Prof. Dr. Dirk Hellhammer
Issue 27, Stress and the Brain, June 2012
Head, Division of Theoretical and Clinical Psychobiology; Founder and Chair, Center for Psychobiological and Psychosomatic Research
In 2008, Prof. Dirk Hellhammer published Stress: The Brain-Body Connection, a book that provides clinicians, researchers, and students from the fields of psychiatry, psychology, neurobiology and psychoendocrinology with an overview of how knowledge from basic psychobiological research can benefit their patients.
In his book, Prof. Hellhammer introduces Neuropattern, the first translational diagnostic tool for the assessment of stress-related disorders. In this GCRI interview, Prof. Hellhammer addresses the physiological systems most strongly affected by stress, why people react to stress differently, and how Neuropattern can detect and test stress pathology.
Dirk Hellhammer studied psychology and biochemistry at the Universities of Würzburg and Frankfurt, and has been Professor of Clinical and Physiological Psychology at the University of Trier since 1986. His initial animal research focused on glia-neuron interactions, the septo-hippocampal system, and brain mechanisms participating in stress-related bodily disorders, while his clinical research dealt with peptic ulcer, anorexia nervosa, and ulcerative colitis. His group introduced the assessment of hormones in saliva and the Trier Social Stress Test as new tools in stress research. Other main research areas include prenatal programming of stress vulnerability and hypocortisolemic disorders, such as fibromyalgia, irritable bowel disease, or burnout. A recipient of numerous public and scientific awards, such as the German Psychology Award, Prof. Hellhammer will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award of the International Society for Psychoneuroendocrinology in September 2012 in New York.