Anton Steffens, Ph.D.

In Memory


On Sunday the 8th of December, our dear friend and colleague Anton Steffens passed away in his apartment in Groningen, the Netherlands, at the age of 81, after a period in which his health and vigor deteriorated gradually. He is remembered as a warm and enthusiastic friend, who combined a unique sense of humor with encyclopedic knowledge of culture, politics and history.

Anton Steffens was an active member of the SSIB, and received an SSIB distinguished career award in 2008 for his work on the autonomic control of fuel homeostasis. Important in this work was his development of a jugular catheterization technique, allowing him to study fast changes in circulating levels of fuels and hormones in rats under stress-free conditions over extended periods of time. During his scientific career, he made several discoveries key to our current understanding of how hypothalamic activity, through sympathetic and parasympathetic limbs of the autonomic nervous system, influences the liver, adipose tissue, and the pancreas, at baseline and various non-steady state conditions. He had several collaborations throughout the globe, but particularly his career-spanning collaboration with Steve Woods at the University of Washington in Seattle, was dear to him. Anton mentored several students (i.e., Jan Strubbe, Anton Scheurink, Bork Balkan, Bert Benthem, Gertjan van Dijk) who were able to continue a career in science, largely in the field that Anton had helped creating. After his retirement in 2003, he kept close contact with many of his students and colleagues in the Netherlands as well as abroad.


Written by:
Gertjan van Dijk, Ph.D., University of Groningen, Netherlands