The primary research focus for Alice Y. Chang, M.D., is polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), a condition of excess male-type hormones and insulin resistance. In particular, Dr. Chang studies what causes insulin resistance in women with PCOS in order to prevent the development of obesity, diabetes and other risk factors for heart disease. Current approaches include the use of metabolomics and response to drug therapy to identify disease-causing pathways in order to develop new therapies and individualize the treatment of PCOS.
Dr. Chang also conducts clinical trials in other conditions of excess male-type hormones such as congenital adrenal hyperplasia.
- Discovery of mechanisms for insulin resistance. Dr. Chang uses metabolomics to determine which metabolic pathways are associated with improvements in insulin resistance or failure to respond to therapy.
- Novel biomarkers for responses to therapy. Using metabolomics and pharmacometabolomic approaches, Dr. Chang hopes to identify biomarkers for response and to identify novel therapeutic targets.
- Cardiovascular risk in PCOS. Dr. Chang uses measurements of vascular function to study the interesting paradox of cardiovascular risk factors in PCOS without a significant increase in heart disease.
Significance to patient care
PCOS is the most common endocrine disorder in women of reproductive age. Dr. Chang's goal is to better treat the insulin resistance in PCOS that can significantly increase the risk of diabetes. Diabetes also significantly increases the risk of heart disease in all women with and without PCOS. With heart disease as the leading cause of death in women, understanding the mechanisms for insulin resistance and identifying new therapies to prevent the development of diabetes can significantly decrease the risk of heart disease in women with PCOS, and be helpful to all people with a high risk of diabetes.
- Editorial board, Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, 2012-present
- American Federation for Medical Research Junior Physician Investigator Award, 2012
- Research Affairs Core Committee, Endocrine Society, 2011-2014
- Chair, Mentoring Committee, Women in Endocrinology, 2011-2013
- Fellow-to-Faculty Transition Award, American Heart Association, 2007-2012