Dr. Coleman received her B.A cum laude from Harvard University and her M.D. from Case Western Reserve University. After an internship and residency in Pediatrics at Cornell and then Duke University, she completed a fellowship in Metabolism and Endocrinology at Duke where she focused on genetic disorders of carbohydrate and lipid metabolism. She conducted postdoctoral studies in lipid biochemistry with Robert M. Bell before joining the Pediatric Department at Duke as an Assistant Professor. In 2001, she moved to the University of North Carolina as Professor of Nutrition and Pediatrics.
Dr. Coleman is an internationally recognized leader in the field of lipid metabolism. She was awarded the 2003 Osbourne and Mendel Award, the 2014 Journal of Lipid Research Lectureship Award, and the 2017 Biochimica et Biophysica Acta – Molecular and Cell Biology of Lipids Lectureship Award, and she has given numerous keynote lectures on enzymes that control the synthesis and metabolism of triacylglycerol. This year she will give the I.M. Wu Lecture at the Columbia University Institute of Nutrition and the Laurens Van Deenen Lecture at the International Conference on the Bioscience of Lipids in Helsinki. She is most proud of the fact that six of her graduate students have won the Young Investigator Award from the American Society for Nutrition.
Dr. Coleman’s impact on the field of lipid metabolism has been far-reaching. In co-founding the FASEB summer conference on lipid droplets in 2007, she united diverse groups of investigators who focus on commonalities that span lipid biochemistry, lipid metabolism, the cellular biology of lipids, whole body metabolism, and the pathophysiology of obesity and the metabolic syndrome. Her own work is designed to understand how excess synthesis of triacylglycerol links obesity with defective insulin signaling and how the inability of heart and muscle to switch between lipid and glucose fuels can impair function. Current studies have led to the concept that lipids do not move freely within cells compartments, but instead, are channeled within cells. Channeling controls both lipid signals that regulate cell metabolism and the partitioning of fatty acids within cells towards either synthetic or degradative pathways.