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Prof. Norbert Stefan

Head of Department "Pathophysiology of Prediabetes"

"Precise clinical phenotyping is very effective to understand the pathogenesis of the cardiometabolic diseases and helps to implement personalized prevention and treatment of these diseases."

"Precise clinical phenotyping is very effective to understand the pathogenesis of the cardiometabolic diseases and helps to implement personalized prevention and treatment of these diseases."

Academic Pathway & Research Area

Since he started his scientific career in 1997, Norbert Stefan focused on the clinical and experimental approach in humans to understand the pathophysiology of type 2 diabetes and its complications.

He commenced his medical training in the Department of Endocrinology and Diabetology at the University Hospital of Tübingen, Germany. Then, he received a stipend from the NIH/NIDDK to work as a Research Fellow at the NIH in Phoenix, USA, where he performed precise metabolic phenotyping in the Pima Indian population from 2001 to 2003 and focused on identifying the role of adiponectin in the regulation of insulin action in different tissues in adults and in children. For this purpose, he performed metabolic imaging of adipose tissue and the liver using the magnetic resonance techniques. Thereby, the role of fat accumulation in the liver as a putative early important causative factor in the genesis of insulin resistance moved in the focus of his research.

In Germany Norbert Stefan continued his medical training at the University Hospital of Tübingen and, focused on novel phenotyping strategies in the Tübingen Lifestyle Intervention Program (TULIP). In 2008 he received a Heisenberg-Stipend from the German Research Association and since 2011 he is Full Professor at the University of Tübingen. From 2018 until 2020 Norbert Stefan was a Visiting Professor at the Boston Children’s Hospital of the Harvard Medical School, where he could start a very fruitful scientific collaboration with Professor Morris F. White in the field of hepatokine research.

Norbert Stefan’s main areas of research are metabolic health in obesity (MHO) and normal weight. In this respect, in 2008, together with his colleagues, he published the first large cohort study addressing precise phenotyping in MHO. Another main area of his research focuses on understanding the causes and consequences of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). Besides phenotyping and treatment studies in NAFDL, together with his colleagues, in 2008 he first introduced the concept of hepatokines.

Fields of Work and Expertise

EndocrinologyDiabetologyNAFLDClinical metabolic phenotyping of humansEpidemiologyGenetics

Professional Background


Visiting Professorship, Harvard Medical School, Boston, USA


Full Professor

Professorship for clinical and experimental Diabetology at the Department of Internal Medicine IV, University of Tübingen

2007 - 2011

Associate Professor; Heisenberg Stipend from the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft


Assistant Professor

2000 - 2003

Fellow at the NIH, NIDDK, Phoenix, USA

Honors and Awards

  • Innovation Award of the German Society for University Medicine

  • Heisenberg-Professorship for clinical and experimental Diabetology

  • Editorial Board Member The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology

  • Senior Associate Editor Diabetes

Gold Star Awards Luxury Background
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Glucohead Award 2022

The Heart and Diabetes Center NRW (HDZ NRW), Bad Oeynhausen, honors the research and educational work of Prof. Dr. Norbert Stefan.

The award is presented by Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Diethelm Tschöpe, spokesman of the prize committee and Clinic Director of the Diabetes Center at the HDZ NRW.

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