Pierre De Meyts

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Pierre De Meyts, Belgian Scientist (drawing by Jens Hage)

Pierre De Meyts (born 1944) is a Belgian physician and biochemist known for his research on fine chemical and kinetic aspects of ligand-receptor interaction, subunit assembly, and specific metabolic (as well as mitogenic) effects of hormones typically causing receptor tyrosine kinase activation such as insulin and insulin-like growth factors (IGFs). He has also studied receptor signalling for other peptide hormones such as growth hormone and relaxin, and key pathophysiological aspects of diabetes mellitus. De Meyts held professorial posts for over three decades at several European and United States institutions and currently is an emeritus professor in the Science Faculty at the Université catholique de Louvain.[1][2] While living in Denmark (1990-2010) he occupied executive research positions at Novo Nordisk.[3] De Meyts (a.k.a. Chuck) is also known as a science cartoonist.[4][5]


De Meyts was born in Verviers (Belgium) in 1944.[6] He attended high school at the Athénée Royal de Verviers, where he read "Humanités Anciennes" (Latin-Mathématiques). In 1969 De Meyts received his MD with honors ("Grande Distinction") from the University of Liège Medical School, and during the subsequent three years he specialized in internal medicine at the Hôpital de Bavière. Soon after he spent three years at NIH as a visiting scientist. During this NIH period De Meyts became a prominent member of the research group led by Jesse Roth, studying insulin receptors, and authoring a dozen original papers in duly indexed journals.[7][8][9] After NIH he returned to Belgium where he worked for over 30 years, occupying academic positions at universities including the Vrije Universiteit Brussel and the Université catholique de Louvain. De Meyts moved to California (1984-1990), where he joined the Beckman Research Institute of City of Hope, (Duarte) and also taught at the University of Southern California for a short period. Immediately after, De Meyts was recruited by Novo Nordisk where he successively became the director of research of the Hagedorn Research Institute (1990-2000), scientific director of its Receptor Systems Biology Laboratory (2000-2010), and corporate vice-president of the company. During this period in Denmark until 2011 De Meyts simultaneously held academic posts as adjunct professor of experimental endocrinology (2000-2005) and guest lecturer (2007-2011) at the University of Copenhagen Faculty of Health Sciences.[10] Since then De Meyts returned to his home country and founded his own consulting company in Kraainem, where he remains professionally active.[11]


De Meyts began his research career while a medical student at the University of Liège, collaborating with mentors such as Jean Lecomte and Annie Cession-Fossion in studies of the vascular actions of sympathomimetics.[12][13] During a three-year visit to NIH starting in 1973, De Meyts got involved in what -by far- would become his major research fields: hormone-receptor interaction of peptide hormones and the study of the physiopathogenesis of diabetes. In the latter field his article with Steven G. Gray was the first to propose the possible etiological role of epigenetic factors in diabetes.[14] Also, De Meyts´s articles first coined the term diabetogenes (1993), a new concept which has gained significant acceptance among independent peers in many countries (France,[15] US,[16][17][18][19] Japan[20] and Denmark).[21][22] Below is a list of De Meyts's most notable research topics and achievements:

  • Growth hormone effects and signalling in adipocytes and IM-9 lymphocytes[23][24][25][26]
  • Demonstration of negative cooperativity in insulin and IGF receptors as well as other RTKs and GPCRs[27][28][29][30][31]
  • Delineation of the two receptor binding surfaces of insulin and IGFs[10][32][33][34]
  • Molecular basis of mitogenicity of insulin and insulin analogues[35][36]
  • Mathematical model of the insulin and IGF-I receptor based on bivalent crosslinking of a harmonic oscillator (with Vladislav Kiselyov)[37][38]
  • Diabetogenes concept of T2D pathogenesis[39][40]
  • Theoretical analysis of hormone-receptor based drug design in cancer and diabetes[41]


  • 1969, M.D. University of Liege Medical School, Belgium[10]
  • 1972, Internal Medicine, University of Liege Medical School[10]
  • 1995, Degree of "Agrégé de l'Enseignement Supérieur" (Ph.D) at the Catholic University of Louvain[10]
  • 1997, Fellow of the American College of Endocrinology[1]
  • 2006, Elected to ScanBalt Academy[42]

Editorial activity[edit]

De Meyts is chief specialty editor of Frontiers in Molecular and Structural Endocrinology,[43] associate editor of Frontiers in Systems Biology,[1][44] and member of the editorial board of the Journal of Biological Chemistry.[45]



Black-Box concept of insulin action, by Chuck

De Meyts´s often iconoclastic cartoons first attained notoriety among francophone readers during the student upheavals occurring in 1968-69.[46] Many of his cartoons and posters from this period are archived and can be consulted at the Institut d’histoire ouvrière, économique et sociale in Seraing.[47][48][49] Once a scientist, he began drawing satirical science-cartoons. Many of these have been published in mainstream journals such as Nature, Trends in Biochemical Sciences, and Trends in Pharmacological Sciences.[5][5]


  1. ^ a b c "Pierre De Meyts". frontiersin.org. Retrieved September 17, 2014.
  2. ^ "Speaker Biographies". ectsoc.org. Archived from the original on October 5, 2010. Retrieved September 17, 2014.
  3. ^ "Pierre de Meyts". excellence-in-diabetes.eu. Retrieved September 17, 2014.
  4. ^ "Featured Cartoons by Pierre De Meyts". sarahgreene.net. Archived from the original on October 6, 2014. Retrieved September 17, 2014.
  5. ^ a b c "A Scientist and a Cartoonist: how Chuck came to be". IUBMB Life (International Union of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology: Life). 57: 251–252. doi:10.1080/152165405000943134. Retrieved September 17, 2014.
  6. ^ "1944, the liberation of Brussels". brussels.be. Archived from the original on March 7, 2015. Retrieved September 17, 2014.
  7. ^ "De Meyts & Roth NIH". ncbi.nlm.nih.gov. Retrieved October 10, 2014.
  8. ^ "C U R R I C U L U M V I T A E, PDM" (PDF). demeytsconsulting.com. Archived from the original (PDF) on October 6, 2014. Retrieved September 22, 2014.
  9. ^ "JESSE ROTH, MD, FACP". 2.kenes.com. Retrieved September 22, 2014.
  10. ^ a b c d e "PDM biographical sketch" (PDF). 3.niddk.nih.gov. Retrieved October 2, 2014.
  11. ^ "De Meyts R&D Consulting SPRLU". demeytsconsulting.com. Retrieved September 22, 2014.
  12. ^ De Meyts, P; Lecomte, J (Jul 20, 1967). "[Pseudo-ephedrine as sympathomimetic amine with indirect action in the rat]". Comptes Rendus des Séances de la Société de Biologie et de ses Filiales. 161 (2): 487–8. PMID 4229166.
  13. ^ De Meyts, P; Cession-Fossion, A (1966). "[Ephedrine as a sympathicomimetic amine with indirect action in the rat]". Comptes Rendus des Séances de la Société de Biologie et de ses Filiales. 160 (11): 2224–7. PMID 4228170.
  14. ^ Gray, SG; De Meyts, P (September–October 2005). "Role of histone and transcription factor acetylation in diabetes pathogenesis". Diabetes/metabolism research and reviews. 21 (5): 416–33. doi:10.1002/dmrr.559. PMID 15906405.
  15. ^ Baudry, A; Leroux, L; Jackerott, M; Joshi, RL (Apr 2002). "Genetic manipulation of insulin signaling, action and secretion in mice. Insights into glucose homeostasis and pathogenesis of type 2 diabetes". EMBO Reports. 3 (4): 323–8. doi:10.1093/embo-reports/kvf078. PMC 1084066. PMID 11943762.
  16. ^ Redondo, MJ; Fain, PR; Eisenbarth, GS (2001). "Genetics of type 1A diabetes". Recent progress in hormone research. 56: 69–89. doi:10.1210/rp.56.1.69. PMID 11237226.
  17. ^ Sacks, DB; McDonald, JM (Feb 1996). "The pathogenesis of type II diabetes mellitus. A polygenic disease". American journal of clinical pathology. 105 (2): 149–56. PMID 8607437.
  18. ^ Kahn, CR; Vicent, D; Doria, A (1996). "Genetics of non-insulin-dependent (type-II) diabetes mellitus". Annual Review of Medicine. 47: 509–31. doi:10.1146/annurev.med.47.1.509. PMID 8712800.
  19. ^ Kahn, CR (Aug 1994). "Banting Lecture. Insulin action, diabetogenes, and the cause of type II diabetes". Diabetes. 43 (8): 1066–84. doi:10.2337/diab.43.8.1066. PMID 8039601.
  20. ^ Murakami, T; Shima, K (Aug 1995). "[Diabetogenes; which cause type II diabetes mellitus]". Rinsho Byori. 43 (8): 781–5. PMID 7474436.
  21. ^ Hansen, L (November 2003). "Candidate genes and late-onset type 2 diabetes mellitus. Susceptibility genes or common polymorphisms?". Danish Medical Bulletin. 50 (4): 320–46. PMID 14694850.
  22. ^ "Pubmed search: (diabetogenes[Title/Abstract]) NOT De Meyts[Author]". ncbi.nlm.nih.gov. Retrieved October 2, 2014.
  23. ^ Smal, J; Closset, J; Hennen, G; de Meyts, P (Jan 15, 1985). "Receptor-binding and down-regulatory properties of 22000-Mr human growth hormone and its natural 20000-Mr variant on IM-9 human lymphocytes". The Biochemical Journal. 225 (2): 283–9. doi:10.1042/bj2250283. PMC 1144588. PMID 2983666.
  24. ^ Ilondo, MM; Damholt, AB; Cunningham, BA; Wells, JA; De Meyts, P; Shymko, RM (Jun 1994). "Receptor dimerization determines the effects of growth hormone in primary rat adipocytes and cultured human IM-9 lymphocytes". Endocrinology. 134 (6): 2397–403. doi:10.1210/endo.134.6.8194466. PMID 8194466.
  25. ^ Wabitsch, M; Heinze, E; Hauner, H; Shymko, RM; Teller, WM; De Meyts, P; Ilondo, MM (Jan 1996). "Biological effects of human growth hormone in rat adipocyte precursor cells and newly differentiated adipocytes in primary culture". Metabolism: clinical and experimental. 45 (1): 34–42. doi:10.1016/s0026-0495(96)90197-3. PMID 8544774.
  26. ^ Wabitsch, M; Braun, S; Hauner, H; Heinze, E; Ilondo, MM; Shymko, R; De Meyts, P; Teller, WM (September 1996). "Mitogenic and antiadipogenic properties of human growth hormone in differentiating human adipocyte precursor cells in primary culture". Pediatric Research. 40 (3): 450–6. doi:10.1203/00006450-199609000-00014. PMID 8865283.
  27. ^ de Meyts, P; Roth, J; Neville DM, Jr; Gavin JR, 3rd; Lesniak, MA (Nov 1, 1973). "Insulin interactions with its receptors: experimental evidence for negative cooperativity". Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications. 55 (1): 154–61. doi:10.1016/s0006-291x(73)80072-5. PMID 4361269.
  28. ^ De Meyts, P (1976). "Cooperative properties of hormone receptors in cell membranes". Journal of Supramolecular Structure. 4 (2): 241–58. doi:10.1002/jss.400040211. PMID 177816.
  29. ^ DeMeyts, P; Bainco, AR; Roth, J (Apr 10, 1976). "Site-site interactions among insulin receptors. Characterization of the negative cooperativity". The Journal of Biological Chemistry. 251 (7): 1877–88. PMID 5434.
  30. ^ De Meyts, P (Aug 2008). "The insulin receptor: a prototype for dimeric, allosteric membrane receptors?". Trends in Biochemical Sciences. 33 (8): 376–84. doi:10.1016/j.tibs.2008.06.003. PMID 18640841.
  31. ^ De Meyts, P; Gauguin, L; Svendsen, AM; Sarhan, M; Knudsen, L; Nøhr, J; Kiselyov, VV (Apr 2009). "Structural basis of allosteric ligand-receptor interactions in the insulin/relaxin peptide family: implications for other receptor tyrosine kinases and G-protein-coupled receptors". Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences. 1160: 45–53. doi:10.1111/j.1749-6632.2009.03837.x. PMID 19416158.
  32. ^ De Meyts, P (September 1994). "The structural basis of insulin and insulin-like growth factor-I receptor binding and negative co-operativity, and its relevance to mitogenic versus metabolic signalling". Diabetologia. 37 Suppl 2: S135–48. doi:10.1007/bf00400837. PMID 7821729.
  33. ^ Gauguin, L; Klaproth, B; Sajid, W; Andersen, AS; McNeil, KA; Forbes, BE; De Meyts, P (Feb 1, 2008). "Structural basis for the lower affinity of the insulin-like growth factors for the insulin receptor". The Journal of Biological Chemistry. 283 (5): 2604–13. doi:10.1074/jbc.m709220200. PMID 18048361.
  34. ^ Gauguin, L; Delaine, C; Alvino, CL; McNeil, KA; Wallace, JC; Forbes, BE; De Meyts, P (Jul 25, 2008). "Alanine scanning of a putative receptor binding surface of insulin-like growth factor-I". The Journal of Biological Chemistry. 283 (30): 20821–9. doi:10.1074/jbc.m802620200. PMC 3258947. PMID 18502759.
  35. ^ Shymko, RM; De Meyts, P; Thomas, R (September 1, 1997). "Logical analysis of timing-dependent receptor signalling specificity: application to the insulin receptor metabolic and mitogenic signalling pathways". The Biochemical Journal. 326 (2): 463–9. doi:10.1042/bj3260463. PMC 1218692. PMID 9291119.
  36. ^ Svendsen, AM; Winge, SB; Zimmermann, M; Lindvig, AB; Warzecha, CB; Sajid, W; Horne, MC; De Meyts, P (Jan 1, 2014). "Down-regulation of cyclin G2 by insulin, IGF-I (insulin-like growth factor 1) and X10 (AspB10 insulin): role in mitogenesis". The Biochemical Journal. 457 (1): 69–77. doi:10.1042/bj20130490. PMID 24059861.
  37. ^ Kiselyov, VV; Versteyhe, S; Gauguin, L; De Meyts, P (2009). "Harmonic oscillator model of the insulin and IGF1 receptors' allosteric binding and activation". Molecular Systems Biology. 5: 243. doi:10.1038/msb.2008.78. PMC 2657531. PMID 19225456.
  38. ^ "Vladislav V Kiselyov". researchgate.net. Retrieved September 26, 2014.
  39. ^ De Meyts, P (1993). "The diabetogenes concept of NIDDM". Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology. 334: 89–100. doi:10.1007/978-1-4615-2910-1_7. PMID 8249698.
  40. ^ Lamothe, B; Baudry, A; Desbois, P; Lamotte, L; Bucchini, D; De Meyts, P; Joshi, RL (October 15, 1998). "Genetic engineering in mice: impact on insulin signalling and action". The Biochemical Journal. 335 (2): 193–204. doi:10.1042/bj3350193. PMC 1219769. PMID 9761714.
  41. ^ De Meyts, P; Whittaker, J (October 2002). "Structural biology of insulin and IGF1 receptors: implications for drug design". Nature Reviews. Drug Discovery. 1 (10): 769–83. doi:10.1038/nrd917. PMID 12360255. Retrieved September 24, 2014.
  42. ^ http://www.scanbalt.org/files/graphics/ScanBalt/CampusSite/Academy/SBABroschure.pdf
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  44. ^ "Editorial Board". frontiersin.org. Retrieved September 29, 2014.
  45. ^ "search". apps.asbmb.org. Retrieved September 29, 2014.
  46. ^ "Venez soutenir les leaders étudiants". ulg.ac.be. Retrieved September 23, 2014.
  47. ^ "Institut d'histoire ouvrière, économique et sociale". ihoes.be. Retrieved September 29, 2014.
  48. ^ "IHOES Aperçu général des fonds et collections 2013" (PDF). ihoes.be. Retrieved September 29, 2014.
  49. ^ "Archives : fonds". pallas.be. Retrieved September 29, 2014.