Meet Dr. Carla Koehler

Perhaps you’ve met Carla Koehler, PhD, at UMDF’s Mitochondrial Medicine symposium; or, maybe you watched her provide information and education about mitochondrial disease on an ‘Ask the Mito Doc’ webcast. What you may not know is that when she is not in her lab at the University of California in Los Angeles, she creates beautiful pieces of glass fusion art.

It was during a sabbatical in Washington, DC, that Dr. Koehler started taking classes and experimenting with fused glass. It was her scientific background that helped her create art from glass. “I conceive ideas for original pieces from my research and nature around me,” Dr. Koehler said. Once she designs the piece, she cuts the glass and begins the steps to create a finished piece of art. “My glass artwork is inspired by my research studies and the natural beauty of our California landscapes,” Dr. Koehler said. She chooses her colors based on the changing hues of the ocean, the mountains and the desert.

It seems as though nature has been a constant guide for Dr. Koehler. Growing up on a farm in Wisconsin, she originally wanted to be a veterinarian. After spending a year in school to become a vet, Dr. Koehler realized that she wanted to pursue a career in research and applied to the graduate program at Iowa State University. She was introduced to mitochondria while in the master’s degree program in biochemistry at Iowa State. In 1999, she joined the Molecular Biology Institute at UCLA.

Currently, Dr. Koehler has her own lab at UCLA where she and her team conducts research that seeks to understand the dysfunction in mitochondria that can give rise to disease.

Many of the Dr. Koehler’s pieces are inspired by the mitochondria and her research.   See her collection at MIOTARTGLASS.