Professor Kristien Boelaert MD, PhD, MRCP

Professor Kristien Boelaert

Institute of Applied Health Research
Professor of Endocrinology

Contact details

University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Kristien Boelaert is a Professor of Endocrinology at the University of Birmingham and a Consultant Endocrinologist at University Hospitals Birmingham. Her clinical research interests include the management of thyroid dysfunction, nodules and endocrine disorders in pregnancy. Her laboratory research programme focuses on the pathogenesis of thyroid cancer and she is involved in a number of clinical trials in the field of thyroid disease.

She is the Clinical Lead for the NICE Guidelines on Thyroid Diseases, the National Consensus Statements on Management of Thyroid Cancer and the RCOG Green Top Guidelines for Management of Thyroid Diseases in Pregnancy. Kristien’s research continues to attract funding from major grant awarding bodies including the MRC, the Wellcome Trust, CRUK and other Charities. The impact of her research is evidenced by a rapidly growing list of publications and numerous invitations to speak at international conferences. 

She is Senior Editor for Endocrine Connections and BMC Endocrine Disorders and serves on the Editorial Boards of several endocrine journals including Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology. She is a member of the Society for Endocrinology Council and Clinical Committee, the ATA Research Committee, the Endocrine Society Annual Steering Committee and the RCP Specialist Certificate Examination Board.


  • PhD, University of Birmingham 2005
  • Membership of the Royal College of Physicians 1998
  • MD, Catholic University Leuven, Belgium, 1995


Kristien qualified with an MD (Summa Cum Laude) from the Catholic University Leuven, Belgium in 1995. She emigrated to the UK and completed her basic medical training in Wolverhampton. Following achievement of the MRCP in 1998, she decided to pursue a career in Diabetes/Endocrinology. Kristien went on to study for a PhD, funded by a Wellcome Clinical Training Fellowship under supervision of Professor Jayne Franklyn. She became a Clinical Lecturer in Endocrinology in 2004 and was successful in obtaining a competitive MRC Clinician Scientist Fellowship in 2007.

Kristien’s research has investigated the role of the proto-oncogene PTTG and related growth factors in thyroid tumourigenesis. This has included the development of systems through which uptake of radioactive iodine may be modulated, a number of which may translate to future therapeutic applications. In addition she has a large portfolio of translational research projects investigating the management of thyroid dysfunction and thyroid nodules.

Kristien’s contribution to the field of Endocrinology was recognised by the award of Society for Endocrinology Clinical Review Lectureship in 2004 as well as by the presentation of her findings at the Annual Meeting of the Association of Physicians in 2008. Kristien’s research continues to attract funding from major grant awarding bodies and is evidenced by a rapidly growing list of peer-reviewed research papers, reviews and book chapters.

She has an active teaching role within the University and is a personal mentor for MBChB students. She is a regular lecturer on various courses within the College of Medical and Dental Sciences and takes part in numerous small group teaching sessions.


  • MBChB course
  • BMedSci
  • Graduate Entry Course
  • Intercal BMedSc Clinical Sciences Course
  • MRes Endocrinology

Postgraduate supervision

  • PhD supervision of 2 doctoral research students
  • Supervision of postgraduate MPhil student
  • Personal Mentor to medical students
  • Mentor to 5 doctoral research students
  • Supervision of thyroid database management


Research themes

  • Molecular pathogenesis of endocrine cancers
  • Diagnosis, management and long-term consequences of thyroid dysfunction
  • Investigation of novel diagnostic and therapeutic approaches in thyroid nodules and cancer

Research activity

1. Laboratory Research

Kristien’s laboratory research interests centre around the molecular pathogenesis of endocrine cancers in general and thyroid tumours specifically. In particular the role played by two closely related proto-oncogenes namely PTTG – the human securin - which has been implicated in the aetiology of a number of endocrine tumour types and its binding factor PBF, a proto-oncogene which we is currently being characterised in collaboration with Professor Chris McCabe.

Utilising several models of altered gene expression and function in the murine thyroid, we are currently mapping the multiple actions of PTTG and PBF in the initiation and progression of transformed cell growth. We are characterising the altered growth factor regulation apparent in thyroid hyperplasia and neoplasia, through mouse models, human primary thyroid cultures and transformed thyroid cell line investigations.

Both PTTG and PBF have been shown to reduce the function of the sodium iodide symporter which is the molecule responsible for iodide uptake in thyroid cells, a finding which has major implications for the treatment of thyroid cancers with radioactive iodine. We are in the process of developing systems through which uptake of radioiodine may be modulated in vivo, thereby exploring novel therapeutic approaches for patients with thyroid cancer.

2. Translational Research

Kristien continues to be involved in a number of research projects aiming to improve the management of patients with hyperthyroidism. These include projects determining the prevalence of symptoms and signs in patients with subclinical and overt hyperthyroidism, the risk of co-existing autoimmune diseases in patients with autoimmune thyroid disease, and outcomes following administration of radioactive iodine. Currently ongoing studies include the prediction of mortality in patients with hyperthyroidism according to the treatment modality used and the effects of treatment of hyperthyroidism on BMI. Current funding applications centre around the hypothesis that weight gain following treatment of hyperthyroidism may be prevented through simple interventions including dietary and lifestyle changes.

Based on findings within the laboratory Kristien is in the process of setting up a number of research projects identifying novel diagnostic and prognostic markers in patients with thyroid nodules. This includes investigations of the predictive value of serum TSH concentrations in predicting malignancy as well as the evaluation of molecular tools to aid in the distinction between benign and malignant thyroid nodules. An upcoming Visiting Clinician Fellowship at the Mayo Clinic, Rochester Minnesota will be pivotal in further expanding these research avenues.

Other activities

  • Consultant Endocrinologist, University Hospital Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust
  • Clinical Governance Lead for Endocrinology within UHB NHS FT