Outstanding Clinical Investigator Award
Wiebke Arlt is the William Withering Professor of Medicine at the University of Birmingham, UK, and an outstanding clinician scientist. Trained by Bruno Allolio, Walter Miller, and myself, she has made several seminal contributions to the field of endocrinology. Firstly, she identified the importance of dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) in women and in a landmark paper demonstrated the beneficial effects of DHEA replacement therapy in many women with primary and secondary adrenal insufficiency.
Secondly, utilizing novel human experiments of nature she described new forms of androgen excess arising from defects in critical co-factors for adrenal androgen secretion/ metabolism. P450 oxidoreductase deficiency is now established as the second commonest form of congenital adrenal hyperplasia and confirms an alternative pathway of dihydrotestosterone secretion in human fetal life. Similarly, disruption of DHEA sulfation by mutations in the PAPS synthase 2 donor enzyme results in hyperandrogenism and a PCOS-like phenotype. Thirdly, working with a team of investigators in Birmingham and building on the successful European Adrenal Network (ENS@T), Wiebke has pioneered the concept of urinary steroid metabolomics that is likely to be fundamental in the clinical diagnostic work up of patients with adrenal disorders and tumors. The diagnostic pattern of abnormalities seen in adrenocortical carcinoma is striking; Wiebke’s recent work has uncovered fascinating insight into the pluripotential nature of other adrenal adenomas such as Conn’s tumors.
She is an excellent communicator and a living example of the importance of internationalization for our endocrine community and the Endocrine Society.
Over and above these major contributions, Wiebke has furthered our understanding of, and defined outcomes for, patients with a variety of adrenal pathologies. She is an excellent communicator and a living example of the importance of internationalization for our endocrine community and the Endocrine Society.
Paul M. Stewart, MD, FRCP, FMedSci, executive dean and professor at the University of Leeds School of Medicine, Leeds, U.K.; associate editor, Journal of the Endocrine Society; 2017 International Excellence in Endocrinology Laureate Award recipient.