Endocrine Society honors UNC physician for key contributions to hormone research

06/07/05

CHAPEL HILL -- Dr. David R. Clemmons of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill received the Endocrine Society's Gerald Aurbach Award at the 87th annual meeting of the society Friday (June 3) in San Diego. He presented the award lecture today.

Chief of endocrinology and Sarah Graham Kenan professor of medicine at the UNC School of Medicine, Clemmons was recognized for outstanding contributions to endocrinology research. The award is presented annually.

Clemmons is known for boosting understanding of the action of the biological compound scientists call IGF-1. He established the usefulness of IGF-1 as a marker of growth hormone action and revolutionized the diagnosis of acromegaly.

Acromegaly is an uncommon but debilitating hormonal disorder during which the body excessive secretes growth hormone resulting in enlargement of the hands, feet, face, tongue, jaws and internal organs. The cause is usually a benign pituitary tumor. In addition, Clemmons' research laid the groundwork for development of the autocrine/paracrine theory of IGF action and for understanding the role of IGF-1 in regulating insulin sensitivity.

Recently, the physician's work has focused on molecular mechanisms by which integrin/IGF-1 receptor interactions enable smooth muscle cells to survive in hyperglycemic states. Those studies have shown that activation of the same mechanism gives smooth muscle cells a growth advantage.

Clemmons is a former member of the Endocrine Society's council and served as editor for the society's journal Endocrinology from 1993 until 2002. He also served as president of the Pituitary Society and is a member of numerous professional societies, scientific advisory boards and National Institutes of Health study sections.

Founded in 1916, the Endocrine Society is the world's oldest and largest organization devoted to research on hormones and clinical endocrinology. The society's membership consists of more than 12,000 scientists, physicians, educators, nurses and students in more than 80 countries.

Source: Eurekalert & others

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