Faculty member, Charles Harris, MD, PhD is co-editor of a new textbook published by Springer, titled Glucocorticoid Signaling: From Molecules to Mice to Men. The timely volume provides a comprehensive overview of glucocorticoids and their role in regulating many aspects of physiology and their use in the treatment of disease. It was written by leading researchers in the field of glucocorticoids from around the world.
The focus of Dr. Harris’ research has been the molecular mechanisms of glucocorticoid action. Glucocorticoids are stress hormones produced by the adrenal gland, but are also used as medication to treat a wide variety of common inflammatory conditions such as asthma, inflammatory bowel disease and rheumatoid arthritis. Although glucocorticoids are potent and effective treatments for these conditions their use is limited due to severe side effects such as weight gain, diabetes/insulin resistance, hypertension, osteoporosis, myopathy as well as cognitive changes, a constellation of symptoms known as Cushing’s syndrome. Harris’ research focuses on understanding the site of action of glucocorticoids in manifesting these adverse effects. Central to this aim is a greater understanding of the glucocorticoid receptor, a member of the nuclear hormone receptor gene family.