Karel Raška, Jr., M.D., Ph.D., F.C.A.P., was born in Prague in the family of physicians. He attended schools in Prague. In 1956 he started his studies at the Charles University Medical School and graduated with distinction in 1962. After compulsory military service in the Czechoslovak Air Force he entered graduate studies in Biochemistry at the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences. In 1965 he defended his dissertation “The Mechanism of Biological Activity of 5-azacytidine” and was awarded Ph.D. in Biochemistry.
After receiving a Commonwealth Fund Fellowship he came in 1965 to the Department of Pharmacology at Yale University School of Medicine where he continued studies of anti-cancer nucleoside analogs. In late 1967 he returned to Prague. After August 21, 1968 he emigrated to the U.S.A. and joined the faculty of Rutgers Medical School in New Brunswick, N.J. (now Robert Wood Johnson Medical School). He rose in the ranks to a Professor in 1976. Between 1989 and 1992 he was the Professor and Chairman of the Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology at New Jersey Medical School in Newark, N.J. Since 1992 he is the Professor and Chairman of the Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology at Saint Peter’s University Hospital and Director of the Institute of Molecular Diagnostics and Pathology. His research focused on the molecular biology of DNA tumor viruses, clinical immunology and immunopathology. He is a diplomate of the American Board of Pathology in Anatomic and Clinical Pathology with special competence in Immunopathology.
Fourteen students got a Ph.D. degree in his laboratory and he trained dozens of postdoctoral fellows. He is a member of many scientific societies in the U.S.A. and also an honorary member of the Learned Society of the Czech Republic. He has been repeatedly elected to “The Best Doctors in America”. In 2010, On the occasion of the 92nd anniversary of the foundation of the Czechoslovak Republic, president Václav Klaus awarded to him the Medal for Merit (1st class) in the field of science. He published over 250 articles and reports. He is married to Jana Rašková, M.D., Professor and Division Chief at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School.
Karel Raska served as SVU President in the years 2006-2012.