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Leopold Eckhart
Dr Leopold Eckhart

Department of Dermatology
Position: Associate Professor

T +43 1 40400 73735

Further Information


Apoptosis; Autophagy; Caspases; Endonucleases; Epidermis; Evolution, Molecular; Genomics; Keratinocytes; Keratins; Melanocytes; Neurons; Skin; Skin Diseases

Research group(s)

  • Research Division of Biology and Pathobiology of the Skin

Research interests

  • Barrier function of the skin,
  • Evolution of the skin,
  • Programmed cell death,
  • Autophagy,
  • Genomics

Techniques, methods & infrastructure

  • Comparative genomics
  • Targeted gene deletions in animal models
  • In vitro models of human skin
  • Molecular biological, biochemical and immunohistochemical techniques


  • Characterization of age-related protein accumulation in autophagy-deficient neurons. (2015)
    Source of Funding: Herzfelder'sche Familienstiftung,
    Principal Investigator
  • European Network of Multidisciplinary Research and Translation of Autophagy knowledge (TRANSAUTOPHAGY) (2015)
    Source of Funding: EU, COST
    Principal Investigator
  • Evolution of epidermal cornification proteins (2015)
    Source of Funding: FWF (Austrian Science Fund), Stand-Alone Projects
    Principal Investigator
  • Molecular evolution of the epidermis in amniotes (2011)
    Source of Funding: FWF (Austrian Science Fund), Stand-Alone Projects
    Principal Investigator
  • The role of DNase1L2 in epidermal DNA degradation (2008)
    Source of Funding: FWF (Austrian Science Fund), Stand-Alone Projects
    Principal Investigator

Selected publications

  1. Strasser, B. et al., 2014. Evolutionary Origin and Diversification of Epidermal Barrier Proteins in Amniotes. Molecular Biology and Evolution, 31(12), pp.3194-3205. Available at:
  2. Fischer, H. et al., 2014. Loss of Keratin K2 Expression Causes Aberrant Aggregation of K10, Hyperkeratosis, and Inflammation. Journal of Investigative Dermatology, 134(10), pp.2579-2588. Available at:
  3. Mlitz, V. et al., 2014. Trichohyalin-Like Proteins Have Evolutionarily Conserved Roles in the Morphogenesis of Skin Appendages. Journal of Investigative Dermatology, 134(11), pp.2685-2692. Available at:
  4. Fischer, H. et al., 2011. Essential Role of the Keratinocyte-Specific Endonuclease DNase1L2 in the Removal of Nuclear DNA from Hair and Nails. Journal of Investigative Dermatology, 131(6), pp.1208-1215. Available at:
  5. Eckhart, L. et al., 2008. Identification of reptilian genes encoding hair keratin-like proteins suggests a new scenario for the evolutionary origin of hair. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 105(47), pp.18419-18423. Available at: