Presentation of research group – Endocrine Medicine

Eystein 2

The research group in Endocrine Medicine is led by Professor Eystein Husebye.

Endocrine Medicine, or research group G1, as has been the working title, is actually an umbrella group consisting of two groups working with closely related issues and projects, says the group’s leader, professor Eystein Husebye.

Professor Husebye is the leader of a large endocrine research group focusing on studying adrenal diseases. The goal is to shed light on all aspects of these diseases from epidemiology to disease mechanisms. The group is therefore divided into different nodes (areas of specialty) in a research network. Several clinical studies testing out better methods of treatment are under way – as well as research aimed at explaining what makes the body’s immune system attack the adrenal gland as with Addison’s disease.  Additionally, the group studies a rare model disease – autoimmune polyendocrine syndrome type 1 (APS-I) – in order to uncover mechanisms behind, and connections between different diseases.

Endocrine surgery is also a part of the Endocrine Medicine research group. The research in this area is led by Professor Michael Brauckhoff and focuses on cancer tumors in endocrine organs. They have a unique tumor bio bank built up over many years by professor emeritus Jan Erik Varhaug. Organizing the group under the same umbrella is a conscious strategy done to strengthen endocrine research, and to exploit one another’s expertise.  This cooperation has already been extended to include many coinciding projects, according to Husebye.

In Israel
Husebye  himself is currently staying in Israel.  For six months, until early 2014 he is studying autoimmunity at the Weizmann Institute of Science (WIS).

– These six months of sabbatical at WIS gives me a great opportunity for specialization, and for planning. I can concentrate fully on research – without responsibility for administration or teaching. It is inspiring to be in an environment where I as a researcher am exposed to fields of study I am relatively unfamiliar with, as well as learning new things! He says.

That his research in Israel concerns autoimmunity hardly comes as a surprise. – Here at WIS I work with Dr. Jakub Abramson who I got to know during a stay at Harvard Medical School. Abramson is an expert on mouse models with APS-I, while we have one of the world’s largest cohorts of patients. Together we are attempting to solve problems concerning disease mechanisms. At the moment we have two exciting projects underway which we believe will be noticed when they soon are published, he adds.

Enjoying the country
– I am not attempting to hide that I love being here, he continues. – Israel is a fascination in itself. The people, the culture, the diversity; it is exciting to experience up close.  However; I am in no way blind to the conflicts the country – the nation – represents. But there is a light at the end of the tunnel. I recently held a lecture for 30 pediatricians at the Hadassah hospital in Jerusalem. The host was David Zangen. His two closest colleagues are both Arab doctors; all three work at Arab hospitals in and around Jerusalem. So relations across borders can be fruitful! While we are on the topic of Israel: a Norwegian-Israeli research effort – a research fund – is something I both miss and wish for. Our new government should establish something similar to what Denmark, Sweden and Finland have – nations we like to compare ourselves to – is his little political end statement from Israel, sent via mail in the late evening hours.

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