Caroline Apovian, MD

Institution: Brigham and Women's Hospital
Research: Nutrition and Metabolism
Grants & Publications: Harvard Catalyst
Categories: BWH

The Apovian research group primarily focuses on clinical research on human obesity and metabolism. Current research interests are weight change and its effects on adipose tissue metabolism and inflammation, obesity and cardiovascular disease, resolution of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease in the bariatric surgery population, disparities in the treatment of obesity in underserved populations, and novel pharmacotherapeutic agents for the treatment of obesity. Dr. Apovian is an expert in sampling subcutaneous adipose tissue and muscle tissue in humans and has been studying the relationship between adipose tissue inflammation and obesity for over 15 years. In 2016 she was appointed the Associate Director of Clinical Research for the Boston Nutrition and Obesity Research Center (BNORC – funded by P30 DK046200); in 2019, she became the Co-Director of BNORC. In January 2021, Dr. Apovian joined the faculty in the Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Nutrition at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. At present, three projects are ongoing:

1) Retrospective data analysis of patients with SARS-CoV-2. Analysis of PCR-confirmed SARS-CoV-2 patients admitted to Boston Medical Center (BMC) for correlations between ICU need, mortality, body mass index (BMI), inflammatory markers, race and vitamin D status (serum 25 hydroxyvitamin D levels) in patients with and without obesity. In one analysis, we discovered an independent association between vitamin D sufficiency defined by serum 25(OH)D ≥30 ng/mL and decreased risk of mortality from COVID-19 in elderly patients and patients without obesity (Endocr Pract PMC7939977); in another we show that patients with obesity were more likely to have poor outcomes even without increased inflammation (PLoS One PMC7744045).
2) Data repository of outpatients and inpatients in an urban medically-supervised nutrition and weight management center. Our group performs disparities research in bariatric surgery looking at the difference in racial and ethnic variability on weight loss and weight maintenance. We published that African American patient had significantly more weight regain after Roux-en-Y gastric bypass than Caucasian American patients (Obesity PMCID: PMC6345597).
3) Implementation of an Online Weight Management Program in Clinical and Community Settings: The PROPS II Study: This is a PCORI-funded study under PI Heather Baer. The main objective of the proposed project is to implement the combined intervention (including the online program plus additional support) from the PROPS Study in a broader population of patients and settings.