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E.R. (Ron) de Kloet

Academy professor of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences, 

(em) professor of Medical Pharmacology

Division of Endocrinology, Leiden University Medical Center 



Ron de Kloet is known for his discoveries in the science of stress and the brain.

For half a century I am fascinated by the question how stress hormones, that are critical for life, can change their action in the brain from protective to harmful, while enhancing vulnerability to stress-related disorders. We demonstrated that this switch from a resilient to a vulnerable brain depends on the balance between activation and suppression of stress reactions which is under control of one single hormone: cortisol. This discovery has provided leads towards biomarkers and a novel treatment strategy of stress-related mental disorders aimed to promote a mechanism of resilience present in the brain. Our research is published in more than 600 scientific articles and received several awards.

From 1990 I was professor of Medical Pharmacology at Leiden University Medical Center and Leiden University, reaching the emeritus status in 2009. The Department of Medical Pharmacology)*, LACDR was an expertise center for the neuroendocrinology of stress with research and education from gene to behaviour with a translational perspective in drug development and medicine. From 2004 I am an Academy Professor of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences associated with the Division of Endocrinology, Department of Internal Medicine, Leiden University Medical Center in the group of dr Onno C. Meijer, professor of Molecular Neuroendocrinology since February 1, 2016.


Key publications

de Kloet ER, Molendijk ML.Coping with the Forced Swim Stressor: Towards Understanding an Adaptive Mechanism. Neural Plast. 2016:6503162. doi: 10.1155/2016/6503162. 

de Kloet ER, Otte C, Kumsta R, Kok L, Hillegers MH, Hasselmann H, Kliegel D, Joëls M. J Neuroendocrinol. STRESS and DEPRESSION a crucial role of the mineralocorticoid receptor 2016, Aug 28 (8). doi: 10.1111/jne.12379. [Epub ahead of print]

De Kloet ER (2014) From Receptor Balance to Rational Glucocorticoid Therapy. Endocrinology 155: 2754-2769.

De Kloet ER; Joëls M; Holsboer F (2005) Stress and the brain: From adaptation to disease Nature Reviews Neuroscience 6: 6, 463-475.

De Kloet ER, Oitzl MS; Joëls M  (1999) Stress and cognition: are corticosteroids good or bad guys?  Trends Neurosci 22: 10, 422-426.


Spin-out:  Dynacorts Therapeutics BV          <>

Publication record:                                         <>

History Department of Medical Pharmacology, Leiden University  and Leiden University Medical Center.           

A description of the history of Pharmacology in The Netherlands & Leiden by Erik L. Noach and includes the publication record of the Leiden Department of Medical Pharmacology (1904 -   ) containing more than 2000 titles (under construction). The last professors/chairs were  Samuel de Jong (1898-1976), Eric Noach (1921-2008) & Peter van Rees (1928-2012), Ron de Kloet (1944- ) and finally Onno C. Meijer (1967- ).  With courtesy of Wout Meelis.