Current Research Assistants (RAs)

Vivian Choi (March 2013 — January 2016)

Education: B.S. Brain and Cognitive Science, Minor in Business, University of Rochester
Goals: Hoping to pinpoint a specific area that I'm passionate about within the medical/health field that provides me with patient interaction.
Research: Aortic Valve Replacement, Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement
Personal Facts: Co-Food Connoisseur, Hidden Gems of NY Detective, Perfect Hugging Size

  • Assistant to Program Director
  • Staff Relations Supervisor

Dan Lambert (March 2014 — August 2015)


  • B.S. Biological Sciences, Minor in Chemistry, University of Vermont
  • M.D. Candidate, University of Vermont College of Medicine Class of 2019

Goals: I hope to improve my leadership, clinical, and research abilities to become a diligent academic medical care provider in the future.
Research: Aortic Valve Replacement/Repair, Aortic Root Replacement, Mitral Valve Repair/Replacement, Endocarditis and Embolic Events.
Personal Facts: Co-Food Connoisseur, Indian Chef, Soccer Sensation, Future Husband Hopeful of Emma Watson

  • Co-Chief RA
  • Head of CAPTURE I Tissue Repository
  • Overseer of Heart Protocol

Yeu Sanz (Samantha) Wu (March 2014 — March 2016)

Education: B.A. Chemistry and Chemical Biology, Cornell University
Goals: To blend my interests in surgery and world travel.
Research: Aortic Root Diseases, Aortic Valve Replacement, Mitral Valve Repair/Replacement, Endocarditis, Heart Failure, Organ Transplant, Pediatric Surgery
Personal Facts: Amateur Photographer, Sweets Enthusiast, Aspiring World Traveler

  • Assistant Chief/Recruitment Coordinator
  • Head of CAPTURE II (IG) Tissue Repository
  • Tissue Protocol Overseer
  • Database Administrator/Analyst

Deniz Akkoc (May 2014 — May 2015)

Education: B.S. Biology, State University of New York at Stony Brook
Career: From my time in this program, I hope to acquire the skills and knowledge necessary to becoming a more effective and proficient member of the medical society.
Research: Aortic Stenosis, Mitral Valve Regurgitation, Outcomes of survival in Heart & Lung Transplantation recipients receiving PRBC transfusions.
Personal Facts: Physical Fitness Enthusiast, Exceptional Knot Tying Abilities, Amateur Nutritional Expert

  • Chief RA
  • Head of Transplant Resources Management
  • Consent Protocol Overseer

Min Jeong (Esther) Kim (May 2014 — July 2015)

Education: B.S. Biology, Syracuse University
Goals: I hope to go abroad to third world countries and work as a medical missionary. I have already been to Cambodia and Mongolia where I developed a passion for international medicine.
Research: LVAD Implant, Mitral Valve
Personal Facts: A person of many interests (i.e. watching sports and fashion) but few answers. Believer of moderation. Carb Addict

  • Lung Protocol Overseer

Alex Kantor (May 2014 — September 2015)

Education: B.S. Biomedical Sciences, Minor in Microbiology, Quinnipiac University
Goals: To help advance treatment methods of end stage heart failure. After this program, I plan on attending medical school and would like to specialize in Cardiothoracic Surgery.

  • Functional Mitral Regurgitation, Pulmonary Hypertension, Ventricular Assist Devices.
  • Besides Cardiothoracic Surgery, I also have an interest in Immunology and Microbiology and have researched and presented on Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) before joining the lab.

Personal Facts: Volunteer Firefighter/EMT, Country Music and Concert Connoisseur, Sushi Lover

  • Head of Tissue and Office Resources Management

Amanda Bader (July 2014 — September 2015)

Education: B.A. Biological Basis of Behavior, Minor in Healthcare Management University of Pennsylvania
Research: Orthotopic Heart Transplants and Circulatory Arrest/Same Donor Kidney Transplant, C-reactive Protein and Calcific Aortic Valve Disease, Mitral Valve Repair/Replacement
Experience: Previous clinical research experience in Oncology, Emergency Medicine, Nephrology, Developmental Pediatrics, and Neurology
Personal Facts: Avid reader of many different types of literature, including but not limited celebrity autobiographies, books about body language, humorist essays, and young adult/teen fiction novels.

  • Apprentice to Heads of Tissue Repository
  • Head of Surgical Protocols for Transplant Procurement

Benjamin Ascherman (July 2014 — July 2015)


  • B.A. Biology, Harvard College
  • M.D. Candidate, Class of 2019

Goals: To help develop alternative solutions for lung failure. To gain a better understanding of how healthcare providers coordinate and optimize patient care in hospitals.
Research: Studying Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO), working to further improve and develop this technology
Experience: Former intern at Children’s Hospital of NY, Department of Anesthesiology; Previously did research on circadian rhythms in mice at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
Personal Facts: Speaks four languages, loves to play basketball and soccer, piano enthusiast

  • Thoracic RA

Andres Gomez (February 2015 — February 2016)


  • B.A. Biology, University of Bridgeport
  • A.S. Criminal Justice, Housatonic Community College

Goals: To help develop better methods to detect Congenital Heart Defect at an earlier gestational period. I plan to join the United States Air Force at the F. Edward Hébert School of Medicine where I hope to specialize in Cardiothoracic Surgery. Subsequently, I would like to join Doctors Without Borders.
Research: Mitral Valve Repair/Replacement, Circulatory Arrest Post Heart Transplant, Congenital Heart Defect (CHD), Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome (HLHS), Neurological Injury after Neonatal/Adult Cardiac Surgery
Experience: Former clinical intern at StayWell Health Center Department of Internal Medicine, Surgical Assistant/Volunteer for CTMOM Dental Clinic.
Personal Facts: Speaks two languages, Traveled to Ecuador for the opportunity to shadow physicians and to gain better understanding in the underdeveloped healthcare system

  • Apprentice to Head Transplant Resources Manager