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Prof. P. Reed Larsen

International Awards

Hamdan Award for Medical Research Excellence - Thyroid Disorders
Personal Details/Academic Background
Born in Cincinnati, Ohio, Dr. Larsen had his graduation from the Princeton University in 1959, and did his MD from the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York in 1963 and was awarded Honoris Causa from Harvard University in 1989. Dr. Larsen has been a member of the Harvard Medical School Faculty since 1974 and was appointed Professor of Medicine in 1982. Dr. Larsen was the Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute for 17 years and has been continuously funded for his research by the National Institute of Health (NIH) since 1971.
Responsibilities and Assignments
Prior to joining Brigham and Women’s Hospital, he worked for six years with Presbyterian University Hospital in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
He held several positions at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital and, since 2007, has been the Chief of Thyroid Section at the Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Hypertension. He served as the Investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute from 1975-1991.
He served on several national and regional committees and was on the editorial boards of several publications. Since 2005, he is the editor-in-chief of Nature Reviews Endocrinology.
Professional Milestones
Prof. Larsen has made several seminal contributions to the field of thyroid physiology, pathophysiology and disease. These include the design of sensitive methods to screen newborn infants for congenital hypothyroidism and applying them to initiate the first two regional screening programs in the United States.
Prof. Larsen is a past president of the American Thyroid Association. Prof Larsen has published 228 papers in very high-impact peer reviewed journals including several papers in Nature, the New England Journal of Medicine, the Journal of Clinical Investigation, and the Journal of Biological Chemistry, as well as the most prestigious journals in the field of Endocrinology, including Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, Endocrinology, and Molecular Endocrinology. In addition he has published 91 book chapters and review articles in important journals.
Dr. Larsen has been a major figure in endocrinology research in the US for many decades and a valued member of faculty at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston and Harvard Medical School since 1975. He remains active to this day in thyroid research with two currently active NIH grants. The record of his extensive accomplishments and international awards and honors attests to his stature in the world of endocrinology.
At the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, he set in motion a series of seminal discoveries that would resonate in the endocrinology field and beyond, including the mechanism by which T4 regulates TSH secretion, the identification and biochemical characterization of the type 2 deiodinase, its susceptibility to proteasomal degradation, and the tissue-specific regulation of T3 concentration by diodinases. He is recognized for his identification of the mechanism by which eukaryotic cells cotranslationally incorporate selenocysteine.
In addition, he developed methodology for, and with colleagues at the Massachusetts Department of Health, in 1976, implemented the New England Screening Program for Congential Hypothyroidism.
This was one of the first such programs in the US to address this relatively common condition which causes irreversible mental retardation if untreated.
His major research interests are: the physiological role of triiodothyronine and factors regulating its production, the mechanism of action of thyroid hormones, detection and treatment of hypothyroidism during pregnancy and of congential hypothyroidism, and Selenoprotein synthesis.
Awards and Recognitions
He has received several national and international awards recognizing his discovery of the mechanisms of thyroid hormone action and metabolism and implications for thyroid hormone homeostasis in health and disease. He was presented in 2008 with Fred Conrad Koch Award of the Endocrine Society of the US for research of special distinction in endocrinology. This is the highest award of this association which is the major academic and clinical endocrine organization in the US with over 10000 members.
Dr. Larsen is an outstanding physician-scientist who has made major contributions to the understanding of thyroid hormone action, especially as regards the activation of the prohormone thyroxine (T4) to T3. His scholarly work has resulted in over 400 papers, chapters and review articles, has accumulated some 8500 non-self citations and is the author of three most highly-cited papers in the deiodinase field.
In recognition of vast and invaluable work in endocrinology research and major contributions to the understanding of thyroid disorders over the past decades and his high standing in the medical world, Prof. Larsen deserves the Hamdan Award for Medical Research Excellence.