Dr. Diana Speelman of LECOM-Erie


Dr. Diana Speelman is the Director for Research for the College of Medicine at LECOM.  She is an Associate Professor of Biochemistry and Medical Genetics at LECOM-Erie, where she teaches and conducts research with Osteopathic Medical Students and Master of Science Students.  She earned her Ph.D. in Medical Biochemistry from the University of Maryland, Baltimore and her B.Sc. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.  She completed an internship at SmithKline Beecham in Reproductive Molecular Toxicology and postdoctoral training at the University of Maryland School of Medicine within the Department of Physiology.

Research Interests

A long-standing interest of mine has been understanding the molecular and biochemical basis of health and disease states.  Whether it is understanding how cells use signal transduction to mediate rapid as well as long-term effects in lymphocytes, altered protein-protein interactions can influence the development of neurodegenerative disease, physical forces can influence cell signaling and gene expression, or how hormones influence response of cells and tissues to the environment, one consistent theme of my research is investigating how changes at the molecular level lead to observable outcomes at the cell, tissue, and organismal level.  By better understanding the biochemical and molecular basis of normal and disease states, we can better apply this knowledge to promote health and wellness.

My fascination with the endocrine system stems from teaching endocrinology to premedical and medical students, along with a deep appreciation of the power of hormones to regulate or influence everything from metabolism to growth and development to behavior and more.  Our research focuses on hormone health and metabolism, particularly with respect to polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), the most common hormone disorder in reproductive age women.  PCOS affects female reproductive, endocrine, metabolic, and psychologic health – and yet the exact cause of the disorder remains unknown.  Women with PCOS are more prone to obesity, insulin resistance and development of type 2 diabetes, as well as the development of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.  With a focus on metabolic health in PCOS, our goal is to describe the molecular mechanisms underlying insulin resistance, adipose dysfunction, and liver steatosis in models for polycystic ovary syndrome.  Better understanding of the pathophysiology of this disease on the molecular level will guide the development of therapies and preventative measures to reduce the burden of this disease on women’s health.  We use a variety of molecular, biochemical, and histological approaches to test our hypotheses.

Our group is also interested in nutrition and exercise, with a particular focus on using these to improve hormone and metabolic health.

LECOM Medical StudentsLECOM Medical Students
LECOM Medical students conducting summer research (left) and presenting research at LECOM Interprofessional Research Day (right).

Recent Publications

Davis, S. E., Hendryx, J., Bouwer, S.*, Menezes, C.*, Menezes, H.*, Patel, V.*, & Speelman, D. L. (2019). Correlation Between Physiologic and Osteopathic Measures of Sympathetic Activity in Women With Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. J Am Osteopath Assoc, 119(1), 7-17. https://doi.org/10.7556/jaoa.2019.004

Davis, S. E., Hendryx, J., Menezes, C.*, Bouwer, S.*, Menezes, H.*, Patel, V.*, Bostick-Smith, C. A., & Speelman, D. L. (2020). Weekly Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment to Improve Measures of Sympathetic Tone in Women With Polycystic Ovary Syndrome: A Randomized, Controlled Pilot Study. J Am Osteopath Assoc, 120(5), 310-321. https://doi.org/10.7556/jaoa.2020.051

DeChick, A.*, Hetz, R., Lee, J., & Speelman, D. L. (2020). Increased Skeletal Muscle Fiber Cross-Sectional Area, Muscle Phenotype Shift, and Altered Insulin Signaling in Rat Hindlimb Muscles in a Prenatally Androgenized Rat Model for Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. Int J Mol Sci, 21(21). https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21217918

O’Donnell, K. T.*, Dunbar, M., & Speelman, D. L. (2020). Effectiveness of using a meditation app in reducing anxiety and improving well-being during the COVID-19 pandemic: A structured summary of a study protocol for a randomized controlled trial. Trials, 21(1), 1006. https://doi.org/10.1186/s13063-020-04935-6

Patel, V.*, Menezes, H.*, Menezes, C.*, Bouwer, S.*, Bostick-Smith, C. A., & Speelman, D. L. (2020). Regular Mindful Yoga Practice as a Method to Improve Androgen Levels in Women With Polycystic Ovary Syndrome: A Randomized, Controlled Trial. J Am Osteopath Assoc. https://doi.org/10.7556/jaoa.2020.050

Speelman, D. L. (2019a). Driving Progress and Innovation Through Research. J Am Osteopath Assoc, 119(1), 4-5. https://doi.org/10.7556/jaoa.2019.001

Speelman, D. L. (2019b). Nonpharmacologic Management of Symptoms in Females With Polycystic Ovary Syndrome: A Narrative Review. J Am Osteopath Assoc, 119(1), 25-39. https://doi.org/10.7556/jaoa.2019.006

LECOM Faculty indicated in bold, LECOM students indicated with an asterisk*.


PubMed-indexed Publications

Google Scholar-indexed Publications