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Univ. Prof. Dr. Alexandra Kautzky-Willer receives first Professorship of Gender Medicine in Austria

(Vienna, 11 Jan. 2010) The Medical University of Vienna (MUV) has had a Chair for Gender Medicine since 1 January 2010: Alexandra Kautzky-Willer, 47, an expert in endocrinology and metabolism, is the first Professor of Gender Medicine in Austria. MedUni Vienna is thus focusing more on gender-specific medicine and is expanding its role in this new field of research in the German-speaking area.

Gender research is an interdisciplinary science which demonstrates important gender-dependent biological and psychosocial differences as well as similarities in health behaviour and with disease processes and examines complex connections for the benefit of both men and women.

Interdisciplinary "Gender Medicine" facility at MedUni Vienna
The aim of the newly established professorship is to set up and expand a national and international scientific network as well as an interdisciplinary "Gender-Medicine" facility at MedUni Vienna. Based on the trans- and multidisciplinary core area of endocrinology and metabolism, the aim is to realise interdisciplinary research projects and further develop teaching on scientifically-based principles. In this regard a postgraduate course in "Gender Medicine" will also start for the first time in 2010. The research clusters and clinical special-focus programmes in particular at MedUni Vienna need to be made aware of the new research approach and joint research projects have to be realised by means of cooperation ventures. Kautzky-Willer explains: "There is a vision to link basic science and clinical research together by means of interdisciplinary cooperation to be able to discover new scientific findings in gender research in different specialist areas."

This plan is also underlined by Vice Rector Karin Gutierrez-Lobos: "Our efforts to create corresponding basic conditions for the different gender-specific requirements in medicine and in organisation can enjoy another success with this professorship and are an incentive for future activities in this field. Gender medicine has to be part of modern medicine and research and is one of the most exciting challenges of the future." 

About Alexandra Kautzky-Willer
Alexandra Kautzky-Willer is an expert in the field of endocrinology and metabolism, where gender-specific differences are particularly pronounced. After receiving her doctorate (1988) and completing specialist training in "Internal Medicine" (1996), she became a professor at the Medical Faculty of the University of Vienna in 1997. Since 2002 Kautzky-Willer has been Head of the Diabetes, Lipid and Obesity Outpatient Clinics at Department of Medicine III. As well as being a member of national and international internal medicine societies for many years, Kautzky-Willer is also a member of the board of the Austrian and a member of the International Society for Gender-Specific Medicine. As an expert she also works as a scientific consultant for organisations including the Science Funds in Germany and Ireland and as a reviewer for many international specialist journals.

Kautzky-Willer has had major successes with her research into gestational diabetes. In a long-term aftercare project with women after gestational diabetes she discovered that there is a difference in the cause of diabetes between women and men and that women more often have impaired glucose tolerance as well as early inflammation markers and changes in coagulation. Women with diabetes have more cardiovascular risk factors and reach the specified target figures for blood pressure and lipids less often than men with diabetes.