This interview with Dr. Caroline Kramer, clinician scientist at Sinai Health’s Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute (LTRI), is part of Behind the Science, a regular series from Sinai Health Foundation that asks some of its brightest and world-leading researchers about what drives their curiosity about the human body in health and illness. November is Diabetes Awareness Month and Dr. Kramer is an endocrinologist at the Leadership Sinai Centre for Diabetes at Mount Sinai Hospital.
What is your area of research and what are you hoping to discover?
My research program is focused on understanding the complex interaction between overweight/obesity and metabolic disease through clinical studies evaluating novel interventions such as intermittent fasting dietary approach and new medications.
What's been your biggest 'A-HA' moment to date?
I have worked on clinical studies aiming to understand the interaction of obesity with metabolic disease and the role of novel medications in the treatment of Type 2 diabetes. One of my highly-cited publications demonstrated that overweight/obesity is invariably associated with health problems and should be perceived as a disease.
What's one of the biggest challenges you've faced and why?
One of the main challenges of scientists is obtaining funding for research, which is a daily challenge for medical science anywhere.
What’s been one of your greatest rewards in your career so far?
As a Brazilian MD PhD, one of the greatest rewards of my career was when I was offered the job position at this institution with the opportunity to work together with world-class scientists in diabetes. On a personal level, a few important scientific publications promoting factors associated with healthy lifestyle and corroborating important health messages for lay public made me feel accomplished. I feel very honored to work at Sinai Health, recognizing the fact that the clinical research we do at Mount Sinai Hospital can help somehow the bigger audience to live better and happier.
What is one thing you’d like to accomplish in the next decade?
I’d like to advance scientific knowledge in diabetes by studying novel strategies to improve metabolic health. I am very excited with a new trial on intermittent fasting in individuals with Type 2 diabetes that we are conducting in our unit.
Did you change any of your or your family’s habits as a result of anything you learned from your research?
I am addicted to physical exercise and adopted a regular workout routine for many years now. In addition, I try to follow a well-balanced diet eating mainly unprocessed food.
What advice would you have to share with your 19-year old self?
“Enjoy the process.”
What is on your bucket list?
Visiting many places and beaches I have not been; adopt more dogs; try new sports.
What would your perfect day be like?
Walking and exploring a new landscape by the ocean in a sunny day. Or, during a regular workday, it would be having a nice latte, discussing new research ideas with my amazing colleagues, followed by a good boxing class and a walk with my dog by the lake.
Who would you invite, alive or dead, to your dream dinner party?
Alive: all of my friends and family.
Dead: my grandparents and two dear friends.
Celebrity: a Brazilian religious person and Walt Disney.
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