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Melanie Cree Green, MD, PhD

What is your research?

I focus on Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) in adolescent girls and its negative side effects including menstrual cycle irregularities, infertility, male pattern hair growth, obesity, resistance to insulin, and an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. Even though PCOS affects 6-15% of the female population in the US, current treatment options are very limited and could potentially be contributing to long term metabolic risk. I came to the Anschutz Medical Campus for my residency and fellowship because of the expertise here. One of my principal mentors is Dr. Kristin Nadeau, a Center for Women’s Health Research physician-scientist who was mentored by Dr. Judy Regensteiner. 

My current research interests are in the relationship between sex steroids and insulin resistance. In my studies, I use stable isotope tracer methods and magnetic resonance spectroscopy methods. My primary project is studying insulin resistance and cardiovascular disease in adolescents with PCOS, and this work is funded by the Center for Women’s Health Research, the American Heart Association, the University of Colorado, and the Thrasher Pediatric Research Foundation. I started a multidisciplinary PCOS clinic for patients at Children’s Hospital Colorado and am also collaborating on studies examining insulin resistance in children with Type 1 and 2 diabetes, the effect of exercise in adults with Type 2 diabetes, and the effect of gestational diabetes on glucose metabolism in older adolescents

Why is your research important?

I am studying pre-diabetes and heart disease in girls with PCOS.  Previous studies have shown that women with PCOS have four times the risk of developing diabetes and have a larger incidence of high blood pressure and development of plaque in their arteries.  The purpose of my research is to better understand what is happening on metabolic and the vascular level to teenage girls with PCOS and if an intervention of exercise, diet, and medication at an early age will help to mitigate the risk of developing heart disease and diabetes.

How did you become interested in research and women’s health?

My first scientific experiment was in 10th grade. I went to Six Flags and measured blood pressure and heart rate before and after riding the rides.  Blood pressure and heart rate changed after going on the big rides. I loved it and have been doing clinical research ever since. 

I have been involved in Endocrinology Clinical Research since 1998, and have been interested in women’s health since my undergraduate training at Bryn Mawr, an all women’s college. Following a research project investigating the relationship of soy isoflavones ingestion on estrogen profiles, I completed a PhD in Clinical Investigations and Metabolism.  My dissertation work focused on the role of burn trauma, aging, dietary supplements and bedrest as modifiers of insulin resistance. My post-doctoral work focused on measuring mitochondrial function non-invasively with magnetic resonance spectroscopy. I completed the MD-PhD program at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston. Following my post doc studies at the University of Texas, Southwestern, I came to the University of Colorado School of Medicine and Children’s Hospital Colorado for my residency and fellowship.