University of California -San Diego, School of Medicine
Changing women’s lives by uncovering the complexities of the female pelvic floor
Dr. Alperin’s expertise as a practicing, board-certified female pelvic medicine specialist places her in a unique position, in which her clinical and surgical understanding help guide the directions of the Alperin Lab’s basic science and translational studies to answer the most relevant questions. Alperin laboratory uses a multi-prong approach to study the impact of pregnancy, birth injury, and aging on the structure, function, plasticity , and regenerative potential of the female pelvic soft tissues. The results of our studies, facilitated by the interdisciplinary approach, will improve our understanding of the transition of female pelvic soft tissues from a physiological to a pathological state, which in turn will have major implications on the development of effective preventative and mitigating strategies. Ultimately, we hope that this research will help reduce the epidemic of pelvic floor disorders and improve the lives of millions of women.
Dr. Alperin is a practicing female pelvic medicine and reconstructive surgery (FPMRS) specialist with expertise in basic science and clinical research. Her overarching goal is to facilitate the highest quality patient care through mechanistic research and the cultivation of interactions between basic, translational, and clinical scientists and health care providers from various disciplines with a shared interest in women’s health. She completed residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard School of Medicine and FPMRS fellowship at the University of Pittsburgh, where she had also obtained a Master’s degree in Clinical Research. Throughout her career, she has actively pursued and organized multi-disciplinary research programs and has worked closely with experts from disparate fields from bioengineering to stem cell biology. Alperin lab aims to shift the current research paradigm in female pelvic medicine towards more mechanistic studies, ultimately improving the lives of women suffering from pelvic floor disorders through innovative preventative and therapeutic strategies.
Michelle Wong, BS Senior Research Assistant
Michelle earned her B.S in Biology from California Institute of Technology in 2017. Her research interest lies in the pathophysiology of pelvic floor dysfunction, and she currently studies the impact of age on pelvic floor muscles. She plans to attend medical school in 2020 where she hopes she can continue addressing clinical problems through basic science research. In her free time, she enjoys basketball, hiking, and cooking.
Francesca obtained her PhD in Biomedical Sciences at Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute, after which she had joined the Alperin lab as a postdoc in 2018. She is interested in investigating the role of muscle stem cells in the pelvic floor muscles’ plasticity during pregnancy. When out of the lab, Francesca loves cooking for her friends and enjoys outdoor activities in beautiful San Diego.
Pamela Duran, BS Doctorate Candidate
Pamela has a B.S. in Bioengineering from Universidad Autónoma de Baja California, México. She is a PhD student in the UCSD Bioengineering Department, and is interested in developing novel biomaterials for the treatment of pelvic floor disorders. She likes to go to the movies with her family and enjoys doing handcrafts and working out with her friends.
Mary Rieger, MD Clinical and Research Fellow
Mary is a female pelvic medicine and reconstructive surgery fellow at the University of California, San Diego – Kaiser San Diego program. Prior to starting her fellowship, she went to medical school at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston and completed residency training in OB/GYN at Dell Medical School at the University of Texas in Austin. Her research interests include studying the effects of mechanical load of pregnancy on the pelvic floor muscles. In her free time, Mary enjoys spending time at the beach with her husband and her son.
Lindsey Burnett, PhD, MD Clinical and Research Fellow
Lindsey is a Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery Fellow. She completed her PhD in Molecular and Cellular Biology prior to medical school and most recently completed her residency training in Obstetrics and Gynecology at UC San Diego. When she’s not in the lab or the clinic she enjoys spending time with her husband and two daughters.
Emmy Do Masters Student
Emmy is senior undergraduate student at UCSD majoring in Biochemistry and Cell Biology. She in interested in pursuing a career in biological research related to immunochemistry and women’s health issues. When not in lab, she enjoys cooking, being with family, and watching TV shows/movies with her dog.
Varsha Rajesh Undergraduate Student
Varsha is an undergraduate student at UCSD, majoring in Biochemistry and Cell Biology. She is interested in learning biochemical techniques and how they apply to various fields such as women’s health, forensics and astrobiology. In her free time, she likes doing art and watching movies.
Neil Aiad Undergraduate Student
Neil is a senior undergraduate student at UCSD, pursuing a B.S degree in Bioengineering. He is studying biomechanics with regards to active force generation in pelvic floor muscles. He enjoys running and listening to music in his free time.
Aanika Sinnott High-School Student
Aanika is a junior at La Jolla High School and a member of the Biomedical Pathways program there. She really appreciates not only being able to gain experience with lab work, but also learning from all of the great minds surrounding her at the Alperin lab.
Tatiana Catanzarite, MD MS
Tatiana completed her undergraduate studies at Stanford University and then medical school at University of California at Davis. She then pursued residency training in OB/GYN at Northwestern University in Chicago, IL, followed by fellowship training in Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery (FPMRS) at the University of California, San Diego – Kaiser San Diego program, after which she joined the FPMRS faculty at UCSD. During fellowship, she was delighted to have the opportunity to work in the Alperin lab studying mechanisms of muscle injury at the time of vaginal birth and hopes that this work will ultimately contribute to deeper understandings of the contribution of muscle injury/recovery in the development of pelvic floor disorders in women.
Amanda Artsen, MD
Amanda completed Ob/Gyn residency at the University of California, San Diego, where she studied the muscle architecture of rhesus macaque pelvic floor muscles and the human external anal sphincter. She is now at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center pursuing her FPMRS fellowship and is studying the immunology of polypropylene mesh complications. She loves long distance running and singing and dancing with her toddler.
Tim Kaddis, BS
Tim is currently a medical student at UCLA School of Medicine, He first got involved with the Alperin lab during his senior year at UC San Diego, and over the next couple of years he had worked on multiple projects designed to further understanding of the composition & physiology of the pelvic floor muscles. Through these projects, he was able to perfect a variety of laboratory techniques, learn a framework for effective research, and ultimately, contribute to the growing body of knowledge in the important field, such as female pelvic medicine.
Burnett LA, Sesillo Boscolo F, Laurent LC, Wong M, Alperin M. Uncovering Changes in Proteomic Signature of Rat Pelvic Floor Muscles in Pregnancy. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2019 Apr 29;. doi: 10.1016/j.ajog.2019.04.025. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 31047881; NIHMSID:NIHMS1528124.
Sheth VR, Duran P, Wong J, Shah S, Du J, Christman KL, Chang EY, Alperin M. Multimodal imaging assessment and histologic correlation of the female rat pelvic floor muscles’ anatomy. J Anat. 2019 Apr;234(4):543-550. doi: 10.1111/joa.12943. Epub 2019 Feb 10. PubMed PMID: 30740685; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC6422690.
Duran P, Ward S, Christman KL, Alperin M. Mechanical impact of parturition-related strains on rat pelvic striated sphincters. Neurourol Urodyn. 2019 Mar;38(3):912-919. doi: 10.1002/nau.23946. Epub 2019 Feb 19. PubMed PMID: 30779377; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC6431564.
Alperin M, Burnett L, Lukacz E, Brubaker L. The mysteries of menopause and urogynecologic health: clinical and scientific gaps. Menopause. 2019 Jan;26(1):103-111. doi: 10.1097/GME.0000000000001209. PubMed PMID: 30300297; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC6376984.
Baah-Dwomoh A, Alperin M, Cook M, De Vita R. Mechanical Analysis of the Uterosacral Ligament: Swine vs. Human. Ann Biomed Eng. 2018 Dec;46(12):2036-2047. doi: 10.1007/s10439-018-2103-x. Epub 2018 Jul 26. PubMed PMID: 30051246; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC6249056.
Stewart AM, Cook MS, Dyer KY, Alperin M. Structure-function relationship of the human external anal sphincter. Int Urogynecol J. 2018 May;29(5):673-678. doi: 10.1007/s00192-017-3404-6. Epub 2017 Jul 8. PubMed PMID: 28689239; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5889349.
Catanzarite T, Bremner S, Barlow CL, Bou-Malham L, O’Connor S, Alperin M. Pelvic muscles’ mechanical response to strains in the absence and presence of pregnancy-induced adaptations in a rat model. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2018 May;218(5):512.e1-512.e9. doi: 10.1016/j.ajog.2018.02.001. Epub 2018 Feb 9. PubMed PMID: 29432755; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5916022.
Stewart AM, Cook MS, Esparza MC, Slayden OD, Alperin M. Architectural assessment of rhesus macaque pelvic floor muscles: comparison for use as a human model. Int Urogynecol J. 2017 Oct;28(10):1527-1535. doi: 10.1007/s00192-017-3303-x. Epub 2017 Mar 11. PubMed PMID: 28285397; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5593758.
Cook MS, Bou-Malham L, Esparza MC, Alperin M. Age-related alterations in female obturator internus muscle. Int Urogynecol J. 2017 May;28(5):729-734. doi: 10.1007/s00192-016-3167-5. Epub 2016 Oct 4. PubMed PMID: 27704154; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5450648.
Alperin M, Cook M, Tuttle LJ, Esparza MC, Lieber RL. Impact of vaginal parity and aging on the architectural design of pelvic floor muscles. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2016 Sep;215(3):312.e1-9. doi: 10.1016/j.ajog.2016.02.033. Epub 2016 Mar 5. PubMed PMID: 26953079; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5003683.
Alperin M, Kaddis T, Pichika R, Esparza MC, Lieber RL. Pregnancy-induced adaptations in intramuscular extracellular matrix of rat pelvic floor muscles. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2016 Aug;215(2):210.e1-7. doi: 10.1016/j.ajog.2016.02.018. Epub 2016 Feb 12. PubMed PMID: 26875952; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5450638.