Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry of the University of Duisburg-Essen
Prof. Johannes Hebebrand studied medicine at the University of Heidelberg to obtain his MD in 1983. The Children´s Center Munich, which specializes in the treatment of physically and mentally disabled children, served as his first position. In 1984 he became a research assistant at the Institute of Human Genetics at the University of Bonn. During his five year stay in Bonn he conducted research into the ontogeny and phylogeny of the benzodiazepine binding site of the GABA-A receptor and obtained his PhD in 1990. He also became involved in psychiatric genetics, a research and clinical interest, which in 1990 led him to continue his career at the Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry of the University of Marburg. He worked on the genetics of the Gilles de la Tourette Syndrome and subsequently on eating disorders and obesity. In 1995 he became head of the clinical research group “Genetic mechanisms of body weight regulation with a special focus on eating disorders and obesity” funded by the German Research Society. His group ascertained large DNA samples of children, adolescents and adults with anorexia and bulimia nervosa and obesity and together with Prof. Anke Hinney initiated molecular genetic studies of these disorders in Marburg based on candidate gene studies. In 2004 Johannes Hebebrand was appointed head of the Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (facilities for treatment of 50 inpatients and 31 day-care patients in addition to a large outpatient unit) of the University of Duisburg-Essen His group has recently been involved in international consortia (e.g. Genetic Investigation of ANthropometric Traits (GIANT), Genetics of Anorexia Consortium, Psychiatric GWAS Consortium) to detect polygenes for complex disorders including obesity, anorexia nervosa and attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Johannes Hebebrand has been fascinated by research into the opposite ends of the body weight distribution and by assessing the implications of neuroendocrine and genetic research related to obesity for anorexia nervosa. In particular, his group figured prominently in analyzing the clinical implications of the hypoleptinemia characteristic of patients with anorexia nervosa. He also has a strong interest in early onset obesity.