recipient to the American Institute of Orthodontic Research Award for her contributions to academic knowledge base. During this time, she also received the Dr. Robert Savage Memorial Award in honor of her admirable concern for patients.

Dr. Sibel Eljach has been living in Chicago since 2010. Along with her husband- Salomon, and their sweet puppy- Chicago. Sibel enjoys her free time at parks walking Chicago, socializing with friends at yummy restaurants, and traveling abroad. 

Dr. Shayna Azoulay-Avinoam

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Dr. Shayna Avinoam was born and raised in Toronto, Canada. She graduated from Wilfrid Laurier University with a Bachelor of Science and earned her Doctor of Dental Surgery degree from the University of Toronto. After residency, Dr. Avinoam aims to pursue a craniofacial fellowship and ultimately focus her practice on special care orthodontics and treatment of patients with craniofacial anomalies.

In her spare time, Dr. Avinoam enjoys volunteering, traveling, exploring Chicago, and spending time outdoors with her two dogs Theo and Cupcake. 

Dr. Nora Mohammed Bakhsh

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Dr. Bakhsh was born and raised in Saudi Arabia. She earned her Bachelor of Dental Surgery in 2012 from King AbdulAziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia with a second honor degree. After that she took one year of internship in various specialties. Besides her internship, she also did an observe-ship in Orthodontics. Following that she practiced for more than two years as general dentist before starting the Orthodontic program at UIC.

Dr. Bakhsh is married and has two daughters. In her spare time she enjoys traveling with her family, taking long walks, baking and exploring new places. Upon Graduation Dr. Bakhsh plans to become an American Bored Certified Orthodontist, Practice and teach Orthodontics and engage in dental volunteer work.

Dr. Christyne Chmil

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Dr. Christyne Chmil was born and raised in Western New York. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Biology and minor in Chemistry from the State University of New York at Oswego. She graduated magna cum laude from the University at Buffalo School of Dental Medicine in 2016. Following dental school, Dr. Chmil completed a hospital-based general practice residency at Upstate Medical University and Syracuse VA Medical Center. 

In her spare time, Dr. Chmil enjoys baking, gardening, spending time with loved ones and exploring the Chicago area. Upon graduation, Dr. Chmil plans to return to Western New York to start her orthodontic career. 

Dr. Yena Jun

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Dr. Yena Jun grew up in Old Tappan, New Jersey. She received her BS degree in economics from Columbia University and stayed in NYC to get her DDS degree from the College of Dental Medicine at Columbia. She is excited to be living in Chicago and continuing her education at UIC for orthodontics. She loves earth and good times with friends and family.

Dr. Ayas Makki

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Dr. Ayas Makki Grew up in Baghdad, Iraq. And graduated from the University of Baghdad with a Bachelors in Dental Surgery in 2006. Following graduation, he moved to Jordan where he practiced as a General Dentist in Amman. Later moved to Chicago, Illinois and worked as research graduate assistant at UIC Orthodontics.

In 2017, Dr. Makki earned his DMD degree from the University of Illinois at Chicago. While at UIC, he served as class president, involved in many research projects and received award of Appreciation from University of Illinois at Chicago College of Dentistry for exceptional job performance and dedication to Department of Orthodontics, Frances Best Matkins Award in recognition of outstanding leadership skills and academic excellence.

In his free time, Ayas enjoys watching and playing soccer, playing and compose music. Upon graduation, Dr. Makki plans enter private practice, teach part-time, and become Board Certified by the American Board of Orthodontics. 

Dr. Annie Nguyen

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Dr. Annie N. Nguyen was born and raised in Montreal, Canada and received her Doctor of Dental Medicine degree from the University of Montreal. She subsequently completed a General Practice Residency at the Montreal Children's Hospital affiliated with McGill University followed by an Advanced Education in General Dentistry Residency at the University of the Pacific. After two years in private practice as a general dentist, she decided to move to the Midwest to specialize in Orthodontics. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with friends and family and exploring what the city has to offer. 

Dr. Amy Seagraves

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Dr. Amy Seagraves was born and raised in Ohio and earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Chemistry at Miami University, Ohio. She completed her dental training at the University of Maryland School of Dentistry in 2017. Now in UIC’s orthodontic program, Dr. Seagraves serves as her class president. In her free time, Dr. Seagraves enjoys yoga, reading, podcasts, and being outdoors. After graduation, she plans to enter private practice.

Dr. Michael Seelig

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Dr. Michael Seelig was born and raised in St. Louis, MO. He received his Bachelor’s degree in Neuroscience from Vanderbilt University in 2013. He graduated Magna Cum Laude from The University of Louisville School of Dentistry in 2017. After graduating from residency, Dr. Seelig plans to work jointly with his wife who is currently finishing her pediatric dental residency in Indianapolis. In his spare time, Dr. Seelig loves to spend time with his wife Lauren and dog Reggie, golf, fish, cook, travel and watch college and professional sports. He hopes to see a baseball game in every MLB stadium and has been to 10 stadiums so far.

For Patient Care

 

Orthodontics Dental Services
(312) 996-7505
dentorthoclinic@uic.edu

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Academics & Research

UIC Department of Orthodontics
801 S. Paulina Street, RM 131(M/C 841)
Chicago, IL 60612-7211
Phone 312-996-7138
Fax 312-996-0873
 

Orthodontics Faculty & Staff

Department Head and Directors

Veerasathpurush Allareddy
Department Head
Brodie Craniofacial Endowed Chair
Professor

Budi Kusnoto
Program and Clinic Director 
Professor

Maria Therese Galang-Boquiren
Director, Predoctoral Orthodontics
Associate Professor

Jennifer Caplin
Associate Director, Post-Graduate Orthodontics
Assistant Professor

Staff

Stephanie Rodriguez
Assistant to the Head

Huibi Liu
Information Technology Specialist