Rebecca Scalzo, PhD, received her BS from the University of Kansas, her MS from Ball State University and her PhD from Colorado State University. Dr. Scalzo’s motivation to work in healthcare stems from her mother, sister and daughters. Their presence in her life inspires her to work to ensure that biomedical research includes women, so her family and other women receive the best medical care at every stage of life.
Dr. Scalzo received funding from the Ludeman Center in 2016 and again in 2020 for her research project titled, “The Impact of Diabetes on the Estrogen Gene Expression Signature Associated with Skeletal
Muscle Mitochondris.” Her work focuses on how premenopausal women with type 2 diabetes suffer greater consequences associated with their diabetes compared with similarly aged men with the disease. One of these consequences is a greater risk for heart disease which is linked to how well their muscles use sugar and fat during exercise. This research aims to understand why women with diabetes are at greater risk by exploring the effect of diabetes and the female sex hormone estrogen on the machinery within the muscle where sugar and fat are used—the mitochondria. Her work will identify potential targets for treatments specifically designed for women with diabetes and their greater risk of heart disease.
“I appreciate the Ludeman Center’s commitment to mentoring scientists. Through training sessions, one on one relationships and attending national conferences, I have gained valuable career experiences that have substantially advanced my career,” she shares.
Currently, Dr. Scalzo’s research priority is understanding how type 2 diabetes impacts women differently from men with the long-term goal to improve the lives of women living with type 2 diabetes.