Jan Kroon, PhD

Glucocorticoid stress hormones are secreted by the adrenal gland and modulate a wide range of processes in the human body including metabolism, the immune response and emotions. Deregulation of glucocorticoid secretion is associated with numerous diseases, including Cushing’s disease, obesity and psychological disorders.
My research focuses on the physiological role of endogenous stress hormones (i.e. cortisol) in metabolic processes and how disturbances in the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal (HPA)-axis can deregulate metabolic pathways and cause disease. To this end, I investigate how disruption of the diurnal rhythm of corticosterone influences metabolic health and how hypercortisolism permanently alters genomic accessibility thereby causing irreversible effects.
Next, one important research aim comprises the evaluation of therapeutic intervention by altering glucocorticoid receptor activity. Previously, during my PhD-research, I evaluated the utility of synthetic glucocorticoids (i.e. dexamethasone) in the treatment of prostate cancer. Furthermore, the involvement of the glucocorticoid receptor in chemotherapy resistance was established. Currently, my research outlines the applicability of selective receptor modulators for the glucocorticoid receptor in liver steatosis and the suitability of GR antagonists in reversing long-term adverse effects associated with Cushing’s disease.