Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism


A photo of Boston in the early 1900sOur Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism has a distinguished history dating back to the 1940's when Dr. Edwin B. Astwood became the first Chief of the Division. During his tenure, a number of advances were made including the introduction of anti-thyroid drugs for the treatment of hyperthyroidism, the use of thyroid hormone therapy for the treatment of benign and malignant thyroid nodules, the isolation and preparation of ACTH for clinical use, and the purification of human growth hormone, allowing the first breakthrough treatment for pituitary dwarfism.

In 1972, Dr. Seymour Reichlin, a world renowned leader in the field of Neuroendocrinology (control of the pituitary gland by the brain) and disorders of the thyroid gland, became Chief of the Division. Included in the many outstanding achievements made during his tenure were the development of the first radioimmunoassay for thyrotropin-releasing hormone (TRH), elucidation of the sequences of preprosomatostatin and preprothyrotropin-releasing hormone, identification of the origin of the hypothalamic tuberoinfundibular system, studies on the mechanisms of somatostatin and prolactin secretion, demonstration of the importance of the immune system in neuroendocrine regulation, as well as important human studies on the evaluation and treatment of hyperprolactinemia and early diagnosis and treatment of patients with MEN II syndrome. In 1978, the Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging (HRNCA) was built on the medical campus of Tufts University next to Tufts Medical Center. This further strengthened the Endocrinology program in disorders of lipid, calcium metabolism and obesity. Since then, the HRNCA has become the largest research center in the world devoted to studying the role of nutrition in the prevention of age-related chronic and infectious diseases.

In 1990, Dr. A.E. Boyd, III, became Chief of the Division and brought with him expertise in Diabetes Mellitus and molecular biology. A period of rapid growth followed for the Division, as Dr. Boyd merged the Division of Molecular Medicine with the Division of Endocrinology, and renamed it the Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes, Metabolism and Molecular Medicine. The Division moved to a newly renovated 15,000 sq ft facility at 75 Kneeland Street, adjacent to the hospital, to accommodate the increased faculty size and requirements for more research space. Since Dr. Boyd's untimely death in 1995, Dr. Ronald M. Lechan, a faculty member of the Division since 1981, has served as the Chief of the Division. The current members of the Division are proud of this heritage and are committed to maintaining the excellence of the Division.