Dirk Hellhammer Award

ISPNE Dirk Hellhammer Award 

The International Society of Psychoneuroendocrinology (ISPNE) has awarded the prestigious Curt Richter Award for over 20 years to a distinguished line of young investigators in the field of psychoneuroendocrinology.
The Curt Richter Award has now been re-named, to honour our friend and colleague Dirk Hellhammer (1947-2018) who has passed away on the 1st of December 2018. Dirk has been a pioneer of psychoneuroendocrinology, contributing some of most important and enduring progress in our field, from the Trier Social Stress to the characterisation of the cortisol awakening response. Moreover, he headed the society as its president from 2002 to 2005, and received the ISPNE Lifetime Achievement Award in 2012.

The 2023 Dirk Hellhammer Award will be given by the Society during its Annual Meeting that will take place in London, at the Royal Society of Medicine, on August 30th and 31st and September 1st, 2023. The award consists of an honorarium, an award certificate, a plaque, a travel grant of up to US $ 1,000 to attend the meeting, and exemption from membership dues to the Society for three years.

Applicants must be 45 years of age or younger by June 30, 2023. The manuscript must be a report of original, never-published research in basic or clinical psychoneuroendocrinology. It may also be an integrative comprehensive new discussion of the author’s previously published findings. The manuscript should be prepared using the ISPNE Journal (Psychoneuroendocrinology) guidelines for preparation of manuscripts for publication. Following peer review, the manuscript will be automatically submitted for publication in the Journal and the award recipient will present the research at a plenary session during the Annual Meeting.
The Dirk Hellhammer Award is sponsored by Elsevier, which underwrites the honorarium and travel expenses for the awardee, as well as providing a year’s complimentary access to ScienceDirect and Scopus. Through these online services, the awardee is able to access all Elsevier journals. ISPNE wishes to thank Elsevier for its continuing support of our Dirk Hellhammer awards program.
Applicants should submit a copy of: (a) the manuscript; (b) curriculum vitae with list of publications; (c) and statement from the applicants (no more than one page, single-spaced) describing the applicant’s main achievements and future directions.

The deadline for submissions has ended.

Applications should be sent via email with “Dirk Hellhammer Award” as the subject line to Professor Carmine Pariante at the following e-mail address: [email protected]



ISPNE 2023 Dirk Hellhammer Award Recipients 

Robert Kumsta, PhD
University of Luxemburg 

Robert Kumsta was appointed Professor of Biopsychology at the University of Luxemburg in May 2021. He studied psychology at the University of Trier, Germany, and received his Ph.D. in Psychobiology from the University of Trier in 2007. Funded by a postdoctoral fellowship from the German Academy of Sciences Leopoldina, he joined the MRC Social, Genetic & Developmental Psychiatry Centre, Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College London, to study the effects of severe institutional deprivation in the English and Romanian Adoptees Study. From 2010 until 2013, he held a Research Fellow position at the Laboratory for Biological and Personality Psychology at the University of Freiburg. Since October 2013, Robert Kumsta has been Professor and Chair of Genetic Psychology at Ruhr University Bochum.

 One of his major research goals is to establish a better mechanistic understanding of how early psychosocial risk is ‘biologically embedded’ and increases the risk of long term health problems. A particular focus is on the role of stress physiology and the oxytocin system. Furthermore, he is interested in mechanisms of gene-environment interplay and epigenetic processes.

Using a range of methods, including the study of genetic variation, gene expression patterns, epigenetics, multi-comics integration, as well as the characterization of stress physiology, he is trying to understand how genetic and environmental factors work together to shape developmental trajectories and outcomes across the life-span.

Elizabeth A. (Birdie) Shirtcliff, PhD
University of Oregon

Elizabeth A. (Birdie) Shirtcliff, PhD, is a research professor at the University of Oregon and director of the Stress Physiology in Teens (SPIT) laboratory in the Center for Translational Neuroscience. Dr. Shirtcliff received her doctorate in biobehavioral health from Pennsylvania State University and completed postdoctoral training at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in affective neuroscience. In 2023, Dr. Shirtcliff became the editor in chief of the journal Psychoneuroendocrinology and consulting editor for Comprehensive Psychoneuroendocrinology. Dr. Shirtcliff uses a variety of noninvasive tools to investigate the interplay of biological and behavioral factors unfolding across children's lives, especially in adolescence. Dr. Shirtcliff's focus is on hormones because the endocrine system is stress responsive, often mirroring a child's social environment. This interdisciplinary research examines both short-term stress responses, as well as biological changes that can consistently or even permanently change an individual's biology. Dr. Shirtcliff’s interdisciplinary leanings are revealed in this manuscript as it shows collaborative efforts between engineering, neuroscience and social science by exploring Virtual Reality Stressors.




Curt Richter Award Winners (Now called the Dirk Hellhammer Award)

2022: Daniel Quintana

2021: Annamaria Cattaneo

2020: Rachel Hill 2009: Christian Otte                                1997: Delia Vazquez                     
2019: Shannon Gourley 2008: Jens Pruessner 1996: Andrew Miller
2018: Eli Puterman 2007: Christine Heim 1995: Rachel Yehuda
2017: Jason Radley 2006: Courtney deVries 1994: Errol de Souza
2016: Stefan Reber 2005: Elissa Epel 1993: Zoltan Sarnyai
2015: Claudia Buss & Sonja Entringer 2004: Sonia Lupien 1992: Owen Wolkowitz
2014: Katja Wingenfeld 2003: Carmine Pariante 1991: Thomas Insel
2013: Emma Adam 2002: Rainer Rupprecht 1989: Elizabeth Hampson
2012: Rebecca Reynolds 2001: Serge Rivest 1987: Fred Turek
2011: Nicolas Rohleder 1999: Benno Roozendaal 1985: Charles Nemeroff
2010: Firdaus Dhabar 1998: E Hogervorst 1984: Philip Gold
    1980: John Carman