Liesbeth van Rossum EUR


First nameLiesbeth
Last namevan Rossum
FTE0.3 (2019 - 2028)
Brief summary of research over last 5 years

Elisabeth van Rossum (43) is internist-endocrinologist, and full professor in the field of obesity and biological stress. She obtained her MD in 2000 (cum laude) and her PhD in 2005 (cum laude). Her research focuses on the biology of obesity as well as the role of corticosteroids in health and disease (cardiometabolic diseases and psychiatric disorders). She is internationally acknowledged for her innovative research with a significant societal impact, which is also shown by extensive (inter)national media attention for her research.

Van Rossum is leading the endocrine stress research group at the Erasmus University Medical Center and is co-founder and head of the Obesity Center CGG (Centrum Gezond Gewicht). This is a collaboration of three hospitals (Erasmus University MC for diagnostics of underlying causes of obesity and innovative treatments, and Franciscus hospital and Maasstad hospital for bariatric surgery).

Van Rossum is chair of the Partnership Overweight Netherlands (PON), an umbrella organization of 14 associations of health care professionals, with an advisory role to the Ministry of Public Health Welfare and Sport (VWS). In her clinical role as endocrinologist she developed with her team a successful combined lifestyle intervention programme with cognitive behavioural therapy for sustained weight loss. In her managerial/ political role as chair of PON, she managed to convince the Ministry of VWS and the Dutch health care authorities to include the combined lifestyle interventions in the basic insurance for the Dutch population. This means that per January 2019 an estimated 5 million persons with overweight (of a total of 13 million adults in the Netherlands) will be eligible for his treatment. In May 2018 Van Rossum was invited to present this Dutch obesity policy to the EU policy makers in Brussels, where it became clear that the Netherlands is in the forefront worldwide to combat the obesity epidemic.

Important for the field of stress research were Van Rossum’s findings on the mechanisms of corticosteroid sensitivity and novel tests to measure this sensitivity. She also developed novel techniques to measure long-term cortisol using scalp hair, and showed them to be biological markers of chronic stress. She and her team studied the major role corticosteroids have in obesity, cardiovascular disease, and psychiatric diseases. She finished her clinical specialization in 2010, became mother of two children, built her own research team, and published more than 140 peer-reviewed scientific publications or books, and received 20 awards for her scientific research in the past years. She closely works with many other disciplines, both in national and international collaborations (>80 institutions).

International visibility, activities, prizes, scholarships etc.
  • Van Rossum has a H-factor of 34 with 4186 citations according to Web of science, and 6394 citations on google scholar. Average citation per item is 39,18 (Web of Science July 2018).
  • Van Rossum is a frequently invited key note speaker, both national (average of 80 presentations per year), as well as international (5-7 times/year). She often gives presentations to scientists (e.g. American and European Congresses of Endocrinology, and European Congress of Obesity), but also to lay audiences (e.g. TEDx talk) or politics (e.g. EU policy makers in Brussels). She is considered a key opinion leader in the field of obesity. In this context she is frequently acting in advisory roles for politics and committees, as well as in the media (international press releases yielding publications and interviews in (inter)national newspapers (e.g. New York Times, Volkskrant, NRC), radio (BBC, NPO, Radio 1) and TV (Een Vandaag, NOS, RTL news)
  • She received >20 scientific awards e.g. Award of the Dutch Endocrine Society 2013 for her research achievements (at age 38!), the Ziskind-Somerfeld Research Award of The Society of Biological Psychiatry, San Diego, USA, American Society for Aging and Endocrinology and The Glenn Foundation Award, Philadelphia, USA, Young Investigator’s Award, Barcelona, Spain, Steven Hoogendijk Award (Medical Science). Also her 7 PhD students have been awarded 18 prizes in the past 5 years.
  • Based on her outstanding scientific achievements, she was appointed as a member of Young Erasmus Academy (selection of excellent researchers under the age of 45 of all EUR faculties), which she has been chairing from 2015 onwards. In 2016 she was appointed member of the Young Academy of the Royal Dutch Academy of Sciences.
  • She was the winner of the National Science Quiz NWO/VPRO 2014 (national TV programme) and listed as Viva400 member (400 most successful women in the Netherlands).
  • The Obesity Center CGG (founded by Van Rossum) is appointed as “Best Practice” by Dutch health care authorities
  • Next to her patient care she has been successful in obtaining grant: >5 million Euro, e.g. Veni (2008), VIDI (2016), Elisabeth Foundation, US Thrasher Research Fund, Netherlands Brain Foundation (hersenstichting), Erasmus MC (Talent) Fellowship, and a fellowship grant at University of Maryland and Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, USA
  • She has multiple current board memberships, most relevant: Dutch Endocrine Society, co-founder and board member of Stress-NL (network of stress-related researchers) and president of the Partnership Overweight Netherlands.
  • She chairs the annual Congress of the Dutch Endocrine Society (since 2013), and the National Obesity Symposia and is a member of clinical guideline committees, e.g. adrenal disease guideline, “Treatment of morbid obesity” guideline, committee PROMs (patient-related outcome measures) for obesity.
  • Internationally van Rossum is active in e.g. European Obesity Strategic Working Group, International Obesity Genetics group, international Glucocorticoids and Mood working group.
5 key publications coordinating researcher / PI
  1. van Rossum EF. Obesity and cortisol: New perspectives on an old theme. Obesity 2017, 25, 500-501.
  2. Quax RA, Manenschijn L, Koper J, Hazes J, Lamberts SWJ, van Rossum EFC, Feelders RA. Glucocorticoid sensitivity in health and disease. Nature Reviews Endocrinology 2013, 183.
  3. Staufenbiel SM, Penninx BW, Spijker AT, Elzinga BM, van Rossum EFC. Hair cortisol, stress exposure and mental health in humans: a systematic review. Psychoneuroendocrinology 2013, 38, 1220-35.
  4. EFC van Rossum, EB Binder, M Majer, JW Koper, M Ising, S Modell, D Salyakina, SW Lamberts, F Holsboer. Polymorphisms of the glucocorticoid receptor gene and major depression. Biol Psychiatry 2006, 59, 681-8.
  5. L Manenschijn, L Schaap, NM van Schoor, S van der Pas, GMEE Peeters, P Lips, JW Koper, EFC van Rossum. High long-term cortisol levels, measured in scalp hair, are associated with a history of cardiovascular disease. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 2013, 98, 2078-83.