Ernst Reichmann is currently the Head of the Tissue Biology Research Unit (TBRU) in Zurich. He has studied Biology at the Universities of Giessen (Germany) and Bern (Switzerland). In 1988 he obtained his PhD in Bern at the Ludwig-Institute for Cancer Research on the establishment and characterization of new permanent, non-tumorigenic mouse mammary epithelial cell lines and the generation of an organotypic mammary gland in vitro. For this work he received the Falcon-Award of the “Deutsche Gesellschaft für Zellbiologie”.
In 1989 he started a post doc (and then became staff scientist) at the Institute of Molecular Pathology (IMP) in Vienna, where he specialized in cell and cancer biology. He discovered that TGF-β1 causes Ras-transformed mammary epithelial cells to acquire a fibroblastoid, migrating (invasive) phenotype. This cell conversion was then referred to as epithelial-mesenchymal transition.
In 1994 he was offered a group leader position at the Swiss Institute for Experimental Cancer Research (ISREC) in Lausanne (Switzerland). In 2001, he became the head of the Tissue Biology Research Unit in Zurich. In 2012 he acquired a professorship at the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Zurich (Switzerland) in the field of experimental surgery with a focus on cell biology. The philosophy of the Tissue Biology Research Unit is to undertake basic research to transform the corresponding findings into personalized regenerative medicine.
The fields of interest of the TBRU are the mechanisms of tissue vascularization, the generation of blood and lymphatic capillary networks, and the characterization of the melanocyte compartment in human skin.
The TBRU has developed novel dermal and dermo-epidermal skin grafts, which are presently applied in clinical trials. Ernst Reichmann has coordinated the EuroSkinGraft, FP7 (EU) project and consortium for five years. He is the sponsor of phase I and phase II clinical trials applying the ATMPs denovoSkin and denovoDerm on human patients. He was markedly involved in establishing a GMP-production team working at the Wyss Zürich, and (together with Dr. Daniela Marino) in initiating the start-up CUTISS. Ernst Reichmann serves as a mentor for the denovoSkin project.