At Large – Choose 1

Name: Alix Deymier, Ph.D.
Academic Rank: Assistant Professor
Department(s)/Center: Biomedical Engineering
Position sought: Executive Council – At Large

Dr. Alix Deymier has been an Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering at UConn Health since August 2017. Although she is new to the community she immediately got involved with the AAUP and has been on the Executive Council since October 2017 as a member At Large. She is key participant in the Communications Committee and continues to try and promote activities to bring AAUP members together as a community. Her union experiences started at Columbia University where she worked with other postdoctoral employees to establish a Columbia Postdoctoral Workers Union associated with the UAW. She has also been involved with several political movements over the years including Black Lives Matter, Free the Nipple, the Women’s March, and the March for Science. She is an LGBTQIA activist and is currently working with the Office of Diversity and Inclusion and oSTEM to gather information about the queer community in STEM at UConn. She believes that the union serves an important role in establishing a community of professors, supporting our diverse voices, and negotiating for a stronger future.

Basic Science – Choose 1

Name: Zeeshan Ahmed, Ph.D., MS. ISS., MS. SE.
Academic Rank: Assistant Professor
Assistant Director Bioinformatics: Medical Dean’s Precision Medicine Program
Department(s)/Center: Genetics and Genome Sciences
Position sought: Executive Council – Basic Science

Dr. Zeeshan Ahmed has had over 15 years of experience in academic and applied research, scientific software development, and over 5 years of experience in teaching and research supervision. He is currently associated with UCHC for over a year now and member of UCHC-AAUP since November 2017. His believes include staying at ground, continuous learning, trying to improve, performing at best, establishing kind social environment around and helping fellow colleagues. He is aware that he is one of the young and inexperienced nominees, however, he has confidence in his kind communication and good leadership skills and being part of Executive Council as the Basic Science Representative will give him an excellent opportunity to further learn and contribute in the success of UCHC- AAUP. At having applied position and maintaining the honor, he promises trying his levels best in meeting the mandatory requirements and following set rules and regulations. As there is always a start point for one, and this could be his as well.

Name: Les Bernstein, Ph.D.
Academic Rank: Professor
Department(s)/Center: Neuroscience and Surgery
Position sought: Executive Council – Basic Science

Dr. Les Bernstein is a 30-year veteran of the UConn Health. Currently, he is a Professor in the Departments of Neuroscience and Surgery. For more than 35 years, his research has focused on auditory processing in normal human listeners, particularly how the ears and brain process complex sounds to facilitate our abilities to localize sounds in space and understand conversation in noisy environments. He has served on many UConn Health committees during his time at the Health center. He chaired the School of Medicine (SOM) Oversight Committee and the Library Advisory Committee. He has served as Vice-Chair of SOM Academic Advancement Committee and as a member of the 1) Academic Affairs Subcommittee of the Board of Directors: 2) Compensation Executive Committee, 3) IT Governance Committee, and 4) Research IT Steering Committee. He wishes to help the union continue to achieve important goals and to redress several issues. In his view, the faculty, via the UCHC-AAUP have a representative voice that has helped to guide UConn Health toward greater fulfillment of its missions of education, research, and clinical care. Still, as he sees it, the collective creativity, wisdom, and talent of our faculty are still not used to full effect by the UConn Health administration in the process of making decisions, especially with regard to issues of paramount importance to the institution’s success. Rather than having the UConn Health administration and the UCHC-AAUP at opposite sides of the metaphorical table, he would like the relationship between the AAUP and the administration to be a productive partnership that accrues to the benefit of the institution as a whole. He believes that his services on the Executive Council over the past few years will be beneficial in terms of providing both continuity and institutional memory.

Dental – Choose 1

Name: Aditya Tadinada, Ph.D.
Academic Rank: Assistant Professor
Department/Center: Oral Health and Diagnostic Sciences
Position sought: Executive Council – Dental

Dr. Aditya Tadinada is a board certified Oral and Maxillofacial Radiologist, currently Assistant Professor in Oral Health and Diagnostic Sciences. He is the program Director for the Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology residency program and Director of Student Research at the UConn School of Dental Medicine. He is an internationally reputed speaker, NIH and Industry Funded clinical and translational researcher, author of several published papers in national and international peer reviewed journals, Chair of the Radiology section in ADEA and the Editor in Chief of the Connecticut State Dental Association.
His clinical focus and practice in UConn is on 3-D imaging. His lab is focused on studying radio morphometric indices of osteoarthritis and osteoporosis for early detection. He works closely with all oral health professionals in the state of Connecticut and is primarily interested in de-mystifying the complications of learning radiology.

Clinical (Medical-Clinical) – Choose 1

Name: Ruchir Trivedi, M.D.
Academic Rank: Assistant Professor
Department(s)/Center: Nephrology
Position sought: Executive Council- Clinical

Dr. Ruchir Trivedi is a clinician educator with training in Internal Medicine and nephrology. His training spans across Atlantic, both in United Kingdom and, in USA. He did his medical training in UK leading to MRCP(UK) and Internal Medicine residency training at UConn Health. He was a Chief Resident in Internal Medicine at UConn Health. He did his Nephrology fellowship at UConn and stayed on as a faculty member in Department of Medicine. He is currently serving as an acting Chief in Division of Nephrology. He has been a strong supporter of equity, fairness and inclusiveness. He has provided valuable input to union executives and has been a support to union leadership.

His clinical and research focus areas are medical education, clinical science with special interest in dialysis and lupus patients and periodontal diseases in ESRD patients. He is heavily involved in medical student education, residency and fellowship education. He is trying to develop a strong collaboration and consistent dialogue between basic science and clinical faculty members to preserve and enhance our mission of research, education and excellent patient care.


Basic Science – Choose 1

Name: Irina Bezsonova, Ph.D.
Academic Rank: Assistant Professor
Department(s)/Center: Department of Molecular Biology and Biophysics
Position sought: Collective Bargaining Council – Basic Science

Dr. Irina Bezsonova is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Molecular Biology and Biophysics (MBB). She completed her Ph.D. studies in Experimental Physical Chemistry at the University of Toronto in 2008 and has been a postdoctoral fellow at Toronto Structural Genomics Consortium before joining UConn Health in 2010 as an Assistant Professor in Residence. She currently holds a tenure-track position and is a co-director of the MBB Graduate Program. Her ongoing research at the UConn Health and scientific outreach efforts are currently supported by National Science Foundation.

Clinical (Medical-Clinical) – Choose 2

Name: Yazeed Maghaydah, M.D. 
Academic Rank: Assistant Professor
Department/Center: Geriatrics/Center on Aging
Position sought: Collective Bargaining Council –Clinical

Dr. Yazeed Maghaydah is a UConn graduate; he did his geriatrics fellowship and added certification in clinical research at UConn Health Center. He finished his internal medicine training at Seton Hall University in New Jersey. Before he moved to the U.S., he graduated from Jordan University of Science and Technology medical school and finished three years of general surgery training in Jordan.  After his fellowship he worked in an underserved community, at a federally qualified health center in Norwich, CT for five years. In 2012 he joined the faculty of UConn School of Medicine as an assistant professor in medicine and geriatrics. Currently he teaches medical students, residents and geriatrics fellows, spends a majority of his teaching time as a clinical preceptor at the geriatrics clinic at UConn Health and at Seabury community retirement community nursing home and memory care center.  He is a core faculty in the Center and Aging and the geriatrics fellowship program.  His clinical duties including direct patients’ care, expands over John Dempsey Hospital geriatrics consult service, Seabury long term care, UConn Health geriatrics primary care and memory disorders program.

Name: Alex Merkulov, M.D.
Academic Rank: Associate Professor
Department/Center: Radiology
Position sought: Collective Bargaining Council –Clinical

Dr. Alex Merkulov is an Associate Professor in the Radiology Department with over 10 years of clinical experience, including fellowship training in women’s imaging with intervention and body imaging. He is a distinguished expert in women’s imaging and image-guided intervention as well as an expert in body imaging, general and vascular ultrasound, computed tomography (CT), and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). He is the former Women’s Imaging Fellowship Program Director and routinely appear as commentator on NBC, FOX, and ABC. He is a healthcare leader and consultant specializing in:

  • Urgent care (walk-in) single specialty medical practice development and management
  • Radiology outpatient practice development and management
  • Web-based eConsult service consulting (e.g. RubiconMD)
  • Medical-legal consulting
  • Connecticut Department of Public Health (DPH) consulting
  • Medical product manufacturing consulting (e.g. Hologic, Beekley Medical Corporation)

Name: Michael J. Payette, M.D., M.B.A., FAAD
Academic Rank: Assistant Professor
Department/Center: Dermatology
Position sought: Collective Bargaining Council – Clinical

Dr. Michael Payette graduated from Dartmouth College in Hanover, NH in 2002 with a BA in biochemistry. In 2008, he graduated from the University of Connecticut School of Medicine and School of Business, earning an MD as well as an MBA with a concentration in healthcare management. He completed his internship at Baystate Medical Center in Springfield, MA in 2009. He returned to Connecticut to complete his dermatology residency training at the University Connecticut Health Center. In 2012, he joined UConn Health as faculty in the department of dermatology. Currently, he is an Assistant Professor and the Associate Residency Program Director. He divides his time between seeing patients, teaching medical students and residents, and working to advance the residency program. He currently serves on several in-house committees, including the Physician Empowerment Committee, the Clinical Competency Committee, and the Program Evaluation Committee. He is also the faculty chairperson for the Dermatology Interest Group and a co-chairperson for the Dermatology LEAP program. His areas of interest include inflammatory skin diseases, new and emerging biologic therapies, skin cancer, and health care economics.

Dental – Choose 1

Name: Frank Nichols, D.D.S, Ph.D.
Academic Rank: Professor
Department/Center: Oral Health and Diagnostic Sciences
Position sought: Collective Bargaining Council – Dental

Dr. Frank Nichols is a Professor in the Division of Periodontology of the University of Connecticut School of Dental Medicine. He has previously served on the Executive Council and Collective Bargaining Councils of the UCHC AAUP Chapter. He has also served on the Health Center Appeals Committee and is the current chair the Student Evaluation and Appeals Committee (SEAC). He has also chaired the Dental Council for two terms and has chaired the Dental Senate for two terms. In addition to didactic and clinical teaching responsibilities, he is actively engaged in basic research; involving unique bacterial-host interactions in periodontal disease and related systemic diseases. He has worked with many co-investigators at the UConn Health as well as faculty in the Department of Chemistry at Storrs.