Romana Stark


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PhD projects

How does the brain sense low blood glucose?


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Personal profile



My training commenced at the University of Vienna (Austria) where I completed a Masters in Nutrition Science in 2005 and a PhD in Medical Sciences in 2012.

My PhD specialized in endocrinology and metabolism with a particular focus on Diabetes. I conducted my PhD research training at Yale University under the guidance of two world leaders in diabetes/obesity research, Prof. Roden (German Diabetes Center, Germany) and Prof. Shulman (Yale University, USA). In Prof. Shulman's lab, I worked in mitochondrial metabolism and focused on how cells sense energy. I closely worked together with Prof. Shulman's research fellow at this time, A./Prof. Kibbey (Yale University, USA), a pioneer of the 'mitochondrial-GTP (mtGTP) theory' as an energy-sensor and an expert in isotopologue mass spectrometry. I learned to develop novel methodologies to address key research questions. For example, I designed a method to measure mitochondrial substrate flux using mass spectrometry. My research skills do not only include in vivo measurements of complex physiological parameters (e.g. rodent hyperinsulinemic-euglycemic clamps), but also in vitro research in several cell systems and metabolomics using mass spectrometry. My PhD work focused on the role of mitochondrial PEPCK (PEPCK-M) in glucose homeostasis and raised novel aspects about its function, which was highlighted as a key discovery by its inclusion in the Journal of Biological Chemistry Thematic Minireview of PEPCK. 

In September 2009 I moved to Australia and joined A./Prof. Watt (Monash University) as a research assistant in the field of lipid metabolism. After I completed my PhD studies in 2012, I joined the lab of Dr Zane Andrews (Monash University, Australia). 

Currently, I am a National Health Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Early Career Fellow and investigate neural mechanisms regulating food intake and weight, and how metabolic cues in the brain regulate peripheral tissues in order to maintain energy balance.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 7 - Affordable and Clean Energy

Education/Academic qualification

Medical Sciences, PhD

Award Date: 3 Jul 2012

Science of nutrition, Master of science, University of Vienna

Award Date: 30 Jun 2005

Research area keywords

  • Diabetes
  • Obesity
  • glucose metabolism
  • Mitochondria

Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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