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History of the Institute

From the discovery of singular hormones to the complex of hormone systems

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Das ehemalige Pockenhaus ist das älteste erhaltene Gebäude der CharitéCentrum Mitte, heutige Schumannstr. 20/21 (historische Aufnahme)

The Institute for Experimental Endocrinology, formerly at the CCM, with his director Josef Köhrle emerged from the histological-pathological-endocrinological laboratory of the gynecological hospital residing between 1877 and 1951 on the compound of the Charité. It was located in the oldest building - The pox house of the Charité was constructed in 1836/37.

Since 1912 Selmar Aschheim (1878-1965) and later on Bernhard Zondek (1891-1966) researched here and received international renown while describing the first time the ovarial hormone, discovering the gonadotropine and developing the first biological test for early pregnancy (Aschheim-Zondek-Reaction). Being jews they had to leave the Charité during the Third Reich.

Since 2001 their former institute's building is named Aschheim-Zondek-House.

The foundation of the institute was initiated in 1951 by Theodor Brugsch and was led by Walter Hohlweg up to 1961 - being a pioneer of neuro endocrinology and a father of the 'Anti-baby-pill'. His successor Günter Dörner led the institute up to  1998 and layed the cornerstone for the 'functional teratology' as teachings of the hormonal and ecological, fetal and neonatal programming disorders of neuroendocrine functional systems.

Up to 2002 Wolfgang Rohde served as acting director until Josef Köhrle was assigned to the endowed professorship for molecular endocrinology. 

Teaching and Research today

At the Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin the Institute for Experimental Endocrinology  represents the department of endocrinology - the science of biological information and communication of hormones - in teaching and research in the study programs of the students in medical and odontological sciences, and offers as well several special techniques for hormonal analysis in research and clinical fields.

In the clinical basic science research aspects of functional disorders of different hormonal systems are studied. The function and regulation of the thyroid hormone axis, the relevance of trace elements iodine and selenium for the hormonal systems and for cancer genesis, hormon like sustances (endocrine disrupters), and selenium in tumor and neurobiology are new research fields of the institute. 

Cooperations and focus in experimental research

Between 2002 and 2010 the Endocrinological Research Centre Enforcé was funded as a cooperation together with the research group Pediatric Endocrinology (PI Prof. Dr. Annette Grüters) at the Pediatric Polyclinic at the Charité (Campus Virchow-Klinikum).

Being an interdisciplinary research project basic research is taking place on hormones and their functions in relation to clinical applications, diagnostics and therapy as well as translational applications for innovation and technology transfer. Experimental studies together with the Schering AG - Jenapharm GmbH & Co. KG are done to develop special estrogen and androgen like substances with respective selective effects on receptors for therapeutical purposes. With Henning Berlin GmbH and BRAHMS Diagnostica GmbH we research on thyroidal hormones and respective diagnostica.

Furthermore, our experimental research is focussed on the developmental and biological concept of hormonal and environmental self organization of neuroendocrine functional systems and their feedback mechanisms, especially of the steroidal and thyroidal hormone systems.

The projects are funded mainly from the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG), the European Community, the Deutschen Krebshilfe - Dr. Mildred Scheel-Stiftung, as well as Technologie-Stiftung Berlin - Zukunftsfonds Berlin.

The Graduate College GRK 1208

Since 2005 the coordination of the DFG-funded international gradate college GRK 1208 'Hormonal Regulation of Energy Metabolism, Body Weight and Growth' is in the hands of Josef Köhrle. Together with Annette Grüters he is speaker of GRK 1208.