Karl H. Muench, M.D.
- American Board of Medical Gen-Clinical Genetics (MD)
- Clinical Genetics(MD)-Medical Genetics
Karl H. Muench is a professor of medicine at the University of Miami School of Medicine, where he has worked for 45 years. He grew up in Evanston, Illinois and is a graduate of Evanston Township High School, where he won the Grand National Award (first place) in the Westinghouse Science Talent Search in 1952. He was graduated from Princeton University with an A.B. in chemistry, magna cum laude, in 1956, and he went on to study medicine at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, where in 1960 he won the Borden Undergraduate Research Award and received his M.D. magna cum laude, an honor that had been conferred only three times in 70 years. After an internship year on the Ward Medicine Service at Barnes Hospital in St. Louis, he worked from 1961 to 1965 as a United States Public Health Service postdoctoral fellow of Professor Paul Berg, Nobel laureate, in the Department of Biochemistry at Stanford University School of Medicine. He arrived in Miami in 1965 as an Instructor in Medicine and devoted himself to research, teaching, and patient care, becoming a full Professor in 1973. He has served as chief of the division of genetic medicine (l968‑2009), admissions director and director of the Ph.D.‑M.D. Program (1971‑73), and chief of the Sickle Cell Center (1979‑82).
He is a Fellow of the American College of Physicians, a Diplomate of the American Board of Medical Genetics, and a Founding Fellow of the American College of Medical Genetics. He has published and lectured extensively in the U.S. and abroad and has received many awards and recognitions, including his being named a Markle Scholar, Faculty Research Associate of the American Cancer Society, Scholar of the Leukemia Society of America, and USPHS Research Career Development Awardee. He has been a visiting scientist at the Medical Research Council Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge, England, and a visiting scholar in the Department of Biological Sciences of Stanford University. He has served on the National Science Foundation Advisory Panel for Molecular Biology and as a Consultant in Medical Genetics for the Ministry of Public Health of Kuwait. As the founder and director of a 40-hour required course, Genetic Medicine, in the medical curriculum, he is renowned as a teacher, with six first-place George Paff Awards for Excellence in Teaching, the University of Miami School of Medicine Teaching Award in 1998, selection by the School of Medicine Class of 1990 as Commencement Speaker, by the Class of 1997 as Grand Marshal, by the Class of 1998 as Best Basic Science Professor, and by the Class of 2002 as Faculty Marshal. In 2001 he was elected by the medical students to be the Inaugural Faculty Representative of the Council on Honorable and Professional Conduct. Many of his more than 5000 former students remain in the South Florida community of practicing physicians.
In his clinical work Dr. Muench sees adult patients over the entire spectrum of genetic disorders and counsels parents of children with genetic disorders. He counsels for prenatal diagnosis. As chief of the lysosomal storage disease center for 17 years he diagnosed and treated many adults and children with Gaucher disease and Fabry disease. He has special interest in cancer genetics and, for example, has counseled more than 200 patients for familial breast cancer. His endocrinology consults have concerned Klinefelter and Turner syndromes and other aneuploidies, multiple endocrine neoplasia, medullary thyroid cancer, steroid 21-hydroxylase deficiency, androgen insensitivity, and indeterminate sex. In the Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism he anticipates the challenges of diabetic genetics and application of whole genome association studies.
Dr. Muench is married and is the father of five and the grandfather of six.