Prof. Dr. Gritta Janka studied medicine in Germany and Switzerland. She received her training as a pediatrician and later as a pediatric hematologist and oncologist in Munich, Germany, and spent a year at the Dana Farber Cancer Center in Boston which then was called” The Jimmy Fund”, working as a fellow with Emil Frei, III. From 1993 until her retirement she was associate professor and vice director of the Department of Hematology and Oncology, University Hospital of Hamburg. Throughout her medical career, main fields of interest have been acute lymphoblastic leukemias where she chaired the multicenter CoALL Study Group for many years; hematology, where she still gives bi-annual training courses for pediatric hematologists, and especially histiocytic diseases. A family with three babies with HLH of whom she took care in the seventies aroused her interest in this disease, prompting her to write the first review on familial HLH in 1983. Ever since she has remained deeply involved in this disease. Her group in Hamburg described two of the four genetic defects for familial HLH and published many articles on HLH. Dr. Janka was a founding member of the HLH Study Group, which developed the two international studies for HLH. She was chairperson for these studies for Central Europe. She later chaired the project “CureHLH” from the European Union where eight partners from five countries cooperated. Dr. Janka is a member of the HLH Steering Committee of the Histiocyte Society that she chaired from 2013-2017.