Amit Tirosh, MD

Senior Endocrinologist at Rabin Medical Center, Israel.
Visiting attending endocrinologist, National Institutes of Health.

How did you become interested in research relating to Hypertension and Cardiovascular Disease?

We frequently encounter patients with glucocorticoid excess, and the cause is mainly iatrogenic. This triggered my interest in studying the effects of glucocorticoids on the cardiovascular system.

Describe your research & the program/lab (info of your supervisor) that you are in?

I am interested in the diagnosis of hypercortisolism, and in the prevention of its deleterious effects, including hypertension, hyperglycemia and hypercoagulability. In Israel, I am conducting interventional prospective studies on the effects of GLP1 analogs vs. placebo for the prevention of hyperglycemia in non-diabetic patients that are being treated with high dose glucocorticoid therapy. At the NIH, we are currently collaborating with Dr. Richard Feelders from the Netherlands on the mechanisms of hypercoagulability in patients with various etiologies causing endocrine hypertension, with the mentoring of Dr. Maya Lodish and Dr. Constatine A. Stratakis. I have also studied the association between vitamin D levels and cardiovascular disease, as well as other issues mainly related to the pituitary gland, including hypopituitarism, hypophysitis, prolactinomas and growth hormone deficiency.

What do you consider to be your substantial scientific contribution so far (provide Pubmed PMID if possible)?

My most substantial and ongoing project is a prospective interventional double-blinded placebo controlled study of GLP-1 analog vs. placebo in non-diabetic individuals treated with glucocorticoid therapy. This is an  extremely complicated exercise to perform, albeit the first study to look at this question. I’m curious to find out the results!

What is your favourite manuscript from a lab or mentor other than your own (provide Pubmed PMID if possible)?

This is a very tough call. I love reading historical manuscripts, such as Harvery Cushing’s description of “Basophil Adenomas”, now known as Cushing’s disease (PMID: 19310569). It is still astonishing to see how new discoveries were made based on clinical skills and good data analysis. From the new literature I would choose the beautiful work by Teo et al. which explains through basic scientific mechanisms the unmasking of Primary Aldosteronism during pregnancy and menopause (PMID: 26397949).

What facilities are essential for your research?

Since most of my research is based on data analysis, it doesn’t require much more than data, a computer with good software and time. The prospective studies are naturally completely different and require team work and ongoing collaborations with like minded individuals.

Where do your research strengths lie? Why? What are your research weaknesses? How will you improve?

My ability to analyze the data and perform statistical analysis enables me to be independent most of the time. The database available in Israel is the largest in the world, and can make a fertile ground for many epidemiological studies. My main weakness is the lack of experience in bench and basic science work. I believe that the direct connection between basic science and clinical work is the gold standard for answering unsolved questions in medicine.

Describe your unforgettable (proudest) moment in science, and the most challenging situation that you have had to overcome (lessons learnt) so far?

I have many “small peaks” in my work. Every finding encourages me to move forward and look for the next solution. On the other hand, I have performed several prospective studies and the most challenging experience was recruitment of subjects.

How did you learn about ISH/NIN and its activities?

I learned about ISH/NIN activities from social media.

Who is your role model in Science? Why?

I have several role models in science. Dr. Ahuva Golik, my director in internal medicine, taught me the importance of doing research along the clinical work. Dr. Ilan Shimon, my director during my fellowship in Endocrinology is my role model for his constant motivation to ask questions, and for his perfectionism in research. Dr. Maya Lodish is my model for her enthusiasm and modesty despite her remarkable research achievements, and Dr. Stratakis, for being a top scientist, clinician, and teacher along with his many other duties, that he multitasks very well.

Are you involved in other scientific or career associations? If yes, how is it helping in your career advancements?

Collaboration is a fundamental factor in science, and scientific association is the tool to contact researches with common scientific goals. I participate in as many conferences and meetings as possible in order to establish a fruitful network for collaboration.

What are your scientific goals? Advise for talented emerging scientists?

I want to improve by skills in research, gain more experience, and conduct as many studies as possible.

My best advise for emerging scientists  is to devote time for research of any kind, and as early in the career as possible. Your clinical skills and ability to analyze and manage a patient improves when you approach medicine from different directions.