Barbara Sanborn

Professor Emerita Biomedical Sciences

About Barbara

Barbara M. Sanborn, Ph.D., is Professor and Department Head Emerita in the Department Biomedical Sciences and Professor Emerita at the University of Texas McGovern Medical School and Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences in Houston, TX. Hormones are molecular signals that alter cell function. Understanding how hormones convey their signals is critical for understanding basic cell biology and disease states and for designing intervention strategies. Dr. Sanborn’s research focused on hormone molecular signaling pathways regulating uterine contraction/relaxation and, in earlier work, on Sertoli cell function. Uterine contractants such as oxytocin increase intracellular calcium in myometrial cells by increasing calcium influx and release from intracellular stores secondary to phospholipase C activation. Relaxants oppose these actions by mechanisms which involve the action of cAMP-dependent protein kinase. Dr. Sanborn and her laboratory defined aspects of the structural basis for the coupling between the oxytocin receptor and GTP binding proteins, involvement of scaffolding proteins, and analysis of the mechanisms for crosstalk between the cAMP and phospholipase C signaling pathways. They also defined myometrial ion channel proteins that are responsible for signal-regulated calcium entry and intracellular store refilling dynamics in response to hormonal stimulation. Dr. Sanborn was the recipient of NIH Career Development and Merit Awards. She served as President of the Society for the Study of Reproduction and was awarded the SSR 2012 Distinguished Service Award. Prior to serving as Department Head for the CSU Biomedical Sciences Department, she was Program Director for the Training Program in Mammalian Reproduction and co-founded the Texas Women's Reproductive Health Consortium and Office of Women's Health at the University of Texas Medical School Houston. Dr. Sanborn mentored numerous clinical and basic science faculty members, research fellows and graduate students. In retirement, she continues to serve in scientific consultant and mentorship roles and is always available for consultation. She also finds time for creative writing, photography, gardening and hiking.


PhD, Boston University, Boston MA, 1968MA, Boston University, Boston MA, 1965BA, Hope College, Holland MI, 1962