MCS Featured Lab - August 2019
Dr. Erika M. Boerman, Ph.D.
Department of Medical Pharmacology and Physiology
University of Missouri
Most people know one of the 3 million US adults with inflammatory bowel disease- usually Crohn’s Disease or Ulcerative Colitis. These patients have chronic incurable gut inflammation with many debilitating symptoms. We know that IBD is comorbid with cardiovascular diseases such as stroke and atherosclerosis and that IBD causes changes in blood flow to the intestines. However, it is unclear how changes within blood vessels contribute to IBD. My lab uses multiple physiological, molecular, and imaging techniques to define IBD-related changes and their causes in mesenteric arteries. We emphasize understanding the role perivascular nerves, which store and release specific neurotransmitters linked to IBD. These transmitters can communicate with smooth muscle and endothelial cells to alter blood flow and may interact with nearby immune cells to improve or exacerbate disease. By understanding how signaling pathways within and between vascular cells change during IBD, we hope to uncover new and selective targets to treat vascular dysfunction and impaired intestinal blood flow, improving quality of life for IBD patients.
Top lesson you have learned in your career: Not to let fear of failure stop me from trying. Funded grants, accepted publications, and exciting positive data can be pretty elusive, especially as a new PI. For me, it’s important to talk to other scientists (junior and senior) honestly about my struggles.
- Grunz-Borgmann EL, Jones BW and Boerman EM. Macrophage Depletion Reverses Impaired Sympathetic Vasoconstriction and Sensory Vasodilation of Mesenteric Arteries from IL-10-/- Mice with Inflammatory Bowel Disease. FASEB J 33:523.8. 2. 2019 (abstract).
- Boerman EM, Sen S, Shaw RL, Joshi T, Segal SS. Gene expression profiles of ion channels and receptors in mouse resistance arteries: Effects of cell type, vascular bed, and age. Microcirculation. May;25(4):e12452. 2018.
- Jackson WF and Boerman EM. Voltage-gated Calcium Channel Activity Modulates Smooth Muscle Cell Calcium Waves in Hamster Cremaster Arterioles. Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol. Oct 1;315(4):H871-H878. 2018.