JKU Linz Attracts Top Cancer Research Scientist from the Charité in Berlin

Prof. Clemens Schmitt, an internationally renowned oncologist and scientist from Charité Universitätsmedizin Berlin, has accepted a professorship at the JKU’s Faculty of Medicine.

F.l. Schmitt, Lukas

On January 1, 2019, Prof. Schmitt will join the faculty at the JKU as chair of Hematology and Internal Oncology at the Johannes Kepler University Linz and as head of the clinic of the same name at the Kepler University Hospital.

Prof. Schmitt is currently the Director of the Molecular Cancer Research Center as well as Deputy Clinic Director and chief physician at the Charité Medical Faculty. As a scientist with an international reputation, he and his team were able to prove that activating natural cell death and cell aging mechanisms in certain types of tumors can contribute significantly to treatment.

The 51-year-old oncological expert also takes a special interest in supporting junior scientists. As a spokesperson for the excellence initiative graduate school “Berlin School of Integrative Oncology (BSIO)”, he focuses on educating young physicians in the field of cancer research.

Internationally Recognized Cancer Researcher
As the former chair of the Charité Molecular Cancer Research Center, Prof. Schmitt and his team focused on base-knowledge research and studied molecular processes in the creation and development of various types of cancers. Molecular findings stemming from current research will lead to future, new treatment approaches. Prof. Schmitt has received numerous awards and accolades in recognition of his work, including the Walter Schulz Foundation Award for Medical Research, the Curt Meyer Memorial Award presented by the Berlin Cancer Society and most recently the German Stem Cell Network Award for his work on associated cell-aging development of cancer stem cells and targeted treatment elimination.

High-Caliber Professor at the JKU
As the JKU’s Faculty of Medicine continues to grow and pursue a high standard of research and teaching, the initial founding professors play a key role in the faculty’s development.

JKU Rector Meinhard Lukas is pleased about the new chair appointment: “We have meticulously planned the position and out of a distinguished field of applicants, Prof. Schmitt emerged as the best candidate.  Prof. Schmitt impressed us during the negotiation process, especially in the way he presented his ideas. Upper Austrians now have access to a renowned international cancer specialist. The Faculty of Medicine has once again attracted an exceptional new faculty member.”

Univ. Prof. Schmitt is pleased about the appointment and spoke about his move to Linz: “I am excited to have an opportunity to grow and develop a medical department and oncological research facility at a young university and young university hospital. I believe the creative freedom will allow us to create something really special.”

With a foundation in innovative molecular tumor research, Linz now has the potential to become an international cancer research center.

Outstanding Academic Medicine in Upper Austria
Christine Haberlander, Minister for Health and Education, added: “Professor Schmitt’s appointment is yet another key position we have been able to fill at the JKU’s Faculty of Medicine, attracting a leading scientist who is also a top medical practitioner and experienced educator. In the space of a short time, the Faculty of Medicine has already set new standards in teaching and research and will continue to enhance its international reputation. Cancer treatments are currently in transition. If we can be at the forefront of research in this area, patients benefit as well.”

Klaus Luger, mayor of Linz, remarked, “By appointing a distinguished and renowned medical professional and scientist like Prof. Clemens Schmitt, the Kepler University Hospital will have another leading international expert in its field. We have succeeded in establishing a clinic in Linz that is an indispensable part of top medical research in Austria. For patients, this means outstanding healthcare at the cutting-edge of research and technology.”

Interdisciplinary Collaboration
Elgin Drda, managing director of the Kepler University Hospital, is pleased about the appointment and spoke on behalf of the hospital: “From the start, we have been consistent, following a path to incorporate cutting-edge medicine and research in everyday clinical practices. By appointing an internationally renowned and award-winning oncologist such as Prof. Schmitt, another expert in Linz will pave the way for future-oriented trends, especially in the field of patient care. We are committed to medical advancements and providing higher quality and more innovation in every clinical practices.”

Her colleague Heinz Brock, managing director at KUK, explained: “Professor Schmitt is a remarkable addition to the circle of top, internationally recognized researchers at the JKU’s Faculty of Medicine. The University Clinic for Hematology and Oncology now has an outstanding departmental board. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the current department head Primar Michael Fridrik for playing a key role in the team to attract Prof. Schmitt to Linz. Like his predecessor, Prof. Schmitt supports interdisciplinary and multi-professional collaboration.”


About Univ. Prof. Clemens Schmitt

Born in Frankfurt/Main in 1967, Clemens Schmitt studied Human Medicine at the Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz graduating “magna cum laude” in 1995. After completing a post-graduate stay at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in New York (USA), he completed his medical training with a focus on hematology, oncology and tumor immunology at the Charité Universitätsmedizin Berlin. He completed post-doctoral studies in 2003 with a dissertation titled “Apoptose und Seneszenz in Tumorentstehung und Therapieantwort”. In 2004 he became a senior physician (2009 chief physician, 2015 Deputy Director of the Medical Clinic with a focus on hematology, oncology, and tumor immunology). In 2004 he was appointed to a professorship of “Tumor Biology and Hematology”. In 2006 he was appointed founding director of the Charité Molecular Cancer Research Center.  Prof. Schmitt has been a member of the expert committee “Research” for the German Krebshilfe association since 2013.