Why are people drawn to the study of endocrinology

Julia Szendrödi is the new Medical Director of the Clinic for Endocrinology, Metabolism and Clinical Chemistry in Heidelberg

On February 1, 2021, the diabetes expert succeeded Prof. Dr. Peter Nawroth started. The treatment of chronic wounds caused by diabetes and malnutrition will become additional clinical focuses. In addition, gender-related research is to be strengthened. Julia Szendrödi herself sees the compatibility of clinic and research as the basis for improved patient care

Since February 1st, the Clinic for Endocrinology, Diabetology, Metabolic Diseases and Clinical Chemistry at Heidelberg University Hospital has a new Medical Director: Professor Dr. Julia Szendrödi, PhD., Will set new clinical priorities, among other things, in the interdisciplinary care of wound healing disorders in diabetes as well as the treatment of malnutrition, e.g. as a result of gastric interventions in obesity (bariatric surgery). Her scientific focus is the study of cell metabolism in diabetes and obesity.

With regard to “gender medicine”, which takes into account the differences between men and women in disease development and therapy, the doctor and scientist wants to further sharpen the profile of the clinic nationally and internationally. “I am very pleased that we have found a new Medical Director in Julia Szendrödi, who has already experienced innovative patient care based on translational research projects at the German Diabetes Center and the Heinrich Heine University Clinic in Düsseldorf. With its clinical and scientific focus, it will further advance the clinic and study center and represent the Heidelberg University Hospital in the German Center for Diabetes Research, ”said Prof. Dr. Ingo Autenrieth, Senior Medical Director of the University Hospital. Szendrödi was Deputy Director of the Clinic for Endocrinology and Diabetology at the University Hospital Düsseldorf and head of the Clinical Study Center at the German Diabetes Center located there.

First female clinic director in Heidelberg internal medicine

“With Professor Szendrödi, the first female clinic director is moving into Heidelberg internal medicine. This is a strong signal to the next generation of female doctors, because female executives are still severely underrepresented in many specialist areas, "adds Katrin Erk, Commercial Director of Heidelberg University Hospital," adds Katrin Erk, Commercial Director of Heidelberg University Hospital. Julia Szendrödi herself sees her role model function primarily in the compatibility of clinic and research, not least as a prerequisite for innovative therapy and care concepts. “I've been able to live this dream since my studies. Now I want to support clinically interested scientists, researching physicians and scientifically interested students of the nursing professions on their way and bring them to one table together, ”she says. "This requires interdisciplinary collaboration and individual career paths, which I will promote with the help of the innovative Heidelberg Clinical Research curriculum."

Multiple award-winning researcher

For her research on diabetes, secondary diseases and cellular metabolism in muscles, adipose tissue, heart and liver, the 42-year-old doctor has already received several awards, including the Ferdinand Bertram Prize 2018, the most important award for young talent from the German Diabetes Society, and the Young Investigator Award from the European Association for the Study of Obesity. Projects planned at the new location will include research into cardiac insufficiency and physical degradation as a late complication of diabetes. "With her research, Professor Szendrödi will optimally support the Collaborative Research Center 'Reactive Metabolites as Cause of Diabetic Consequential Damage', which is coordinated from Heidelberg, and will strengthen Heidelberg as one of Germany's leading locations in this area," says Prof. Dr. Hans-Georg Kräusslich, Dean of the Medical Faculty Heidelberg.

Szendrödi thinks in an interdisciplinary way

When it comes to scientific as well as clinical focuses, Szendrödi always thinks in an interdisciplinary way: In the coming years, she wants to investigate the way in which energy metabolism and energy metabolism and in cooperation with partners of the German Center for Diabetes Research (DZD eV) and the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) in the context of the Collaborative Research Center Communication between muscles, adipose tissue, heart, nervous system and liver both in the development of obesity and in disease-related physical degradation and malnutrition are disturbed and whether these impairments can be alleviated by lifestyle.

Research priorities named

Gender-related research is a key issue that should be given more weight in Heidelberg. In other words: How does the metabolism differ in men and women? How does this affect diseases such as diabetes and what are the consequences for therapy? "The effects of therapies on women in different phases of life have not yet been researched, and women are mostly underrepresented in clinical studies," says the doctor, who notes that there is an urgent need to catch up.

Pay more attention to malnutrition and chronic wounds

In patient care, too, she will address two issues that have received too little attention so far: On the one hand, there is malnutrition after intestinal surgery, e.g. to treat cancer, as a result of an inadequately adapted diet after gastric surgery in obesity or in patients with heart failure. On the other hand, the interdisciplinary care of chronic wounds such as the diabetic foot. “The number of amputations in diabetes is increasing worldwide. At the same time, in Germany about a third of inpatients with chronic circulatory disorders in the legs are neither subjected to angiography nor attempts to reopen the blood vessels in the two years prior to the amputation. That is a blatant undersupply, ”explains Szendrödi. An interdisciplinary concept is required that includes the various disciplines as well as general practitioners and nursing services, and helps patients, who are usually complexly ill, to a clear diagnosis, appropriate treatment and subsequent support.

Heidelberg: "... unique research landscape"

Dr. Szendrödi first studied medicine in Vienna and then did research for two years as a post-doctoral student at the Institute for Pharmacology at the University of Vienna. She then worked at the Clinical Department for Endocrinology and Metabolism at the Medical University in Vienna, later at the Hanusch Hospital and the Karl Landsteiner Institute for Endocrinology and Metabolism in Vienna. In 2008 she succeeded her group leader Prof. Dr. Michael Roden, now Scientific Director and Director of the German Diabetes Center, moved to Düsseldorf, where she was most recently deputy director of the Clinic for Endocrinology and Diabetology at the University Hospital Düsseldorf. What appeals to her about Heidelberg is the unique research landscape and, in particular, the broad spectrum of her new department: “The central laboratory provides links with all the specialist disciplines represented and many opportunities for clinical and scientific collaboration. I'm looking forward to it."

Source: Heidelberg University Hospital

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