Ariel B. Ganz, PhD is a postdoctoral fellow at Stanford University in the Snyder Lab, Department of Genetics in the School of Medicine researching effective strategies for happiness and well-being, and how psychological changes can alter health on a molecular level. She holds a doctoral degree in Molecular Nutrition from Cornell University and has published across diverse research fields from precision medicine and nutrition to computational chemistry and theoretical physics.
Bachelor of Arts, Brandeis University (2018)
Doctor of Philosophy, Cornell University (2018)
Non-Traditional Immersive Seminar Enhances Learning by Promoting Greater Physiological and Psychological Engagement Compared to a Traditional Lecture Format.
Physiology & behavior
The purpose of this study was to determine the impact of an immersive seminar, which included moderate intensities of physical activity, on learning when compared to traditional lecture format. Twenty-six healthy participants were randomly divided into an immersive seminar or traditional lecture format group and presented material related to positive psychology and human values/beliefs over the course of two days. Physical activity was collected using a bio-harness while salivary cortisol and perceptual measures of well-being were collected over the two days. Performance on an examination related to course material was used to assess learning. Average time spent over 65% of max heart rate, energy expenditure, total bounds, mechanical and physiological load were significantly greater in the immersive seminar group when compared to traditional lecture format. In addition, cortisol levels and perceptual measures of mood, focus, energy, and well-being were significantly greater in the immersive seminar when compared to the traditional lecture format. Participants in the immersive seminar demonstrated significantly greater memory retention of course material 30 days-post lecture when compared to the traditional lecture group. These findings support incorporating more physical activity and increasing arousal in order to enhance learning of lecture material.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.physbeh.2021.113461
View details for PubMedID 34000295
- Inquiry Based Stress Reduction (IBSR) Improves Overall Stuttering Experience among Adults Who Stutter: A Randomized Controlled Trial JOURNAL OF CLINICAL MEDICINE 2021; 10 (10)
Effect of Inquiry-Based Stress Reduction (IBSR) Intervention on Well-Being, Resilience and Burnout of Teachers during the COVID-19 Pandemic.
International journal of environmental research and public health
2021; 18 (7)
Objective: The COVID-19 pandemic has had a major impact on teachers professional and personal lives. Our primary aim was to assess the effect of a blended Inquiry-Based Stress Reduction (IBSR), an emerging mindfulness and cognitive reframing intervention on teacher's well-being. Our secondary aims were to assess the effect of IBSR on resilience, burnout, mindfulness, and stress among teachers during the COVID-19 pandemic. Methods: The study was a prospective controlled trial with an intervention group (N = 35) and a comparison control group (N = 32). The intervention took place in the Jerusalem District throughout the school year from November 2019 to May 2020. The sessions were conducted in blended learning that included traditional learning (face-to-face) and online learning. Data was analyzed on an intention-to-treat basis. Results: IBSR blended intervention enhanced the resilience and improved the subjective and psychological well-being of teachers in spite of the breakout of the COVID-19 pandemic and the first lockdown in Israel. Simultaneously the control group suffered from enhanced burnout levels and a decline in psychological and subjective well-being. Conclusions: Implementation of IBSR blended intervention during the school year may benefit teachers' well-being and ability to flourish, even during stressful events such as the COVID-19 pandemic.
View details for DOI 10.3390/ijerph18073689
View details for PubMedID 33916258
Inquiry Based Stress Reduction (IBSR) Improves Overall Stuttering Experience among Adults Who Stutter: A Randomized Controlled Trial.
Journal of clinical medicine
2021; 10 (10)
Stuttering is a speech disorder that can cause disturbances in the timing and flow of speech. In addition to being a communication disorder, stuttering is often accompanied by a reduction in the quality of life and has impacts on social status, mental well-being, self-acceptance, and the chances of integration into the labor market. The Inquiry Based Stress Reduction (IBSR) program, developed in the United States by Byron Katie in 1986, is the clinical application of "The Work" method (Thework.com) and represents an emerging mindfulness and cognitive-reframing method. IBSR has been demonstrated to improve mental health and well-being in adults and may alleviate psychological and psychosocial symptoms of stuttering. The purpose of this trial was to examine the effect of a 12-week IBSR intervention on the overall stuttering experience and indicators of anxiety, psychological flexibility, and well-being among adults who stutter (AWS). This study was a randomized controlled clinical trial. Participants were randomized to IBSR (n = 28) and control (n = 28) groups. Validated questionnaires of overall stuttering experience (OASES-A), anxiety (STAI), psychological flexibility (PFQ), and satisfaction with life (SWLS) were completed before, after, and one month after the intervention. An intention-to-treat approach was implemented for analysis. Our results show that participants in the IBSR intervention group exhibited a greater improvement in their overall stuttering experience as compared to the control group, as well as in general information on stuttering awareness and perception, reactions to stuttering, communication in daily situations, and quality of life. In addition, we found a greater reduction in anxiety levels and an increase in satisfaction-with-life scores in the IBSR group. These results indicate that IBSR can improve the overall stuttering experience.
View details for DOI 10.3390/jcm10102187
View details for PubMedID 34070161
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC8158472
Pre-symptomatic detection of COVID-19 from smartwatch data.
Nature biomedical engineering
Consumer wearable devices that continuously measure vital signs have been used to monitor the onset of infectious disease. Here, we show that data from consumer smartwatches can be used for the pre-symptomatic detection of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). We analysed physiological and activity data from 32 individuals infected with COVID-19, identified from a cohort of nearly 5,300 participants, and found that 26 of them (81%) had alterations in their heart rate, number of daily steps or time asleep. Of the 25 cases of COVID-19 with detected physiological alterations for which we had symptom information, 22 were detected before (or at) symptom onset, with four cases detected at least nine days earlier. Using retrospective smartwatch data, we show that 63% of the COVID-19 cases could have been detected before symptom onset in real time via a two-tiered warning system based on the occurrence of extreme elevations in resting heart rate relative to the individual baseline. Our findings suggest that activity tracking and health monitoring via consumer wearable devices may be used for the large-scale, real-time detection of respiratory infections, often pre-symptomatically.
View details for DOI 10.1038/s41551-020-00640-6
View details for PubMedID 33208926
The Effect of Inquiry-Based Stress Reduction on Teacher Burnout: A Controlled Trial.
2020; 10 (7)
Burnout is a well-known phenomenon with significant social, biological and economic costs. In particular, teacher burnout is associated with unfavorable mental health outcomes and economic costs due to reduced hours and teacher turnover. This study investigated the effect of an Inquiry-Based Stress Reduction (IBSR) cognitive-reframing program on teacher burnout using a quasi-experimental design. Fifty-three teachers participated in a prospective intervention with a passive control group. The intervention group completed a 12-week IBSR program with 4.5 h of weekly engagement. Relative to control, teachers in the intervention group showed greater improvements in emotional exhaustion (18.8 ± 5.2 to 15.9 ± 5.7 vs. 16.0 ± 4.8 to 17.4 ± 4.8; p = 0.01) and personal accomplishment (21.8 ± 5.0 to 24.6 ± 4.3 vs. 21.9 ± 4.5 to 22.8 ± 4.3; p = 0.04). Significant correlations were found between change in emotional exhaustion and negative affect (positive correlation; r = 0.32; p = 0.034) and between personal accomplishment and perceived stress (negative correlation; r = -0.451; p = 0.002). This study demonstrates the potential of IBSR to improve teacher well-being. Future randomized studies are needed to evaluate the causality of IBSR in reducing burnout among teachers and other high-stress workplaces.
View details for DOI 10.3390/brainsci10070468
View details for PubMedID 32708055
- Pledging intellectual property for COVID-19. Nature biotechnology 2020; 38 (10): 1146–49
- A longitudinal big data approach for precision health NATURE MEDICINE 2019; 25 (5): 792-+
A longitudinal big data approach for precision health.
2019; 25 (5): 792–804
Precision health relies on the ability to assess disease risk at an individual level, detect early preclinical conditions and initiate preventive strategies. Recent technological advances in omics and wearable monitoring enable deep molecular and physiological profiling and may provide important tools for precision health. We explored the ability of deep longitudinal profiling to make health-related discoveries, identify clinically relevant molecular pathways and affect behavior in a prospective longitudinal cohort (n = 109) enriched for risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus. The cohort underwent integrative personalized omics profiling from samples collected quarterly for up to 8 years (median, 2.8 years) using clinical measures and emerging technologies including genome, immunome, transcriptome, proteome, metabolome, microbiome and wearable monitoring. We discovered more than 67 clinically actionable health discoveries and identified multiple molecular pathways associated with metabolic, cardiovascular and oncologic pathophysiology. We developed prediction models for insulin resistance by using omics measurements, illustrating their potential to replace burdensome tests. Finally, study participation led the majority of participants to implement diet and exercise changes. Altogether, we conclude that deep longitudinal profiling can lead to actionable health discoveries and provide relevant information for precision health.
View details for PubMedID 31068711
Vitamin D binding protein rs7041 genotype alters vitamin D metabolism in pregnant women
2018; 32 (4): 2012–20
Research has identified reduced circulating 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D] in individuals with the rs7041 (c.1296T>G) T allele in the vitamin D binding protein gene ( GC); however, the effects of the T allele on vitamin D biomarkers during pregnancy and lactation are unknown. Thus, we examined the metabolic effects of GC rs7041 on vitamin D biomarkers among third-trimester pregnant ( n = 26), lactating ( n = 28), and nonpregnant/nonlactating ( n = 21) women consuming a single amount of vitamin D (511 IU/d) and related nutrients for 10-12 wk. T allele carriers had less circulating 25(OH)D, regardless of reproductive state [thymine-thymine (TT): 80% of guanine-guanine (GG), P = 0.05; guanine-thymine (GT): 85% of GG, P = 0.1]. Among pregnant women, the T allele attenuated the expected increase in vitamin D binding protein (DBP). Specifically, although GG pregnant women exhibited greater DBP (216%, P < 0.0001) than did GG nonpregnant women, that difference was lessened among GT women, and TT pregnant women did not exhibit greater DBP than TT nonpregnant women. Furthermore, TT pregnant women had greater placental 25(OH)D3 to 24,25-dihydroxyvitamin D ratios (251% of GG, P = 0.07) and less osteocalcin, a bone formation marker, in the cord blood of their neonates (24% of GT, P = 0.02). Overall, the GC rs7041 genotype modified the effects of pregnancy on maternal and placental vitamin D metabolism, with possible functional consequences for fetal bone development and infant health.-Ganz, A. B., Park, H., Malysheva, O. V., Caudill, M. A. Vitamin D binding protein rs7041 genotype alters vitamin D metabolism in pregnant women.
View details for DOI 10.1096/fj.201700992R
View details for Web of Science ID 000429051400023
View details for PubMedID 29196501
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC5893171
Common Genetic Variants Alter Metabolism and Influence Dietary Choline Requirements
2017; 9 (8)
Nutrient needs, including those of the essential nutrient choline, are a population wide distribution. Adequate Intake (AI) recommendations for dietary choline (put forth by the National Academies of Medicine to aid individuals and groups in dietary assessment and planning) are grouped to account for the recognized unique needs associated with age, biological sex, and reproductive status (i.e., pregnancy or lactation). Established and emerging evidence supports the notion that common genetic variants are additional factors that substantially influence nutrient requirements. This review summarizes the genetic factors that influence choline requirements and metabolism in conditions of nutrient deprivation, as well as conditions of nutrient adequacy, across biological sexes and reproductive states. Overall, consistent and strong associative evidence demonstrates that common genetic variants in choline and folate pathway enzymes impact the metabolic handling of choline and the risk of nutrient inadequacy across varied dietary contexts. The studies characterized in this review also highlight the substantial promise of incorporating common genetic variants into choline intake recommendations to more precisely target the unique nutrient needs of these subgroups within the broader population. Additional studies are warranted to facilitate the translation of this evidence to nutrigenetics-based dietary approaches.
View details for DOI 10.3390/nu9080837
View details for Web of Science ID 000408688100044
View details for PubMedID 28777294
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC5579630
Genetic Variation in Choline-Metabolizing Enzymes Alters Choline Dynamics in Women Meeting Current Dietary Recommendations
FEDERATION AMER SOC EXP BIOL. 2017
View details for Web of Science ID 000405986500042
The initial stages of melting of graphene between 4000 K and 6000 K
PHYSICAL CHEMISTRY CHEMICAL PHYSICS
2017; 19 (5): 3756–62
Graphene and its analogues have some of the highest predicted melting points of any materials. Previous work estimated the melting temperature for freestanding graphene to be a remarkable 4510 K. However, this work relied on theoretical methods that do not accurately account for the role of bond breaking or complex bonding configurations in the melting process. Furthermore, experiments to verify these high melting points have been challenging. Practical applications of graphene and carbon nanotubes at high temperatures will require a detailed understanding of the behavior of these materials under these conditions. Therefore, we have used reliable ab initio molecular dynamics calculations to study the initial stages of melting of freestanding graphene monolayers between 4000 and 6000 K. To accommodate large defects, and for improved accuracy, we used a large 10 × 10 periodic unit cell. We find that the system can be heated up to 4500 K for 18 ps without melting, and 3-rings and short lived broken bonds (10-rings) are observed. At 4500 K, the system appears to be in a quasi-2D liquid state. At 5000 K, the system is starting to melt. During the 20 ps simulation, diffusion events are observed, leading to the creation of a 5775 defect. We calculate accurate excitation energies for these configurations, and the pair correlation function is presented. The modified Lindemann criterion was calculated. Graphene and nanotubes together with other proposed high melting point materials would be interesting candidates for experimental tests of melting in the weightless environment of space.
View details for DOI 10.1039/c6cp06940a
View details for Web of Science ID 000395328100035
View details for PubMedID 28098275
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC5319407
Genetic Variation in Choline-Metabolizing Enzymes Alters Choline Metabolism in Young Women Consuming Choline Intakes Meeting Current Recommendations
INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF MOLECULAR SCIENCES
2017; 18 (2)
Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in choline metabolizing genes are associated with disease risk and greater susceptibility to organ dysfunction under conditions of dietary choline restriction. However, the underlying metabolic signatures of these variants are not well characterized and it is unknown whether genotypic differences persist at recommended choline intakes. Thus, we sought to determine if common genetic risk factors alter choline dynamics in pregnant, lactating, and non-pregnant women consuming choline intakes meeting and exceeding current recommendations. Women (n = 75) consumed 480 or 930 mg choline/day (22% as a metabolic tracer, choline-d9) for 10-12 weeks in a controlled feeding study. Genotyping was performed for eight variant SNPs and genetic differences in metabolic flux and partitioning of plasma choline metabolites were evaluated using stable isotope methodology. CHKA rs10791957, CHDH rs9001, CHDH rs12676, PEMT rs4646343, PEMT rs7946, FMO3 rs2266782, SLC44A1 rs7873937, and SLC44A1 rs3199966 altered the use of choline as a methyl donor; CHDH rs9001 and BHMT rs3733890 altered the partitioning of dietary choline between betaine and phosphatidylcholine synthesis via the cytidine diphosphate (CDP)-choline pathway; and CHKA rs10791957, CHDH rs12676, PEMT rs4646343, PEMT rs7946 and SLC44A1 rs7873937 altered the distribution of dietary choline between the CDP-choline and phosphatidylethanolamine N-methyltransferase (PEMT) denovo pathway. Such metabolic differences may contribute to disease pathogenesis and prognosis over the long-term.
View details for DOI 10.3390/ijms18020252
View details for Web of Science ID 000395457700021
View details for PubMedID 28134761
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC5343788
Computational Study of Quasi-2D Liquid State in Free Standing Platinum, Silver, Gold, and Copper Monolayers.
2016; 1 (1)
Recently, freestanding atomically thick Fe metal patches up to 10 atoms wide have been fabricated experimentally in tiny pores in graphene. This concept can be extended conceptually to extended freestanding monolayers. We have therefore performed ab initio molecular dynamics simulations to evaluate the early melting stages of platinum, silver, gold, and copper freestanding metal monolayers. Our calculations show that all four freestanding monolayers will form quasi-2D liquid layers with significant out-of-plane motion and diffusion in the plane. Remarkably, we observe a 4% reduction in the Pt most likely bond length as the system enters the liquid state at 2400 K (and a lower effective spring constant), compared to the system at 1200 and 1800 K. We attribute this to the reduced average number of bonds per atom in the Pt liquid state. We used the highly accurate and reliable Density Functional Theory (DFT-D) method that includes dispersion corrections. These liquid states are found at temperatures of 2400 K, 1050 K, 1600 K, and 1400 K for platinum, silver, gold, and copper respectively. The pair correlation function drops in the liquid state, while the bond orientation order parameter is reduced to a lesser degree. Movies of the simulations can be viewed online (see Supplementary Material).
View details for DOI 10.3390/condmat1010001
View details for PubMedID 28920095
Genetic impairments in folate enzymes increase dependence on dietary choline for phosphatidylcholine production at the expense of betaine synthesis
2016; 30 (10): 3321–33
Although single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in folate-mediated pathways predict susceptibility to choline deficiency during severe choline deprivation, it is unknown if effects persist at recommended intakes. Thus, we used stable isotope liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS) methodology to examine the impact of candidate SNPs on choline metabolism in a long-term, randomized, controlled feeding trial among pregnant, lactating, and nonpregnant (NP) women consuming 480 or 930 mg/d choline (22% as choline-d9, with d9 indicating a deuterated trimethyl amine group) and meeting folate-intake recommendations. Variants impairing folate metabolism, methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) rs1801133, methionine synthase (MTR) rs1805087 [wild-type (WT)], MTR reductase (MTRR) rs1801394, and methylenetetrahydrofolate dehydrogenase-methenyltetrahydrofolate cyclohydrolase-formyltetrahydrofolate synthetase (MTHFD1) rs2236225, influenced choline dynamics, frequently through interactions with reproductive state and choline intake, with fewer genotypic alterations observed among pregnant women. Women with these variants partitioned more dietary choline toward phosphatidylcholine (PC) biosynthesis via the cytidine diphosphate (CDP)-choline pathway at the expense of betaine synthesis even when use of betaine as a methyl donor was increased. Choline intakes of 930 mg/d restored partitioning of dietary choline between betaine and CDP-PC among NP (MTHFR rs1801133 and MTR rs1805087 WT) and lactating (MTHFD1 rs2236225) women with risk genotypes. Overall, our findings indicate that loss-of-function variants in folate-metabolizing enzymes strain cellular PC production, possibly via impaired folate-dependent phosphatidylethanolamine-N-methyltransferase (PEMT)-PC synthesis, and suggest that women with these risk genotypes may benefit from choline intakes exceeding current recommendations.-Ganz, A. B., Shields, K., Fomin, V. G., Lopez, Y. S., Mohan, S., Lovesky, J., Chuang, J. C., Ganti, A., Carrier, B., Yan, J., Taeswuan, S., Cohen, V. V., Swersky, C. C., Stover, J. A., Vitiello, G. A., Malysheva, O. V., Mudrak, E., Caudill, M. A. Genetic impairments in folate enzymes increase dependence on dietary choline for phosphatidylcholine production at the expense of betaine synthesis.
View details for DOI 10.1096/fj.201500138RR
View details for Web of Science ID 000384329800006
View details for PubMedID 27342765
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC5024689
Genetic Factors Influence Choline Dynamics in Pregnant and Lactating Women
FEDERATION AMER SOC EXP BIOL. 2015
View details for Web of Science ID 000361722706066