- Associate Professor, School of Life Sciences, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
- Associate Professor and Barrett Honors Faculty, School of Nutrition and Health Promotion, College of Health Solutions
Karen Sweazea is a physiologist who specializes in diabetes and cardiovascular disease. She received her PhD in Physiological Sciences from the University of Arizona where her research focused on understanding glucose homeostasis and natural insulin resistance in birds. Her postdoctoral research was designed to explore how poor dietary habits promote the development of cardiovascular diseases. She is an associate professor in the School of Nutrition and Health Promotion in the College of Health Solutions.
Professor Sweazea's current research seeks to explore potentially protective mechanisms existing in mammalian and non-mammalian organisms against complications that can arise with being overweight or having high blood sugar levels. One of the main research foci is on understanding the reasons behind the evolution of naturally high blood sugar concentrations in birds in addition to exploring the impact of urbanization and poor dietary choices on avian health. Learning how certain animals thrive under conditions that would result in pathologies for other species may help improve the treatment of diabetes. A second research focus is on characterizing the mechanisms by which high caloric intake leads to cardiovascular disease and diabetes in mammalian and non-mammalian organisms. This particular research focus also includes the exploration of potential antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of functional foods in an effort to improve diet and reduce risk factors for cardiovascular disease in humans subjects.
- PhD, Physiological Sciences, University of Arizona, 2005
- BS, Physiology, University of Arizona, 1998
- AA, General Studies, El Camino College, 1995