Juleen R ZierathThe UAB Center for Exercise Medicine (UCEM) was honored to host Juleen Zierath, PhD, Professor, Karolinska Institutet, Sweden and University of Copenhagen, Denmark on March 8, 2021 for the virtual UCEM Distinguished Lecture Series. Her presentation entitled “Circadian Control of Systemic Metabolism in Type 2 Diabetes and Impact of Exercise Training” was co-sponsored by the UAB Nutrition and Obesity Research Center (NORC).

Dr. Zierath is an internationally-renowned physiologist who serves as the section head for Integrative Physiology at the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden. She is also a Member of the Nobel Assembly as well as Member and former Chairman of the Nobel Committee. Dr. Zierath presented to nearly 100 attendees from UAB as well as other institutions across the globe on the importance of exercise and physical activity to the preservation of insulin sensitivity and the prevention/treatment of obesity and type 2 diabetes. She also discussed cutting edge science regarding the importance of circadian biology on the interaction of these factors.

“Dr. Zierath is an internationally-recognized expert in exercise and skeletal muscle physiology, and we were honored to have her speak with us,” said Thomas Buford, PhD, Director of UCEM. “There was as much excitement and anticipation for this talk as any I’ve seen during my time in academia. Despite all the challenges of the pandemic, the ability to now learn in real-time from an expert across the globe is an exciting benefit.”

During her talk, she spoke initially about the importance of even light levels of physical activity, e.g. taking breaks from sitting, on regulation of metabolic factors such as blood glucose. She then extensively detailed the impact of exercise training on transcriptomic changes in skeletal muscle and opportunities to advance the science in this area before finishing with recent work indicating the role of exercise timing on changes in a variety metabolic factors with relevance to obesity and diabetes. The latter suggesting that the time of day that one exercises may have an impact on metabolic responses to the exercise.

“Circadian influences on exercise responsiveness is an area ripe for an investigation and could have real impact for the prescription of exercise for metabolic health” Buford said.

After the lecture, Dr. Zierath also spent an hour with interested trainees and junior faculty discussing science and career development.

“We are very grateful to Dr. Zierath for donating her time to us, particularly in spending dedicated time after the lecture giving career advice to trainees and junior faculty,” Buford said. “I also want to thank the UAB NORC for helping to sponsor and publicize the event. This was an outstanding, collaborative opportunity for the UAB community.”