University of Southern California

Resident    Leaders

Dr. Allen Huang is currently a 3rd year resident at LA County Hospital and Keck Hospital of USC. He is one of the original founders of Passing The Scalpel and is intimately involved in dental student education and mentorship for those interested in oral and maxillofacial surgery. His original goal was to establish a platform for dental students interested in oral surgery to use in order to gain more knowledge in the field and establish lifelong connections with residents, faculty, and visiting surgeons. In the 5 years since the establishment of Passing The Scalpel, many dental students have been able to work hand-in-hand with world-renown surgeons and learn their surgical techniques and network with other students and residents from other programs.

His most active areas of outreach right now include establishing dental clinics to help deliver dental care to the homeless community in the Orange County area as well as establish the very first Passing The Scalpel chapter at USC. His ultimate goal is to expand Passing The Scalpel across the nation and also become an international platform to connect surgeons from all areas of the world. 

Allen Huang, DDS, MD

Dr. Agari was a first year dental student when she had the opportunity to attend the very first Passing The Scalpel event at UCSF. It was at this event where she initially became inspired to pursue a career in oral and maxillofacial surgery, as well as where she met Dr. Liu, Dr. Huang, and Dr. Lee, some of her greatest mentors and role models to this day. Since then, she has had the great pleasure of joining the Passing The Scalpel team, continuing its mantra of "inspiring a new generation of oral surgeons" as others have done for her.


Dr. Agari received her undergraduate degree in Biological Sciences at the University of the Pacific. She then completed her dental training at the University of California, San Francisco, where the oral surgery community helped foster her love of the field and helped her understand the true value of mentorship and supportive relationships.


Dr. Agari is currently a second year resident at the University of Southern California and will earn her medical degree in May 2019. Her active research projects involve assessing survival rates of dental implants placed in sites of previous failure and investigating possible factors that may affect re-implantation outcomes.

Kimiko Agari, DDS

Student    Leaders

Nicholas Nikchevich

Second Year Dental Student

Nicholas looks forward to expanding the Passing the Scalpel program to the University
of Southern California. By expanding the Passing the Scalpel program he hopes to spread
passion and education about the field of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery. His goal is that the
program can enable the same type of mentorship and inspiration at USC that it has created at
the Universty of California San Francisco where it was founded.

Nicholas is a Southern California native who grew up in Westlake Village, California.
Following his graduation from high school 2012 he was accepted to the University of Southern
California where he received his B.A. in Biology with a minor in Biotechnology. Following his
graduation in 2016 he was accepted to the Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry of USC and
decided to fulfill his dream of becoming a third generation Trojan dentist. He is currently
finishing his second year and is expected to graduate from dental school in 2020. In the future,
Nicholas hopes to follow his family legacy and become a third generation oral surgeon.


Since his time in undergrad at USC Nicholas has served as the President of the Delta
Delta Sigma pre-dental honor society, President of the Trojan Anglers Club, Founder of the USC
Bass Fishing Team and President and founder of the Ostrow Outdoors Club. As president of
Delta Delta Sigma he expanded the Spread the Smile Campaign to teach local elementary
school students about the importance of oral health. His current research involves the
expanded use of the allograft bone ring and the long term success rate of immediately placed
implants in posterior locations working with his father, Dr. Donald Nikchevich.

Robert grew up in Romania and earned his Doctor of Dental Medicine degree from the University of Medicine and Pharmacy Griore T. Popa – Iasi in 2010. Upon graduation, he moved to the United States and is in his final year of dental school at University of Southern California where he discovered his passion for Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery.


Since his first exposure to Passing the Scalpel during his OMFS externship at USCF, Robert has been looking for ways to bring PTS to USC. Through his collaboration with the current PTS president at UCSF, Robert met the founders of Passing the Scalpel, Dr. Liu, Dr. Huang, and Dr. Lee, and hopes that under their mentorship to help expand Passing the Scalpel at USC as well as nationally and internationally.


Although Robert will soon be graduating from USC, he plans to remain involved and active with PTS to help and inspire future generations of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons.

Robert Zama

Fourth Year Dental Student

Mersedeh after spending her time in different departments and attending different lectures during her first year at dental school, she realized oral surgery is for her. She then started spending her time in the oral surgery department of the Herman Ostrow on a weekly basis. By being a part of Passing the Scalpel, she is hoping to establish this platform for USC students, who are passionate about oral and maxillofacial surgery, to help them in networking with faculties and residents. She believes having great mentors is a necessity for personal and professional development of a clinician.


Mersedeh after finishing her undergraduate studies at USC in 2016, she attended to USC School of Dentistry to obtain her DDS degree. Mersedeh is currently a second year student at Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry of USC. She published her research works in CDA journal and presented at 2016 IADR/AADR. Her ultimate goal is to become a successful oral and maxillofacial surgeon.

Mersedeh Rajinia

Second Year Dental Student

Dominique Chagniot

Second Year Dental Student

Dominique received her undergraduate degree in microbiology and a minor in music at the University of California, Santa Barbara. At Santa Barbara, Dominique pursued every opportunity to gain insight into the dental profession, becoming a member of the Pre-Dental Association and helping lead a team of students for mission trips in Honduras. With her passion of music, Dominique also dedicated time for the greater Santa Barbara community by serving as first-chair cellist in the Middle East Ensemble, as well as leading the organization Medical Music in which students sought to facilitate healing with music therapy for people in elderly homes. She conducted research in molecular biology of contact-dependent inhibition (CDI) for two years at the Hayes Laboratory.


Dominique is currently in her second year at the Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry of USC, where she has excelled in her academics as well as her pre-clinical education. Having been selected for a scholarship by the Open Wide Foundation, Dominique will travel to Guatemala in August 2018 to provide dental services at a  community clinic.


A native San Franciscan, Dominique’s interest in oral and maxillofacial surgery was ignited during the summer of 2013 when she shadowed oral surgeons in her home town. She is currently a member of the OMFS Study Club at USC and plans to go on her first externship in December 2018. With the guidance of Passing the Scalpel founder Dr. Huang, Dominique became inspired to help lead the chapter at USC. She finds the notion of surgeons and dental students uniting for a weekend of live demonstrations simply thrilling, as these students will be given the opportunity of a lifetime and a whirlwind of inspiration and fervor to continue along the arduous path of becoming oral surgeons. 

© 2023 by Passing The Scalpel. 

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