September 19, 2016 — The American Thyroid Association (ATA) has announced that the recipient of the 2016 Lewis E. Braverman Lectureship Award is P. Reed Larsen, M.D., a member of the Thyroid Section, Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Hypertension, at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA. Dr. Larsen will deliver the Lewis E. Braverman Lecture, entitled “Deiodinases, Cofactors & the Low T3 Syndrome,” at the ATA’s 86th Annual Meeting, September 21-25, 2016, in Denver, Colorado. The Lewis E. Braverman Lectureship Award recognizes an individual who has demonstrated excellence and passion for mentoring fellows, students and junior faculty, has a long history of productive thyroid research, and is devoted to the ATA. The award is endowed by contributions to honor Dr. Lewis E. Braverman.
In nominating Dr. Larsen for the award, his peers overwhelming recognized his outstanding skills as a mentor, praising the selfless support and guidance he provides and the great importance he places on the advancement and accomplishments of those he has mentored. He instills in the next-generation of trainees an excitement and passion for scientific and medical inquiry and graciously shared authorship on key publications. Many of his trainees have gone on to become leaders in the ATA, thyroidology, and academic medicine more broadly.
Dr. Larsen’s research contributions have been critical to the field. Among his many accomplishments, Dr. Larsen’s discovery of the type 2 deiodinase enzyme — which is responsible for localized production of triiodothyronine (T3) in critical areas such as the brain, pituitary gland, and brown fat — revolutionized the field of thyroidology. It led to the concept that the level of T3 in the circulation does not always correlate with the level of T3 in a tissue. This has had profound implications for understanding the role of thyroid hormone action in normal development, physiology and disease. Dr. Larsen’s group was the first to clone a deiodinase enzyme, the type 1 deiodinase and identify it as a selenoprotein. They were also able to identify the cellular mechanism for overriding the “stop” function of the UGA codon encoding selenocysteine in its mRNA which they termed the Selenocysteine Insertion Sequence (SECIS) element. A SECIS element has subsequently been identified in all 25 selenoprotein mRNAs in the human genome including the three iodothyronine deiodinases and is essential for their successful translation into functional proteins. His group also identified the novel clinical entity called “consumptive hypothyroidism,” which develops due to excessive production of type 3 deiodinase in large hemangiomas.
Dr. Larsen received his undergraduate degree from Princeton University and his medical degree from Columbia University, after which he completed basic science research training at the National Institutes of Health. Throughout his career he has served the ATA in various capacities, including as President from 1993-4, as Vice President from 1978-80, and as a member of the Board of Directors from 1982-7. He has also served as Chair of numerous ATA committees: Program Committee, Committee on the Nomenclature of Thyroid Disease Classification and Thyroid Function Tests, Committee on Societal Representation and Contract, and Awards Committee.
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 93rd 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 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).