Judith Gavaler holds the rank of Research Professor Emeritus in the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of Pittsburgh School of Pharmacy. She received a BS in Chemistry from Hood College in Frederick, Maryland, and earned the Ph.D. in Epidemiology and Biostatistics from the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health in 1986. After rising to Research Professor in the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, she joined the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation faculty in 1993 as Head of Women's Health Research. She returned to the University of Pittsburgh in 2000.
Dr. Gavaler has been continually funded by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism since 1985. She has published over 290 manuscripts. She has served on various peer review study sections of the National Institutes of Health, as well as on editorial boards and advisory committees.
Dr. Gavaler's research has focused on the factors which modulate the hormonal status of postmenopausal women in general, and on the interactions and direct effects of alcoholic beverage consumption on the estrogen status of postmenopausal women in particular.
Dr. Gavaler's clinical studies included normal American Indian, Asian, Black, Hispanic and White post-menopausal women. The major findings of this research have included the following: Among postmenopausal women not using estrogen replacement therapy (ERT), moderate alcoholic beverage consumption (7 or fewer drinks per week) significantly increases postmenopausal estrogen concentrations, while higher levels of alcohol consumption do not further increase estrogen concentrations; these estrogen elevations are reflected in changes in markers of aromatization and adrenal steroid production.
Among postmenopausal women using ERT, Dr. Gavaler's research has demonstrated not only that all treated women do not achieve an adequate response in estrogen levels but also that moderate alcoholic beverage consumption positively modulates the response. In both ERT-treated and untreated women, significant heterogenity in alcohol effects among racial and ethnic groups has been observed.
Her clinical studies to delineate the effects of identified phyto-estrogenic substances contained in alcoholic beverages have included normal postmenopausal women representing all racial and ethnic groups. This research has demonstrated that these phyto-estrogens, in the absence of alcohol, are biologically active as evidenced by decreased gonadotropin levels and increased levels of HDL and SHBG
Underlying causes for the substantial differences in life expectancy among racial\ethnic groups.