Photo of Maria Hatzoglou

5 questions with…Case Medal for Excellence in Health Science Innovation winner Maria Hatzoglou

In a ceremony Oct. 22, School of Medicine Dean Stan Gerson awarded Maria Hatzoglou the Case Medal for Excellence in Health Science Innovation. She was recognized with the highest honor bestowed by the school for her groundbreaking research, decades of service and for being a wonderful role model. 

“Maria has an innovative mind, a creative approach to molecular problem solving, and is an incredible mentor and role model for trainees, women and our many immigrant scholars,” said Gerson. “She has inexhaustible vigor for biological discovery which elicits excitement to all who talk to her.”

Hatzoglou, a professor in the Department of Genetics and Genome Sciences, has extensive expertise on the molecular mechanisms of the cellular responses to diverse stress conditions and the implications in obesity, diabetes, ocular and other diseases.

Hatzoglou publishes in very high impact journals and is heavily cited—one of the most cited of any School of Medicine women faculty—and her collaborator list is long and international. 

She contributed to a body of work on the mechanisms of cellular adaptation to nutrient deprivation and published the first paper on the molecular mechanism of adaptive regulation of amino acid uptake in 1997. This was the beginning of a journey of discoveries that were published in 18 papers, including high visibility journals such as Cell and Mol Cell

Hatzoglou also published a body of work on the cellular response to osmotic stress and a paper on a diabetes model which identifies a new transcription factor protein that disrupts glucose metabolism—and she collaborated with constituents at Cleveland Clinic, University of Michigan, Maria Curie University in Poland and McGill University in Montreal on a paper regarding a Redox Thiol Switch controlling energy metabolism. 

Her recent work focuses on understanding the mechanisms that promote resilience of cells to extreme near-lethal environmental stress. She led investigations with national and international collaborators, and their findings were published recently in two high visibility journals (Mol Cell and Nature Communications) that highlight the significance of the findings for diabetes.  

Discover more about Hatzoglou in this week’s five questions. 

1. What’s the most thought-provoking class you’ve ever taken?

My first power yoga class—it was not at all what I was expecting and exactly what I needed.

2. Where is the best place to spend a day in Cleveland?

Cleveland Yoga In Beachwood followed by a Japanese lunch, a quick stop at Crate and Barrel and a trip to an art gallery. 

3. How do you like to start your day?

Coffee and the crossword in The New York Times.

4. What is the best advice you ever received?

Scientific breakthroughs occur because scientists work together to solve problems—not because one scientist is a genius.

5. What’s your favorite thing about Case Western Reserve?

I love science and so to be able to carry out research in a world class medical school with brilliant colleagues and students is everything I hoped for when I was first hired by Richard Hanson many years ago.