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Professor of Biology, Department Chair
on faculty since 1984
It is important to be able to integrate who I am as a Christian with who I am as a scientist, and to talk and learn about those things together with my students and other faculty.
Dr. Bob Boomsma ’77 has a desire to understand how the anatomical/structural aspects of animals and cells work with the functional/biochemical aspects. “I find the process of scientific discovery very enjoyable, as the limits of our understanding of the natural world continue to be pushed.”
What drew him to Trinity:
As a student at Trinity, Boomsma found himself drawn to the close, caring relationships that students have with other students and their faculty. “This chance for a real relationship with students and colleagues continues to be a big reason why I love being here.” He appreciates the strong emphasis on rigorous academic work and the freedom and ability to pursue his research interests here with students. “This is a great place to merge my love of teaching with my love of research discovery.”
His research interests include stem cell biology; cell signaling; regulation of development; hormonal control of reproduction; and Christian response to stem cells and cloning. He is currently studying bone marrow stem cells, particularly as they might be used to help hearts recover from the loss of blood flow that occurs during blockage of the coronary arteries leading to a heart attack. “Earlier research that I have done with colleagues at the University of Illinois at Chicago showed that the stem cells could prevent the loss of function in mouse hearts after heart attack. The research also showed that although the stem cells had a positive impact on the hearts, the heart themselves were still scarred, suggesting that the stem cells did not repair the hearts but instead improved the functioning of neighboring cells. My research now is focused on how stem cells might cause that improved function, including studies on cell migration, prevention of cell death, secretion of important regulatory factors, and gene expression.”
When he’s not teaching:
Boomsma plays the guitar and sings in his spare time. “I’m a member of a bluegrass gospel band and the church choir.” He also enjoys outdoor activities like jogging, downhill skiing, cross-country skiing, water skiing, and hiking.
Ph.D., University of Illinois at the Medical Center, Chicago, Illinois, 1981
B.A., Trinity Christian College, Palos Heights, Illinois, 1977
Courses and Publications/Research
To learn more about Boomsma’s research interests, click here.
- Biol 205/206 Human Anatomy and Physiology
- Biol 306 Cell and Molecular Biology
- Biol 308 Developmental Biology
- Biol 310 Comparative Vertebrate Physiology
Papers Published and/or Presented
Boomsma, R.A., Jaffe, R.C. and Verhage, H.G., 1982. The uterine progestational response in cats: changes in morphology and progesterone receptors during chronic administration of progesterone to estradiol primed and non primed animals. Biol. Reprod. 26: 511 521.
Boomsma, R.A. and Verhage, H.G., 1982. The uterine progestational response in cats: ultrastructural changes during chronic administration of progesterone to estradiol primed and non primed animals. Am. J. Anat. 164: 243 254.
Verhage, H.G., Boomsma, R.A., Murray, M.K. and Jaffe, R.C., 1983. Subcellular compartmentalization of the progesterone receptor in cat uteri following the acute administration of progesterone. Biol. Reprod. 28: 545 550.
Okulicz, W.C., Boomsma, R.A., MacDonald, R.G. and Leavitt, W.W., 1983. Conditions for the measurement of nuclear estrogen receptor at low temperature. Biochim. Biophys. Acta 757: 128 136.
Verhage, H.G., Murray, M.K., Boomsma, R.A. and Jaffe, R.C., 1984. The postovulatory cat oviduct and uterus: correlation of morphological features with progesterone receptor levels. Anat. Rec. 208: 521 531.
Boomsma, R.A. and Verhage, H.G., 1987. Detection of a progesterone dependent secretory protein synthesized by cat endometrium. Biol. Reprod. 37: 117 126
Verhage, H.G., Boomsma, R.A., Mavrogianis, P., Tillema, M., Fazleabas, A.T., 1989. Immunological detection of the progesterone dependent cat endometrial secretory protein. Biol. Reprod. 41:347 354.
Boomsma, R.A., 1991. Fetal-tissue transplants: a slippery slope? The Banner, March 11, p10.
Boomsma, R.A., Mavrogianis, P., and Verhage, H.G., 1991. Endometrial and placental protein synthesis and morphology during pregnancy and pseudopregnancy in the cat. Biol. Reprod. 44:345-356.
Li, W., Boomsma, R.A. and Verhage, H.G., 1992. Immunocytochemical analysis of estrogen and progestin receptors in the steroid-treated and pregnant cat uterus. Biol. Reprod. 47:1073-1081.
Boomsma, R.A., Mavrogianis, P.A., Fazleabas, A.T., Jaffe, R.C., Verhage, H.G., 1994. Detection of an insulin like growth factor binding protein in the implantation site of the cat. Biol. Reprod. 51:392-399.
Boomsma, R.A., Mavrogianis, P.A., Verhage, H.G., 1997. Immunocytochemical localization of transforming growth factor-, epidermal growth factor, and epidermal growth factor receptor in the cat endometrium and placenta. Histochemical Journal 29:495-504.
Verhage, H.G., Mavrogianis, P.A., Boomsma, R.A., Schmidt, A., Brenner, R.M., Slayden, O.V. and Jaffe, R.C., 1997. Immunologic and molecular characterization of an estrogen-dependent glycoprotein in the rhesus (Macaca mullata) oviduct. Biol. Reprod. 57:525-531.
Verhage, H.G., Mavrogianis, P.A., O'Day-Bowman, M., Schmidt, A., Arias, E.B., Donnelly, K.M., Boomsma, R.A., Thibodeaux, J.K., Fazleabas, A.T. and Jaffe, R.C., 1998. Characteristics of an oviductal glycoprotein and its potential role in the fertilization process. Biol. Reprod. 58:1098-1101.
Boomsma, R.A., 1999. Christian scientist or practical atheist? How Christian faith affects scientific practice. Trinity Christian College Magazine 35(2): 12-16.
Boomsma, R.A., Scott, H. and Walters, K., 2001. Immunocytochemical localization of epidermal growth factor-receptor in early embryos of the Japanese medaka fish (Oryzias latipes). The Histochemical Journal 33(1): 37-42.
Boomsma, R.A., 2004 Embryonic stem cells and a Reformed Christian worldview. Perspective on Science and Christian Faith 56(1): 38-48.
Boomsma, R.A., Dominic Swaminathan, P. and Geenen, D.L., 2007. Intravenously injected mesenchymal stem cells home to viable myocardium after coronary occlusion and preserve systolic dysfunction without altering infarct size. Int. J. Cardiol., 122:17-28.
Boomsma, R.A. and Geenen, D.L., 2012. Mesenchymal stem cells secrete multiple cytokines that promote angiogenesis and have contrasting effects on chemotaxis and apoptosis. PLoS One 7: e35685.
Boomsma, R.A. and Geenen, D.L., 2014. Evidence for transfer of membranes from Mesenchymal stem cells to HL-1 cardiac cells. Stem Cells International 2014: ID 653734.
Page, P., DeJong, J., Bandstra, A. and Boomsma, R.A., 2014. Effect of serum and oxygen concentration on gene expression and secretion of paracrine factors by mesenchymal stem cells. International Journal of Cell Biology 2014: ID 601063.
Awards and Memberships
- Trinity Christian College Summer Research Grants 1996, 2000, 2002, 2013, 2014, 2015
- VanderVelde Junior Scholar Awards – since 1988, 15 scholarship awards to students to work with me on research
- 1981‑82 Reproductive Endocrinology Fellowship, Worcester Foundation for Experimental Biology, Shrewsbury, MA
Professional Society Memberships
- American Association for the Advancement of Science
- American Scientific Affiliation