european network for the study of adrenal tumors


bruno allolio


In memory of Bruno Allolio (5.10.1949‐16.8.2015)

We are deeply saddened by Bruno Allolio’s passing. Bruno was a highly creative and innovative endocrinologist, an empathetic and caring doctor, and a most inspiring teacher and dedicated mentor.  He was a true European with a wide-ranging network of friendships and collaborations across Europe. In addition to his ties to the German Society of Endocrinology DGE he had strong links with the Society for Endocrinology UK and spent some of his formative postdoctoral years in London, where he also met his future wife Margarete.  He was a long-standing editor of the European Journal of Endocrinology and a strong voice for the European Society of Endocrinology, serving on its first Executive Committee.  He was a founding member and important driver of the European Network for the Study of Adrenal Tumours, ENSAT, and strongly believed in international collaboration as the foundation for progress. Acknowledging his major contributions, he was made an honorary member of the European Society of Endocrinology in 2014.

 Bruno Allolio was born in 1949 in the Westphalian town of Mönchengladbach. His childhood was marred by the early death of his father, a paediatrician, but was inspired by the love and the intellectual passion of his mother who raised her three children with almost no financial means available. Bruno, the youngest, excelled from an early age and developed into a broadly interested, engaging young man, who started his studies in Physics and Medicine at the University of Cologne at the height of the student revolution. He was excited by the intellectual challenge of Endocrinology and trained at the University Hospital of Cologne under the auspices of the late Werner Winkelmann. He spent two postdoctoral training periods abroad, the first one at St. Bartholomew’s Hospital in London and the second at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda.  In 1992, he took the Chair in Endocrinology at the University of Würzburg and created a highly active research group, covering a breath-taking breadth of subjects, but focusing on the adrenal at its core. He published several textbooks and more than 400 original research publications including recent milestone contributions to adrenal endocrinology, spanning the entire translational cascade from basic science research to clinical trials.

Most significantly, Bruno has been a fantastic mentor; there are good mentors and there are GREAT mentors and without doubt he belonged in the latter category. Over the years many of his trainees have evolved from mentees to close friends. He always told us that when future generations look back at past discoveries, nobody will remember who discovered something but only what was discovered and what it has changed (hopefully). He encouraged us to always strive to inspire the next generation of endocrine researchers and doctors. Bruno had a great sense of humour and never took himself too seriously.

Bruno’s perspective on life was profoundly challenged after being diagnosed with a chronic life-threatening illness in 1998. His illness led him to keep distance to mere career aspirations. However, he never took his mind off the scientific “ball” and he went from strength to strength over these years.  He told us that facing a life-threatening illness also had its good sides, such as focusing even more consciously on interacting with his children while they were growing up and developed into outgoing young students he was so proud of.

As a strong believer in medical progress through research he battled his illness with important advances that became available and appeared to succeed. However, in 2013, he had to endure months of ICU treatment after contracting the swine flu. Following an amazing recovery, he was struck by illness again, and had to undergo surgery and radiation treatment over the last 12 months. His love of life was challenged by subsequent complications and in the end death was kind and greeted with relief.

Our thoughts are with Margarete and their three children, Christoph, Philip and Friederike. Sadly he did not live long enough to greet his first grandchild due to be born in a few weeks time.

“Ideas are cheap” was one of his sayings, but in hindsight we need to add “Ideas are cheap for a great mind” – we will sorely miss Bruno Allolio and his ideas.


Wiebke Arlt, Birmingham
Felix Beuschlein, Munich
Martin Fassnacht, Würzburg
Stefanie Hahner, Würzburg
Martin Reincke, Munich
  © ENS@T - European Network for the Study of Adrenal Tumors 2002 - 2012