“Always go a little further into the water than you feel you’re capable of being in. Go a little bit out of your depth. And when you don’t feel that your feet are quite touching the bottom, you’re just about in the right place to do something exciting.” – David Bowie
Pearl was born and raised in East Los Angeles, an earnest and inquisitive oldest child of four, who found her love of science during her undergraduate studies at UC Riverside. To further explore interests in research and medicine, she pursued a Master’s degree in Cell and Molecular Biology at San Diego State University (SDSU). At SDSU, she gained research technical expertise in cardiac pathophysiology and the development of cellular therapies to treat ischemic injury in the heart, in addition to the critical thinking required to perform and succeed at independent research, in the lab of Dr. Mark Sussman. After receiving a PhD from SDSU and UCSD in 2015, she began a postdoctoral fellowship under the mentorship of Dr. Eric Small at the University of Rochester where she studied novel mechanisms of epicardium-directed coronary vasculature formation during cardiac development and disease. Transitioning to UCLA – where she is elated to be hired as an Assistant Professor, and where she can return and contribute to her family, community, and home in Los Angeles – her research lab will focus on evaluating novel cellular and paracrine signaling programs that stimulate angiogenesis in cardiac development, discoveries which may be used to promote cardiac remodeling and repair in the heart after myocardial infarction. Pearl is looking forward to beginning her research program and contributing to the mentoring and education of students at UCLA!