Don Catlin, M.D. A Father of Drug Testing in Sport
For 26 years, Dr. Don Catlin has been at the forefront of the global battle against the use of performance-enhancing drugs in sports, and he is often referred to as one of the fathers of drug testing in sport.
In 1982, Dr. Catlin founded the UCLA Olympic Analytical Laboratory, the first anti-doping lab in the United States, and served as its director for 25 years. Under his stewardship, the lab grew to become the world’s largest.
At the UCLA Olympic Lab, Dr. Catlin oversaw the drug testing at the 1984 Summer Olympic Games in Los Angeles, the 2002 Winter Games in Salt Lake City, the 1994 Soccer World Cup and the testing for anabolic agents at the 1996 Summer Games in Atlanta. The lab also performed the testing on behalf of the U.S. Olympic Committee, the National Collegiate Athletic Association, Major League Baseball’s minor leagues and the National Football League.
Dr. Catlin’s research has been vital in the creation of many of the tests currently used to detect performance-enhancing drugs. Among other breakthroughs, he and his team developed the testing methodology that differentiates natural from artificial testosterone; inaugurated the test for darbepoetin, a long-acting form of the blood booster medicine EPO; were first to report the use of a designer steroid (norbolethone) in sport; and marshaled the analytic work behind the BALCO scandal, which involved identifying the designer steroid THG.
In 2005 as part of an effort to keep up with the continual introduction of new and ever-evolving performance-enhancing drugs in competition, Dr. Catlin and colleagues founded Anti-Doping Research (ADR), a nonprofit organization dedicated to research and testing development. One of ADR’s current priorities is developing a reliable urine test to detect the use of human growth hormone (hGH)–a long-sought-after goal that Dr. Catlin believes is within reach.
Dr. Catlin also serves as Professor Emeritus of Molecular and Medical Pharmacology at the UCLA School of Medicine and is the author of over 100 articles in scientific publications. In addition, he is a member of the World Anti-Doping Agency Health, Medical and Research Committee and a member of the International Olympic Committee Medical Commission, the two organizations that were charged with oversight of the drug testing at the 2008 Summer Olympic Games in Beijing.