Ariel grew up in Los Angeles, California and attended Cornell University for her undergraduate education. There, she spent 2 ½ years studying leukemia in the lab of Dr. Andy Yen and graduated Magna Cum Laude with an Honors Thesis in Biology. After college she worked with Saswati Chatterjee, PhD, at the City of Hope Beckman Research Institute increasing the efficiency of AAV-mediated gene therapy methods, and at Genentech identifying cardiotoxicity risks of pre-clinical small molecules. As of 2014, Ariel is a graduate student in UCSF’s PhD program for Biomedical Sciences. She is co-mentored by Todd McDevitt, PhD and Deepak Srivastava, MD and studies the impact of the ECM on cardiac regeneration.
Cardiovascular disease is one of the major causes of adult deaths in the United States. This is largely due to the fact that adult cardiomyocytes are unable to proliferate and, therefore, can’t regenerate cardiac muscle after damage. Fetal cardiomyocytes are capable of proliferation but lose this ability shortly after birth. The underlying mechanism for this change may be found by studying local cues that drive cardiac development. In particular, my work focuses on the secreted extracellular matrix between the cells in the heart, and how it creates a more or less permissive environment for cardiomyocyte proliferation.