Kimberly Risma, MD, PhD, is an associate professor in the Division of Allergy and Immunology at Cincinnati Children’s within the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine.
Dr. Risma graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in chemistry from Duke University in 1990 and was elected into The Phi Beta Kappa Society. She then matriculated at Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) School of Medicine in the Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP). In 1996, she completed a PhD in pharmacology. She was selected by the leadership of the CWRU MSTP as the recipient of the 1997 Martin Wahl Memorial Fund Award, given annually to recognize the graduating MD, PhD student who has demonstrated the highest level of independence in research and excellence in research and clinical skills. She was also elected to Alpha Omega Alpha Society in 1997.
In 1997, she enrolled in a pediatrics residency at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center/University of Cincinnati. During the residency program, Dr. Risma was awarded the pediatric resident teaching award by the medical students. She also engaged in translational research studies related to the genetics of asthma under the mentorship of Dr. Gurjit Hershey, resulting in a first author publication as a pediatric resident.
In 2000, Dr. Risma was accepted to the Allergy and Immunology Fellowship Program at Cincinnati Children’s. In addition to her clinical training, she pursued an innovative research project under the mentorship of Dr. Janos Sumegi and Dr. Alexandra Filipovich. She proposed a mechanism to study the structural and functional impact of perforin missense mutations identified in patients with hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis. In 2004 she was awarded the Nezelof Prize for best scientific presentation at the international meeting of the Histiocyte Society. The culmination of her fellowship research project was published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, 2006.
Upon completion of her fellowship in 2005, Dr. Risma was appointed as an assistant professor in the Division of Allergy and Immunology at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center within the UC Department of Pediatrics. In 2006 Dr. Risma received a Clinical Scientist Development Award from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. Dr. Risma is the director of the Allergy and Immunology Fellowship Program at Cincinnati Children's, having served in this leadership position since August of 2012.
Dr. Risma's research program focuses on understanding the molecular mechanisms of immunodeficiency and immune dysregulation in children, especially as it relates to disorders of lymphocyte cytotoxicity. In addition to her research, she sees patients from all around the country in consultation for primary immune deficiency, immune dysregulation, and allergic disorders.