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2020 - Karin Hartmann

Researcher of the Year 2020 - Karin Hartmann

Karin Hartmann, MD, is Professor of Medicine, Head of the Division of Allergy, Deputy Chair of the Department of Dermatology, and Research Group Leader of the Department of Biomedicine at the University Hospital Basel and the University of Basel, Switzerland.

Dr. Hartmann completed her medical degree at the University of Berlin, Germany, and residency training in Dermatology and Allergy & Clinical Immunology at the Universities of Berlin and Cologne, Germany, with a postdoctoral research fellowship at the Laboratory of Allergic Diseases, National Institutes of Health, USA. She was then Associate Professor at the University of Cologne from 2005 to 2015 and Professor at the University of Lübeck, Germany, from 2015 to 2018.

Dr. Hartmann’s research focuses on the biology of mast cells and diseases related to mast cells, including mastocytosis, anaphylaxis, angioedema, and atopic dermatitis. She has particular interests in clarifying the causes and developing novel diagnostic methods and effective therapies for these diseases.

She is an author of more than 150 research articles, reviews, and book chapters that have been published in journals such as the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, Blood, Immunity, and the New England Journal of Medicine.

Dr. Hartmann and her research group have contributed to elucidating the biology of mast cells by investigating cellular functions such as mediator release, chemotaxis, and apoptosis. They developed new mast cell-specific, Cre-transgenic mouse models and used these models to evaluate the role of mast cells in allergy, infection, tissue repair, and tumors.

In mastocytosis, Dr. Hartmann and her team characterized skin lesions in childhood-onset mastocytosis and demonstrated that the size of cutaneous lesions can serve as prognostic parameter. They identified several novel biomarkers and therapeutic targets in vitro and in vivo, described new germline KIT mutations in familial mastocytosis, and generated a mouse model of mastocytosis with conditional expression of mutant KIT. Moreover, Dr. Hartmann initiated and conducted clinical trials with novel therapeutic compounds, crucially participated in the development of new classifications and diagnostic criteria and chaired the Consensus Report on Cutaneous Mastocytosis of the ECNM, AAAAI and EAACI, the mastocytosis chapter of the current WHO classification of Skin Tumors, and the German Guideline for Management of Mastocytosis.

Dr. Hartmann is Board Member of the ECNM, served as its Chair from 2010 to 2015, and actively participates in the ECNM Patient Registry. She founded the German Competence Network on Mastocytosis in 2008 and served as its Chair from 2008 to 2011 and Vice Chair from 2014 until present.

For developing a revised classification of cutaneous mastocytosis with clear prognostic impact, Dr. Hartmann received the Researcher of the Year (ROY) Award of the ECNM in Vienna on August 26, 2020.