Stefan R. Bornstein

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Stefan R. Bornstein
Head and shoulders of smiling man in a doctor's overall and tie
Director of the Centre for Internal Medicine and the Medical Clinic and Policlinic III at the University Hospital Carl Gustav Carus Dresden, Germany
Personal details
Born(1961-11-05)5 November 1961
Oberstdorf, Germany
NationalityGermany German
Spouse(s)Monika Ehrhart-Bornstein PhD
Alma materUniversity of Ulm

Stefan R. Bornstein (November 5, 1961 in Oberstdorf, Germany) is the director of the Centre for Internal Medicine and the Medical Clinic and Policlinic III at the University Hospital Carl Gustav Carus [1] of the Technical University of Dresden as well as the medical faculty's vice dean of international affairs and development and a member of the supervisory board of the University Hospital of Dresden. Furthermore, he is chair and honorary consultant for diabetes and endocrinology at King's College London.[2] Previously, Bornstein worked as assistant director and professor of endocrinology at the University Hospital of Düsseldorf, as unit chief at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland and held the Heisenberg-scholarship of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft.

Bornstein is known primarily for his pioneering work on the stress system. He was the first to investigate the interactions of the two central stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol in healthy as well as sick individuals in close collaboration with Nobel Prize laureates such as Andrew V. Schally [3] and Rita Levi Montalcini [4] Recently, Bornstein co-developed new therapeutic approaches to diabetes in preclinical and clinical stages. He has authored more than 500 publications and textbook articles with more than 12,000 citations,[5] won numerous prizes and holds honorary professorships at universities in Europe, Asia and the USA. He is a member of the German Science Association (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft)[6] and the German Academy of Sciences, Leopoldina (Deutsche Akademie der Wissenschaften) [7]

Biography and family[edit]

Bornstein was born in Oberstdorf, Germany, in 1961 as one of four siblings. His parents were textile merchants (Stoffversand Bornstein). In the late 19th century, the Bornstein family emigrated to the United States, only to return to Germany shortly before World War I in which Stefan R. Bornstein's grandfather was honored with the Iron Cross. During the Nazi regime, many members of the Bornstein family were persecuted. Stefan R. Bornstein's grandfather, Max Bornstein, survived the Theresienstadt concentration camp but died shortly after World War II. Other relatives fled to England or the USA. Richard Lindner, an uncle of Bornstein's became a famous painter in the US and a trailblazer of American Pop-Art. A cousin married into the Belgian royal house, becoming Princess Léa of Belgium. The international background of the family and the travelling required for their textile business introduced Bornstein to different cultures and languages at a young age. Professor Stefan R. Bornstein has two sons and was married to Monica Ehrhart-Bornstein, a well-known neurobiologist and molecular endocrinologist. She passed away in October 2015. Stefan got married again and he has one daughter from his second marriage.


Bornstein took his German Abitur at the Gertrud-von-le-Fort-Gymnasium in Oberstdorf as class winner and studied medicine at the University of Ulm/Germany from 1982 to 1988. He did his practical year at the University of Miami, US, supervised by Maxwell McKenzie. In addition to his German state examination he holds the American Medical Licence ECFMG as well as the British license to practice medicine GMC-UK. He did his residency at the University Hospital Ulm under Ernst-Friedrich Pfeiffer and Professor Guido Adler during which he had a short research internship at the Biochemistry Department of the South West Medical Center, University of Texas, US, with Michael Waterman. 1994 he earned his Certificate of Completion of Training of internal medicine and in 1996 the sub-specialization of Endocrinology and Diabetology. From 1994 to 1997 he had an assistant professorship at the Department for Internal Medicine at the University of Leipzig with Werner Scherbaum. In 1995 he received his state doctorate in cooperation with the IZKF at the University of Leipzig. From 1996 to 1997 and 1998 to 1999 he held the Heisenberg-scholarship of the German Science Association; later he became unit chief under Prof. George P. Chrousos at the National Institutes of Health.

Career and scientific awards[edit]

From 2001 to 2004 Bornstein held a C3-Professorship and was assistant director of the Department of Endocrinology and Metabolism at the University of Düsseldorf. From 2000 to 2002 he was scientific coordinator of a NIH-state-of-the-science-conference on adrenal tumors. In 2002 he was offered the directorship for internal medicine at the University of Adelaide and the Bo Schembechler Chair of Medicine at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, US, which he declined. Since 2004 he has held a C4-Professorship and directorship of the Department for Internal Medicine in Dresden. Furthermore, he became member of the Max Planck Graduate School in 2004 and is founding and board member of the excellence cluster Center for Regenerative Therapies Dresden (CRTD). In 2008 he became honorary professor at the University of Miami. Together with Julio Licinio he founded the German Australian Institute of Translational Medicine (GAITM) [8] in 2009. Since 2011 he has been a consultant at the John Curtin School of Medical Research in Canberra and a board member of the John Curtin Medical Research Foundation. He has been an honorary professor at the Hong Kong University since 2012[9] and a professor and honorary consultant at King's College London since 2013.


Bornstein's scientific focus lies on the adrenal gland as on organ of stress, stem cell research and advances in islet cell transplantation as a therapy for diabetes. This is why, presently, Dresden is the only active German center of this treatment. Since 2011 Bornstein has been spokesman for the research group KFO 252 of the German Science Association (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft DFG)[10] and one of the coordinators of the Paul-Langerhans-Institute Dresden. Since 2012, he has been scientific secretary of the DFG Transregio 127.[11] Main research areas are: endocrinology and internal medicine (e.g. adrenal gland, stress, and stem cell research), diabetes, transplant medicine (e.g. new strategies to improve diabetes treatment), public healthcare and preventive medicine (prevention of diabetes)


  • Education of doctors and scientists, conduction of state exams and certificates of completion of training
  • Development of health information systems for patients. Patent: MediROBO Gesundheitsinformationssystem, German Patent and Trademark Office (DMPA) M394 06 931:8

Hospital work[edit]

Bornstein is chief of the medical clinic and policlinic III (Medizinische Klinik und Poliklinik III) at the university hospital Carl Gustav Carus in Dresden, which is a major centre of treatment and research of diabetes mellitus type I and type II in Europe as well as its sequelae, like the diabetic foot syndrome, heart and blood vessel diseases and diabetic nephropathy. A major topic is creating individual treatment strategies to prevent the increase in diabetes prevalence. That is why in 2009 they created the first professorship for diabetes prevention in Germany. In 2008 started the only currently active program of islet transplantation in Germany. This treatment is a great benefit for patients with diabetes type I with great deviations in their glucose blood levels. Recent research includes a bioreactor of insulin-producing cells in a small implantable chamber which offers an immunoisolation, making the implantation possible without immune suppressive therapy.[12]


  • 1990: Research prize for young academics of the Verband der Metallindustrie Baden Württemberg e.V.
  • 1994: Marius-Tausk-Preis of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Endokrinologie for the work: Human adrenal cells express TNFα-mRNA: Evidence for a paracrine control of adrenal function
  • 1995: „Einfach genial Preis“ of the Middle German TV (MDR) for the MediROBO-Projekt
  • 2010: Leopold-Caspar-Ehrenpreis of the Bundesverband Jüdischer Mediziner for extraordinary scientific and ethical competence


Selected publication papers[edit]

  • Stefan R. Bornstein, Monika Ehrhart-Bornstein, Werner A. Scherbaum, Ernst F. Pfeiffer und Jens J. Holst. (1990). Effects of Splanchnic Nerve Stimulation on the Adrenal Cortex May Be Mediated by Chromaffin Cells in a Paracrine Manner. In: Endocrinology. doi:10.1210/endo-127-2-900.
  • S. R. Bornstein, J. A. Gonzalez-Hernandez, M. Ehrhart-Bornstein, G. Adler und W. A. Scherbaum. (1994). Intimate contact of chromaffin and cortical cells within the human adrenal gland forms the cellular basis for important intraadrenal interactions. In: The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism. doi:10.1210/jcem.78.1.7507122.
  • Stefan R. Bornstein. (1997). Is Leptin a stress related peptide? In: Nature Medicine. doi:10.1038/nm0997-937.
  • Stefan R. Bornstein, Katja Uhlmann, Andrea Haidan, Monika Ehrhart-Bornstein und Werner A. Scherbaum. (1997). Evidence for a Novel Peripheral Action of Leptin as a Metabolic Signal to the Adrenal Gland: Leptin Inhibits Cortisol Release Directly. In: Diabetes. doi:10.2337/diab.46.7.1235
  • S. R. Bornstein, E. L. Webster, D. J. Torpy, S. J. Richman, N. Mitsiades, M. Igel, D. B. Lewis, K. C. Rice, H. G. Joost, M. Tsokos und G. P. Chrousos. (1998). Chronic Effects of a Nonpeptide Corticotropin-Releasing Hormone Type I Receptor Antagonist on Pituitary-Adrenal Function, Body Weight, and Metabolic Regulation. In: Endocrinology. doi:10.1210/endo.139.4.5938.
  • S. R. Bornstein, H. L. Preas, G. P. Chrousos, A. F. Suffredini. (1998). Circulating leptin levels during acute experimental endotoxemia and antiinflammatory therapy in humans. In: J Infect Dis.doi: 10.1086/515349
  • H. S. Willenberg, C. A. Stratakis, C. Marx, M. Ehrhart-Bornstein, G. P. Chrousos, S. R. Bornstein. (1998). Aberrant interleukin-1 receptors in a cortisol-secreting adrenal adenoma causing Cushing's syndrome.. In: N Engl J Med. doi: 10.1056/NEJM199807023390105
  • M. Ehrhart-Bornstein, J. P. Hinson, S. R. Bornstein, W. A. Scherbaum, G. P. Vinson. (1998). Intraadrenal interactions in the regulation of adrenocortical steroidogenesis. In: Endocr Rev.
  • S. R. Bornstein, T. Tajima, G. Eisenhofer, A. Haidan, G. Aguilera. (1999). Adrenomedullary function is severely impaired in 21-hydroxylase-deficient mice. In: FASEB J.
  • U. Hilbers, J. Peters, S. R. Bornstein, F. M. Correa, O. Jöhren, J. M. Saavedra, M. Ehrhart-Bornstein. (1999). Local renin-angiotensin system is involved in K+-induced aldosterone secretion from human adrenocortical NCI-H295 cells. In: Hypertension. doi: 10.1161/01.HYP.33.4.1025
  • S. R. Bornstein, C. A. Stratakis, G. F. Chrousos. (1999). Adrenocortical tumors: recent advances in basic concepts and clinical management. In: Ann Intern Med.doi:10.7326/0003-4819-130-9-199905040-00017
  • T. Tajima, T. Okada, Ma XM, W. Ramsey, S. R. Bornstein, G. Aguilera. (1999). Restoration of adrenal steroidogenesis by adenovirus-mediated transfer of human cytochromeP450 21-hydroxylase into the adrenal gland of21-hydroxylase-deficient mice. In: Gene Therapy..
  • S. R. Bornstein, M. Abu-Asab, A. Glasow, G. Päth, H. Hauner, M. Tsokos, G. P. Chrousos, W. A. Scherbaum. (2000). Immunohistochemical and ultrastructural localization of leptin and leptin receptor in human white adipose tissue and differentiating human adipose cells in primary culture. In: Diabetes. doi: 10.2337/diabetes.49.4.532
  • S. R. Bornstein, G. W. Wolkersdörfer, R. Tauchnitz, H. L. Preas, G. P. Chrousos, A. F. Suffredini. (2000). Plasma dehydroepiandrosterone levels during experimental endotoxemia and anti-inflammatory therapy in humans. In: Crit. Care Med..
  • D. Franchimont, G. Bouma, J. Galon, G. W. Wolkersdörfer, A. Haidan, G. P. Chrousos, S. R. Bornstein. (2000). Adrenal cortical activation in murine colitis.. In: Gastroenterology. doi: 10.1053/gast.2000.20235
  • D. P. Merke, G. P. Chrousos, G. Eisenhofer, M. Weise, M. F. Keil, A. D. Rogol, J. J. Van Wyk, S. R. Bornstein. (2000). Adrenomedullary dysplasia and hypofunction in patients with classic 21-hydroxylase deficiency. In: N Engl. J. Med. doi: 10.1056/NEJM200011093431903
  • S. R. Bornstein, H. Tian, A. Haidan, A. Böttner, N. Hiroi, G. Eisenhofer, S. M. McCann, G. P. Chrousos, S. Roffler-Tarlov. (2000). Deletion of tyrosine hydroxylase gene reveals functional interdependence of adrenocortical and chromaffin cell system in vivo. In: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.2000 Dec 19;97(26):14742-7.
  • M. L. Bland, C. A. Jamieson, S. F. Akana, S. R. Bornstein, G. Eisenhofer, M. F. Dallman, H. A. Ingraham. (2000). Haploinsufficiency of steroidogenic factor-1 in mice disrupts adrenal development leading to an impaired stress response. In: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. doi: 10.1073/pnas.97.26.14488
  • J. Galon, D. Franchimont, N. Hiroi, G. Frey, A. Boettner, M. Ehrhart-Bornstein, J. J. O'Shea, G. P. Chrousos, S. R. Bornstein. (2002). Gene profiling reveals unknown enhancing and suppressive actions of glucocorticoids on immune cells. In: FASEB J. doi: 10.1096/fj.01-0245com
  • D. P. Merke, S. R. Bornstein, N. A. Avila, G. P. Chrousos. (2002). NIH conference. Future directions in the study and management of congenital adrenal hyperplasia due to 21-hydroxylase deficiency. In: Annals of Int Med. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-136-4-200202190-00012
  • S. Alesci, W. J. Ramsey, S. R. Bornstein, G. P. Chrousos, P. J. Hornsby, S. Benvenga, F. Trimarchi, M. Ehrhart-Bornstein. (2002). Adenoviral vectors can impair adrenocortical steroidogenesis: clinical implications for natural infections and gene therapy. In: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. doi: 10.1073/pnas.062170099
  • S. R. Bornstein, M. Yoshida-Hiroi, S. Sotiriou, M. Levine, H. G. Hartwig, R. L. Nussbaum, G. Eisenhofer. (2003). Impaired adrenal catecholamine system function in mice with deficiency of the ascorbic acid transporter (SVCT2). In: FASEB J. doi: 10.1096/fj.02-1167fje
  • M. Ehrhart-Bornstein, V. Lamounier-Zepter, A. Schraven, J. Langenbach, H. S. Willenberg, A. Barthel, H. Hauner, S. M. McCann, W. A. Scherbaum, S. R. Bornstein. (2003). Human adipocytes secrete mineralocorticoid-releasing factors. In: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. doi: 10.1073/pnas.2336140100
  • M. Schott, W. A. Scherbaum WA, S. R. Bornstein. (2004). Acquired and inherited lipodystrophies. In: N Engl. J. Med. doi: 10.1056/NEJMra025261
  • U. Steidl, S. Bork, S. Schaub, O. Selbach, J. Seres, M. Aivado, T. Schroeder, U. P. Rohr, R. Fenk, S. Kliszewski, C. Maercker, P. Neubert, S. R. Bornstein, H. L. Haas, G. Kobbe, D. G. Tenen, R. Haas, R. Kronenwett. (2004). Primary human CD34+ hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells express functionally active receptors of neuromediators. In: Blood. doi: 10.1182/blood-2004-01-0373
  • D. Merke, S. R. Bornstein. (2005). Congenital adrenal hyperplasia. In: Lancet. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(05)66736-0
  • F. Sicard, M. Ehrhart-Bornstein, D. Corbeil, S. Sperber, A. W. Krug, C. G. Ziegler, V. Rettori, S. M. McCann, S. R. Bornstein. (2007). Age-dependent regulation of chromaffin cell proliferation by growth factors, dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), and DHEA sulfate. In: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. doi: 10.1073/pnas.0610898104
  • S. R. Bornstein. (2009). Predisposing factors for adrenal insufficiency. In: N Engl. J. Med. doi: 10.1056/NEJMra0804635
  • J. Dupuis u. a. (2010). New genetic loci implicated in fasting glucose homeostasis and their impact on type 2 diabetes risk.. In: Nat Genet. doi: 10.1038/ng.520
  • R. Saxena u. a. (2010). Genetic variation in GIPR influences the glucose and insulin responses to an oral glucose challenge. In: Nat Genet. doi: 10.1038/ng.521
  • J. Schmid, B. Ludwig, A. V. Schally, A. Steffen, C. G. Ziegler, N.L. Block, Y. Koutmani, M. D. Brendel, K. P. Karalis, C. J. Simeonovic, J. Licinio, M. Ehrhart-Bornstein, S. R. Bornstein. (2011). Modulation of pancreatic islets-stress axis by hypothalamic releasing hormones and 11beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase. In: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1110965108
  • G. B. Ehret u. a. (2011). Genetic variants in novel pathways influence blood pressure and cardiovascular disease risk. In: Nature. doi: 10.1038/nature10405
  • S. R. Bornstein, J. Licinio. (2011). Improving the efficacy of translational medicine by optimally integrating health care, academia and industry. In: Nat Med. doi: 10.1038/nm.2583
  • M. M. Santana, K. F. Chung, V. Vukicevic, J. Rosmaninho-Salgado, W. Kanczkowski, V. Cortez, K. Hackmann, C. A. Bastos, A. Mota, E. Schrock, S. R. Bornstein, C. Cavadas, M. Ehrhart-Bornstein. (2012). Isolation, characterization, and differentiation of progenitor cells from human adult adrenal medulla. In: Stem Cells Transl Med. doi: 10.5966/sctm.2012-0022
  • C. J. Willer u. a. (2013). Discovery and refinement of loci associated with lipid levels. In: Nat Genet. doi: 10.1038/ng.2797
  • B. Ludwig, A. Reichel, A. Steffen, B. Zimerman, A. V. Schally, N. L. Block, C. K. Colton, S. Ludwig, S. Kersting, E. Bonifacio, M. Solimena, Z. Gendler, A. Rotem, U. Barkai, S. R. Bornstein. (2013). Transplantation of human islets without immunosuppression. In: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1317561110
  • Z. Lin, H. Tian, K. S. Lam, S. Lin, R. C. Hoo, M. Konishi, N. Itoh, Y. Wang, S. R. Bornstein, A. Xu, X. Li. (2013). Adiponectin mediates the metabolic effects of FGF21 on glucose homeostasis and insulin sensitivity in mice. In: Cell Metab. doi: 10.1016/j.cmet.2013.04.005
  • A. Chatzigeorgiou u. a. (2014). Blocking CD40-TRAF6 signaling is a therapeutic target in obesity-associated insulin resistance. In: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1400419111

Furthermore, Professor Bornstein published more than 30 textbook articles about endocrinology and internal medicine (Schettler Greten, Thieme, Innere Medizin, Becker: Principles of Endocrinology and Metabolism, etc.) and he is author of the book “Evolution, Stress and modern Medicine” (Progressmedia), published in 2006. His works are cited more than 12.000 times, his h-index is 53.[14]

External links[edit]