Dr. Coate has had a longstanding interest in studying the metabolic aspects and molecular basis of diabetes. She obtained a doctoral degree in the laboratory of Dr. Alan D. Cherrington at Vanderbilt University where she found that a high-fat and high-sugar diet diminishes the ability of the liver to consume glucose and synthesize glycogen during conditions that mimic the fed state. This work was carried out by assessing glucose tracer kinetics in a large animal model of diet-induced insulin resistance and highlighted the key regulatory role of the liver in mitigating postprandial hyperglycemia. To expand and enhance her scientific skills and boundaries, she chose to pursue postdoctoral training in the joint laboratory of Drs. David Mangelsdorf and Steve Kliewer at UT Southwestern Medical Center. There, she created genetically engineered mouse models to study the physiology and pharmacology of fibroblast growth factor 21 (FGF21) in the pancreas. She discovered that FGF21 acts as a digestive enzyme secretagogue and protects pancreatic cells from protein-folding stress. Now she will leverage her expertise in the aforementioned areas by investigating how cells of the endocrine pancreas sense and respond to changes in their extracellular environment in health and disease. Specifically, she will study the mechanism(s) by which antagonism of glucagon action and concomitant hyperaminoacidemia stimulate beta cell proliferation and function in mouse and human islets. This is an important yet understudied pathway with direct clinical application for the treatment of diabetes.
Katie Colbert Coate, PhD
Research Instructor in Medicine
PhD, Molecular Physiology & Biophysics, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee
MS, Nutrition, Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama
BS, Nutrition & Food Science, Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama