Karl-Heinz Altmann has been a Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences at the Department of Chemistry and Applied Biosciences at the ETH Zurich from July 2003 - July 2022; since Aug. 2022, he is a professor emeritus at the same department. Karl-Heinz Altmann studied chemistry at the University of Mainz, Germany and he holds a PhD degree in organic chemistry from the University of Basel, Switzerland. From 1990 to 1996, he was a research scientist and group leader at Ciba-Geigy Central Research in Basel. In 1997, he moved to Oncology Research of Novartis Pharma, until in 2000 he was appointed the Novartis Senior Chemistry Expert. He was a member of the Pharma Research Management Board of Novartis and head of the Scientific Chemistry Council. From January to July 2003 he was the acting Global Head of Chemistry of the Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research (NIBR). In 1997, he received the Novartis Leading Scientist award. In 2006, he was the Novartis Lecturer for the Central European Countries, in 2014 he was awarded the Paul Ehrlich Prize of the Société de Chimie Thérapeutique, France and in 2023 he was the Ole Gisvold Lecturer at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis. He is an honorary member of the Swiss Chemical Society.
Karl-Heinz Altmann has served and continues to serve on a number of scientific advisory boards and as consultant to different pharmaceutical companies. He was the Chairman of the EFMC-ISMC 2021. From Aug. 2016 - July 2018 and from Aug. 2020 - Dec. 2021 he was the Head of the Department of Chemistry and Applied Biosciences (D-CHAB) at ETH Zurich.
Research in the Altmann group is centered on the chemical synthesis of pharmaceutically relevant natural products/natural product analogs and their biological evaluation, with a particular focus on leads for anticancer and antibacterial drug discovery.