George P. Chrousos has made outstanding and broad contributions to Biomedical Research. Currently, he is Professor and Chairman of the First Department of Pediatrics at the University of Athens School of Medicine, Athens, Greece. Formerly, he was Chief of the Pediatric and Reproductive Endocrinology Branch of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), National Institutes of Health (NIH), Bethesda, Maryland. He also holds the UNESCO Chair in Adolescent Medicine and Health Care at the University of Athens and is a distinguished visiting scientist of the NICHD, NIH, Bethesda MD, USA.
Below is a brief summary of the research that Dr. Chrousos accomplished with a talented group of colleagues and young researchers over the past 35 years. He has concentrated most of his research efforts in the understanding of the stress system and the diseases it is associated with. He started his research with the molecular elucidation, diagnosis and treatment of the primary glucocorticoid resistance syndrome in man and described the “pan-steroid” resistance of nonhuman New World primates. He continued with extensive basic work on the glucocorticoid signaling system and its involvement in cellular function, physiology and pathophysiology. He proceeded further with studying and expounding the regulation of the key hypothalamic neuropeptide CRH and its involvement in major functions of the organism, such as dealing with stress or immune challenges, regulating behavior, affect, appetite and sleep. He associated excessive or deficient CRH secretion with disease. He demonstrated that CRH is secreted peripherally (“immune CRH”) and participates directly in the inflammatory reaction as a potent degranulator of mast cells, mediating stress-triggered states such as asthma and migraine headaches. He demonstrated sexual dimorphism in the CRH and stress system response, with female predominance, and developed a clinically useful CRH test employed in the differential diagnosis of Cushing syndrome and pseudo-Cushing states and adrenal insufficiency. He employed this test as a research tool in the study of complex human disorders. He delineated the key pathophysiology of a number of human states characterized by high or low CRH secretion, such as, respectively, melancholic depression, anorexia nervosa, idiopathic insomnia and obligate athleticism or atypical and seasonal depression, postpartum blues/depression and the chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia syndromes. He extended this work to other common human states, such as obesity/metabolic syndrome, sleep disorders, autoimmune diseases and the post-traumatic stress disorder. He synthesized seemingly disparate mechanisms and disorders into a logical heuristic model that has been accepted and referred to by thousands of investigators. His work has influenced many fields of Medicine beyond Endocrinology and Metabolism, including Internal Medicine and Pediatrics, Rheumatology/Immunology, Psychology and Psychiatry, Sleep Medicine, Reproductive Medicine, Surgery, Epidemiology, and basic and translational sciences.
The above work has been fully replicated, has accumulated over 70,000 citations, has resulted in a Hirsch index of over 130 and, most importantly, has been transformative and followed by significant work by other investigators. A series of prestigious awards and accolades has accompanied this work, including two laureate awards of the Endocrine Society and the 2011 John Kluge Distinguished Chair in Technology and Society of the Library of Congress. He was honored with the 2011 Aristeion Bodossaki Award, the highest distinction for accomplishment in the Sciences in Greece. Recently, Dr. Chrousos received the 2012 Albert Struyvenberg Medal of the European Society of Clinical Investigation “for excellence and leadership in translational and multidisciplinary biomedical research”. In 2014 he received the inaugural George Papanicolaou Award of the University of Athens. He is included in the list of the 400 most cited influential scientists in the world over the last 15 years.
Dr. Chrousos was inducted as a Master of both the American College of Endocrinology and the American College of Physicians and a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians, UK. He served as the president of the European Society of Clinical Investigation. He is an elected member of the American Society for Clinical Investigation, the Association of American Physicians, The Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences and the Academia Europaea.
At the NIH, Dr. Chrousos run one of the best endocrine training programs in the world and fostered the careers of over 60 distinguished, award-winning, world-class physician-scientists and scientists. After a 25 year distinguished career in the Intramural Program of the NIH, Dr. Chrousos returned to his country and has assumed leadership roles at the University of Athens and in European and international Medicine and Academia. Dr. Chrousos has published extensively and is recognized worldwide.