Pat Catalano, MD


Professor, Reproductive Biology

MetroHealth Medical Center/Case Western Reserve University


Research Focus and Expertise

I have extensive experience in human physiology research as well as clinical trials, i.e. translational research. I was the director of the Perinatal Clinical Research Center and the Associate Director of the General Clinical Research Center at Case Western Reserve University for 10 years (1989 – 1998). The focus of my research has been in the area of nutrition and maternal metabolism during pregnancy. I have been particularly involved in exploring the adverse effects of gestational diabetes and maternal obesity on fetal and neonatal development. Our published data has shown that the infant of obese and diabetic women are heavier and more insulin resistant at birth because of increased adiposity. This in turn is a risk factor for childhood obesity and related complications i.e. the metabolic syndrome later in life. A long term goal of my research has been to assess the factors relating and preventing fetal overgrowth in particular the excess fetal adiposity associated with these diseases. Current research is focused on the maternal mechanisms related to fetal metabolic programming. As an example, we currently have a NIH clinical trial assessing the role of fish oil supplementation to prevent fetal obesity.

Administrative Expertise

In addition to my research I have had extensive administrative experience.  In 1998, I assumed the position of Chair of the Department of Reproductive Biology (OB/GYN) at MetroHealth Medical Center, one of the primary teaching hospitals at Case Western Reserve University. MetroHealth is the safety net hospital in Cleveland Ohio, where 70% of our patients have either no insurance or are on governmental support (Medicaid). As a result, we see the most indigent people in our geographical area. As Chair of the department, I am responsible for the management of 25 physicians and 120 support staff. Our department delivers approximately 3,000 babies per year, performs more than 2500 surgical cases, and 80,000 outpatient visits. In 2008, our budget was approximately $54,000,000. I stepped down as Chair of the department in 2011, in order to devote more time to my research interests.

International Responsibilities

I have been active in multiple national and international organizations and have lectured in the Americas, Europe, Asia and Australia/New Zealand.

Currently, I am serving on several national committees in the United States not only involving NIH grant reviews but also in the assessment of health care policies. Most recently I was invited to participate in the National Academy of Science, Institute of Medicine committee on the revisions of the guidelines for weight gain in pregnancy.  I am also a member of several professional organizations including the American Congress of Obstetrics and Gynecology, the Society of Maternal-Fetal Medicine, Society for Gynecologic Investigation, American Diabetes Association and the Perinatal Research Society among others. I currently serve as a Co-Chair of the NICHD Scientific Vision Group on Pregnancy and sit on the Maternal Fetal Medicine Division of the American Board of OB/GYN. Previously, I was the chair of the American Diabetes Association Pregnancy Council regarding Women’s Health Care issues. I have developed long lasting collaborations with colleagues in Europe, Asia, Australia as well as South America. I am one of the US representatives on the board of the International Association of Diabetes in Pregnancy Study Group (IADPSG).

In summary, at this juncture of my career I am looking to utilize my experience to expand my work and interest  and utilize my expertise to develop preventive measures not only to foster the reproductive health of women but also the prevention of chronic diseases related to nutritional issues during pregnancy.