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Shawn Bearden

Shawn E. Bearden, Ph.D.

Assistant Chair & Professor
Exercise Physiology

Office: Life Sciences 443

(208) 282-6269

Bearden Lab

We study microcirculation with a focus on understanding human disease.


2000, Ph.D. Exercise Physiology, Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL
1996, M.S. Exercise Science and Health Promotion, George Mason University, Arlington, VA
1994, B.S. Education, Sports Medicine, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA

2001-2004, Postdoctoral fellow, Cellular and molecular neurobiology, neurovascular interactions, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT

Biographical Sketch

We study the structure and function of microvascular networks with a focus on the cells that line blood vessels and form capillaries, endothelial cells. Our primary interests lie at the junctions between these cells. Junctions between endothelial cells are essential for cell-cell communication (gap junctions) and to regulate vascular permeability (tight and adherens junctions). Normal function of these junctions allows proper nutrient delivery and distribution within organs such as skeletal muscle, heart, and brain while regulating what substances may pass between the blood and tissues. We use confocal and multiphoton microscopy to study the structure and function of microvascular junctions with an emphasis on cerebral vessels. These in vivo approaches are complemented by techniques in molecular biology, pharmacology, and immunohistochemistry to better understand the mechanisms of cell-cell coordination in normal and disease states. Our ongoing purpose is to identify modifiable mechanisms that may be exploited to reduce the morbidity and mortality associated with vascular dysfunction. Our work is funded by the National Institutes of Health.


BIOL 3301/3302 Anatomy & Physiology
BIOL 4471/5571 Biological Imaging
BIOL 4499/6652 Advanced Topics in Physiology

Selected Publications

Rhodehouse BC, Mayo JN, Beard RS Jr, Chen CH, Bearden SE. Opening of the Blood-Brain Barrier before Cerebral Pathology in Mild Hyperhomocysteinemia. PLoS One. 2013 May 16;8(5):e63951. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0063951. Print 2013. PMID: 23696861
First demonstration that blood-brain barrier opening predates neurodegeneration and cognitive impairment in hyperhomocysteinemia.

Rhodehouse BC, Erickson MA, Banks WA, Bearden SE. Hyperhomocysteinemic mice show cognitive impairment without features of Alzheimer's disease phenotype. Journal of Alzheimer's Disease. Jan 1;35(1):59-66, 2013. PMID: 23334704. Erratum in 2013;35(4):877
First studies to elucidate the relation between HHcy and the blood-brain barrier transporters for amyloid beta.

Beard RS, Reynolds JJ, Bearden SE. Metabotropic glutamate receptor 5 mediates phosphorylation of vascular endothelial cadherin and nuclear localization of β-catenin in response to homocysteine. Vascular Pharmacology, 56(3-4):159-167, 2012. PMID: 22285407
First demonstration of ionotropic-metabotropic glutamate receptor signaling in endothelium.

Chen CH, Beard RS, Bearden SE. Homocysteine impairs endothelial cell proliferation by activating metabotropic glutamate receptor 5. Microcirculation, 19(4):285-95, 2012. PMID: 22221504

Mayo JN, Beard RS, Price TO, Chen CH, Erickson MA, Ercal N, Banks WA, Bearden SE. Nitrative Stress in Cerebral Endothelium is Mediated by mGluR5 in Hyperhomocysteinemia. Journal of Cerebral Blood Flow and Metabolism, 32(5):825-834, 2012. PMID: 22186670

(underline denotes undergraduate student, italics denote graduate student)


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