Juleen R. Zierath
Professor of Clinical Integrative Physiology
Juleen R. Zierath was appointed professor in clinical integrative physiology in 2001. She is head of the Section of Integrative Physiology, Department of Molecular Medicine and Surgery at Karolinska Institutet, and she holds a joint position in the Department of Physiology and Pharmacology.
She has published over 150 original research papers and review articles. In 2001, Professor Zierath was awarded the Prestigious Minkowski Prize from the European Association for the Study of Diabetes, and in 2005 she was a recipient of a Strategic Research Grant from the Foundation for Strategic Research, Sweden. In 2006, she was appointed to the Nobel Assembly at Karolinska Institutet. She is a member of the Swedish Research Council Board for Medicine.
She currently holds editorial positions with several leading scientific journals in the area of endocrinology and metabolism, and is a member of the scientific advisory board and the board of directors for the Keystone Organization/Symposium. Her research accomplishments have been recognized at the National and International level.
About the research area
Juleen R. Zierath's research focuses on cellular mechanisms underlying the development of insulin resistance in Type 2 diabetes. One accomplishment has been to develop methodology for translational studies to delineate molecular mechanism for insulin resistance in Type 2 diabetic patients. Her group provided the first evidence for physiological regulation of insulin signaling pathways and revealed key steps along this pathway are impaired in diabetic patients. Using genetically modified experimental models of insulin resistance; she has systematically revealed the contribution of specific genes to whole body and cellular physiology. Through functional genomics, she has validated AMP-kinase as a diabetes prevention target.
Other important work was in the delineation of exercise-mediated effects on skeletal muscle glucose metabolism and gene expression. This is a clinically relevant discovery since people who exercise are protected against the development of Type 2 diabetes. The ultimate goal of her work is to identify and validate molecular candidates for pharmacological therapy to treat insulin resistance. Improving insulin sensitivity should alleviate diabetic complications and improve quality of life for the diabetic patient.