A photo of Kimberly Risma.

Director, Allergy and Immunology Fellowship Program

Associate Professor, UC Department of Pediatrics



Board Certified

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My Biography & Research


Dr. Risma is a physician scientist with a broad background in molecular immunology, molecular biology, and translational research applications. She completed an MD and PhD in Pharmacology from Case Western Reserve University (CWRU), followed by clinical training in pediatrics and fellowship training in Allergy/Immunology (both at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center). During fellowship, she received postdoctoral training in immunology focused on understanding the relationship between defects in lymphocyte cytotoxicity and the development of hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis (HLH) under the mentorship of Drs. Janos Sumegi and Alexandra Filipovich. She joined the faculty in the Division of Allergy and Immunology at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center in 2005 under the leadership of Dr. Marc Rothenberg, division director. Dr. Risma’s research as a faculty member has utilized basic, translational, and genetic approaches to explore the relationship between defects in lymphocyte cytotoxicity and the pathogenesis of a pediatric disorder of immune dysregulation, hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis (HLH). She has expert knowledge of the mechanism by which natural killer and cytotoxic T lymphocytes utilize to kill tumor target cells.

In addition to research she is a clinician, seeing patients from all around the country in consultation for primary immune deficiency, immune dysregulation, and allergic disorders, particularly adverse drug reactions. She has also had extensive experience as an educator and mentor of postdoctoral fellows, graduate and undergraduates in the laboratory as well as clinical trainees at the bedside. Since August 2012, she has served as director of the Allergy and Immunology Fellowship Program at University of Cincinnati College of Medicine and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center.

Clinical Interests

Immune deficiency; immune dysregulation, adverse drug reactions

Research Interests

Pathophysiology of perforin missense mutations identified in individuals with hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis; molecular mechanisms of primary immune deficiency and dysregulation; natural killer cell and cytotoxic T lymphocyte cytotoxicity, mechanisms of immune dysregulation

Academic Affiliation

Associate Professor, UC Department of Pediatrics


Allergy and Immunology, Cancer and Blood Diseases, Immune Deficiencies and Histiocytosis, Eosinophilic Disorders, Hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosisHLH, Bone Marrow Transplantation BMT, Allergy and Immunology, Bone Marrow Transplantation, Cancer and Blood Diseases, Eosinophilic Disorders

My Locations

My Education

MD: Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, Cleveland, OH, 1997.

PhD: Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, Cleveland, OH, 1996.

Residency: Pediatrics, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, 1997-2000.

Fellowship: Allergy / Immunology, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center.

Certification: Pediatrics, 2007; Allergy and Immunology, 2005.

My Publications

Frequency and spectrum of disease-causing variants in 1892 patients with suspected genetic HLH disorders. Gadoury-Levesque, V; Dong, L; Su, R; Chen, J; Zhang, K; Risma, KA; Marsh, RA; Sun, M. Blood Advances. 2020; 4:2578-2594.

ERYTHEMA MULTIFORME-LIKE RASHES: ARE THEY TRULY ANTIBIOTIC-ASSOCIATED?. Guarnieri, K; Xie, S; Risma, K. Annals of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology. 2019; 123:S4-S4.

Hemophagocytic Lymphohistiocytosis: Clinical Presentations and Diagnosis. Risma, KA; Marsh, RA. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology-In Practice. 2019; 7:824-832.

A Collaborative Approach to Improving Health Care for Children With Developmental Disabilities. Liddle, M; Birkett, K; Bonjour, A; Risma, K. Pediatrics. 2018; 142:e20181136-e20181136.

Aberrant tRNA processing causes an autoinflammatory syndrome responsive to TNF inhibitors. Giannelou, A; Wang, H; Zhou, Q; Park, YH; Abu-Asab, MS; Ylaya, K; Stone, DL; Sediva, A; Sleiman, R; Sramkova, L; et al. Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases. 2018; 77:612-619.

Severe Delayed Cutaneous and Systemic Reactions to Drugs: A Global Perspective on the Science and Art of Current Practice. Peter, JG; Lehloenya, R; Dlamini, S; Risma, K; White, KD; Konvinse, KC; Phillips, EJ. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology-In Practice. 2017; 5:547-563.

High Level of Perforin Expression Is Required for Effective Correction of Hemophagocytic Lymphohistiocytosis. Tiwari, S; Hontz, A; Terrell, CE; Arumugam, P; Carmo, M; Risma, K; Jordan, M; Malik, P. Human Gene Therapy. 2016; 27:847-859.

Defects of B-cell terminal differentiation in patients with type-1 Kabuki syndrome. Lindsley, AW; Saal, HM; Burrow, TA; Hopkin, RJ; Shchelochkov, O; Khandelwal, P; Xie, C; Bleesing, J; Filipovich, L; Risma, K; et al. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. 2016; 137:179-187.e10.

Basiliximab treatment for autoimmune bowel disease in a pediatric heart transplant patient. Puri, K; Kocoshis, S; Risma, K; Perez, L; Hart, C; Chin, C; Ryan, TD; Jefferies, JL; Schumacher, KR; Castleberry, C. Pediatric Transplantation. 2015; 19:E165-E169.

Live cell evaluation of granzyme delivery and death receptor signaling in tumor cells targeted by human natural killer cells. Vrazo, AC; Hontz, AE; Figueira, SK; Butler, BL; Ferrell, JM; Binkowski, BF; Li, J; Risma, KA. Blood. 2015; 126:e1-e10.