Dr. Collins is Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine.  She received her Ph.D. degree from The Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, MA, where she trained with Dr. Michael Marletta in biochemistry and drug metabolism.  She conducted postdoctoral research at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, NC with Dr. Robert J. Lefkowitz, after which she joined the faculty of Duke University Medical Center in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science and was awarded Tenure.  From 2010-2018 she was a Professor in the Diabetes, Obesity and Cardiovascular Research Center at Sanford-Burnham-Prebys Medical Institute.  Dr. Collins’ research focuses on signal transduction and regulation of fat cell metabolism, including mechanisms to enhance brown fat cell energy expenditure.  She has received continuous research support from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), The American Diabetes Association, American Heart Association, and pharmaceutical companies.  She has organized many National and International scientific meetings in the field of obesity and metabolic disease, served as a member of grant review panels for NIH and foundations. 

Research Focus:

Brown adipose tissue (BAT) evolved as a means of generating heat from stored calories, an adaptation termed non-shivering thermogenesis (NST); it was particularly important to early humans before the advent of houses and clothing. Brown adipocytes are highly enriched in mitochondria and express uncoupling protein-1 (UCP1), a unique protein that serves to ‘uncouple’ the mitochondrial proton gradient from ATP production. These cells are avid consumers of the glucose and fatty acids to support this activity, the net result being energy expenditure. Active brown fat is now appreciated to be present in humans throughout the lifespan. Moreover, its amount, as in rodents, significantly correlates with lower body fat and greater insulin sensitivity. Therefore an increase in humans of brown fat cells and their metabolic activity could target obesity and its comorbidities. β-adrenergic receptors (βARs) and protein kinase A convey the signal from catecholamines to increase lipolysis in adipocytes and to promote the ‘browning’ of adipocytes within white fat depots. The cardiac natriuretic peptides ANP and BNP also increase lipolysis and adipose ‘browning’ through a parallel pathway via protein kinase G.  An important component of adipose browning is the expansion of mitochondrial density and capacity to consume glucose and fatty acids. By understanding the components in the network of signals and their regulation we may identify new targets for clinical intervention in metabolic disease.  This presentation will focus on novel mechanisms driving mitochondrial biogenesis and adipose browning and their contribution to whole body fuel homeostasis.


The following timeline graph is generated from all co-authored publications.

Featured publications are shown below:

  1. The scaffold protein p62 regulates adaptive thermogenesis through ATF2 nuclear target activation. Fischer K, Fenzl A, Liu D, Dyar KA, Kleinert M, Brielmeier M, Clemmensen C, Fedl A, Finan B, Gessner A, Jastroch M, Huang J, Keipert S, Klingenspor M, Brüning JC, Kneilling M, Maier FC, Othman AE, Pichler BJ, Pramme-Steinwachs I, Sachs S, Scheideler A, Thaiss WM, Uhlenhaut H, Ussar S, Woods SC, Zorn J, Stemmer K, Collins S, Diaz-Meco M, Moscat J, Tschöp MH, Müller TD (2020) Nat Commun 11(1): 2306
    › Primary publication · 32385399 (PubMed) · PMC7211001 (PubMed Central)
  2. Control of Adipocyte Thermogenesis and Lipogenesis through β3-Adrenergic and Thyroid Hormone Signal Integration. Guilherme A, Yenilmez B, Bedard AH, Henriques F, Liu D, Lee A, Goldstein L, Kelly M, Nicoloro SM, Chen M, Weinstein L, Collins S, Czech MP (2020) Cell Rep 31(5): 107598
    › Primary publication · 32375048 (PubMed) · PMC7676427 (PubMed Central)
  3. Research Priorities for Heart Failure With Preserved Ejection Fraction: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute Working Group Summary. Shah SJ, Borlaug BA, Kitzman DW, McCulloch AD, Blaxall BC, Agarwal R, Chirinos JA, Collins S, Deo RC, Gladwin MT, Granzier H, Hummel SL, Kass DA, Redfield MM, Sam F, Wang TJ, Desvigne-Nickens P, Adhikari BB (2020) Circulation 141(12): 1001-1026
    › Primary publication · 32202936 (PubMed) · PMC7101072 (PubMed Central)
  4. A compendium of G-protein-coupled receptors and cyclic nucleotide regulation of adipose tissue metabolism and energy expenditure. Ceddia RP, Collins S (2020) Clin Sci (Lond) 134(5): 473-512
    › Primary publication · 32149342 (PubMed) · PMC9137350 (PubMed Central)
  5. Natriuretic peptide receptor C contributes to disproportionate right ventricular hypertrophy in a rodent model of obesity-induced heart failure with preserved ejection fraction with pulmonary hypertension. Agrawal V, Fortune N, Yu S, Fuentes J, Shi F, Nichols D, Gleaves L, Poovey E, Wang TJ, Brittain EL, Collins S, West JD, Hemnes AR (2019) Pulm Circ 9(4): 2045894019878599
    › Primary publication · 31903184 (PubMed) · PMC6923530 (PubMed Central)
  6. Unknown actor in adipose tissue metabolism hiding in plain sight. Collins S (2019) Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 116(35): 17145-17146
    › Primary publication · 31391298 (PubMed) · PMC6717271 (PubMed Central)
  7. HDAC11 suppresses the thermogenic program of adipose tissue via BRD2. Bagchi RA, Ferguson BS, Stratton MS, Hu T, Cavasin MA, Sun L, Lin YH, Liu D, Londono P, Song K, Pino MF, Sparks LM, Smith SR, Scherer PE, Collins S, Seto E, McKinsey TA (2018) JCI Insight 3(15)
    › Primary publication · 30089714 (PubMed) · PMC6129125 (PubMed Central)
  8. Cardiac natriuretic peptides promote adipose 'browning' through mTOR complex-1. Liu D, Ceddia RP, Collins S (2018) Mol Metab : 192-198
    › Primary publication · 29396369 (PubMed) · PMC5870104 (PubMed Central)
  9. Second messenger signaling mechanisms of the brown adipocyte thermogenic program: an integrative perspective. Shi F, Collins S (2017) Horm Mol Biol Clin Investig 31(2)
    › Primary publication · 28949928 (PubMed)
  10. Enhancing natriuretic peptide signaling in adipose tissue, but not in muscle, protects against diet-induced obesity and insulin resistance. Wu W, Shi F, Liu D, Ceddia RP, Gaffin R, Wei W, Fang H, Lewandowski ED, Collins S (2017) Sci Signal 10(489)
    › Primary publication · 28743802 (PubMed) · PMC7418652 (PubMed Central)
  11. Activation of mTORC1 is essential for β-adrenergic stimulation of adipose browning. Liu D, Bordicchia M, Zhang C, Fang H, Wei W, Li JL, Guilherme A, Guntur K, Czech MP, Collins S (2016) J Clin Invest 126(5): 1704-16
    › Primary publication · 27018708 (PubMed) · PMC4855937 (PubMed Central)
  12. Adipose tissue natriuretic peptide receptor expression is related to insulin sensitivity in obesity and diabetes. Kovacova Z, Tharp WG, Liu D, Wei W, Xie H, Collins S, Pratley RE (2016) Obesity (Silver Spring) 24(4): 820-8
    › Primary publication · 26887289 (PubMed) · PMC5067565 (PubMed Central)
  13. The functional characterization of long noncoding RNA SPRY4-IT1 in human melanoma cells. Mazar J, Zhao W, Khalil AM, Lee B, Shelley J, Govindarajan SS, Yamamoto F, Ratnam M, Aftab MN, Collins S, Finck BN, Han X, Mattick JS, Dinger ME, Perera RJ (2014) Oncotarget 5(19): 8959-69
    › Primary publication · 25344859 (PubMed) · PMC4253410 (PubMed Central)
  14. Measuring respiratory activity of adipocytes and adipose tissues in real time. Bugge A, Dib L, Collins S (2014) Methods Enzymol : 233-47
    › Primary publication · 24529442 (PubMed)
  15. A heart-adipose tissue connection in the regulation of energy metabolism. Collins S (2014) Nat Rev Endocrinol 10(3): 157-63
    › Primary publication · 24296515 (PubMed)
  16. LXRα fuels fatty acid-stimulated oxygen consumption in white adipocytes. Dib L, Bugge A, Collins S (2014) J Lipid Res 55(2): 247-57
    › Primary publication · 24259533 (PubMed) · PMC3886663 (PubMed Central)
  17. Heart hormones fueling a fire in fat. Collins S, Bordicchia M (2013) Adipocyte 2(2): 104-8
    › Primary publication · 23805407 (PubMed) · PMC3661113 (PubMed Central)
  18. p62 links β-adrenergic input to mitochondrial function and thermogenesis. Müller TD, Lee SJ, Jastroch M, Kabra D, Stemmer K, Aichler M, Abplanalp B, Ananthakrishnan G, Bhardwaj N, Collins S, Divanovic S, Endele M, Finan B, Gao Y, Habegger KM, Hembree J, Heppner KM, Hofmann S, Holland J, Küchler D, Kutschke M, Krishna R, Lehti M, Oelkrug R, Ottaway N, Perez-Tilve D, Raver C, Walch AK, Schriever SC, Speakman J, Tseng YH, Diaz-Meco M, Pfluger PT, Moscat J, Tschöp MH (2013) J Clin Invest 123(1): 469-78
    › Primary publication · 23257354 (PubMed) · PMC3533288 (PubMed Central)
  19. Uncoupling and reactive oxygen species (ROS)--a double-edged sword for β-cell function? "Moderation in all things". Collins S, Pi J, Yehuda-Shnaidman E (2012) Best Pract Res Clin Endocrinol Metab 26(6): 753-8
    › Primary publication · 23168277 (PubMed)
  20. β-Adrenoceptor Signaling Networks in Adipocytes for Recruiting Stored Fat and Energy Expenditure. Collins S (2011) Front Endocrinol (Lausanne) : 102
    › Primary publication · 22654837 (PubMed) · PMC3355892 (PubMed Central)
  21. Can having fun protect you from obesity and its cancer risk? Collins S (2012) Pigment Cell Melanoma Res 25(1): 2-3
    › Primary publication · 22474697 (PubMed)
  22. Cardiac natriuretic peptides act via p38 MAPK to induce the brown fat thermogenic program in mouse and human adipocytes. Bordicchia M, Liu D, Amri EZ, Ailhaud G, Dessì-Fulgheri P, Zhang C, Takahashi N, Sarzani R, Collins S (2012) J Clin Invest 122(3): 1022-36
    › Primary publication · 22307324 (PubMed) · PMC3287224 (PubMed Central)
  23. EGF receptor (ERBB1) abundance in adipose tissue is reduced in insulin-resistant and type 2 diabetic women. Rogers C, Moukdar F, McGee MA, Davis B, Buehrer BM, Daniel KW, Collins S, Barakat H, Robidoux J (2012) J Clin Endocrinol Metab 97(3): E329-40
    › Primary publication · 22238402 (PubMed)
  24. Nuclear factor erythroid-derived factor 2-related factor 2 regulates transcription of CCAAT/enhancer-binding protein β during adipogenesis. Hou Y, Xue P, Bai Y, Liu D, Woods CG, Yarborough K, Fu J, Zhang Q, Sun G, Collins S, Chan JY, Yamamoto M, Andersen ME, Pi J (2012) Free Radic Biol Med 52(2): 462-72
    › Primary publication · 22138520 (PubMed) · PMC3307524 (PubMed Central)
  25. Continued clearance of apoptotic cells critically depends on the phagocyte Ucp2 protein. Park D, Han CZ, Elliott MR, Kinchen JM, Trampont PC, Das S, Collins S, Lysiak JJ, Hoehn KL, Ravichandran KS (2011) Nature 477(7363): 220-4
    › Primary publication · 21857682 (PubMed) · PMC3513690 (PubMed Central)
  26. Glutathionylation acts as a control switch for uncoupling proteins UCP2 and UCP3. Mailloux RJ, Seifert EL, Bouillaud F, Aguer C, Collins S, Harper ME (2011) J Biol Chem 286(24): 21865-75
    › Primary publication · 21515686 (PubMed) · PMC3122241 (PubMed Central)
  27. Acute stimulation of white adipocyte respiration by PKA-induced lipolysis. Yehuda-Shnaidman E, Buehrer B, Pi J, Kumar N, Collins S (2010) Diabetes 59(10): 2474-83
    › Primary publication · 20682684 (PubMed) · PMC3279548 (PubMed Central)
  28. Low-level arsenic impairs glucose-stimulated insulin secretion in pancreatic beta cells: involvement of cellular adaptive response to oxidative stress. Fu J, Woods CG, Yehuda-Shnaidman E, Zhang Q, Wong V, Collins S, Sun G, Andersen ME, Pi J (2010) Environ Health Perspect 118(6): 864-70
    › Primary publication · 20100676 (PubMed) · PMC2898865 (PubMed Central)
  29. ADD1/SREBP1c activates the PGC1-alpha promoter in brown adipocytes. Hao Q, Hansen JB, Petersen RK, Hallenborg P, Jørgensen C, Cinti S, Larsen PJ, Steffensen KR, Wang H, Collins S, Wang J, Gustafsson JA, Madsen L, Kristiansen K (2010) Biochim Biophys Acta 1801(4): 421-9
    › Primary publication · 19962449 (PubMed)
  30. ROS signaling, oxidative stress and Nrf2 in pancreatic beta-cell function. Pi J, Zhang Q, Fu J, Woods CG, Hou Y, Corkey BE, Collins S, Andersen ME (2010) Toxicol Appl Pharmacol 244(1): 77-83
    › Primary publication · 19501608 (PubMed) · PMC2837798 (PubMed Central)
  31. Persistent oxidative stress due to absence of uncoupling protein 2 associated with impaired pancreatic beta-cell function. Pi J, Bai Y, Daniel KW, Liu D, Lyght O, Edelstein D, Brownlee M, Corkey BE, Collins S (2009) Endocrinology 150(7): 3040-8
    › Primary publication · 19246534 (PubMed) · PMC2703519 (PubMed Central)
  32. Reduced antioxidant capacity and diet-induced atherosclerosis in uncoupling protein-2-deficient mice. Moukdar F, Robidoux J, Lyght O, Pi J, Daniel KW, Collins S (2009) J Lipid Res 50(1): 59-70
    › Primary publication · 18698091 (PubMed)
  33. UCP2 modulates cell proliferation through the MAPK/ERK pathway during erythropoiesis and has no effect on heme biosynthesis. Elorza A, Hyde B, Mikkola HK, Collins S, Shirihai OS (2008) J Biol Chem 283(45): 30461-70
    › Primary publication · 18687678 (PubMed) · PMC2576537 (PubMed Central)
  34. Suppression of hepatic glucose production by human neutrophil alpha-defensins through a signaling pathway distinct from insulin. Liu HY, Collins QF, Moukdar F, Zhuo D, Han J, Hong T, Collins S, Cao W (2008) J Biol Chem 283(18): 12056-63
    › Primary publication · 18347011 (PubMed) · PMC2335365 (PubMed Central)
  35. Orphan nuclear receptor NOR-1 enhances 3',5'-cyclic adenosine 5'-monophosphate-dependent uncoupling protein-1 gene transcription. Kumar N, Liu D, Wang H, Robidoux J, Collins S (2008) Mol Endocrinol 22(5): 1057-64
    › Primary publication · 18238829 (PubMed) · PMC2366189 (PubMed Central)
  36. Liver X receptor alpha is a transcriptional repressor of the uncoupling protein 1 gene and the brown fat phenotype. Wang H, Zhang Y, Yehuda-Shnaidman E, Medvedev AV, Kumar N, Daniel KW, Robidoux J, Czech MP, Mangelsdorf DJ, Collins S (2008) Mol Cell Biol 28(7): 2187-200
    › Primary publication · 18195045 (PubMed) · PMC2268430 (PubMed Central)
  37. Activation of Nrf2-mediated oxidative stress response in macrophages by hypochlorous acid. Pi J, Zhang Q, Woods CG, Wong V, Collins S, Andersen ME (2008) Toxicol Appl Pharmacol 226(3): 236-43
    › Primary publication · 17980396 (PubMed)
  38. beta-Cell mitochondria exhibit membrane potential heterogeneity that can be altered by stimulatory or toxic fuel levels. Wikstrom JD, Katzman SM, Mohamed H, Twig G, Graf SA, Heart E, Molina AJ, Corkey BE, de Vargas LM, Danial NN, Collins S, Shirihai OS (2007) Diabetes 56(10): 2569-78
    › Primary publication · 17686943 (PubMed)
  39. Molecular mechanism of human Nrf2 activation and degradation: role of sequential phosphorylation by protein kinase CK2. Pi J, Bai Y, Reece JM, Williams J, Liu D, Freeman ML, Fahl WE, Shugar D, Liu J, Qu W, Collins S, Waalkes MP (2007) Free Radic Biol Med 42(12): 1797-806
    › Primary publication · 17512459 (PubMed) · PMC1950666 (PubMed Central)
  40. Reactive oxygen species as a signal in glucose-stimulated insulin secretion. Pi J, Bai Y, Zhang Q, Wong V, Floering LM, Daniel K, Reece JM, Deeney JT, Andersen ME, Corkey BE, Collins S (2007) Diabetes 56(7): 1783-91
    › Primary publication · 17400930 (PubMed)
  41. Requirement of vimentin filament assembly for beta3-adrenergic receptor activation of ERK MAP kinase and lipolysis. Kumar N, Robidoux J, Daniel KW, Guzman G, Floering LM, Collins S (2007) J Biol Chem 282(12): 9244-50
    › Primary publication · 17251187 (PubMed)
  42. Maximal beta3-adrenergic regulation of lipolysis involves Src and epidermal growth factor receptor-dependent ERK1/2 activation. Robidoux J, Kumar N, Daniel KW, Moukdar F, Cyr M, Medvedev AV, Collins S (2006) J Biol Chem 281(49): 37794-802
    › Primary publication · 17032647 (PubMed)
  43. p38 Mitogen-activated protein kinase plays a stimulatory role in hepatic gluconeogenesis. Cao W, Collins QF, Becker TC, Robidoux J, Lupo EG, Xiong Y, Daniel KW, Floering L, Collins S (2005) J Biol Chem 280(52): 42731-7
    › Primary publication · 16272151 (PubMed)
  44. Selective activation of mitogen-activated protein (MAP) kinase kinase 3 and p38alpha MAP kinase is essential for cyclic AMP-dependent UCP1 expression in adipocytes. Robidoux J, Cao W, Quan H, Daniel KW, Moukdar F, Bai X, Floering LM, Collins S (2005) Mol Cell Biol 25(13): 5466-79
    › Primary publication · 15964803 (PubMed) · PMC1157000 (PubMed Central)
  45. Overview of clinical perspectives and mechanisms of obesity. Collins S (2005) Birth Defects Res A Clin Mol Teratol 73(7): 470-1
    › Primary publication · 15959883 (PubMed)
  46. Persistent nuclear factor-kappa B activation in Ucp2-/- mice leads to enhanced nitric oxide and inflammatory cytokine production. Bai Y, Onuma H, Bai X, Medvedev AV, Misukonis M, Weinberg JB, Cao W, Robidoux J, Floering LM, Daniel KW, Collins S (2005) J Biol Chem 280(19): 19062-9
    › Primary publication · 15757894 (PubMed) · PMC1382174 (PubMed Central)
  47. Learning new tricks from old dogs: beta-adrenergic receptors teach new lessons on firing up adipose tissue metabolism. Collins S, Cao W, Robidoux J (2004) Mol Endocrinol 18(9): 2123-31
    › Primary publication · 15243132 (PubMed)
  48. Genetic vulnerability to diet-induced obesity in the C57BL/6J mouse: physiological and molecular characteristics. Collins S, Martin TL, Surwit RS, Robidoux J (2004) Physiol Behav 81(2): 243-8
    › Primary publication · 15159170 (PubMed)
  49. Resistance to cerebral ischemic injury in UCP2 knockout mice: evidence for a role of UCP2 as a regulator of mitochondrial glutathione levels. de Bilbao F, Arsenijevic D, Vallet P, Hjelle OP, Ottersen OP, Bouras C, Raffin Y, Abou K, Langhans W, Collins S, Plamondon J, Alves-Guerra MC, Haguenauer A, Garcia I, Richard D, Ricquier D, Giannakopoulos P (2004) J Neurochem 89(5): 1283-92
    › Primary publication · 15147521 (PubMed)
  50. p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase is the central regulator of cyclic AMP-dependent transcription of the brown fat uncoupling protein 1 gene. Cao W, Daniel KW, Robidoux J, Puigserver P, Medvedev AV, Bai X, Floering LM, Spiegelman BM, Collins S (2004) Mol Cell Biol 24(7): 3057-67
    › Primary publication · 15024092 (PubMed) · PMC371122 (PubMed Central)
  51. Beta-adrenergic receptors and regulation of energy expenditure: a family affair. Robidoux J, Martin TL, Collins S (2004) Annu Rev Pharmacol Toxicol : 297-323
    › Primary publication · 14744248 (PubMed)
  52. Regulation of the uncoupling protein-2 gene in INS-1 beta-cells by oleic acid. Medvedev AV, Robidoux J, Bai X, Cao W, Floering LM, Daniel KW, Collins S (2002) J Biol Chem 277(45): 42639-44
    › Primary publication · 12205102 (PubMed)
  53. New series of aryloxypropanolamines with both human beta(3)-adrenoceptor agonistic activity and free radical scavenging properties. Aubriot S, Nicolle E, Lattier M, Morel C, Cao W, Daniel KW, Collins S, Leclerc G, Faure P (2002) Bioorg Med Chem Lett 12(2): 209-12
    › Primary publication · 11755356 (PubMed)