Professor Wiebke Arlt MD DSc FRCP FMedSci

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
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. As an Honorary Consultant Endocrinologist, she leads specialist services for patients with adrenal and gonadal disorders at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham, as part of the Birmingham Health Partners Centre for Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism (CEDAM).

Wiebke has published over 150 original research articles and is a sought-after lecturer. Her scientific work has attracted several major national and international prizes including awards from the Society for Endocrinology UK (Society for Endocrinology Medal Lecture 2010, Clinical Endocrinology Trust Lecture 2015), the European Society of Endocrinology (EJE Prize 2009, Clinical Endocrinology Trust Medal Lecture 2016), the German Society for Endocrinology (Berthold Medal Lecture 2017) and the Endocrine Society USA (Ernst Oppenheimer Award 2010). She was elected Fellow of the UK Academy of Medical Sciences in 2010. 


  • 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 (Year 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’s research focus is the exploration of the role of steroid synthesis and metabolism in human health and disease. Her work has identified the key role of adrenal androgens in women, establishing DHEA replacement in women with adrenal insufficiency (N Engl J Med 1999). She has discovered the molecular basis of novel androgen excess disorders (POR deficiency, Lancet 2004; PAPSS2 deficiency, N Engl J Med 2009), leading to new insights into pathways of human androgen synthesis and metabolism.

As a Wellcome Trust Investigator, she applies an integrated systems medicine approach to the dissection of androgen excess and metabolic dysfunction in the context of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). To this end, she combines state-of-the-art human in vivo physiology, innovative ex vivo and in vitro approaches and the exploration of the steroid and global metabolome by machine learning-based computational tools. Her group also applies this steroid metabolomics approach, the combination of mass spectrometry-based steroid profiling with machine learning-based data analysis, to the delineation of steroid excess and metabolic impact in the context of endocrine hypertension and adrenal tumours.

Wiebke leads the Dissecting Androgen excess and metabolic dysfunction – an Integrated Systems approach to PolyCystic Ovary Syndrome (Daisy PCOS) Research Project. It's a new research study which examines the metabolic nature of PCOS and its links to other health conditions. Please see the new website for more information and about the public engagement programme.

Other activities

Local committees (selected):

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

 Clinical activities:

  • Honorary Consultant Endocrinology, University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust
  • Lead, Adrenal Tumour Specialist Service
  • Endocrine Lead, Reproductive Endocrinology Service

 National Committees (selected):

  • Chair, Clinical Committee, Society for Endocrinology
  • Member, Council, Society for Endocrinology
  • Chair, Selection Panel for Clinical Lecturer Starter Grants, Academy of Medical Sciences

 International Activities (selected):

  • Member, International Editorial Advisory Board, Endocrine Reviews
  • Member, Publication Core Committee, Endocrine Society USA
  • Chair, Adrenal Incidentaloma Working Group, and Member of the Steering Committee of the European Network for the Study of Adrenal Tumours
  • Participant and work package leader for steroid metabolome analysis for EU research consortium ENSAT-HT 


Complete List of Published Work in MyBibliography 

Five recent publications:

O'Reilly MW, Kempegowda P, Walsh M, Taylor AE, Manolopoulos KN, Allwood JW, Semple RK, Hebenstreit D, Dunn WB, Tomlinson JW, Arlt W. AKR1C3-mediated adipose androgen generation drives lipotoxicity in women with polycystic ovary syndrome.  J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2017 Sept 1;102(9):3327-3339. doi: 10.1210/jc.2017-00947.

Arlt W, Lang K, Sitch AJ, Dietz AS, Rhayem Y, Bancos I, Feuchtinger A, Chortis V, Gilligan LC, Ludwig P, Riester A, Asbach E, Hughes BA, O'Neil DM, Bidlingmaier M, Tomlinson JW, Hassan-Smith ZK, Rees DA, Adolf C, Hahner S, Quinkler M, Dekkers T, Deinum J, Biehl M, Keevil BG, Shackleton CHL, Deeks JJ, Walch AK, Beuschlein F, Reincke M. Steroid metabolome analysis reveals prevalent glucocorticoid excess in primary aldosteronism. JCI Insight. 2017 May 3;2(8):e93136. doi: 10.1172/jci.insight.93136.

Lebbe M, Taylor AE, Visser JA, Kirkman-Brown J, Woodruff TK, Arlt W. The steroid metabolome in the isolated ovarian follicle and its response to androgen exposure and antagonism.  Endocrinology. 2017 May 1;158(5):1474-1485. doi: 10.1210/en.2016-1851.

Bancos I, Hazeldine J, Chortis V, Hampson P, Taylor AE, Lord JM, Arlt W. Primary adrenal insufficiency is associated with impaired natural killer cell function: a potential link to increased mortality.  Eur J Endocrinol. 2017 Apr;176(4):471-480. doi: 10.1530/EJE-16-0969.

O'Reilly MW, Kempegowda P, Jenkinson C, Taylor AE, Quanson JL, Storbeck KH, Arlt W. 11-oxygenated C19 steroids are the predominant androgens in polycystic ovary syndrome. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2017 Mar 1;102(3):840-848. doi: 10.1210/jc.2016-3285.

View all publications in research portal


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

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