Current Members:

Alperin Lab Group Photo


Marianna Alperin, MD MS
Principal Investigator

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.

Brittni Baynes, MS
Staff Research Associate

photo of britta baynes

Britta earned her B.S. from UCSD in Physiology and Neuroscience and her M.S. in Biomedical Science from LSU Health Sciences Center. Her research focused on the neuroscience of drug addiction and stress disorders. She is currently interested in investigating the effects of pregnancy on pelvic floor muscles. In her free time, Britta enjoys spending time in the outdoors with her two children. 

Francesca Sesillo Boscolo, PhD
Post-Doctoral Scholar

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.

Emma Zelus
PhD Student

photo of emma zelus

Emma has a B.S. in Bioengineering from UC San Diego. She is currently a PhD student in the UCSD Bioengineering Department. Her research is focused on the use of minimally invasive injectable biomaterials for the treatment of stress urinary incontinence. She enjoys board game nights with friends and visiting the beach. 

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.

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.

Manali Shah
Undergraduate Student

Manali is an undergraduate student at UCSD majoring in Bioengineering. She is interested in learning about women’s health and how medicine and engineering go hand-in-hand. In her free time she enjoys being outdoors playing frisbee, skiing, going to the beach, and traveling. s.

Saya French
Volunteer Lab Assistant

Saya is an undergraduate student at UCSD, majoring in Human Biology with a minor in Accounting. She is interested in learning about women’s health, specifically pelvic floor disorders following childbirth. In her free time, she loves to spend time with her daughter and teach her about the things her mom learned in lab and in class.

Lab Alumni

Emmy Do
Masters Student

Emmy began research in the Alperin lab as an undergraduate student at UCSD majoring in Biochemistry and Cell Biology. She recently completed her Masters and is 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.

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 is currently attending medical school where she hopes she can continue addressing clinical problems through basic science research. In her free time, she enjoys basketball, hiking, and cooking.

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.

Neil Aiad, BS

Neil graduated from UCSD with a B.S degree in Bioengineering. While in the Alperin Lab, he studied biomechanics with regards to active force generation in pelvic floor muscles. He enjoys running and listening to music in his free time.


Boscolo Sesillo F, Wong M, Cortez A, Alperin M. Isolation of muscle stem cells from rat skeletal muscles. Stem Cell Res. 2020 Mar;43:101684. doi: 10.1016/j.scr.2019.101684. Epub 2019 Dec 10. PubMed PMID: 31931473

Burnett LA, Cook M, Shah S, Michelle Wong M, Kado DM, Alperin M. Age-associated changes in the mechanical properties of human cadaveric pelvic floor muscles. J Biomech. 2020 Jan 2;98:109436. doi: 10.1016/j.jbiomech.2019.109436. Epub 2019 Oct 31. PubMed PMID: 31708240

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 Aug. doi: 10.1016/j.ajog.2019.04.025. Epub 2019 Apr 29. 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.

Alperin M, Lawley DM, Esparza MC, Lieber RL. Pregnancy-induced adaptations in the intrinsic structure of rat pelvic floor muscles. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2015 Aug;213(2):191.e1-7. doi: 10.1016/j.ajog.2015.05.012. Epub 2015 May 13. PubMed PMID: 25979618; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4757427.

Alperin M, Tuttle LJ, Conner BR, Dixon DM, Mathewson MA, Ward SR, Lieber RL. Comparison of pelvic muscle architecture between humans and commonly used laboratory species. Int Urogynecol J. 2014 Nov;25(11):1507-15. doi: 10.1007/s00192-014-2423-9. Epub 2014 Jun 11. PubMed PMID: 24915840; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4264598.

Alperin M, Feola A, Duerr R, Moalli P, Abramowitch S. Pregnancy- and delivery-induced biomechanical changes in rat vagina persist postpartum. Int Urogynecol J. 2010 Sep;21(9):1169-74. doi: 10.1007/s00192-010-1149-6. Epub 2010 Apr 28. PubMed PMID: 20424824; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC2939831.

Alperin M, Feola A, Meyn L, Duerr R, Abramowitch S, Moalli P. Collagen scaffold: a treatment for simulated maternal birth injury in the rat model. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2010 Jun;202(6):589.e1-8. doi: 10.1016/j.ajog.2010.04.003. PubMed PMID: 20510960; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC2921182.

The complete bibliography can be found here:


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