Dr Cathryn Kolka obtained her PhD at the University of Tasmania on glucose uptake in skeletal muscle, using physiological and biochemical assessments to investigate effects of exercise, hormones, and other drugs to induce glucose uptake through changes in skeletal muscle perfusion. She then completed postdoc training at the University of Southern California, measuring insulin in the interstitial space in insulin sensitivity, and identifying decreased access as a contributor to obesity-mediated metabolic impairments. Her studies also included integrated physiology assessments of the contribution of nocturnal free fatty acids and adipose tissue depots to metabolic deficiency.
As an Assistant Professor at Cedars Sinai Medical Center, she continued these studies of systems biology, with interest in dietary, drug, medical device, and sleep effects on skeletal muscle, cardiac, liver, kidney, pancreas, and adipose tissue. She has presented her work through invited lectures and seminars at a range of international conferences and research institutions.
2019-current: Research officer, Precision & Systems Biomedicine Laboratory, QIMR Berghofer
2006-2011: Postdoc, University of Southern California, Department of physiology and biophysics
2011-2019: Faculty, Assistant Professor, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Department of Biomedical Science
2011-2019: Associate Director, Postdoctoral Scientist Program, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center
Current projects investigate the role of diet and lipids in the pathogenesis of esophageal adenocarcinoma. She is also continuing research into the role of lipids, glucose effectiveness and hyperinsulinemia in metabolic and cardiovascular disease.
Insulin access to the interstitium is essential for insulin’s metabolic effects – the concentration of insulin in the skeletal muscle interstitium is approximately half that of the blood.
Hyperinsulinemia detected in the early progression to diabetes occurs in the absence of interstitial hyperinsulinemia – suggesting that increased plasma insulin maintains the appropriate interstitial insulin levels.
Vascular function can impact metabolism: by the delivery of nutrients, oxygen and hormones, changes in blood flow per se can alter metabolism.
Diets high in saturated fat can cause liver insulin resistance, cardiac dysfunction, elevated nocturnal lipids, and impair insulin transendothelial transport. A polyunsaturated fat diet, while inducing a similar level of obesity, does not have these metabolic impacts.
American Diabetes Association, 2006-2019
The Obesity Society, 2006-2014
American Heart Association, 2015-2018
PhD in Biochemistry, University of Tasmania, 2006
BSc(Hons) in Biochemistry, University of Tasmania, 2002.