School of Medicine and Dentistry

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Endocrinology has been an internationally recognized area of expertise at Barts and The London for almost half a century.  

The Department, originally led by Professor Michael Besser together with Professor Dame Lesley Rees, became widely recognized as a world-leading centre of excellence in all aspects of clinical endocrinology and attracted referrals of many complex endocrine cases and some of the brightest clinicians to work there.  

In the early days of the Department classical groundbreaking research was performed on the hypothalamic releasing peptides and their clinical application in addition to the development of radioimmunoassay for many peptide hormones and the application of dopamine agonists in treatment of prolactinoma.

Over the last decade the Department has strongly developed its basic science research, while maintaining an excellent international reputation for its clinical endocrinology practice.  

Endocrinology became incorporated into the William Harvey Research Institute in 2005 with the relocation to state-of-the-art laboratories in the John Vane Science Centre.  

In addition to the longstanding strengths in adult endocrinology, recent developments in Paediatric Endocrinology, including the recruitment of Professor Leo Dunkel from Kuipio, Finland as successor to Professor Martin Savage positions the Department as one of the leading centres in Paediatric Endocrinology research in the UK at this time.


In the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise Endocrinology was assessed together with the Inflammation and Cardiovascular research groups of the William Harvey Research Institute. 

Within the assessment group we were ranked 3/13 with 65% of staff being rated 3*/4*.  

Research themes

The Centre for Endocrinology’s current research themes are as follows:

  • Melanocortin action including clinical causes of ACTH insensitivity (Clark, Metherell, Chan)
  • Molecular chaperones in disease (Chapple)
  • Adrenal development (King)
  • Pathogenesis of pituitary tumours (Korbonits)
  • Genetics of lipid disorders (Shoulders, McKay)
  • Genetics of pubertal development (Dunkel, Storr)
  • Epigenetic mechanisms of fetal programming (Clark)

Major emphasis is placed on research training together with transferable skills such as research presentation skills and bioinformatic analysis.  

We have recently developed an extremely popular distance learning PgDip and MSc course in Endocrinology, which complements one of the strongest clinical research training Fellowship programmes in endocrinology in the UK.

The William Harvey Research Institute Centre for Endocrinology

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