Discover Brigham
Poster Session

Wednesday, November 3rd, 2021 | 1pm - 3:45pm et

Virtual Event

Tag: Connors BRI Lightning Talks

Shadab Rahman, PhD, MPH

Menopause is a period unique to women during which there are major hormonal and physiological changes that affect women’s health and well-being. Sleep is often disturbed during the menopausal transition, which can further contribute to impaired daytime functioning. Understanding the impact of menopause-related changes in sleep is an important area of women’s health research. Here, we report the results of a study investigating the effects of a menopause model of sleep fragmentation and estradiol withdrawal on perceived sleep quality and daytime sleepiness.

Mariana Ramirez, MD

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of death among women globally. Sex differences in CVD pathogenesis are well established, and female-specific risk factors, including adverse pregnancy outcomes, are increasingly recognized as CV risk factors. Premature/early menopause is an important risk factor for CVD development in women, but mechanistic insights underlying its association with CVD are limited. This knowledge gap has important clinical implications, considering that up to 10% of women undergo early menopause. In this context, we sought to investigate potential biologic pathways that may contribute to CVD development in women with premature/early menopause.

Leilah Grant, PhD

Menopause is a reproductive transition unique to women and understanding the impact of menopause-related changes in behavior and physiology is an important area of women’s health research. In this abstract, we report the results of a study investigating the effects of a menopause model of sleep fragmentation and estradiol withdrawal on daytime sleepiness and neurobehavioral performance.

Erik Reiche, MD

The most common reason for revision after chest masculinization is hypertrophic scarring and hormones may play a role. Prior studies have demonstrated that the sex hormones can interact with wound healing, but none have examined these effects in a transgender model. We present a proof-of-concept animal model that recreates the hormone environment of gender affirming surgery. We found that exogenous testosterone administered to XX/OVX mice impairs wound healing, both on macroscopic planimetry and on histologic evaluation. This report represents a pilot study, and our team is currently striving to elucidate many questions regarding mechanistic investigation of underlying pathways and validation in human clinical studies. Preliminary results suggest differences in wound healing between castrated XX and XY mice treated with testosterone, suggesting not just a difference in hormone milieu but potentially an epigenetic difference in wound healing response despite identical hormone profiles.

Amanda Koire, MD, PhD

This work relates to gender biology and women’s health research because it assesses adherence to breast cancer treatment in a cohort of women, evaluating an intervention that targets psychological and menopausal symptoms. The cohort is composed of women, breast cancer is a disease that predominantly affects women, and the medications used by the women in the cohort alter hormone levels.

Natali Sorajja

Despite gender’s significant interaction with sex and health, properly accounting for it in research is challenging when it is not explicitly measured. By creating a gendered index, we hope to facilitate inclusion of gender by encapsulating the gender-related patterns in sociocultural and psychological exposures, thus making gender’s effect on health issues easier to gauge and interpret. Our quantitative measure does not attempt to eradicate the biological components of gender, but seeks to include them due to their heavy interaction with the societal aspects. In the future, we hope our gendered index can be used and generalized to other studies examining various health issues, thus allowing for inclusion of both biological sex and sociocultural gendered effects.

Jessica Busler, PhD

Obesity is higher in women than men and has increased at a faster rate in women than men in the past 10 years. Increased prevalence of obesity puts women at greater risk for obesity-related health conditions including high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, and psychiatric illnesses. Increased obesity in women may, in part, be explained by differences in the relationships between adipokines and oxidative stress in the brain as biological sex is implicated as a critical factor in the mechanistic pathway of oxidative stress and impacts concentrations of adipokines. Oxidative stress is induced by proinflammatory adipokines, such as leptin, and increased oxidative stress suppresses production of anti-inflammatory adipokines including adiponectin. Therefore, identifying sex differences in the link between oxidative stress and obesity-related adipokines is critical for our understanding of women’s brain health and may help explain increased obesity, inform treatment strategies, and improve negative health outcomes in this population.

Jennifer Scott, MD, MPH

The inclusion of sex and gender variables in research is an important step toward gender equity in workplace environments, workforce diversity and inclusion, and organizational effectiveness. However, there is limited evidence on gender biases among humanitarian practitioners and organizations and few interventions beyond standard training. The Humanitarian Gender Study assessed how all genders experience and observe gender biases in the workplace and how these biases may impact organizational processes, health program design and delivery, and career advancement for women. The study utilized the Seven Areas Framework and adapted gender bias measurement tools that may be relevant to other health and service organizations. The learning from this study was used to develop low-cost ‘de-biasing’ interventions that could be applied in other organizations. Aligned with the “Break the Bias” theme of the 2022 International Women’s Day, this research advances evidence toward achieving a gender-equal world free of bias, stereotypes and discrimination.

Hyeonmin Ahn, PhD

Increased prevalence of stress-related disorders, including Major Depressive Disorder (MDD), has been a more significant burden on other health issues, quality of life, and the economy, and women are approximately twice as likely to be diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder as men. The observed sex-specific difference may be partly attributed to the different brain physiology in reward processing between men and women. Here, we sought to identify whether there are sex differences in neural networks during food reward processing, and the results indicate distinct sex differences in the neural circuitry of reward processing in MDD. Compared to women, men showed decreased FC between the hedonic systems of reward processing after acute stress, suggesting more sensitive or reactive reward circuitry in women to food reward. Our findings identify sex differences in reward circuitry in response to acute stress highlighting new pathways to target for the treatment of stress-related psychiatric conditions.

Yao Xiao, MD

Sex as a biological variable has been broadly studied in a variety of diseases including autoimmune diseases, cancer and infections. However, whether donor or recipient sex and sex hormone levels impact alloimmune responses remains unclear. Our clinical observations demonstrate age-specific inferior graft survival in female recipients; the experimental model validated the impact of estrogen levels on the fate of T cell subsets, together providing relevant and novel information on age- and sex-specific alloimmunity in solid organ transplantation. While the impact of male hormones on immunity has been well studied and most experimental models remain to be performed using male animals, little research has been done on the impact of female hormones on alloimmunity. Our findings provided a new perspective that the sex- and sex hormone-related discrepancy should be considered in animal model application in immunological research.