I hail from the bustling city of Lima, Peru by way of Orlando, Florida, where I lived for 10 years before coming to Harvard.
I am currently working in Dr. Michael Young’s lab at the Schepens Eye Research Institute investigating a novel treatment for diabetic retinopathy by differentiating stem cells into pericytes, contractile cells that surround and stabilize the walls of blood vessels. In diabetes, increased blood glucose levels lead to the death of pericytes, which weakens the microvessels in the eye and leads to intraocular bleeding, causes a condition called diabetic retinopathy and eventually blindness. Since these cells are the first to die in diabetes, injection of stem cell-derived pericytes into the eye is a promising novel therapy, and my project involves identifying the optimal procedure for labeling pericytes in the eye, as well as the survival, differentiation, and function of transplanted stem cell-derived pericytes in the eyes of mice.
When I’m not in the lab, I enjoy playing the violin, going on runs, swimming, traveling, and learning new languages.