Colleen M. Croniger, PhD

   -  Associate Professor  |  Department of Nutrition
   -  Assistant Dean for Medical Student Research  |  Case School of Medicine

   -  Co-Director   |  Case Mouse Metabolic Phenotyping Center  < >

   -  Director  |  MMPC Metabolic Core



Academic History

  1984     B.A. in Biology  |  Ursuline College, Pepper Pike, OH

  1991     Ph.D. in Biology  |  Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH


Colleen Croniger has worked at CWRU since receiving her PhD in 1991. She was a post-doctoral fellow and subsequently held a Research Associate position in the Department of Biochemistry at CASE School of Medicine.  She participated in the implementation of the School of Medicine WR2 curriculum and has extensive knowledge of the school's education philosophy.  So much so that last year Colleen received the John S. Diekhoff Graduate Teaching Award for her work in nutrition and biochemistry.

• In addition to an impressive list of publications on the issue of lipid and glucose metabolism during obesity and diabetes, Colleen used her expertise in several public outreach events. She also participated in locally produced health segments for WCPN, WVIZ, and The Plain Dealer.   Dr. Croniger's exceptional understanding of students' research and education is also a product of how she easily engages with students, and continues to work as a mentor for local students while regularly participating in both CWRU's Science Day and the Cleveland Metropolitan School District's DNA Day.


Position and Employment

  1991 - 2000     Research associate, Department of Biochemistry CWRU
  2000 - 2002     Instructor, Department of Biochemistry, CWRU
  2002 - 2011      Assistant Professor, Department of Nutrition, CWRU
  2007 -              Director of the Metabolic Core for Mouse Metabolic Phenotyping Center
  2011 -              Associate Professor, Department of Nutrition, CWRU School of Medicine
  2013               John S. Diekhoff Award for Distinguished Graduate Student Teaching
  2014 (08/01)   Assistant Dean for Medical Student Research, CWRU School of Medicine

When not running the Metabolic Core for the CASE MMPC, Colleen teaches metabolism to first-year medical students and graduate students in the Department of Nutrition.

In January 2008, Dr. Croniger was awarded one of two 2007 School of Medicine Scholarship-in-Teaching Awards, an award she proudly shared with Dr. Martin Snider from the Department of Biochemistry.


In her own research, Colleen focuses on the mechanisms of altered lipid and glucose metabolism during obesity and diabetes. She also investigates main causes of liver disease in industrialized countries, namely alcoholic steatohepatitis (ASH), chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection, and nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). In patients who chronically consume alcohol or are morbidly obese, the progression of liver disease is similar, originating with development of a fatty liver (hepatic steatosis) and then progresses to hepatitis, fibrosis and finally cirrhosis. However, of those patients that develop hepatitis, only a small subset will progress further to cirrhosis.  Approximately 20-50% of patients with ASH and ~20% of patients with NASH will progress to cirrhosis suggesting a gene-environment interaction contributes to disease progression.

Dr. Croniger’s research is focused on the underlying genetic-environment interactions that make one vulnerable to developing liver disease. Using an unbiased approach to find genes that modulate the development of fibrosis, Dr. Croniger’s lab surveyed chromosome substitution strains (CSSs) containing one chromosome from the A/J inbred strain that was substituted for the corresponding chromosome on the C57BL/6J (B6) genetic background. For example, CSS-17 contains only A/J chromosome 17 while the rest of the genome was derived from the B6 strain. Dr. Croniger’s lab have identified quantitative trait loci (QTLs) associated with resistance to diet-induced obesity and hepatic steatosis on high fat high sucrose diet, obesity resistant QTL 13 and 15 (Obrq13 and Obrq15) (Millward et al., 2009). The primary difference between these QTLs derived from A/J alleles is that Obrq15, develops insulin resistance on the high fat high sucrose diet, whereas Obrq13 remains insulin sensitive. Dr. Croniger’s lab is expanding these genetic studies to determine genetic susceptibility to liver fibrosis. These studies have produced several candidate genes for future study. The goal of the lab’s research is to identify novel genes and metabolic pathways and investigate the mechanism by which small changes in genome sequence from single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) improve or reduce the possibility of developing liver disease. Understanding the mechanism for the progression of liver disease will enable us to generate novel therapies for the prevention and cure of liver disease.



  1. DeSantis D, Pisano S, McMullen MR, Pritchard MT, Nadeau JH, Nagy LE and Croniger CM.   “Genetic differences in development of diet-induced steatosis compared to ethanol-induced steatosis in mice with a single substituted chromosome.” (2012) (in press) Recent Advances in Alcoholic Liver Disease  (2012):  ISBN: 978-81-7895-571-1.

  2. Hsieh CW, Huang C, Hatzoglou M, Puchowicz M, and Croniger CM. “Role of Triglyceride/Fatty Acid Cycle in Development of Diabetes” Type 2 Diabetes / Book 4, Intech publishers  (2011):  ISBN 978-953-307-1090.



  1. Croniger, CM. Role of the Adipocyte in Development of Type 2 Diabetes. InTech publishers, Croatia  (2011):  ISBN:  978-953-307-1090

  2. Croniger, CM.  Medical Complication of Type 2 Diabetes. InTech publishers, Croatia (2011).  ISBN:  978-953-307-363-7



primary FACULTY

Colleen Croniger


Case Western Reserve University
CASE School of Medicine
Department of Nutrition
Mouse Metabolic Phenotyping Ctr. BRB 925 Office   |   BRB 909 Lab
10900 Euclid Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44106-2624

216.368.4967 Office | 216.-4512 Lab )
Fax:  (216) 368-6560

Department of Nutrition
10900 Euclid Avenue
School of Medicine • W-G48
Cleveland, OH 44106-4954