Research Spotlight: Christof Kramm, MD

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Christof Kramm, MD

Chief of Division and Full Professor, Paediatric Haematology and Oncology, Universitätsmedizin Göttingen, Goettingen, Germany

  1. Where are you from?/Where did you study?

Born and raised in Arfurt, a very small town (900 people living there), 40 Miles westwards of Frankfurt.

Medical school at Justus Liebig University in Giessen, 40 miles north of my hometown.

  1. What are you researching right now?

Clinical research by organizing international trials for pediatric HGG and DIPG.

Experimental research by focusing on the epigenetics of these brain tumours.

  1. Who is your all-time favorite scientist and why?

Albert Einstein because he was not “only” a scientist with no connection to the world outside his lab but who also took over responsibility for society, mankind, and environment in regards to research and politics. He was a science philosopher.

  1. What do you like to do in your spare time?

Being with my family (two sons, 8 and 10 y), reading, watching soccer.

  1. Favorite food?

Italian food, especially pasta.

  1. Why science?

Doing research is a great  supplement to doing clinical work. I personal feel that a combination of both offers an ideal mixture of intellectual and emotional challenges and rewards. Science is a great opportunity to work on changing and improving things in a defined field, thereby cooperating and discussing with interested and highly motivated people from all over the world.

  1. Who/What has inspired you to work on DIPG?

I wanted to do research in neurooncology and ended up randomly in pediatrics. Doing a post-doc fellowship in Xandra Breakefield’s lab at Mass General/Harvard Medical School in Boston introduced me to glioblastoma as a therapeutic target. Taking all these different events together, there was no other way for me than starting research for pediatric HGG and DIPG.

Having talked to many parents of DIPG kids about this devastating disease and it’s poor  prognosis I really want to help improving these sad perspectives so that we can offer realistic hopes for cure in the near future to all new parents of DIPG kids.

  1. What are you reading right now? 

It is a book by the French writer and physician Jean-Christophe Rufin about his pilgrimage on the Camino de Santiago (St. James’ Way) in North Spain describing his metamorphis from someone who just wanted to master a sportive challenge to someone who found “himself” by experiencing loneliness and distance to his usual life. It is not a religious book, it is about changing some perspectives in life.

I think it is not published yet in English. The original French title is “Immortelle Randonnee” meaning “The immortal hiking tour”. In German, the title is “Pilgern fuer Skeptiker” meaning “A pilgrimage for doubters”.

  1. If you could give one piece of advice to someone considering a research career, what would it be?

Do or do not. There is no try.

Research should not be based on pure career planning considerations but on real interest and passion to discover and improve things.

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