Colleen Croniger has worked at CWRU since receiving her PhD in 1991. She was a post-doctoral fellow and subsequently held a Research Associate position in the Department of Biochemistry at CASE School of Medicine. She participated in the implementation of the School of Medicine WR2 curriculum and has extensive knowledge of the school's education philosophy. So much so that last year Colleen received the John S. Diekhoff Graduate Teaching Award for her work in nutrition and biochemistry.
In her own research, Colleen focuses on the mechanisms of altered lipid and glucose metabolism during obesity and diabetes. She also investigates main causes of liver disease in industrialized countries, namely alcoholic steatohepatitis (ASH), chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection, and nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). In patients who chronically consume alcohol or are morbidly obese, the progression of liver disease is similar, originating with development of a fatty liver (hepatic steatosis) and then progresses to hepatitis, fibrosis and finally cirrhosis. However, of those patients that develop hepatitis, only a small subset will progress further to cirrhosis. Approximately 20-50% of patients with ASH and ~20% of patients with NASH will progress to cirrhosis suggesting a gene-environment interaction contributes to disease progression.