Professor of Biology, Department Chair
on faculty since 1984
“If your broken heart needs repair, I’m the man to see,” go the words to a song made popular in the 1970s by musician James Taylor. It would not be completely far-fetched to describe Bob Boomsma ’77, professor of biology, as a sort of repairman who also works with broken hearts.
In the mid-2000s, he altered his research focus from the cell biology of the reproductive tract to his current work with bone marrow stem cells. Why the change of heart?
“My research has always been important to me. Until about 2004, that research focused on the cell biology of the reproductive tract, particularly the uterus and early stages of pregnancy. Since my sabbatical at that time, my research focus has shifted … to how bone marrow stem cells might be used to help repair hearts damaged by myocardial infarctions.”
As a member of Trinity’s faculty since 1984, Boomsma has risen through the ranks to become biology department chair. He has been fortunate to be able to combine his primary calling in teaching and his pursuit of research during the summer months with colleagues at the University of Illinois-Chicago and during the academic year with students.
Boomsma’s career choice became clear after he spent a year at the Worcester Foundation doing post-doctoral research. He was increasingly drawn to teaching and accepted a full-time faculty position at St. Xavier College (now University) in 1982. Then an opportunity became available to teach at Trinity two years later, and he has been at the College ever since.
“I teach here because I believe in the mission of the College to pursue the integration of faith with the discipline of biology. I also appreciate the small school atmosphere, which allows the formation of good relationships with other faculty, students, and staff.”
His philosophy of teaching is based on rigorous coursework that provides a framework upon which his students can continue to learn in the future. He offers students the kind of hands-on experience in the lab that focuses on investigation and discovery rather than just “cookbook exercises.”
“My goal is to get students to think and work independently, and to want to learn outside of the classroom.”
He invites students to participate in research projects that will excite them about science “because they are becoming a part of the process of discovering new information and they can see what science is really about.”
Boomsma appreciates teaching at Trinity because it offers a “true integration of faith and the disciplines.” He sees the College as a “truly caring place for faculty and students and a place where good relationships between [them] are formed.”
When not in the lab or teaching in the classroom, Boomsma enjoys spending time playing guitar, waterskiing, downhill and cross-country skiing, and biking. The Boomsma family lives in Elmhurst, Illinois, and attends Elmhurst Christian Reformed Church.
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
- 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. 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
Boomsma, R.A., Jaffe, R.C., 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., 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-a, 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. 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., Bonnelly, K.M., Boomsma, R.A., Thibodeaux, J.K., Fazleabas, A.T., 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, 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 cell research and a Reformed Christian worldview. Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith 56(1):38-48.
Boomsma, R.A., Dominic Swaminathan, P., Geenen, D.L., 2007. Intravenously injected mesenchymal stem cells home to viable myocardium after coronary occlusion and preserve systolic function without altering infarct size. Int. J. Cardiol. 122:17-28
Page, P.G.T., DeJong, J.R. and Boomsma, R.A., 2014. Effect of oxygen levels and zerum concentration on mRNA expression of paracrine factors in mesenchymal stem cells. National Conference for Undergraduate Research, April 3-5.
Boomsma, R.A. and P.G.T. Page, 2015. Hypoxia and heat inactivation of serum alters mRNA expression for MCP-1, VEGF, MMP-2, cardiac troponin-T, and connexin 43 in mesenchymal stem cells. American Society for Cell Biology, December 12-16.
Jochems, V.K., Spotts, A.R. and Boomsma, R.A., 2016. Effect of laminin, fibronectin and serum on mesenchymal stem cell migration. National Conference for Undergraduate Research, April 7-9.
Boomsma, R.A., 1981. The effect of estrogen and progesterone on the progestational response in cat endometrium. Anat. Rec. 199: 31A.
Verhage, H.G., Boomsma, R.A., Akbar, M., Jaffe, R.C., 1981. Depletion of progesterone cytosol receptor in cat uterus. Society for Gynecologic Investigation, St. Louis, MO: 41.
Boomsma, R.A., 1982. Analysis of assay conditions for the measurement of total uterine nuclear estrogen receptor at low temperature. Biol. Reprod. 26 (suppl. 1): 44A.
Boomsma, R.A. and Verhage, H.G., 1986. Detection of a progesterone induced secretory protein synthesized by cat endometrium. Biol. Reprod. 34 (suppl. 1): 121.
Boomsma, R.A., Mavrogianis, P.A., Li, W., Tillema, M., 1989. Immunochemical detection of a progesterone‑dependent cat endometrial secretory protein. Biol. Reprod. 40(suppl. 1):130.
Boomsma, R.A. and Mavrogianis, P.A., 1990. Endometrial (EN) and placental (PL) morphology and protein synthesis during pregnancy (PG) and pseudopregnancy (PS) in the cat. Biol. Reprod. 42(suppl. 1):144.
Boomsma, R.A. and Mavrogianis, P.A., 1991. Synthesis of insulin-like growth factor binding protein-1 (IGFBP-1) in pregnant cat uteri. Biol Reprod. 44 (suppl. 1): 55.
Boomsma, R.A., Mavrogianis, P.A., Verhage, H.G., 1995. Immunocytochemical (ICC) Localization of Transforming Growth Factor-a (TGF-a), Epidermal Growth Factor (EGF), and Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor (EGFR) in the Cat Endometrium and Placenta. Biol. Reprod. 52(suppl. 1):88.
Boomsma, R.A., Dominic Swaminathan, P., Yuzhakova, M.A., Urboniene, D., Geenen, D.L., 2005. Intravenous administration of mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) following myocardial infarction prevents contractile dysfunction. Keystone Symposium, Molecular Biology of Diseases and Regeneration, April 3-8.
Dominic Swaminathan, P., Boomsma, R.A., Goldspink, P.H., D., Geenen, D.L., 2005. Marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) express cardiac specific protein in co-culture. Keystone Symposium, Molecular Biology of Diseases and Regeneration, April 3-8.
Boomsma, R.A., VanGorp, J.N. Dominic Swaminathan, Geenen, D.L., 2006. Intravenously injected mesenchymal stem cells integrate within the heart after coronary artery occulusion. Keystone Symposium, Molecular Mechanisms of Cardiac Disease and Regeneration, February 19-24.
VanGorp, J.N., Geenen, D.L., Boomsma, R.A., 2006. Migration of mesenchymal stem cells under the influence of SDF-1a and MIP-1a. Annual Meeting of the American Scientific Affiliation, July 28-31.
Boomsma, R.A., DeMaster, J., Laack, J., Geenen, D.L., 2007. Mesenchymal stem cells secrete factors that inhibit apoptosis in H9c2 cardiac myoblasts. Keystone Symposium, Molecular Pathways in Cardiac Development and Disease, January 22-27.
Boomsma, R.A. and Geenen, D.L., 2009. Bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells secrete factors that alter the phosphorylation state of BAD and Akt in H9c2 cardiac myoblasts. Keystone Symposium, Cardiac Disease: Development, Regeneration, and Repair, March 15-20.
Boomsma, R.A. and Geenen, D.L., 2010. Mesenchymal stem cell secreted paracrine factors induce temporal changes in MAP kinase activity in rat cardiac Myoblasts consistent with altered phosphorylation of Akt and BAD. Keystone Symposium, Cardiac Development and Repair, February 28 – March 5.
This work was done in collaboration with Dr. Harold Verhage at the University of Illinois at Chicago from 1977 - 1997.
- Cat Uterus: Effect of steroid hormones on endometrial structure, hormone receptors and protein secretions; protein production during implantation and pregnancy
- Primate Oviduct: protein secretions
Japanese Medaka Development
- Epidermal growth factor receptor localization in early embryos
- Role of epidermal growth factor ligands during development
Faith and Science
- How Christian Faith Affects Scientific Practice (Trinity Christian College Magazine)
- Embryonic Stem Cells And A Reformed Christian Worldview (Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith)
Awards and Memberships
Professional Society Membership
- American Association for the Advancement of Science
- American Scientific Affiliation