About Lauren G Douma
Dr. Lauren Douma is a Research Assistant Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology in the College of Medicine at the University of Florida. Trained in biochemistry, genetics, and physiology, she takes an interdisciplinary approach to her research focusing on the regulation of gene expression and its effect on overall homeostasis. For her Ph.D. in Genetics and Genomics (2016), she focused on the mechanisms of DNA replication and repair proteins in Dr. Linda Bloom’s laboratory within the Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology at the University of Florida. This research sparked her interest in the timing of cellular processes relative to the whole body. As an American Heart Association Postdoctoral Fellow, she worked on circadian clock regulation of kidney gene expression in the laboratory of Dr. Michelle Gumz in the Department of Physiology and Aging at the University of Florida. Building upon her training in biochemistry and genetics, she incorporated physiology to connect the mechanisms of circadian clock transcription factors to the maintenance of blood pressure rhythms in both a sex- and tissue-specific manner. She is further exploring how circadian clock function changes with age and if circadian-based interventions can alter these age-related changes. Dr. Douma is also passionate about science education. Her primary teaching role is overseeing and teaching in BCH4024 – Introduction to Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, which has a yearly enrollment of ~1500 students. In conjunction with this course, she manages the largest Supplementary Instruction (SI) Program at the University of Florida. The SI Program comprises motivated and supportive undergraduate students who performed well in BCH4024 and became SI Leaders to tutor current students in the course. She believes science is for everyone. It inspires creativity, critical thinking, and curiosity about the world around us.
The long-term goal of my research is to combine physiological, biochemical, and molecular biology techniques to determine the relationship between the molecular circadian clock and cardiovascular health to design novel therapeutics for cardiovascular disease. I was trained as a biochemist and geneticist during my Ph.D. studies and gained physiology training during my postdoctoral fellowship. I have successfully performed metabolic cage and radiotelemetry studies in which I measured 24-hour rhythms of urine production, food/water intake, electrolyte balance, blood pressure, activity, and heart rate in conscious mice. Additionally, I have generated multiple tissue-specific knockout mouse models and transgenic lines for my research studies to study sex- and tissue-specific roles of the circadian clock.
As an NIH T32 postdoctoral fellow and then an American Heart Association postdoctoral fellow, I studied the role of the circadian clock protein, PER1, in a pre-clinical mouse model of salt-sensitive non-dipping hypertension. I demonstrated that the non-dipping hypertension phenotype observed in male PER1 knockout mice is associated with sex-dependent alterations in renal sodium handling and endothelin-1 (ET-1) production (Douma et al. Can J Physiol Pharm 2020). I also reported a novel long non-coding RNA, EDN1-AS, that regulates ET-1 expression and has a circadian rhythm of expression in human kidney cells (Douma et al. Frontiers in Physiol Renal 2020). In 2021, I was promoted to Research Assistant Professor and have continued my work studying circadian clock regulation of renal function now with a focus on crosstalk between the kidney clock and other tissue clocks. I was the first to report that a kidney-specific KO of PER1 results in a sodium retaining phenotype associated with changes in kidney mineralocorticoid receptor (MR) production and aldosterone synthesis by the adrenal gland (Douma et al. AJP Renal 2022). These findings suggest that the renal circadian clock is connected to the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system (RAAS) through PER1 and is a possible target for controlling blood pressure.
- Circadian Biology
- Circadian Clock
- Regulation of Gene Expression
- Renal Physiology
- Sex Differences