Prof Katherine Samaras

Lab Head - Clinical Obesity, Nutrition and Adipose Biology

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

Education

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, Brodaty H, Sachdev PS. Does statin use cause memory decline in the elderly? Trends Cardiovasc Med. 2016 Mar 28. pii: S1050-1738(16)30001-9. [Epub ahead of print] Review.

Teasdale SB, Ward PB, Rosenbaum S, Watkins A, Curtis J, Kalucy M, Samaras K. A nutrition intervention is effective in improving dietary components linked to cardiometabolic risk in youth with first-episode psychosis. Br J Nutr. 2016 Jun;115(11):1987-93.

Samaras K, Correll CU, Curtis J. Premature Mortality and Schizophrenia-The Need to Heal Right From the Start. JAMA Psychiatry. 2016 May 1;73(5):535-6.

Lim CP, Fisher OM, Falkenback D, Boyd D, Hayward CS, Keogh A, Samaras K, MacDonald P, Lord RV. Bariatric Surgery Provides a "Bridge to Transplant" for Morbidly Obese Patients with Advanced Heart Failure and May Obviate the Need for Transplantation. Obes Surg. 2016 Mar;26(3):486-93.

Samaras K, Crawford J, Lutgers HL, Campbell LV, Baune BT, Lux O, Brodaty H, Trollor JN, Sachdev PS. Metabolic, disease and mortality risk associated with impaired fasting glucose in the elderly.  J American Geriatric Society 2015; 63: 1435-42.

Samaras K. Cardiometabolic Risk and Monitoring in Psychiatric Disorders. (Invited Textbook Chapter). In: Cardiovascular Diseases and Depression - Treatment and Prevention in Psychocardiology. Editors: Baune and Tully. Springer Books; 2015 (In press).

Peters TJ, Buckley MJ, Statham AL, Pidsley R, Samaras K, Lord RV, Clark SJ, Molloy PL. De novo identification of differentially methylated regions in the human genome. Epigenetics and Chromatin 2015; 8:6.

Lim C, Fisher O, Falkenback D, Samaras K, Lord RV, Macdonald P. Bariatric Surgery: A ‘Bridge to Transplant’ for Morbidly Obese Patients With Advanced Heart Failure. J Heart Lung Transplantation 2015; 34(4):S184.

Blanchard E, Vickers C, Samaras K. Not so sweet: autoimmune diabetes mellitus on triple therapy for chronic hepatitis C infection. Diabetic Medicine 2015; 32:e1-3.

Harris VR, Samaras K. Diabetes in treated hepatitis C infection: dodging the sweet sting. (Invited commentary). Diabetes Management (in press, accepted 1/2/15).

Curtis J, Watkins A, Rosenbaum S, Teasdale S, Kalucey M, Samaras K, Ward P. Keeping the Body in Mind: an individualised lifestyle and life skills intervention to prevent antipsychotic-induced weight gain in first episode psychosis. Early Intervention in Psychiatry 2015; published online 26/2/15.

Teasdale S, Rosenbaum S, Watkins A, Curtis J, Samaras K, Ward P. Individual dietetic consultations in first episode psychosis: a novel intervention to reduce cardiometabolic risk. Community Mental Health J 2015;51:211-4.

Teasdale S, Rosenbaum S, Curtis J, Watkins A, Kalucey M, Samaras K, Ward P. Prevention of antipsychotic-induced weight gain in first episode psychosis: Transitioning dietitians into routine care. Nutrition & Dietetics (in press, accepted 19/4/15).

Rosenbaum S, Watkins A, Teasdale S, Curtis J, Samaras K, Kalucy M, Vancampfort D, Ward P. Aerobic exercise capacity: an important correlate of psychosocial function in first episode psychosis. Acta Psychiatric Scand 2015; 131:234.

Haysom L, Samaras K, Wines J, Stapylton C. Statin-associated myotoxicity in an incarcerated Indigenous youth- the perfect storm. Med J Australia 2015; 202: 381-2.

Samaras K, Morris MJ, Lord RV, Kavurma MM. The effect of bariatric surgery on serum TRAIL and osteoprotegerin levels in obesity complicated by glucose disorders. European e-Journal of Clinical Nutrition and Metabolism (e-SPEN) 2014.

Van Djik S, Molloy PL, Varinli H, Morrison JL, Muhlhauser BS, Buckley M, Clarke SJ, McMillen IC, Noakes M, Samaras K, Molloy P. Epigenetics and human obesity. Int J Obes 2014; 1-13.

Samaras K, Lutgers HL, Kochan NA, Crawford J, Campbell LV, Wen W, Slavin MJ, Baune BT, Lipnicki DM, Brodaty H, Trollor JN, Sachdev PS. The impact of glucose disorders on cognition and brain volumes in the elderly: The Sydney Memory and Ageing Study.  Age 2014; 36: 977-93.

Smith E, Bailey PE, Crawford J, Samaras K, Baune BT, Campbell LV, Kochan N, Manant J, Sturnieks DL, Brodaty H, Sachdev P, Trollor JN. Adiposity estimated using dual energy x-ray absorptiometry and body mass index and its association with cognition in elderly adults. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2014; 62: 2311-8.

McMahon CN, Samaras K. Endocrine and metabolic emergencies- HIV and AIDS. (Invited textbook chapter) In: Endocrine and Metabolic Medical Emergencies. Editor-in-Chief: G. Matfin. Endocrine Press, Washington DC. 2014.

Rider OJ, Asaad M, Ntusi N, Wainwright E, Clutton G, Hancock G, Pitcher A, Samaras K, Clarke K, Stefan N, Dorrell L, Holloway C. Human immunodeficiency virus is an independent predictor of aortic stiffness. J Cardiovasc Magnetic Resonance 2014; 16: 57.

Ahmed RM, Irish M, Kam J, van Keizerswaard J, Bartley L, Samaras K, Hodges JR, Piguet O. Quantifying the eating abnormalities in frontotemporal dementia. JAMA Neurol. 2014; 71: 1540-6.

Blanchard E, Samaras K. The metabolic syndrome- does its presence really matter? Endocrinology Today 2014; 2: 21-26.

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 American Medical Assoc Psych 2014; 71: 209-210.

Arnoldy R, Curtis J, Samaras K. Diabetic Medicine. The effects of antipsychotic switching on diabetes in chronic schizophrenia. Diabetic Medicine 2014; 31: e16-19.

Blanchard E, Samaras K. Double jeopardy: diabetes and severe mental illness. The special needs of this vulnerable group (Invited review). Diabetes Management 2014; 4: 339-353.

Samaras K, Curtis J. Treating diabetes and cardiovascular risk in new-onset psychosis. (Invited) Diapedia (Diabetes e-encyclopedia, European Association for the Study of Diabetes). 2014

Rosenbaum S, Samaras K, Ward P, Curtis, J. Observation to action: progressive implementation of lifestyle interventions to improve physical health outcomes in a community-based early psychosis treatment program.  ANZ J Psychiat 2014; 48: 1063-64.

Rosenbaum S, Teasdale S, Watkins A, Curtis J, Ward P, Samaras K. Diabetes in vulnerable populations: improving outcomes for people living with mental illness. Australian Diabetes Educator 2014; 17 (2).

Toogood V, Milliken S, Morey A, Samaras K. Adrenal tumours - How to establish malignancy. Brit Med J 2014.

Blanchard E, Brenner P, Delprado, W, Samaras K. Lymphangioma: an unusual cause for a non-functioning adrenal mass. Internal Medical Journal 2014; 44:306-7.

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.

Prof Katherine Samaras