Dr. Perez received her doctorate in Biology from MIT, specializing in cancer cell biology. She utilized a zebrafish model to understand the initiating mutations of uveal melanoma, the most common ocular cancer in humans. At Weizmann, she will investigate cardiovascular disease, which is currently the leading cause of death worldwide. A heart attack survivor will typically have scar tissue in the heart after the first infarction, and this fibrotic tissue often leads to complications that ultimately result in another infarction or heart failure. This scar formation occurs because the muscle cells responsible for heart contractility, namely the cardiomyocytes, do not divide to replenish the injured area. The lab in the Department of Molecular Cell Biology where she will be working has developed a model of cardiac regeneration in adult mammals in which application of agrin, a protein in the neonatal heart, promotes cardiac regeneration. Dr. Perez will utilize this protein promoting cardiac regeneration in adult mice to understand mechanisms underlying the regenerative chain of events promoting cardiac repair, with the ultimate goal of contributing to our understanding of how to heal the injured heart in human adults, where damage after infarction has thus far remained untreatable.