Van Meter Awarded to Takashi Yoshimura, PhD
Monday, October 19, 2015 – 1:15 pm ET (embargoed) –
The American Thyroid Association (ATA) will present Takashi Yoshimura, Ph.D. with the 2015 Van Meter Award at the 85th Annual Meeting of the ATA, held in conjunction with the International Thyroid Congress, October 18-23, 2015, in Lake Buena Vista (Orlando), FL. Established in 1930, The Van Meter Award recognizes outstanding contributions by a young clinical scientist to research on the thyroid gland and hormones. The award recipient delivers the only ATA prize lecture this year, the Van Meter Award Lectureship, at the 15th International Thyroid Congress on Monday, October 19. Dr. Yoshimura’s talk is entitled “Novel roles for TSH and TH identified by discovery-driven approach”.
The Van Meter Award receives support from Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers of the journal Thyroid.
Dr. Yoshimura’s remarkable contributions to thyroid research relate to a series of fascinating discoveries made in birds, mammals, and fish that link photoreceptors in the brain to thyroid hormone-based regulation of seasonal reproduction. He holds a Ph.D. in Agricultural Sciences and is a Professor in the Graduate School of Bioagricultural Sciences and Director of the Avian Bioscience Research Center at University of Nagoya, Japan. Sparking Dr. Yoshimura’s interest in the thyroid and thyroid hormones was his seminal discovery in birds–published in Nature in 2003–that the light-induced conversion of thyroxine (T4) to triiodothyronine (T3) in the brain regulates gonadal activity as the days get longer and shorter. He then identified the molecular mechanism associated with this phenomenon, which involves the enzyme deiodinase 2, and went on to show that extended daylight induced the synthesis of the same enzyme in mammals, suggesting that the mechanism regulating seasonal reproduction had been conserved throughout evolution.
Systems biology analytical methods led to the unexpected finding in birds that thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) secreted from the pituitary gland is the “springtime hormone” that triggers expression of DIO2 ,the gene that controls deiodinase 2 production in the hypothalamus. Dr. Yoshimura then demonstrated that in mammals, TSH produced by the pituitary gland mediates the action of the pineal hormone melatonin, which had previously been shown to play a crucial role in regulating seasonal reproduction. More recently, Dr. Yoshimura’s group has uncovered the regulatory mechanism by which TSH secreted by two different compartments of the pituitary gland can carry out different regulatory activities without functional crosstalk.
Further pursuing this line of investigation, Dr. Yoshimura subsequently described the mechanism for seasonal regulation of TSH and DIO2 in fish, describing the physiological role of the saccus vasculosus as a seasonal sensor in fish.
This comprehensive body of work is likely to have a great impact on future research related to human reproductive health and mood disorders, such as seasonal affective disorder (also known as SAD or winter depression).
The American Thyroid Association (ATA) is the leading worldwide organization dedicated to the advancement, understanding, prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of thyroid disorders and thyroid cancer. ATA is an international membership medical society with over 1,700 members from 43 countries around the world. Celebrating its 92nd anniversary, the ATA delivers its mission — of being devoted to thyroid biology and to the prevention and treatment of thyroid disease through excellence in research, clinical care, education, and public health — through several key endeavors: the publication of highly regarded professional journals, Thyroid, Clinical Thyroidology, and VideoEndocrinology; annual scientific meetings; biennial clinical and research symposia; research grant programs for young investigators, support of online professional, public and patient educational programs; and the development of guidelines for clinical management of thyroid disease and thyroid cancer. The ATA promotes thyroid awareness and information through its online Clinical Thyroidology for the Public (distributed free of charge to over 11,000 patients and public subscribers) and extensive, authoritative explanations of thyroid disease and thyroid cancer in both English and Spanish. The ATA website serves as the clinical resource for patients and the public who look for reliable information on the Internet. Every fifth year, the American Thyroid Association joins with the Latin American Thyroid Society, the European Thyroid Association, and the Asia and Oceania Thyroid Association to co-sponsor the International Thyroid Congress (ITC). This year the ITC is hosted by the American Thyroid Association at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort. More information about the 15th ITC can be found at http://www.thyroid.org/itc2015/.