John Paul Bilezikian, PhD, MD, was honored by Pisa University in Italy with a doctorate honoris causa in clinical and translational science. Bilezikian, chief of the Division of Endocrinology and director of Metabolic Bone Diseases Program at Columbia University in New York, is a past editor-in-chief of The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism (2000 – 2004). A veteran of a variety of Society committees, currently Belezikian serves on the Society’s Nominating Committee.
Bilezikian, a renowned expert on bone metabolism – particularly parathyroid disease – has collaborated with Pisa University for more than 15 years. Working closely with Claudio Marcocci, professor of endocrinology and head of Endocrine Unit 2 at University Hospital of Pisa, he has made substantial contributions to the university’s endocrinology department, as well as increasing its scientific visibility. It was with Bilezikian’s input that enabled research conducted at the university and hospital to be presented in a variety of prestigious medical journals around the world.
The collaboration between Marcocci and Bilezikian has brought acclaim to the university for parathyroid disorders. “As part of this collaboration, research activities have been established to investigate the pathogenic mechanisms of parathyroid tumorigenesis with results that have appeared in top international scientific journals,” Marcocci says. “This scientific knowledge has been always translated into reliable clinical activities that have made the Center for the Study of Metabolic Bone Diseases of the University Hospital of Pisa a main referral center at the national level.”
In his introductory speech, Paolo Mancarella, rector of Pisa University, recalls that the university’s school of endocrinology, which was established in the 1960s, has become a reference point for thyroid and parathyroid diseases, not just in Italy but throughout Europe. “This excellence has been created over time,” he says, adding “thanks mainly to the impetus given to the process of internationalization and the ongoing confrontation with the authoritative experts in the field, including Professor Bilezikian, who plays a central role.”
After he was presented with the honorary doctorate, Bilezikian gave the keynote address entitled “Disorders of the Parathyroid Glands: New Concepts and Insights Over 40 Years.”