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Ri.MED Research Seminar “The role of aging and extracellular matrix changes in the pathology of COPD” Corry-Anke Brandsma, PhD

The last 2023 Ri.MED Research Seminar took place on 11 December at 10.30 am at CNR, Via Ugo La Malfa, Palermo

The role of aging and extracellular matrix changes in the pathology of COPD
by Corry-Anke Brandsma, PhD
Associate Professor, University of Groningen
University Medical Center Groningen

Attendance is free, but registration is required.

ABSTRACT: COPD is a devastating lung disease, caused by toxic exposure, including cigarette smoke, with a high prevalence among elderly.
Worldwide more than 250 million patients suffer from COPD and this number is rising due to high smoking prevalence and
increasing age of the population.
COPD is characterized by airflow obstruction and categorized into different disease severities based on the level of airflow
obstruction and symptoms. The pathology of COPD consists of chronic inflammation of the lungs, which results in abnormal tissue
repair and remodeling with alterations in the airways (airway wall remodeling), and the peripheral lung tissue (tissue destruction
and emphysema).
Hallmarks of aging, including cellular senescence and extracellular matrix (ECM) dysregulation, are prominent features of COPD.
Improved understanding of the main differences and similarities between normal lung aging and the pathology of COPD may
provide novel insights in the mechanisms driving COPD pathology, in particular in those patients that develop the most severe
form of COPD at a relatively young age, i.e. severe early onset COPD patients.
This presentation will focus on ECM changes with normal lung aging and the differences and overlap with COPD on protein and
transcript level as well as the relationship between cellular senescence and ECM dysregulation in COPD pathology based on in
vitro and ex vivo data.

BIOSKETCH: Dr. Brandsma was trained as a medical biologist at the University of Groningen and obtained her PhD degree in Medical Sciences in 2008 on a thesis focused on the inflammatory response in COPD. After obtaining her PhD, Dr. Brandsma continued as a postdoctoral researcher at the
Department of Pathology and Medical Biology of the UMCG on a project focusing on the role of B-cells and autoimmune phenotype in COPD. This
was followed by projects focusing on abnormal tissue repair and remodeling in COPD. In 2010, Dr Brandsma obtained international research
fellowships to visit the labs of Dr. Spira (Boston) and Dr. Hogg (Vancouver). During these projects she got introduced in transcriptomics and
miRNA analyses in lung tissue and cells and worked on the translation of these omics discoveries towards functional studies in the lab. These
studies provided the groundwork for two research grants that she obtained from the Dutch Lung Foundation that formed the basis for her current
research line on the abnormal tissue repair and remodeling response in COPD, with a specific focus on accelerated aging and senescence.
Dr. Brandsma is currently leading a research group focused on translational research in COPD trying to bridge the gap between patient-derived
clinical data, omics discoveries and functional and pathological changes in the lung and patient-derived cells.

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