Professor Wiebke Arlt MD DSc FRCP FMedSci

Professor Wiebke Arlt

Institute of Metabolism and Systems Research
William Withering Chair of Medicine
Director of the Institute of Metabolism and Systems Research

Contact details

Institute of Metabolism and Systems Research
IBR Tower, Rm 225
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Wiebke Arlt is the William Withering Chair of Medicine and Director of the Institute of Metabolism and Systems Research, IMSR, at the University of Birmingham.

She leads a large, multi-disciplinary research group, comprising biologists, biochemists, clinician scientists and computational biologists, investigating the regulation and role of steroid metabolism and action in health and disease. She is a Honorary Consultant Endocrinologist at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham, where she leads specialist services for patients with adrenal and gonadal disorders.

Wiebke has published over 180 research papers and is a sought after lecturer. She serves on several national and international committees and funding boards and currently is the Chair of the Clinical Committee of the Society for Endocrinology UK. Her scientific work has attracted several major national and international awards including the EJE Prize of the European Society of Endocrinology, the Ernst Oppenheimer Award of the Endocrine Society USA, the Society for Endocrinology UK Medal Lecture and Clinical Endocrinology Trust Prize Lecture. She has been elected Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences in 2010. Wiebke is an Area Lead (Metabolic and fatty liver disease) in the NIHR Birmingham Liver Biomedical Research Unit.


  • Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences 2010
  • Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians 2006
  • DSc 2001
  • CCT in General Medicine and Endocrinology & Diabetes 1998
  • MD 1993
  • MBChB 1990


Wiebke Arlt qualified in Medicine at the University of Cologne, Germany, in 1990. Three years later she obtained an academic MD degree with a thesis on the effects of suramin on adrenal function in sleeping sickness and adrenocortical carcinoma. After her core medical training she trained in Endocrinology from 1994 to 1998 under the auspices of Professor Bruno Allolio at the University Hospital Würzburg, Germany. Supported by a German Research Council Postdoctoral Fellowship Grant she then spent two years in the Molecular Endocrinology Lab of the Department of Paediatrics at the University of California in San Francisco (UCSF), hosted by Walter Miller. Following her return to Wuerzburg in 2001 she was appointed Consultant Endocrinologist. She obtained a prestigious Heisenberg Fellowship from the German Research Council and moved to Birmingham in October 2002, initially as a Visiting Senior Research Fellow following an invitation by Paul Stewart. In 2004, she obtained an MRC Senior Clinical Fellowship and was appointed Senior Lecturer at the University of Birmingham. This was followed by her promotion to Chair of Medicine in 2006 and to Head of the Centre for Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism in 2008. She was awarded the William Withering Chair of Medicine in 2014 and appointed as Director of the newly founded Institute of Metabolism and Systems Research in 2015.


  • MBChB – Endocrinology (Years 1 & 2)
  • BMedSc – Molecular Endocrinology (Years 2&3)

Postgraduate supervision

Wiebke Arlt regulary acts as primary and secondary supervisor for basic scientists and clinical research training fellows and is a supervisor on the Wellcome and MRC Doctoral Training Programmes of the University of Birmingham.


Wiebke is interested in disorders of the adrenal and the gonads, with a specific focus on sex steroids and the regulation of their metabolism and action. Her group has identified human mutations in co-factor generating enzymes playing a crucial role in steroidogenesis, P450 oxidoreductase (Lancet 2004) and PAPS synthase 2 (N Engl J Med 2009), and current research investigates their role in the pathophysiology of androgen excess.

A major focus of research within her group is the use of steroid metabolomics, i.e. the combination of mass spectrometry-based steroid profiling and computational analysis, as a discovery tool in adrenal and gonadal disorders and in the diagnosis and monitoring of steroid-producing and steroid-dependent tumours.

Wiebke Arlt’s research group has a specific focus on the link between steroid excess and metabolic risk and applies an integrated approach to explore this, comprising in vitro, ex vivo and human in vivo physiology studies in combination with steroid metabolome analysis.

Her research is supported by the Medical Research Council, the Wellcome Trust, Cancer Research UK and the European Commission (FP7, H2020, Marie Curie).

Other activities

Local committees (selected):

  • Director, Institute of Metabolism and Systems Research (IMSR)
  • Member, Strategic Research Committee, College of Medical and Dental Sciences
  • Member, University Leadership Forum

 Clinical activities:

  • Honorary Consultant with the following NHS Foundation Trusts:
  • University Hospital Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust (General Endocrine Clinic, Pituitary Clinic, Adrenal Tumour Specialist Service, Endocrine Genetics)
  • Birmingham Women’s Hospital NHS Foundation Trust (Reproductive Endocrinology Clinic, Reproductive Endocrine Genetics)

 National Committees (selected):

  • Chair, Clinical Committee, Society for Endocrinology
  • Member, Council, Society for Endocrinology
  • Member, Physiology and Systems Medicine Board, Medical Research Council
  • Member, Starter Grant Selection Panel, Academy of Medical Sciences

 International Activities (selected):

  • Chair, International Endocrine Scholar Programme, European Society for Endocrinology
  • Member, International Editorial Advisory Board, Endocrine Reviews
  • Member, Publication Core Committee, Endocrine Society USA
  • Member, Steering Committee of the European Network for the Study of Adrenal Tumours (
  • Participant and work package leader steroid metabolome analysis for EU research consortia ENSAT-CANCER, DSD-Life and ENSAT-HT 


Complete List of Published Work in MyBibliography:

PAPSS2 deficiency causes androgen excess via impaired DHEA sulfation--in vitro and in vivo studies in a family harboring two novel PAPSS2 mutations. Oostdijk W, Idkowiak J, Mueller JW, House PJ, Taylor AE, O'Reilly MW, Hughes BA, de Vries MC, Kant SG, Santen GW, Verkerk AJ, Uitterlinden AG, Wit JM, Losekoot M, Arlt W. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2015 Apr;100(4):E672-80. doi: 10.1210/jc.2014-3556. 

Hyperandrogenemia predicts metabolic phenotype in polycystic ovary syndrome: the utility of serum androstenedione. O'Reilly MW, Taylor AE, Crabtree NJ, Hughes BA, Capper F, Crowley RK, Stewart PM, Tomlinson JW, Arlt W. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2014 Mar;99(3):1027-36. 

Mitotane therapy in adrenocortical cancer induces CYP3A4 and inhibits 5α-reductase, explaining the need for personalized glucocorticoid and androgen replacement. Chortis V, Taylor AE, Schneider P, Tomlinson JW, Hughes BA, O'Neil DM, Libé R, Allolio B, Bertagna X, Bertherat J, Beuschlein F, Fassnacht M, Karavitaki N, Mannelli M, Mantero F, Opocher G, Porfiri E, Quinkler M, Sherlock M, Terzolo M, Nightingale P, Shackleton CH, Stewart PM, Hahner S, Arlt W. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2013 Jan;98(1):161-71. 

A missense mutation in the human cytochrome b5 gene causes 46,XY disorder of sex development due to true isolated 17,20 lyase deficiency. Idkowiak J, Randell T, Dhir V, Patel P, Shackleton CH, Taylor NF, Krone N, Arlt W. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2012 Mar;97(3):E465-75. 

Clinical and biochemical consequences of CYP17A1 inhibition with abiraterone given with and without exogenous glucocorticoids in castrate men with advanced prostate cancer. Attard G, Reid AH, Auchus RJ, Hughes BA, Cassidy AM, Thompson E, Oommen NB, Folkerd E, Dowsett M, Arlt W, de Bono JS. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2012 Feb;97(2):507-16. 

Genotype-phenotype analysis in congenital adrenal hyperplasia due to P450 oxidoreductase deficiency. Krone N, Reisch N, Idkowiak J, Dhir V, Ivison HE, Hughes BA, Rose IT, O'Neil DM, Vijzelaar R, Smith MJ, MacDonald F, Cole TR, Adolphs N, Barton JS, Blair EM, Braddock SR, Collins F, Cragun DL, Dattani MT, Day R, Dougan S, Feist M, Gottschalk ME, Gregory JW, Haim M, Harrison R, Olney AH, Hauffa BP, Hindmarsh PC, Hopkin RJ, Jira PE, Kempers M, Kerstens MN, Khalifa MM, Köhler B, Maiter D, Nielsen S, O'Riordan SM, Roth CL, Shane KP, Silink M, Stikkelbroeck NM, Sweeney E, Szarras-Czapnik M, Waterson JR, Williamson L, Hartmann MF, Taylor NF, Wudy SA, Malunowicz EM, Shackleton CH, Arlt W. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2012 Feb;97(2):E257-67.  

Urine steroid metabolomics as a biomarker tool for detecting malignancy in adrenal tumors. Arlt W, Biehl M, Taylor AE, Hahner S, Libé R, Hughes BA, Schneider P, Smith DJ, Stiekema H, Krone N, Porfiri E, Opocher G, Bertherat J, Mantero F, Allolio B, Terzolo M, Nightingale P, Shackleton CH, Bertagna X, Fassnacht M, Stewart PM. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2011 Dec;96(12):3775-84.  

Health status of adults with congenital adrenal hyperplasia: a cohort study of 203 patients. Arlt W, Willis DS, Wild SH, Krone N, Doherty EJ, Hahner S, Han TS, Carroll PV, Conway GS, Rees DA, Stimson RH, Walker BR, Connell JM, Ross RJ; United Kingdom Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia Adult Study Executive (CaHASE). J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2010 Nov;95(11):5110-21.  

Inactivating PAPSS2 mutations in a patient with premature pubarche. Noordam C, Dhir V, McNelis JC, Schlereth F, Hanley NA, Krone N, Smeitink JA, Smeets R, Sweep FC, Claahsen-van der Grinten HL, Arlt W. N Engl J Med. 2009 May 28;360(22):2310-8. 


Steroid endocrinology, with a specific focus on male hormones; androgen excess and polycystic ovary syndrome and associated metabolic risk; adrenal tumours; adrenal incidentaloma; adrenocortical carcinoma; adrenal insufficiency; congenital adrenal hyperplasia and other inborn steroidogenic disorders

Alternative contact number available for this expert: contact the press office