Meet Our Team

Meet our interdisciplinary team

Zain Khalpey MD, PhD, FACS


  • Department: Cardiothoracic Surgeon
  • Director: Mechanical Circulatory Support, ECMO, Heart and Lung Surgical Group, Scottsdal, Arizona, USA
  • Director: Artificial Heart Mechanical Circulatory Support, and Extracorporeal Life Support, Heart and Lung Surgical Group, Scottsdale, Arizona

Amina Khalpey PhD

Rebecca Chester, M.D.

Interventional Cardiologist


  • Machine learning and artificial intelligence integration into interventional cardiology
  • Coronary angiography and stenting
  • Risk stratification and recovery following acute MI (Heart Attack)
  • Diagnosis and management of heart failure and cardiogenic shock

Originally from San Diego, Dr. Chester has called Scottsdale home since 2016. Dr. Chester has worked in the Honor Health system since 2020, first in private practice and subsequently joining Honor Health Heart Group in 2022. She has expertise in Interventional cardiology, consultative cardiology and cardiogenic shock. Dr. Chester graduated from Tulane University School of Medicine in 2013 with honors and was inducted into the Alpha Omega Alpha Society. She completed her Internal Medicine Residency at UCLA, and Cardiovascular Diseases Fellowship at Mayo Clinic in Arizona. She returned to UCLA to complete her training in Interventional Cardiology with a focus on percutaneous coronary interventions. Additionally, she is board certified in Echocardiography and Nuclear Cardiology.


  • Coronary angiography and stenting
  • Risk stratification and recovery following acute MI (Heart Attack)
  • Diagnosis and management of heart failure and cardiogenic shock

Ujjawal Kumar

Postgraduate Research Fellow


  • Heart Failure and Cardiothoracic Surgery Management
  • AF Ablation Hybrid Surgery
  • Post-operative pain protocols
  • Cryoablation for control of post-thoracotomy pain
  • Sternal closure solutions
  • AI in surgical education
  • AI in surgical systems
  • AI in prediction of PPM after TAVR
  • Non-invasive cardiac flow dynamics monitoring
  • Clinical Case Reports

Ujjawal is a medical student at Gonville & Caius College in the University of Cambridge, England, and is keen to pursue a future career in cardiothoracic surgery, combining this with research into improving patient outcomes through the use of genomics, technology, and augmented intelligence. His undergraduate studies culminated with an honours degree in Preclinical Medical and Natural Sciences, specialising in Genetics. Ujjawal has undertaken multiple periods of research encompassing laboratory wet-lab, computational and clinical research, resulting in multiple presentations ranging from local to international levels, where he has received top awards for his work, as well as multiple highly-competitive funding awards. He also completed a rotation at HonorHealth on the Cardiac Surgery service under Dr Khalpey as part of his medical elective in Summer 2023. He is involved in a range of research programmes within the Khalpey AI Lab, both clinically and on AI-based projects.

Jessa Deckwa

Research Lab Manager


  • Data Analysis and Machine Learning Integration in the Medical Field
  • Amniotic tissue and anti-inflammatory properties in cardiac surgery
  • Clinical Case Reports

Zeke Mendoza

Research Specialist


  • Clinical impact of preoperative rehabilitation and wellness.
  • Impact of frailty assessments on the surgery placement.
  • Patient’s diet in the preoperative phase to optimize recovery after heart failure
  • Artificial Intelligence in Surgical Timeouts

Brynne Rozell


  • Artificial Intelligence in the Operating Room
  • Artificial Intelligence in the Intensive Care Unit

Krishna Akella M.D.

Research Specialist


  • Genetics and Artificial Intelligence
  • Clinical Case Reports
  • Prediction algorithm for pacemaker following a TAVR procedure

Parker Wilson, DO

Usman Aslam M.D.


  • Clinical Case Reports
  • Data Analysis and Machine Learning Integration in the Medical Field

Nathan McClane M.D.

Team Member Title or Position


  • Sternal Wound Dehiscence

Alexandra Gaughan

Cardiovascular Research Nurse


  • Impact of frailty assessments on the surgery patient

Yash Suri


MSRP Research Fellow, University of Arizona-College of Medicine; Tucson, Arizona May 2021 – August 2021
Under the supervision of Dr. Dan Latt in the Department of Orthopedic Surgery, I am conducting a NIH funded research experience. Developed the project: A comparative study of Non-Union Rates for Isolated Subtalar Arthrodesis vs Subtalar Arthrodesis following Ankle Arthrodesis. This is a retrospective study, with a prospective study arm to identify the clinical and patient reported differences following a subtalar arthrodesis in different clinical settings.

Cardiothoracic AI Research Intern; Tucson, Arizona November 2020 – Current
Under the supervision of Dr. Zain Khalpey, I assist in various research projects focused on the of Artificial Intelligence and other technologies in Cardiothoracic surgery. Currently working on 3 publications looking at the role of AI in the OR, Vent Settings, and OR efficiencies.

Researcher III, O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center, UAB; Birmingham, Alabama June 2019- Current
As a Researcher III at the O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center at UAB, I am involved in both the clinical and administrative research side of the clinical trials at the UAB hospital, which is an NCI designated center. I work closely with physicians and scientists of the different disease groups and make sure the design and operations of the clinical trials are in accordance with the regulatory rules and assist with the on-going development of new trials. I also work with the physicians to provide any clinical research assistance and become involved in their specific studies. I am also involved in the management of the clinical trials systems, and the data collection and analysis for studies.

Academic Associate, Arizona State University; Phoenix, Arizona March 2020 – Current
Co-Instructor for HCD 570: Process Engineering, a graduate level class apart of the Master’s program for the Science of Health Care delivery program. Assist in student evaluations, questions, and class organization. Taught in Spring 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023

Research Assistant Analyst, Arizona State University; Phoenix, Arizona October 2019- July 2019
Under the supervision of Dr. Matthew Martin, I assist in various research projects focused on healthcare delivery, behavioral health qualitative projects. As a research analyst, I am involved in research analysis, and adding to manuscript publications.

Graduate Student Assistant, Arizona State University; Phoenix, Arizona Jan 2019- June 2019
Graduate Student Assistant for the Department of Biomedical Informatics, and under the supervision of Dr. Chinedum Ojinnaka. Provide and assist in different research projects for publications and grants. Research various public health and healthcare issues. Assist in the development of research and publications, and programming.

Project ECHO Graduate Intern, Arizona State University; Phoenix, Arizona Aug 2018- June 2019
Project ECHO is a new, guided practice model that revolutionizes medical education and exponentially increases workforce capacity to provide best-practice specialty care and reduce health disparities. As a part of the inaugural Project ECHO team at ASU, we are laying down the foundation for the Behavioral Health hub at ASU, and the Liver disease hub at the Mayo Clinic Arizona, to serve and increase the medical accessibility of various communities throughout Arizona. Taking on an administrative role, identifying tasks that are required, and developing the needed templates for clinical programs, grants, conferences, etc. Working with both clinical and non-clinical faculty for program development and involved in research collection for future studies.

Undergraduate Research Intern, Mayo Clinic; Phoenix, Arizona Dec 2015-May 2018
I was a part of the Translational Innovations in Mathematical Medicine department (formerly known as the Mathematical Neuro-Oncology Department) at the Mayo Clinic. I was involved in data collection and management as a student researcher on the measurements team, measurements of various MRI scans to measure tumor progression for different patients, and different dates. I also provided research assistance in the lab to the researcher fellows. I have worked on a Brain-Computer Interface research project and am completed my honors thesis titled “Exploring the Clinical Responses in Glioblastoma Patients From Varying Temozolomide Cycles.” Using a data repository, I used different quantitative methodologies to analyze patient factors and treatment options. I developed a comprehensive written thesis, and presentation to the PNT lab and its academic affiliates. I also shadowed the Neurosurgery department chair and other physicians during their clinic hours and live surgeries.

Tutor, The Tutoring Center; Oro Valley, Arizona Aug 2015-Dec 2017
I was one of the main, lead tutors at the Tutoring Center. I tutor students in all different grades, and in various levels of Algebra, Calculus, Biology, Physics and English. I worked with different students and helped create different study plans for immediate success in school.

Tutor, BASIS Oro Valley; Oro Valley, Arizona April 2014- July 2015
Tutored students in different grades at BASIS Oro Valley in various science subjects and math. I tutored throughout the school year and in the summer time in preparation for subject finals, all students that I worked with excelled in their subject finals. After the students displayed their success, I was placed on a short list available to parents who wished to seek tutoring help.


BASIS Oro Valley — High School Degree, August 2012- May 2015

Arizona State University, Barrett The Honors College — Bachelor of Science (B.S), August 2015- May 2018

    Major: Biological Sciences (Genetics and Cellular Development)

    Minor: Geography

    Awards: Summa Cum Laude Honors, Placed on Dean’s List: Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Spring 2018

Arizona State University — Master of Science (M.S), August 2018 – May 2019

    Major: Science of Health Care Delivery

University of Arizona, College of Medicine— Doctor of Medicine (M.D), July 2020 – Current


Arizona State University — Six Sigma Green Belt Certified (SSGBC), December 2018

Arizona State University — Certificate, Digital Business Analyst, March 2019 – June 2019


CLAS Council – Director of Natural Sciences, August 2016 – May 2018

As the Director of Natural Sciences in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Council, I provide the leadership of the initiatives of CLAS Council with the Natural Sciences interests groups and serve as a student leader from the students to the college administrators.

Alpha Epsilon Delta (AED) and American Medical Student Association (AMSA)– Active Member, August 2015 – May 2018

As a pre-professional organization, we have weekly speakers in the medical field come to give talks, and we also attend volunteer events within the local Phoenix communities.

Tennis Instructor; Oro Valley, AZ, May 2015 – May 2018

During the summers and winters, I have hosted introductory tennis camps to toddlers in hope that they will experience and like the great sport of tennis.

Photography; May 2015 – June 2016

After graduating from High school, I started my own photography company. I developed a photography website and business cards. My photography interests ranged from capturing the local ecology of Arizona and the various architecture around the city, to taking graduation photos and capturing the moments private events. Some of my hired projects includes: when I traveled to Orlando, FL to take graduation photos at UCF, and I also was a photographer a Holi event (festival of colors) in Tucson, AZ.


    1. Ojinnaka CO, Suri Y. Impact of Medicaid Expansion on Healthcare Access Among Individuals Living With Chronic Diseases. Am J Prev Med. 2020 Aug;59(2):149-156. doi: 10.1016/j.amepre.2020.03.012.

    2. Martin MP, McEntee ML, Suri Y. Caregiver Quality of Life: How to Measure It and Why. Am J Health Promot. 2021 Sep;35(7):1042-1045. doi: 10.1177/08901171211030142f. PMID: 34351244.

    3. Johnson SS, Sowa M, McCann R, Cohen SA, Nash CC, Greaney ML, Alexander RA, Kasten J, Martin MP, McEntee ML, Suri Y, Roman C, Bane S, Opthof E. Knowing Well, Being Well: well-being born of understanding: The Science of Teamwork. Am J Health Promot. 2021 Sep;35(7):1028-1047. doi: 10.1177/08901171211030142.

    4. Martin MP, Banks E, Myerholtz L, Zubatsky M, Suri Y, Mauksch L. Preparing residents to practice integrated behavioral health care: Multi-site feasibility study of a competency-based curriculum. Int J Psychiatry Med. 2022 Apr 11:912174221086930. doi: 10.1177/00912174221086930.

    5. Martin MP, McEntee ML, Mullin D, Suri Y, van Eeghen C. Patient screening for integrated behavioral health in adult primary care: A rapid review of effective procedures. Fam Syst Health. 2022 Sep;40(3):383-396. doi: 10.1037/fsh0000700.

    6. Suri Y, Yasmeh JP, Basu A. Understanding the Uptake and Challenges of Genetic Testing Guidelines for Prostate Cancer Patients. Cancer Treat Res Commun. 2022;32:100588. doi: 10.1016/j.ctarc.2022.100588.

    7. Gbolahan O, Hashemi-Sadraei N, Yash S, Williams G, Ramachandran R, Kim YI, Paluri R, Outlaw D, El-Rayes B, Nabell L. Time to treatment initiation and its impact on real-world survival in metastatic colorectal cancer and pancreatic cancer. Cancer Med. 2022 Aug 17. doi: 10.1002/cam4.5133.

    8. Martin M, Suri Y, Doebbeling B, Andrew R, Kathol R. Value-Based Integrated Case Management at Payor Level: Implementation and Impact. Prof Case Manag. 2022 Jan-Feb 01;28(1):11-19. doi: 10.1097/NCM.0000000000000572. PMID: 36394856.


Tuscany At McCormick Ranch; Scottsdale, AZ August 2017 – May 2018

As a volunteer, I work with the residents at this retirement home, and help the Director of activities with the planning of events. I work with the residents by hosting a technology education class, teaching them how to use their electronic devices.

Cancer Treatment Centers of America – Pat Tillman Run; Tempe, AZ April 2017

As a CTCA volunteer at the annual Pat Tillman Run, I provided sun screen and informational cancer literature to the participants to increase the awareness of cancer, and ways to increase the prevention of skin cancer.

Feed My Starving Children; Mesa, AZ

Feed My Starving Children (FMSC) is a nonprofit dedicated to providing nutritious meals to children worldwide. As a group, we had different tasks for making the meal packs, and making sure it was enough and prepared them to be shipped.

Volunteer, University Medical Center; Tucson, Arizona April 2013- Aug 2013

Working as a summer volunteer I spent over 150 hours in the Toy Store at University Medical Center Main Downtown location, I took care of the store by organizing and making sure all the necessary jobs were done. I was also in charge of the cashier, checking people out, and assisting them with their questions.

Mia Chorney


  • Cardiac Genetic Digital Health AI risk screening tool
  • Genetics and Artificial Intelligence
  • Women’s Cardiothoracic Health

Bennett Gillespie

Research Specialist


  • Cardiac Ablation and Pain Management
  • Artificial Intelligence to help track and aid government officials for organ trafficking in the United States