Pearl Quijada
Assistant Professor, Integrative Biology and Physiology
Research Interests
The epicardium is composed of a single cell layer that encapsulates the heart during embryogenesis. The epicardium also serves as a rich source of mesenchymal cells and growth factors that support coronary vasculature development. Although the function of the epicardium is invariably linked to the growth of the primitive coronary plexus, the cellular and molecular mechanisms that regulate the function of the epicardium remain unclear. To facilitate the identification of the epicardium’s role in embryonic angiogenesis, our lab utilizes transgenic mouse models and single-cell transcriptomic sequencing to discover novel epicardium-directed guidance cues required for arterio-venous specification and maturation of endothelial cells. As compared to the fetal heart, the adult myocardium is unable to undergo angiogenesis in response to ischemic injury, which ultimately leads to cardiac functional decline. By using information acquired from our studies during development, we are investigating the effects of pro-angiogenic factors from the epicardium to promote angiogenesis and repair after ischemic injury in the adult heart.

Pearl received her BS in Biology from 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) and served as a Human Anatomy Teaching Assistant for 3 years. At SDSU, she gained research technical expertise in cardiac pathophysiology and the development of cellular therapies to treat cardiac ischemic injury in the lab of Dr. Mark Sussman. After receiving her 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. Continuing her passion for teaching, she was awarded an Outstanding Postdoctoral Mentor Award in 2018. Transitioning to UCLA and returning 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 repair in the heart after myocardial infarction.


A selected list of publications:

Quijada Pearl, Trembley Michael A, Small Eric M   The Role of the Epicardium During Heart Development and Repair Circulation research, 2020; 126(3): 377-394.
Quijada Pearl, Misra Adwiteeya, Velasquez Lissette S, Burke Ryan M, Lighthouse Janet K, Mickelsen Deanne M, Dirkx Ronald A, Small Eric M   Pre-existing fibroblasts of epicardial origin are the primary source of pathological fibrosis in cardiac ischemia and aging Journal of molecular and cellular cardiology, 2019; 129(3): 92-104.
Hilt Zachary T, Pariser Daphne N, Ture Sara K, Mohan Amy, Quijada Pearl, Asante Akua A, Cameron Scott J, Sterling Julie A, Merkel Alyssa R, Johanson Andrew L, Jenkins Jermaine L, Small Eric M, McGrath Kathleen E, Palis James, Elliott Michael R, Morrell Craig N   Platelet-derived β2M regulates monocyte inflammatory responses JCI insight, 2019; 4(5): 92-104.
Alvarez Roberto, Wang Bingyan J, Quijada Pearl J, Avitabile Daniele, Ho Thi, Shaitrit Maya, Chavarria Monica, Firouzi Fareheh, Ebeid David, Monsanto Megan M, Navarrete Natalie, Moshref Maryam, Siddiqi Sailay, Broughton Kathleen M, Bailey Barbara A, Gude Natalie A, Sussman Mark A   Cardiomyocyte cell cycle dynamics and proliferation revealed through cardiac-specific transgenesis of fluorescent ubiquitinated cell cycle indicator (FUCCI) Journal of molecular and cellular cardiology, 2019; 127(5): 154-164.
Broughton Kathleen M, Khieu Tiffany, Nguyen Nicky, Rosa Michael, Mohsin Sadia, Quijada Pearl, Wang Bingyan J, Echeagaray Oscar H, Kubli Dieter A, Kim Taeyong, Firouzi Fareheh, Monsanto Megan M, Gude Natalie A, Adamson Robert M, Dembitsky Walter P, Davis Michael E, Sussman Mark A   Cardiac interstitial tetraploid cells can escape replicative senescence in rodents but not large mammals Communications biology, 2019; 2(3): 205.
Trembley Michael A, Quijada Pearl, Agullo-Pascual Esperanza, Tylock Kevin M, Colpan Mert, Dirkx Ronald A, Myers Jason R, Mickelsen Deanne M, de Mesy Bentley Karen, Rothenberg Eli, Moravec Christine S, Alexis Jeffrey D, Gregorio Carol C, Dirksen Robert T, Delmar Mario, Small Eric M   Mechanosensitive Gene Regulation by Myocardin-Related Transcription Factors Is Required for Cardiomyocyte Integrity in Load-Induced Ventricular Hypertrophy Circulation, 2018; 138(17): 1864-1878.
Matsumoto Collin, Jiang Yan, Emathinger Jacqueline, Quijada Pearl, Nguyen Nathalie, De La Torre Andrea, Moshref Maryam, Nguyen Jonathan, Levinson Aimee B, Shin Minyoung, Sussman Mark A, Hariharan Nirmala   Short Telomeres Induce p53 and Autophagy and Modulate Age-Associated Changes in Cardiac Progenitor Cell Fate Stem cells (Dayton, Ohio), 2018; 36(6): 868-880.
Burke Ryan M, Lighthouse Janet K, Quijada Pearl, Dirkx Ronald A, Rosenberg Alexander, Moravec Christine S, Alexis Jeffrey D, Small Eric M   Small proline-rich protein 2B drives stress-dependent p53 degradation and fibroblast proliferation in heart failure Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 2018; 115(15): E3436-E3445.
Liu Nan, Wang Bingyan J, Broughton Kathleen M, Alvarez Roberto, Siddiqi Sailay, Loaiza Rebeca, Nguyen Nicky, Quijada Pearl, Gude Natalie, Sussman Mark A   PIM1-minicircle as a therapeutic treatment for myocardial infarction PloS one, 2017; 12(3): e0173963.
Goldberg-Smith Pam   Pearl Quijada: Enthusiastic Drive From Coast to Coast Circulation research, 2017; 121(6): 599-600.
Doroudgar Shirin, Quijada Pearl, Konstandin Mathias, Ilves Kelli, Broughton Kathleen, Khalafalla Farid G, Casillas Alexandria, Nguyen Kristine, Gude Natalie, Toko Haruhiro, Ornelas Luis, Thuerauf Donna J, Glembotski Christopher C, Sussman Mark A, Völkers Mirko   S100A4 protects the myocardium against ischemic stress Journal of molecular and cellular cardiology, 2016; 100(3): 54-63.
Wade Fallou, Quijada Pearl, Al-Haffar Kamar Mohamed Adib, Awad Salma Mahmoud, Kunhi Muhammad, Toko Haruhiro, Marashly Qussay, Belhaj Karim, Zahid Israa, Al-Mohanna Falah, Stanford Stephanie M, Alvarez Roberto, Liu Yingge, Colak Dilek, Jordan Maria C, Roos Kenneth P, Assiri Abdullah, Al-Habeeb Waleed, Sussman Mark, Bottini Nunzio, Poizat Coralie   Deletion of low molecular weight protein tyrosine phosphatase (Acp1) protects against stress-induced cardiomyopathy The Journal of pathology, 2015; 237(4): 482-94.
Quijada Pearl, Hariharan Nirmala, Cubillo Jonathan D, Bala Kristin M, Emathinger Jacqueline M, Wang Bingyan J, Ormachea Lucia, Bers Donald M, Sussman Mark A, Poizat Coralie   Nuclear Calcium/Calmodulin-dependent Protein Kinase II Signaling Enhances Cardiac Progenitor Cell Survival and Cardiac Lineage Commitment The Journal of biological chemistry, 2015; 290(42): 25411-26.
Quijada Pearl, Salunga Hazel T, Hariharan Nirmala, Cubillo Jonathan D, El-Sayed Farid G, Moshref Maryam, Bala Kristin M, Emathinger Jacqueline M, De La Torre Andrea, Ormachea Lucia, Alvarez Roberto, Gude Natalie A, Sussman Mark A   Cardiac Stem Cell Hybrids Enhance Myocardial Repair Circulation research, 2015; 117(8): 695-706.
Samse Kaitlen, Emathinger Jacqueline, Hariharan Nirmala, Quijada Pearl, Ilves Kelli, Völkers Mirko, Ormachea Lucia, De La Torre Andrea, Orogo Amabel M, Alvarez Roberto, Din Shabana, Mohsin Sadia, Monsanto Megan, Fischer Kimberlee M, Dembitsky Walter P, Gustafsson Åsa B, Sussman Mark A   Functional Effect of Pim1 Depends upon Intracellular Localization in Human Cardiac Progenitor Cells The Journal of biological chemistry, 2015; 290(22): 13935-47.
Gude Natalie, Joyo Eri, Toko Haruhiro, Quijada Pearl, Villanueva Marlo, Hariharan Nirmala, Sacchi Veronica, Truffa Silvia, Joyo Anya, Voelkers Mirko, Alvarez Roberto, Sussman Mark A   Notch activation enhances lineage commitment and protective signaling in cardiac progenitor cells Basic research in cardiology, 2015; 110(3): 29.
Awad Salma, Al-Haffar Kamar Mohamed Adib, Marashly Qussay, Quijada Pearl, Kunhi Muhammad, Al-Yacoub Nadya, Wade Fallou S, Mohammed Shamayel Faheem, Al-Dayel Fouad, Sutherland George, Assiri Abdullah, Sussman Mark, Bers Donald, Al-Habeeb Waleed, Poizat Coralie   Control of histone H3 phosphorylation by CaMKIIδ in response to haemodynamic cardiac stress The Journal of pathology, 2015; 235(4): 606-18.
Quijada Pearl, Sussman Mark A   Circulating around the tissue: hematopoietic cell-based fusion versus transdifferentiation Circulation research, 2015; 116(4): 563-5.
Hariharan Nirmala, Quijada Pearl, Mohsin Sadia, Joyo Anya, Samse Kaitlen, Monsanto Megan, De La Torre Andrea, Avitabile Daniele, Ormachea Lucia, McGregor Michael J, Tsai Emily J, Sussman Mark A   Nucleostemin rejuvenates cardiac progenitor cells and antagonizes myocardial aging Journal of the American College of Cardiology, 2015; 65(2): 133-47.
Quijada Pearl, Sussman Mark A   Making it stick: chasing the optimal stem cells for cardiac regeneration Expert review of cardiovascular therapy, 2014; 12(11): 1275-88.
Völkers Mirko, Doroudgar Shirin, Nguyen Nathalie, Konstandin Mathias H, Quijada Pearl, Din Shabana, Ornelas Luis, Thuerauf Donna J, Gude Natalie, Friedrich Kilian, Herzig Stephan, Glembotski Christopher C, Sussman Mark A   PRAS40 prevents development of diabetic cardiomyopathy and improves hepatic insulin sensitivity in obesity EMBO molecular medicine, 2014; 6(1): 57-65.
Völkers Mirko, Konstandin Mathias H, Doroudgar Shirin, Toko Haruhiro, Quijada Pearl, Din Shabana, Joyo Anya, Ornelas Luis, Samse Kaitleen, Thuerauf Donna J, Gude Natalie, Glembotski Christopher C, Sussman Mark A   Mechanistic target of rapamycin complex 2 protects the heart from ischemic damage Circulation, 2013; 128(19): 2132-44.
Konstandin Mathias H, Völkers Mirko, Collins Brett, Quijada Pearl, Quintana Mercedes, De La Torre Andrea, Ormachea Lucy, Din Shabana, Gude Natalie, Toko Haruhiro, Sussman Mark A   Fibronectin contributes to pathological cardiac hypertrophy but not physiological growth Basic research in cardiology, 2013; 108(5): 375.
Konstandin Mathias H, Toko Haruhiro, Gastelum Grady M, Quijada Pearl, De La Torre Andrea, Quintana Mercedes, Collins Brett, Din Shabana, Avitabile Daniele, Völkers Mirko, Gude Natalie, Fässler Reinhard, Sussman Mark A   Fibronectin is essential for reparative cardiac progenitor cell response after myocardial infarction Circulation research, 2013; 113(2): 115-25.
Völkers Mirko, Toko Haruhiro, Doroudgar Shirin, Din Shabana, Quijada Pearl, Joyo Anya Y, Ornelas Luis, Joyo Eri, Thuerauf Donna J, Konstandin Mathias H, Gude Natalie, Glembotski Christopher C, Sussman Mark A   Pathological hypertrophy amelioration by PRAS40-mediated inhibition of mTORC1 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 2013; 110(31): 12661-6.
Din Shabana, Mason Matthew, Völkers Mirko, Johnson Bevan, Cottage Christopher T, Wang Zeping, Joyo Anya Y, Quijada Pearl, Erhardt Peter, Magnuson Nancy S, Konstandin Mathias H, Sussman Mark A   Pim-1 preserves mitochondrial morphology by inhibiting dynamin-related protein 1 translocation Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 2013; 110(15): 5969-74.
Khan Mohsin, Mohsin Sadia, Avitabile Daniele, Siddiqi Sailay, Nguyen Jonathan, Wallach Kathleen, Quijada Pearl, McGregor Michael, Gude Natalie, Alvarez Roberto, Tilley Douglas G, Koch Walter J, Sussman Mark A   β-Adrenergic regulation of cardiac progenitor cell death versus survival and proliferation Circulation research, 2013; 112(3): 476-86.
Mohsin Sadia, Khan Mohsin, Toko Haruhiro, Bailey Brandi, Cottage Christopher T, Wallach Kathleen, Nag Divya, Lee Andrew, Siddiqi Sailay, Lan Feng, Fischer Kimberlee M, Gude Natalie, Quijada Pearl, Avitabile Daniele, Truffa Silvia, Collins Brett, Dembitsky Walter, Wu Joseph C, Sussman Mark A   Human cardiac progenitor cells engineered with Pim-I kinase enhance myocardial repair Journal of the American College of Cardiology, 2012; 60(14): 1278-87.
Quijada Pearl, Toko Haruhiro, Fischer Kimberlee M, Bailey Brandi, Reilly Patrick, Hunt Kristin D, Gude Natalie A, Avitabile Daniele, Sussman Mark A   Preservation of myocardial structure is enhanced by pim-1 engineering of bone marrow cells Circulation research, 2012; 111(1): 77-86.
Sussman Mark A, Völkers Mirko, Fischer Kimberlee, Bailey Brandi, Cottage Christopher T, Din Shabana, Gude Natalie, Avitabile Daniele, Alvarez Roberto, Sundararaman Balaji, Quijada Pearl, Mason Matt, Konstandin Mathias H, Malhowski Amy, Cheng Zhaokang, Khan Mohsin, McGregor Michael   Myocardial AKT: the omnipresent nexus Physiological reviews, 2011; 91(3): 1023-70.
Fischer Kimberlee M, Din Shabana, Gude Natalie, Konstandin Mathias H, Wu Weitao, Quijada Pearl, Sussman Mark A   Cardiac progenitor cell commitment is inhibited by nuclear Akt expression Circulation research, 2011; 108(8): 960-70.
Borillo Gwynngelle A, Mason Matt, Quijada Pearl, Völkers Mirko, Cottage Christopher, McGregor Michael, Din Shabana, Fischer Kimberlee, Gude Natalie, Avitabile Daniele, Barlow Steven, Alvarez Roberto, Truffa Silvia, Whittaker Ross, Glassy Matthew S, Gustafsson Asa B, Miyamoto Shigeki, Glembotski Christopher C, Gottlieb Roberta A, Brown Joan Heller, Sussman Mark A   Pim-1 kinase protects mitochondrial integrity in cardiomyocytes Circulation research, 2010; 106(7): 1265-74.
Cottage Christopher T, Bailey Brandi, Fischer Kimberlee M, Avitabile Daniele, Avitable Daniele, Collins Brett, Tuck Savilla, Quijada Pearl, Gude Natalie, Alvarez Roberto, Muraski John, Sussman Mark A   Cardiac progenitor cell cycling stimulated by pim-1 kinase Circulation research, 2010; 106(5): 891-901.
Bailey Brandi, Izarra Alberto, Alvarez Roberto, Fischer Kimberlee M, Cottage Christopher T, Quijada Pearl, Díez-Juan Antonio, Sussman Mark A   Cardiac stem cell genetic engineering using the alphaMHC promoter Regenerative medicine, 2009; 4(6): 823-33.
Fischer Kimberlee M, Cottage Christopher T, Wu Weitao, Din Shabana, Gude Natalie A, Avitabile Daniele, Quijada Pearl, Collins Brett L, Fransioli Jenna, Sussman Mark A   Enhancement of myocardial regeneration through genetic engineering of cardiac progenitor cells expressing Pim-1 kinase Circulation, 2009; 120(21): 2077-87.
Muraski John A, Fischer Kimberlee M, Wu Weitao, Cottage Christopher T, Quijada Pearl, Mason Matt, Din Shabana, Gude Natalie, Alvarez Roberto, Rota Marcello, Kajstura Jan, Wang Zeping, Schaefer Erik, Chen Xiongen, MacDonnel Scott, Magnuson Nancy, Houser Stephen R, Anversa Piero, Sussman Mark A   Pim-1 kinase antagonizes aspects of myocardial hypertrophy and compensation to pathological pressure overload Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 2008; 105(37): 13889-94.
Gude Natalie A, Emmanuel Gregory, Wu Weitao, Cottage Christopher T, Fischer Kimberlee, Quijada Pearl, Muraski John A, Alvarez Roberto, Rubio Marta, Schaefer Eric, Sussman Mark A   Activation of Notch-mediated protective signaling in the myocardium Circulation research, 2008; 102(9): 1025-35.