Meet New Investigator Erika Boesen, Ph.D.

January 08, 2015

Image with caption: Erika Boesen, Ph.D.

Erika Boesen, Ph.D.

This profile is part of a series to highlight the researchers who will be honored Feb. 2 at a ceremony for UNMC's 2014 Scientist Laureate, Research Leadership, Distinguished Scientist and New Investigator Award recipients.

  • Name: Erika Boesen, Ph.D.
  • Title: Assistant professor, cellular/integrative physiology
  • Joined UNMC: October 2012
  • Hometown: Bendigo, Australia

Describe your research briefly in layman's terms.
Your kidneys play a vital role in maintaining your overall health, including controlling the levels of salt and water in the body, thereby controlling your blood pressure, and also eliminating excess fluid and waste products. My research interests center on better understanding how the kidneys work normally, and on understanding factors that cause injury to the kidneys in several different diseases so that we can intervene in these processes and protect the kidneys.

How does your research contribute to science and/or health care?
The two areas my lab is currently funded to investigate are acute kidney failure and kidney injury that occurs in the autoimmune disease lupus. Specific treatments for acute kidney failure are completely lacking, while treatments for lupus are inadequate and have major side effects. The long-term goal of our work is to develop much-needed new treatment options for patients with these serious conditions.

What is the best piece of advice anyone ever gave you, professional or personal?
This was the punch line of a much longer conversation, but "You gotta try." I think a lot of us, especially young women, needlessly hold ourselves back through lack of self-confidence or by catastrophizing possible outcomes that may not (and frequently don't) eventuate. I'm trying to make myself take more chances on things actually working out!

List three things few people know about you.

  • Despite my classically Danish surname, we recently found out this name was adopted and our ancestors were actually French. So that's why I'm not tall and blonde. . .
  • Both my parents and I have science degrees, but my sister is an actress and knows Oscar-winner Geoffrey Rush.
  • I have a small heart defect, and in early 2014 got to watch an MRI video of my heart beating. It was really cool!


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Krupa Savalia
January 08, 2015 at 9:52 PM

Though Dr. Boesen is a new investigator on our campus, she has already started making her mark on students in the department of cellular and integrative physiology. Her willingness to mentor students and share her scientific and technical expertise is outstanding. She is a true asset to our university and the culture of science here at UNMC!