NextGen Precision Health Discovery Series: The Perivascular Neuro-Immuno-Adipose Axis in Inflammatory Bowel Disease

March 20, 2023
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
Online on Zoom

Speaker: Erika Boerman, PhD, Assistant Professor, Medical Pharmacology & Physiology, University of Missouri

Date: Monday, March 20, 2023, noon-1 p.m. 
Location: Tom and Linda Atkins Family Seminar Room, Roy Blunt NextGen Precision Health building

*Zoom option available

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This presentation will focus on mechanisms of dysfunction in mesenteric arteries in a mouse model of inflammatory bowel disease. Specific mechanisms examined include (1) the function of perivascular sympathetic and sensory nerves, (2) the accumulation of macrophages in perivascular tissue and (3) the function of perivascular adipose tissue in health and IBD.

Erika Boerman, Medical Pharmacology & Physiology

About the Speaker

Erika Boerman is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Medical Pharmacology and Physiology at the University of Missouri. Research in her lab centers on understanding mechanisms regulating blood flow to tissues and learning how these mechanisms are altered in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). More specifically, we use a combination of molecular, in vitro and in vivo techniques to study the role of perivascular nerves in the regulation of vasomotor control and the pathogenesis of IBD. Dr. Boerman’s vascular interests began with doctoral research at Michigan State University centered on global and local Ca2+ signals in vascular smooth muscle cells. Postdoctoral training followed at the University of Missouri, involving development of a novel intravital preparation to study vasomotor control of mesenteric arteries in aged mice. Subsequently work focused on perivascular sensory nerve dysfunction, impaired smooth muscle and endothelial cell calcium signaling, and altered gene expression profiles related to advanced age in the vasculature. This work led to current interests in investigating the role of perivascular sensory nerves in IBD, where sensory neurotransmitters and alterations in blood flow appear to be linked with disease severity. Early studies defining impaired perivascular nerve function in an IL-10-/- mouse model of IBD led to a NHLBI K99/R00 award. Independent research now focuses on mechanisms by which perivascular sensory nerves, in both the adventitia and perivascular adipose, around mesenteric arteries are impaired with IBD. Preliminary studies showing an important role for accumulated perivascular macrophages in sensory nerve dysfunction with IBD led to an R01 award, starting April 2021. The lab is now developing new transgenic mouse models and techniques to study nerve-immune-adipose interactions and blood flow changes in mesenteric arteries during IBD.