NYU Dentistry Alumni Class Notes

Welcome. As the nation's largest dental school, we are pleased to celebrate the successes and achievements of our global alumni community.

Please note that all submissions will be reviewed for publication and edited for brevity.

Share your personal and professional milestones with fellow alumni and friends in our NYU Dentistry Alumni News Form. Invite your classmates to submit their alumni news to stay in touch.


You may also submit your alumni news to NYU Alumni to be considered for inclusion online and in NYU Alumni Magazine, a tri-annual publication mailed to NYU alumni from all schools.

If you have any questions, please contact the Office of Development & Alumni Relations at dental.alumni@nyu.edu

Fall 2020 Alumni Class Notes

NYU Alumni Changemakers

Jay Grossman (DDS ‘88) and his wife, Dr. Briar Flicker-Grossman (NYU SSW ‘86), have been chosen for the 2020 cohort of NYU Alumni Changemakers. Jay is the Founder, President, and CEO of Homeless Not Toothless, which has provided free dental services to thousands of homeless persons, foster youth, veterans, and low-income individuals in the Los Angeles area since opening its doors in 1992. Look for their featured alumni profile in the Fall 2020 issue of NYU Alumni Magazine.  

Dr. Lorel Burns
Dr. Cheryline Pezzullo
Making a Difference

Lorel Burns (DDS ‘15) and Cheryline Pezzullo (DDS ’15) have been chosen as honorees for the biennial 2020 NYU Make a Difference Awards. Dr. Burns and Dr. Pezullo are the co-founders of Saturday Academy, which works to increase diversity in the health care professions by introducing underrepresented high school students to the profession of dentistry, while preparing them for the college application process. NYU’s Office of the President will host a virtual awards event on Friday, October 30, at 12:30pm for all the honorees.  

Jean Paul Laurent

Jean Paul Laurent (AAS ‘13) has been named a Lay's Brand Ambassador for his work as the founder and CEO of Unspoken Smiles, which provides quality dental care and resources to underserved populations. As of September 14, look for Mr. Laurent’s smile on Lay's Sour Cream & Onion chip bags available in stores nationwide.

Maria Maranga

Maria Maranga (DDS ‘88; PG Endodontics ‘91) was elected the Second Vice President of the American Dental Association (ADA) at the ADA FDC Virtual Connect Conference 2020, a joint meeting of the ADA and Florida Dental Association. Dr. Maranga will be the co-chair of the 11th Annual Scrubs & Stilettos Women’s Dental Conference on Friday, November 20.  


Congratulations to our NYU Dentistry Alumni Association Board members who have recently opened new practices.

Nojan Bakhtiari (DDS ‘11) expanded his practice, Nojan Bakhtiari: TMJ & Orofacial Pain Specialist, to a new location on Park Avenue and 36th Street on October 1. The Midtown office includes three new clinical rooms, a CBCT scanner, and many plants.  

Nojan Bakhtiari (DDS ‘11)

Julian Isaacs (DDS ‘11) opened his first private general practice, Manhattan Smiles Dental Studio, in Midtown Manhattan on August 1.

Julian Isaacs (DDS ‘11)

Ron Saffar (DDS ‘02) has opened several new My Orthodontist offices in Cliffside Park, West Orange, and Cherry Hill, New Jersey, as well as offices in Virginia and Maryland.  

Ron Saffar (DDS ‘02)


Austin Le (DDS '20) began his Orthodontics residency at NYU Dentistry. Dr. Le co-authored "Self-correction of unreported marijuana use by participants taking a street-intercept survey,” published in The American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse on May 7, 2020. Dr. Le is also the first author of "Use of “Poppers” among Adults in the United States, 2015-2017," published online in The Journal of Psychoactive Drugs on July 15, 2020.

Alexandra Makara (DDS ‘20) began her general practice residency at Montefiore Medical Center. She is enhancing her skill set quickly and enthusiastically, and particularly enjoys providing dental care to special needs patients in the operating room under general anesthesia.

Vanessa Mancuso (DDS ‘20) began her periodontics residency at Boston University. She writes, “I’m excited to get back to patient care during my residency. Covid-19 decreased the patient care capacity at many universities across the states, but as things slowly progress and numbers decline patient care can resume to normal.

Allison Rascon (DDS ‘20) began her periodontics residency at the University of Pennsylvania. She writes, “I feel competent and confident in providing comprehensive treatment and I'm humbled to share that my colleagues and patients have taken the time to compliment me on the care I am providing, so it is clear to me that NYU has prepared us well. I miss my NYU 2020 classmates so much, and I hope everyone is doing well!”

Rebecca Renelus (DDS ‘20) moved to the west coast after graduation to start her pediatric residency at UCSF. She writes, “This chapter has been truly encouraging and humbling for me, as I learn new things about dentistry every day, how to better serve my patients and continue to explore the Bay Area.”


Natalia Caballero (DDS '19) is currently a second year pediatric resident at the University of Kentucky. She writes, “Making a positive impact on a child’s dental experience has been very gratifying. Pediatric Dentistry is a wonderful profession and I am thankful to be in a program in which I am given many opportunities to not only grow as a professional but also as a person. I look forward to what the future entails!”

Lee Christopher Kojanis (DDS '14; PG '18) became a Diplomate of the American Board of Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery this year. Dr. Kojanis shared his story on providing emergency dental care in Manhattan during the COVID-19 pandemic in "In Harm's Way: Fighting the Summer,” an interactive article published in The New York Times on May 4, 2020.

Ryan Lee (DDS ‘10) wrote, “My wife, Nicole Holland (DDS ‘10) and I are expecting a third baby girl in November 2020. We are so blessed and excited! Professionally, I've accepted the position of Chief, Department of Dental Medicine, at Cambridge Health Alliance, an organization with three hospitals and 18 health centers in the metro-Boston area. This position will commence in January 2021.

Sabina Malla (DDS ‘10) was featured as a general dentist practicing in Fall River, Massachusetts in a The Herald News article published on October 1, 2020. Dr. Malla was named to Massachusetts Dental Society’s “10 Under Ten” list and she was also selected to chair the MDA membership committee. In 2019, Dr. Malla co-founded the Dhana Yoga Foundation, which provides health care education for underserved communities in the United States and in Nepal.  


Tammy Chen (NYU BA ‘05; DDS ‘08; PG’11) authored "A Dentist Sees More Cracked Teeth," published in the New York Times on September 8, 2020. As a prosthodontist based in NYC, Dr. Chen wrote about the uptick in cracked teeth cases seen in her office, possibly brought upon by COVID-related stress and suggested tips on how to reduce these stress factors at home.

Marcus Johnson (DDS ‘08) is currently the President of the NY State Association of Endodontists, Director of the District 2 chapter of the American Association of Endodontists and the host of the Endovoices Podcast series. On September 8, Dr. Johnson participated in the Alumni Association’s “Building a Sound Financial Future” panel to share his perspective as a successful practice owner.

Huma Mirza, (DDS ‘06) was named a 2020 NJ Top Dentist. Dr. Mirza owns Smile! Dental Boutique in Warren, New Jersey and was profiled in a Yahoo Finance article published on October 7, 2020.  

Vera Tang (NYU BA ‘93; DDS ‘00) attended her first NYU Alumni Association Board meeting on September 29 as the current NYU Dentistry Alumni Association President. In January 2021, she will serve the treasurer of the New York County Dental Executive Board.


Ioanna G. Mentzelopoulou (DDS ‘99) was appointed Chair of the Reference Committee for the first virtual 161st annual ADA House of Delegates Meeting on October 15.  

Amin Ayoub (DDS ‘92) has been appointed to the NYU Alumni Association Board to serve a three-year term, starting in 2020. Dr. Ayoub joins founding member Gerald Klaczany (DDS ‘86), Bill Bongiorno (‘73) and Vera Tang (NYU BA ‘93; ‘00) on the University Board to represent NYU Dentistry Alumni.

Fabiola Milord (DDS ’94) has been promoted to Director of the Multidisciplinary Practice of Dentistry Course at the College this semester. She will be presenting at the 11th Annual Scrubs & Stilettos Women’s Dental Conference on Friday, November 20.


Angela De Bartolo (DDS ‘84) has been named to the College’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Task Force, which convened in June 2020. As a mother, she congratulated her sons who graduated from medical and veterinary school in May 2020.

Nicholas Zacharczenko (DDS ‘86) is a part-time prosthodontist and has published several novels under the pen name of Dr. Nicholas Zach. He writes, “In 2015, I published my first full length comedy novel about my NYU dental school experiences. I am currently working on the 7th book to Bedtime Nature Tails, a 10 title series of bedtime stories featuring bugs and outdoor animals started in 2019. The childrens’ books are based on stories I told my own kids and are a little salty and zany. More full length novels are planned for the future if I keep living.”

Maxine Feinberg (DDS ‘80) received a lifetime achievement award from the New Jersey Dental Association(NJDA) and Union County Dental Society on October 25, 2020 as part of the NJDA’s 150th Anniversary celebration.  


Dr. Rehkha Gehani (DDS ‘78) is the recipient of the 2020 Scrubs & Stilettos Women’s Award. She will be honored at the 11th Annual Scrubs & Stilettos Women’s Dental Conference on Friday, November 20.


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