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Neurology Chair

Dane Chetkovich, M.D., Ph.D., Professor and Chairman
of Neurology

Faculty By Divisions

Aaron Bowman, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Neurology


Dr. Aaron B. Bowman, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor in the Department of Neurology and Pediatrics at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. He is also Director of the Vanderbilt Training Program in Environmental Toxicology, an Investigator of the Vanderbilt Brain Institute and the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center for research on Human Development.  In addition he holds appointments in the Vanderbilt Center in Molecular Toxicology and Vanderbilt Center for Stem Cell Biology. Dr. Bowman received his PhD in Biomedical Sciences in 2000 from the University of California San Diego. He did postdoctoral fellowship training at Princeton University and Baylor College of Medicine. Dr. Bowman is a 2008 recipient of the Outstanding New Environmental Scientist (ONES) RO1 award from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. Dr. Bowman has a long record of service for the Society of Toxicology including President of the Neurotoxicology Specialty Section (NTSS), Senior Councilor of the Stem Cells Specialty Section, member of the SOT Specialty Section Collaboration and Communication group, and member of the SOT Education Committee Undergraduate and Graduate sub-committees.  Dr. Bowman serves on several national study sections including NIEHS Specific Emphasis Panels and the Veterans Affaris Merit Review Subcommittee (NUR-E). Dr. Bowman also serves on the editorial boards of Nature – Scientific Reports, NeuroToxicology, BMC Pharmacology and Toxicology, as well as performing other ad hoc editorial and peer review services.


The Bowman lab utilizes a combined approach of molecular genetics, pharmacology, biochemistry, cell and developmental biology to understand the role of gene-environment interactions between metal exposure and neurodegenerative diseases such as Huntington's disease (HD), Parkinson's disease (PD) as well as other neurological conditions including restless legs syndrome. He employs a diverse range of model systems including patient-derived induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), neuronal cultures and mouse models. He aims to define mechanisms of neuronal dysfunction and understand the basis of selective neuropathology, by characterizing the molecular function of disease genes and their interaction with environmental toxicants under both normal and pathological conditions. His lab has established protocols to generate iPSC lines and differentiate them down forebrain, striatal and midbrain neural lineages. He has developed techniques to examine toxicological and neurodegenerative related phenotypes in this patient-specific model system. In addition, the lab uses high-throughput screening to identify and characterize small molecule modifiers of cellular manganese status. Recently, the labs work has implicated specific cellular signaling systems (e.g. p53, AKT, mTOR pathways) underlying the influence of manganese on energetics and cellular metabolism in the context of the neurological diseases we study. The long-term goals of the Bowman lab are to determine patient-specific and disease-specific toxicant vulnerabilities, understand the cellular pathways underlying these gene-environment interactions and develop neuroprotective strategies to mitigate neurological diseases with environmental etiologies, especially manganese..


Selected Publications:

  1. Tidball AM. Bryan MR, Uhouse MA, Kumar KK, Aboud AA, Feist JE, Ess KC, Neely MD, Aschner M, Bowman AB.  A novel manganese-dependent ATM-p53 signaling pathway is selectively impaired in patient-based neuroprogenitor and murine striatal models of Huntington’s disease. 2015. Human Molecular Genetics. 24(7): 1929-44. PMC4355025
  2. Kumar KK, Goodwin CR, Uhouse MA, Bornhorst J, Schwerdtle T, Aschner M, McLean JA, Bowman AB. Untargeted metabolic profiling identifies interactions between Huntington’s disease and neuronal manganese status. 2015. Metallomics. 7(2): 363-370. PMC4326616
  3. Kumar KK, Lowe EW, Aboud AA, Neely MD, Redha R, Bauer JA, Odak M, Weaver CD, Meiler J, Aschner M, and Bowman AB. Cellular manganese content is developmentally regulated in human dopaminergic neurons. 2014. Nature Publishing Group – Scientific Reports. 4: 6801. PMC4210885
  4. Madison JL, Wegrzynowicz M, Aschner M, Bowman AB. Disease-toxicant interactions in manganese exposed Huntington Disease mice: Early changes in striatal neuron morphology and dopamine metabolism.  2012.  PLoS ONE.  7(2):e31024. PMC3281892
  5. Aboud AA, Tidball AM, Kumar KK, Neely MD, Han B, Ess KC, Hong CC, Erikson KM, Hedera P, and Bowman AB. PARK2 patient neuroprogenitors show increased mitochondrial sensitivity to copper. 2014. Neurobiology of Disease. 73C: 204-12. PMCID in progress.
  6. Leyva-Illades D, Chen P, Zogzas CE, Hutchens S, Mercado JM, Swaim CD, Morrisett RA, Bowman AB, Aschner M, and Mukhopadhyay S. SLC30A10 is a cell surface-localized manganese efflux transporter and parkinsonism-causing mutations block its intracellular trafficking and efflux activity. 2014. Journal of Neuroscience. 34(42): 14079-95. PMC4198546
  7. Aboud AA, Tidball AM, Kumar KK, Neely MD, Ess KC, Erikson KM, Bowman AB. Genetic risk for Parkinson’s disease correlates with alterations in neuronal manganese sensitivity between two human subjects.  2012.  NeuroToxicology. 33(6): 1443-1449. PMC3518601
  8. Kwakye GF, Li D, Bowman AB. Novel high-throughput assay to assess cellular manganese levels in a striatal cell line model of Huntington’s disease confirms a deficit in manganese accumulation. 2011. NeuroToxicology.  32(5): 630-639. PMC3135664.
  9. Kwakye GF, Li D, Kabobel OA, Bowman AB. Cellular Fura-2 Manganese Extraction Assay (CFMEA). 2011. Current Protocols in Toxicology. 48: 12.18.1 – 12.18.20.  PMC3661216
  10. Williams BB, Li D, Wegrzynowicz M, Vadodaria BK, Anderson JG, Kwakye GF, Aschner M, Erikson KM, Bowman AB. Disease-toxicant screen reveals a neuroprotective interaction between Huntington’s disease and manganese exposure. 2010. Journal of Neurochemistry. 112(1): 227-237. PMC3083829.

Complete List of Published Work:

Aaron Bowman, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Neurology and Pediatrics
Vanderbilt University Medical Center
465 21st Avenue South, 6140 MRB3
Nashville, TN 37240-7915

Office:  6133A MRB3, 615-322-2651     
Fax: 615-322-0486