Thomas Ritter

Thomas Ritter


Professor Thomas Ritter was recruited by the University of Galway as a lecturer in Gene Therapy and Regenerative Medicine and assumed his position in March 2005. Professor Ritter has over 20 year experience in the field of gene therapy in organ transplantation.

Currently, the primary focus of Prof. Ritter’s research is on the application of mesenchymal stem cell-based therapeutics in corneal transplantation and on its understanding of the molecular mechanisms behind it.

Professor Ritter has over 20 year experience in the field of gene therapy in organ transplantation. He obtained his Ph.D. degree in 1994 from the Max-Planck Research group of Immunology/Rheumatology at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, Germany where he worked on the molecular characterization of T cell receptors specific for human collagen type II.

Having completed his Post-Doctoral Fellowship at Marseille, Center of Immunology in 1995, Professor Ritter took up a faculty position at the prestigious Charité University Hospital in Berlin, Germany. He worked as a leader of the gene therapy programme in experimental transplantation in the Institute of Medical Immunology under the directorship of Professor Dr. H.-D. Volk. His research focused on the development of efficient viral gene-transfer systems for application in transplantation medicine. Professor Ritter was successful in obtaining significant funding from the German Research Foundation and the Ministry of Health and Research as well as from industry (Schering). Professor Ritter completed his 'Habilitation' (postdoctoral lecture qualification) in Immunology in 2002 followed by a promotion to assistant professor in 2003.

Since his appointment in 2005 Professor Ritter was successful in obtaining substantial funding from several funding agencies including Science Foundation Ireland (SFI), Health Research Board (HRB), Irish Research Council (IRC) and the European Union FP7 programme totalling in approx. €4M in direct costs. 

He has published more than 80 original research articles in peer-reviewed journals, 27 reviews, 1 editorial, 3 book chapters. Moreover, Professor Ritter has given more than 40 invited lectures, seminars and oral presentations. Professor Ritter served as Vice-Dean for Research in the College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences of University of Galway from 2012-2017. He serves as Reviewing Editor for PeerJournal and he serves as ad hoc referee for many journals including American Journal of Transplantation, Biomaterials, Gene Therapy, Invest. Ophthal. Vis. Sci. (IOVS), Molecular Therapy, Stem Cells, Stem Cell Res & Ther., Transplantation, Transplant Immunology, Transplant International, BMC Ophthalmology. 

He also serves as grant assessor for the German Research Foundation (DFG), Wellcome Trust and Action Medical Research (UK), Arthritis Research (UK), BBSRC (UK), DutchReumafonds (NL), Austriansciencefunds (AU) and other funding agencies. He is a member of the German Society of Immunology (DFGI), Irish Society of Gene and Cell Therapy (ISGCT, founding member), the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) and the American Society of Gene and Cell Therapy (ASGCT).