Prof Katherine Samaras

Prof Katherine Samaras

Lab Head - Adipose Tissue Biology in Diabetes and Obesity

Clinical Fellow

Conjoint/Adjunct Role(s)

Professor of Medicine, St Vincent's Clinical School, Faculty of Medicine, UNSW Australia
Professor of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine. University Notre Dame University

Prof Samaras is an endocrinologist and clinical researcher. She is a senior staff specialist in the Department of Endocrinology, St Vincent’s Hospital and is the Founder and Director of the Australian Centre for Metabolic Health (St Vincent’s Campus) addressing the diseases of diabetes and obesity, their treatment and prevention. Her work on diabetes and obesity prevention and early intervention have translated to the establishment of obesity services on St Vincent’s Campus, early intervention services in severe mental illness (First Episode Pyschosis Unit, Bondi Centre, South Eastern Sydney Local Health District) and international treatment guidelines.

Her research focuses on how diabetes and obesity adversely affect health and how this can be ameliorated, in work that extends from the bedside to the laboratory bench and back again.

PhD studies were undertaken at Garvan under the supervision of Prof Lesley Campbell. Prior appointments include St Thomas’ Hospital, London (Twin Research and genetic Epidemiology Unit) and Boston School of Public Health (Program for Population Genetics), examining the genetics of adiposity. She has previously served as Chairman, Specialist Advisory Committee for Endocrinology, Royal Australian College of Physicians and a number of other national committees, specialist societies, grant funding bodies and scientific journals. She has been the recipient of a NHMRC Career Development Award Fellowship.

Research collaborations outside Garvan include research on the impact of diabetes and obesity on ageing and cognition (Centre for Healthy Brain and Ageing, UNSW), epigenetics in diabetes and obesity (CSIRO), diabetes and metabolism in HIV (St Vincent’s and the Kirby Institute, UNSW) and diabetes and obesity prevention in mental illness (UNSW and other groups internationally). 

Research Interests

Diabetes and obesity and their impact on human health, including cardiovascular health, ageing and cognition
The mechanisms of insulin resistance, how it promotes diabetes and how it is reversed
Metabolic syndrome
Endocrine complications of HIV-infection and its treatment

Awards and Honours

2013 - The HeAL Declaration (Healthy Active Lives) tabled in the House of Lords (UK) as part of the Royal College of Psychiatrists “Parity of Esteem” Presentation
2013 - The HeAL Declaration (Healthy Active Lives) adopted by NSW Government
2013 - EuroHeAL Declaration launched, Kortenburg (Belgium)
2013 - Invitee, Ministerial Summit, Parliament House 24th May 2013. National Summit on Physical in Mental Health: Addressing the premature death of people with mental illness.
2011 - NSW Health Awards Finalist, Award for Excellence in Mental Health
2011 - “Don’t just screen, intervene” Clinical algorithm for metabolic health in mental illness adopted by UK Royal College of Psychiatrists website “Improving physical and mental health”
2011 - “Don’t just screen, intervene” Clinical algorithm for metabolic health in mental illness adopted by NSW Health into “Linking Physical and Mental Health: Training Package.”
2010 - Don Chisholm-GSK Clinical Fellowship
2008 - Invitee, Australian Academy of Science and The Royal Society, Theo Murphy High Flyers Think Tank, Sydney University,
2008 - Invitee, Parliamentary Enquiry into Obesity, House of Representatives, Federal Australian Parliament, Canberra
2005 - NHMRC-Diabetes Australia RD Wright Fellowship /Career Development Award
2001 - Diabetes Australia Fellowship, Royal Australasian College of Physicians
2000 - Best Thesis Prize for 2000, Garvan Institute of Medical Research
2000 - HRT Paper selected as "Hot Paper", Yearbook of Endocrinology
2000 - Twin Paper selected as "Hot Paper", Yearbook of Endocrinology Endocrine Society of America
2000 - Co-chair, Diabetes Research Roundtable Meeting, Parliament House, Canberra
1999 - American Diabetes Society: Commendation: outstanding reviewer
1996-8 - National Health and Medical Research Council Postgraduate Medical Scholarship
1996 - Young Investigator Award, Australasian Society for the Study of Obesity


2001 - PhD, University of New South Wales - Australia
1996 - Fellowship, Royal Australasian College of Physicians
1988 - MBBS (Hons), University of New South Wales - Australia

Selected Publications

Samaras K, Viardot A, Botelho NK, Jenkins A, Lord RV. Immune cell inflammation and the early improvements in glucose metabolism after gastric banding surgery. Diabetologia 2013; 56:2564-72.

Samaras K. Bariatric surgery in type 2 diabetes: for whom and when? (Invited Review). Minerva Endocrinologica 2013; 38: 47-58.

Samaras K, Correll CU, Mitchell AJ, De Hert M, on behalf of the HeAL Collaborators. Diabetes risk potentially underestimated in youth and children receiving antipsychotics. J Am Med Assoc Psych. 2013 (in press, accepted 23/9/13).

Viardot A, Heilbronn LK, Samocha-Bonet D, Mackay F, Campbell LV, Samaras K. Obesity is associated with activated and insulin resistant immune cells. Diabetes Metabolism Research and Reviews 2012; 28: 447-454.

Samaras K, Sachdev P. Diabetes and the elderly brain: sweet memories? (Invited review). Therapeutic advances in Endocrinology and Metabolism 2012; 3:189-195.

Samaras K, Crawford J, Baune BT, Campbell LV, Smith E, Lux O, Brodaty H, Trollor JN, Sachdev PS. The value of the Metabolic Syndrome concept in the elderly: Is its worth less than the sum of its parts? J American Geriatric Society 2012; 60: 1734-41.

Curtis J, Newall H, Samaras K. The heart of the matter: cardiometabolic care in youth with psychosis. Early Interven Psychosis 2012 (ePub 6/1/12). 

Samaras K. The burden of diabetes and hyperlipidemia in treated HIV-infection and approaches for cardiometabolic care. (Invited Review) Current HIV/AIDS Reports 2012; 9: 206-217.

Samaras K, Botelho NK, Chisholm DJ, Lord RV.  Subcutaneous and Visceral Adipose Tissue Gene Expression of Serum Adipokines That Predict Type 2 Diabetes. Obesity. 2010; 18: 884-9.

Viardot A, Lord RV, Samaras K. The effects of weight loss and gastric banding on the innate and adaptive immune system in type 2 diabetes and pre-diabetes. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 2010; 95: 2845-50.

Samaras K. Endocrine Disorders in HIV-infection. Fundamentals of Global HIV Medicine. American Academy for HIV Medicine Eds: Temesgen Z, Gilliam B, Amoroso A, Goosby E. IHL Press, MA, USA, 2009. Chapter 24, pp 211-281; ISBN: 978-0-9754188-2-6

Grunfeld C, Kotler DP, Arnett DK, Falutz JM, Haffner SM, Hruz P, Masur H, Meigs JB, Mulligan K, Reiss P, Samaras K; Working Group 1. Contribution of metabolic and anthropometric abnormalities to cardiovascular disease risk factors. Circulation. 2008 Jul 8; 118: e20-8.

Samaras K, Wand H, Law M, Emery S, Cooper DA, Carr A. Metabolic Syndrome in HIV-infected patients using IDF and ATPIII criteria: prevalence, discordance and clinical utility. Diabetes Care 2007, 30: 113-9.

Samaras K, Chisholm DJ. Diabetes, insulin resistance and glucose metabolism in HIV infection and its treatment. In: The Epidemiology of Diabetes Mellitus: An International Perspective. Editors: Ekoe J-M, Zimmet P, Williams R, Rewers M. John Wiley and Sons, 2008, pp 665-675.

Samaras K, Kelly PJ, Chiano MN, Spector TD, Campbell LV. Genetic and environmental influences on total and central abdominal fat: the effect of physical activity in female twins. Annals of Internal Medicine 1999; 130:873-882.

Carr A, Samaras K, Thorisdottir A, Kaufmann GR, Chisholm DJ, Cooper DA. Natural history, diagnosis and prediction of HIV protease inhibitor-induced lipodystrophy, hyperlipidaemia and diabetes mellitus. Lancet 1999 353: 2094-2099.

Carr A, Samaras K, Burton S, Freund J, Chisholm DJ, Cooper DA. A syndrome of peripheral lipodystrophy, hyperlipidaemia and insulin resistance due to HIV protease inhibitors. AIDS 1998; 12:F51-F58.

Carr A, Samaras K, Chisholm DJ, Cooper DA. Pathogenesis of protease-inhibitor-associated syndrome of peripheral lipodystrophy, hyperlipidaemia and insulin resistance. Lancet 1998;351:1881-3.

Prof Katherine Samaras