While Dr. Catlin was a UCLA professor, his lifelong interest in drug abuse expanded to doping in sports. He joined the UCLA School of Medicine faculty in 1972 and founded the UCLA Olympic Analytical Laboratory in 1982 to run the doping control tests for the 1984 Olympics. The lab's service group provided urine tests and drug education to national and international sports organizations, including the U.S. Olympic Committee (since 1985), NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association, since 1986), NFL (National Football League, since 1990), National Center for Drug Free Sport (since 1999, runs the NCAA program), U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (since 2000, runs the U.S. Olympic Committee program), and Minor League Baseball (since 2004). To conduct sports doping control testing, the lab's scientists were required to master analytical chemistry, drug metabolism and pharmacokinetics, as well as legal and ethical issues.
Because competitors who cheat often try to use scientific and medical advances to their advantage, doping control tests require constant research and development to keep up. Dr. Catlin’s research has made it possible to crack a host of designer steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs used to try to avoid detection. Such drugs include the steroids norbolethone (2002), THG (tetrahydrogestrinone, 2003), and madol (2004), as well as darbepoetin alfa (Aranesp®, 2002), a drug that had barely been approved by the FDA. These widely acclaimed achievements required pooling expertise internally—analytical and synthetic chemistry, as well as molecular biology—and externally with lawyers and sports administrators.
The research group also pursued interests in the clinical pharmacology (or fate inside the body) of anabolic androgenic steroids (male hormones, synthetic and natural) and of erythropoietic proteins (blood boosters), applying its expertise with clinical trials, body fluids analysis, GC-MS (gas chromatography-mass spectrometry), LC-MS (liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry), carbon isotope ratio mass spectrometry, and isoelectric focusing. Projects included estimating the metabolic clearance and production rate of testosterone by intravenous infusions of deuterium-labeled testosterone, determining the pharmacokinetics of steroids such as androstenedione (“andro,” formerly sold over the counter) and DHEA (still sold over the counter), and using carbon isotope ratio techniques to determine the source (synthetic or natural) of plasma and urine steroids.
In addition to currently serving as Professor Emeritus of Molecular and Medical Pharmacology at the UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine, Dr. Catlin is also the chairman of the Equine Drug Research Institute’s Scientific Advisory Committee, a member of the Federation Equestre Internationale Commission on Equine Anti-Doping & Medication, and a longtime member of the International Olympic Committee Medical Commission.
Sekera, MH Ahrens, BD Chang, YC Starcevic, B Georgakopoulos, C Catlin, DH Another designer steroid: discovery, synthesis, and detection of 'madol' in urine. Rapid communications in mass spectrometry : RCM. . 2005; 19(6): 781-4.
Catlin, DH Sekera, MH Ahrens, BD Starcevic, B Chang, YC Hatton, CK Tetrahydrogestrinone: discovery, synthesis, and detection in urine. Rapid communications in mass spectrometry : RCM. . 2004; 18(12): 1245-049.
Wang C, Catlin DH, Demers LM, Starcevic B, Swerdloff RS Measurement of total serum testosterone in adult men: Comparison of current laboratory methods versus liquid chormatography-tandem mass spectrometry. J Clin Endocrin Metab 2004; 89: 534-543.
Catlin DH, Hatton CK, Lasne F Abuse of Recombinant Erythropoietins by Athletes. In: Molineaux G, Foote MA, Elliot S, eds. Erythropoietins and Erythropoiesis: Molecular, Cellular, Preclinical, and Clinical Biology. Birkhauser Verlag 2003; 205-227.
Breidbach, A Catlin, DH Green, GA Tregub, I Truong, H Gorzek, J Detection of recombinant human erythropoietin in urine by isoelectric focusing. Clinical chemistry. . 2003; 49(6 Pt 1): 901-7.
Starcevic B, DiStefano E, Wang C, Catlin DH Liquid chromatographic-tandem mass spectrometric assay for human testosterone and deuterated testosterone. Journal of Chromatography B 2003; 792: 197-204.
Catlin, DH Breidbach, A Elliott, S Glaspy, J Comparison of the isoelectric focusing patterns of darbepoetin alfa, recombinant human erythropoietin, and endogenous erythropoietin from human urine. Clinical chemistry. . 2002; 48(11): 2057-9.
Aguilera R, Hatton CK, Catlin DH. Detection of doping with epitestosterone by isotope ratio mass spectrometry. Clin Chem 2002; 48: 629-636.
Catlin, DH, Leder BZ, Ahrens BD, Hatton CK, Finkelstein JS. . Epitestosterone: precursor, metabolites, and effect of androstenedione administration. Steroids 2002; 67: 559-564.
Leder, BZ Leblanc, KM Longcope, C Lee, H Catlin, DH Finkelstein, JS Effects of oral androstenedione administration on serum testosterone and estradiol levels in postmenopausal women. The Journal of clinical endocrinology and metabolism. . 2002; 87(12): 5449-54.
Leder, BZ Catlin, DH Longcope, C Ahrens, B Schoenfeld, DA Finkelstein, JS Metabolism of orally administered androstenedione in young men. The Journal of clinical endocrinology and metabolism. . 2001; 86(8): 3654-8.
Breidbach A, Catlin DH. RSR13 A potential athletic performance enhancement agent: detection in urine by GC-MS. Rapid Commun Mass Spectrom 2001; 15: 2379-2382.
Catlin, DH Leder, BZ Ahrens, B Starcevic, B Hatton, CK Green, GA Finkelstein, JS Trace contamination of over-the-counter androstenedione and positive urine test results for a nandrolone metabolite. JAMA : the journal of the American Medical Association. . 2000; 284(20): 2618-21.
Catlin DH Use and abuse of anabolic steroids. Endocrinology 2000; 4th Edition: 2243-2256.
Leder, BZ Longcope, C Catlin, DH Ahrens, B Schoenfeld, DA Finkelstein, JS Oral androstenedione administration and serum testosterone concentrations in young men. JAMA : the journal of the American Medical Association. . 2000; 283(6): 779-82.
Sheffield-Moore M, Urban RJ, Wolf SE, Jiang J, Catlin DH, Herndon DN, Wolfe RR, Ferrando AA Short-term oxandrolone administration stimulates new muscle protein synthesis in young men. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 1999; (in press).
Aguilera, R Catlin, DH Becchi, M Phillips, A Wang, C Swerdloff, RS Pope, HG Hatton, CK Screening urine for exogenous testosterone by isotope ratio mass spectrometric analysis of one pregnanediol and two androstanediols. Journal of chromatography. B, Biomedical sciences and applications. . 1999; 727(1-2): 95-105.
Catlin DH Androgen abuse in sport; International and national anti-androgen programs, in Wang C. (Ed). Male Reproduction Function 1999; .
Strawford A, Barbieri T, Van Loan M, Park E, Catlin DH, Barton N, Neese R, Cristiansen M, King J, Hellerstein M Effects of resistance exercise combined with supraphysiologic androgen therapy, including an anabolic steroid, oxandrolone, on lean tissue accrual and muscle strength in eugonadal men with HIV-related weight loss. A randomized, placebo-controlled tri. JAMA 1999; 281: 1282-1290.
Catlin, DH Hatton, CK Starcevic, SH Issues in detecting abuse of xenobiotic anabolic steroids and testosterone by analysis of athletes' urine. Clinical chemistry. . 1997; 43(7): 1280-8.
Aguilera, R Becchi, M Casabianca, H Hatton, CK Catlin, DH Starcevic, B Pope, HG Improved method of detection of testosterone abuse by gas chromatography/combustion/isotope ratio mass spectrometry analysis of urinary steroids. Journal of mass spectrometry : JMS. . 1996; 31(2): 169-76.
Catlin, DH Cowan, DA de la Torre, R Donike, M Fraisse, D Oftebro, H Hatton, CK Starcevic, B Becchi, M de la Torre, X Norli, H Geyer, H Walker, CJ Urinary testosterone (T) to epitestosterone (E) ratios by GC/MS. I. Initial comparison of uncorrected T/E in six international laboratories. Journal of mass spectrometry : JMS. . 1996; 31(4): 397-402.
Catlin, DH Murray, TH Performance-enhancing drugs, fair competition, and Olympic sport. JAMA : the journal of the American Medical Association. . 1996; 276(3): 231-7.
Catlin DH, Murray TJ Drug testing in sport-bayes teorem meets advanced technology - reply. JAMA 1996; 276(N18): 1471-1472.