Dan Kastner, MD, PhD

Distinguished and Senior Investigator
National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI)


Dr. Dan Kastner is the Distinguished and Senior Investigator at the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI), formerly the Scientific Director of the Intramural Program. His career has focused on using genetic and genomic strategies to understand inherited disorders of inflammation. He continues the quest for genes underlying human disease by the development and application of advanced gene mapping and sequencing technologies. Prior to his NHGRI appointment as Director, Dr. Kastner was Chief of the Laboratory of Clinical Investigation, Clinical Director of the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, and deputy director for Intramural Clinical Research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). His lab focused on human genetic disorders of inflammation. Dr. Dan Kastner led an international consortium that identified the gene causing familial Mediterranean fever (FMF) in 1997. In 1999, Dr. Kastner’s lab discovered mutations in a TNF-receptor responsible for causing a dominantly inherited periodic fever syndrome similar to FMF, a discovery that has led to the successful use of anti-TNF agents in the disorder. His team also established the association of STAT4 polymorphisms with several autoimmune diseases and is currently studying the genetics of Behçet’s disease.

Dr. Kastner has been a member of the National Academy of Sciences since 2010. He is also the recipient of the NIH Director’s Award, the Paul Klemperer Award of the New York Academy of Medicine, the Lee C. Howley Prize for Research in Arthritis from the National Arthritis Foundation, and the NIAMS Mentoring Award. In October of 2018, Dr. Kastner received the prestigious Service to America Award–popularly known as a “Sammie”–as the Federal Employee of the Year. He was honored for his lifetime achievements in researching genetic diseases, as well as for his conceptual contributions to the field of immunology.

In February 2021, Dr. Kastner was awarded the Crafoord Prize by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences for his ground-breaking work to establish the concept of autoinflammatory disease and the discovery of genetic causes of a number of autoinflammatory disorders.  This prestigious award is one of the major international science prizes, and is considered to be a complement to – and for some researchers a precursor to – a Nobel Prize. Learn more about Dr. Kastner’s pioneering research, the impact it has had on the field of immunology, and its direct impact on the lives of patients suffering from autoinflammatory diseases in this video.

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