Staff Collaborate Conference Room

Hershel Raff, PhD


Hershel Raff, PhD

Professor, Medicine, Physiology and Surgery; Director, Endocrine Research Laboratory


  • Aurora St. Luke's Medical Center
  • 2801 W. KK River Pkwy., Suite 245
    Milwaukee, WI 53215

Contact Information


Hershel Raff is Professor of Medicine in the Division of Endocrinology, Metabolism and Clinical Nutrition. He holds secondary appointments in the Departments of Physiology and Surgery. He is Scientific Director and Clinical Supervisor of the Endocrine Research Laboratory at Aurora St. Luke's Medical Center of the Aurora Research Institute. He received a BA in Music from Union College in Schenectady, NY. He earned his PhD in Environmental Physiology from the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health. He was a post-doctoral fellow in Endocrinology at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). Dr. Raff came to MCW in 1983 as an Assistant Professor and rose to the rank of Professor in 1991. He is also an Adjunct Professor in Biomedical Sciences at Marquette University.


Johns Hopkins University, PhD - Environmental Physiology
University of California-San Francisco, Postdoctoral Fellowship in Endocrinology

Research Interests

Dr Raff's laboratory has two main research areas of interest. His basic research on the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis focuses on the short and long term consequences of neonatal hypoxia. His laboratory has discovered that activation of the synthetic pathway for corticosterone (the main glucocorticoid of the rodent) by neonatal hypoxia is mediated by a novel second-messenger cascade. He is also studying the role of renin in adrenal steroidogenesis using the renin knock-out rat developed at MCW. His clinical research focuses on the development of diagnostic endocrine tests and, in particular, using the measurement of salivary cortisol to evaluate the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis in a variety of human stress models.

Dr. Raff is heavily involved in medical, graduate, and undergraduate education. He is Course Director of the second year medical student Endocrinology/Reproduction Integrated Unit. He teaches first year endocrine physiology to medical students and Advanced Endocrinology for graduate students. Dr. Raff is the author of two textbooks: Vander's Human Physiology, an undergraduate textbook, and Medical Physiology: A Systems Approach, a medical student-level textbook. He also teaches Applied and Rehabilitative Systems Physiology at Marquette University College of Health Science. He was an inaugural inductee into the MCW Society of Teaching Scholars in 1991 and was elected to Alpha Omega Alpha as a Faculty Member by the MCW senior medical student class of 2005.

Dr. Raff's laboratory is a clinical reference laboratory in association with ACL Labs. His laboratory measures testosterone for women and children by LCMSMS, and salivary cortisol, calcitriol, and ACTH by immunoassay. His laboratory is also responsible for management of hospital diagnostic testing including inferior petrosal sinus sampling for ACTH for the differential diagnosis of Cushing’s syndrome.

Publications as listed on PubMed