Professor Dr. Dirk H. Hellhammer


Dr. Hellhammer studied Psychology and Biochemistry in the Universities of Wuerzburg and Frankfurt and got his doctoral and postdoctoral training in the Max-Planck-Institute for Brain Research, Frankfurt and Indiana University/Purdue University Medical Center, Indianapolis, USA. He received his PhD from the Bayerische Julius-Maximilians-University, Wuerzburg in 1978, and his license in psychotherapy in 1980. He continued his academic career at the Westfaelische-Wilhelms University and the Max-Planck Clinical Research Group for Reproductive Medicine in Muenster, here he got his Venia legendi in 1984.
Since 1986, he is Professor of Clinical and Physiological Psychology in Trier University. Since 1988, he serves as the founder and chair of the Center for Psychobiological and Psychosomatic Research (FPP).

His initial animal research focused on glia-neuron interactions, the septo-hippocampal system, and brain mechanisms participating in stress related  bodily disorders, while his clinical research  dealt with peptic ulcer, anorexia nervosa, and ulcerative colitis. His group later introduced the assessment of hormones in saliva and the Trier Social Stress Test as new tools in psychobiology. Other main research areas are prenatal programming of stress vulnerability and hypocortisolemic disorders, such as fibromyalgia, irritable bowel disease, burnout, etc.  Recently, he developed Neuropattern, the first translational diagnostic tool for the assessment of stress-related disorders.

His research was continuously awarded by extensive research grants.  He introduced many students to psychobiology, supervised more than 60 doctoral students, plenty of which made an own successful scientific career.  He edited 14 books, published 271 scientific journal articles and 115 book chapters (see publications), some of which are among the most cited papers in psychoneuroendocrinology.

Dr. Hellhammer received numerous public and scientific awards, such as the German Psychology Award. He received fellowships from several scientific Societies, such as the  Academy of Behavioral Medicine Research (USA), the American College for Neuropsychopharmacology (USA), etc. and he got memberships of 17 national and international scientific societies. From 2002-2005, he served as President of the International Society for Psychoneuroendocrinology.

Dr. Hellhammer served as reviewer for multitudinous research organisations in Germany, European countries and the US, and for up to 40 national and international journals. He further served on many editorial and advisory boards for national and international journals, research centers, universities, and industry.