Professor of Microbiology and Immunology
BiographyDr. Bonnie B. Blomberg, Professor, Department of Microbiology and Immunology Miller School of Medicine, University of Miami is a cellular and molecular immunologist doing scientific research on aging and cancer involving inflammation and decreased immune response especially with B (bone marrow-derived) cells in mice and humans. Our laboratory has developed cellular/molecular biomarkers for optimal B lymphocyte function, decreasing with age. These include transcription factors, enzymes and cells important for an optimal humoral immune response, correlate with an optimal influenza vaccine immune response in humans and decrease in those over 60. We identified markers deleterious for the immune system giving more inflammation and poor response such as TNF-a, other senescence (SASP, senescence-associated secretory phenotype) markers, and aged-associated B cells which are increased in mice and humans and demonstrate more auto-immunity.
In analyzing our influenza vaccine results more carefully we found that not only elderly but also young obese individuals were poor responders and more inflamed. Which lead us to study, together with our long-time collaborator, Dr. Daniela Frasca, immune and metabolic responses in older overweight individuals and most recently with Dr. Michael Antoni in obese breast cancer patients, improved as a function of stress management. Our work with Dr. Antoni, for over 25 years, is highly significant for cancer survivors, especially those with greater age and/or weight and has several novel and innovative aspects including recently measuring immune metabolism and senescence markers (SASP) in breast cancer patients after CBSM (cognitive behavioral stress management). We also collaborate with others, e.g. Dr. Penedo/prostate cancer in the SCCC. We have been funded continuously by NIH for the work in our lab. More recently, together with Dr. Daniela Frasca, Associate Professor in our laboratory we have measured the metabolic regulation of the immune system in mice and humans, with grant funding and many publications. We are also NIA-funded for a project on RSV vaccine in aged mice.
Dr. Blomberg received her PhD in 1977 from the University of California, San Diego for work done with Dr. Melvin Cohn and Martin Weigert at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies and published the first genetic linkage of an antibody/immunoglobulin response (variable region) to the immunoglobulin locus (constant region). She did postdoctoral work as a member of the Basel Institute for Immunology 1977-1981 with Drs. Louis DuPasquier with exciting breakthroughs in comparative immunology in Xenopus and Susumu Tonegawa there and at MIT (1981-1983) in molecular immunology in early days of cloning and sequencing genes. She accepted an Assistant Professor position at U Miami Medical School, Dept of Microbiology and Immunol in 1983 and worked on the human lambda light chain immunoglobulin locus, discovered the 3’ transcription enhancer, and mouse lambda 5 chain (pre-B) transcription regulation, a very competitive field and so for funding reasons, Dr. Richard Riley helped us transition to aging just before 1998. Daniela Frasca, now Dr Frasca, Associate Professor, joined the lab in 2001 and greatly helped the research and many successful publications and grants to this day.
Dr. Blomberg is a member of the American Association of Immunologists (AAI,1982-present). She has received numerous awards and honors including an American Cancer Society (ACS) Postdoctoral Fellowship, an NIH Merit grant award, and the University of Miami Provost’s Award for Scholarly Activity (2008-9). She has severed on numerous grant review study sections as a permanent member and is currently a counselor for the National Institute on Aging. Dr. Blomberg and lab’s work has been published in over 150 peer reviewed journals. She is passionate about teaching, and has mentored numerous undergraduate, graduate, and medical students and is currently teaching undergraduate MIC 319, Innate Immunology.
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Research InterestsDr. Blomberg's laboratory studies the effects of aging, inflammation, and obesity on the immune system and cancer. With Dr. Daniela Frasca we have measured molecular inflammatory and metabolic biomarkers for optimal B and T lymphocyte function which change with age and have shown that increased inflammation with age negatively affects immune function. Contributors to inflammation include obesity and metabolic changes in immune cells. In collaboration with Drs. Antoni and Penedo for breast and prostate cancer respectively, we found cognitive behavioral stress management, CBSM, decreased inflammation, improved immune measures, and increased survival in cancer patients. Currently with Drs. Antoni and Goel we are extending these studies understanding connections for the social, psychological and immunological disparities in breast cancer patients.
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