After his medical studies at the Unversities of Wuerzburg, Berlin and Vienna, MD thesis work at the University of South Florida, Tampa, USA, and an internship at the University Hospitals of Basle and Zurich, Switzerland, Ralf graduated from the Free University of Berlin (1987).
Following post-doctoral research at Yale University (1987-90), where he became interested in hair research, Ralf trained as a clinical dermatologist in Berlin, where he became consultant dermatologist and junior faculty at the Charité University Hospital. From 1999-2004 Ralf served as Professor and Vice-Chair of the Dept. of Dermatology, University Hospital Hamburg-Eppendorf, University of Hamburg. He was Visiting Scholar at the University of California San Diego (1992), Visiting Professor at the Dept. of Molecular Medicine at the Max-Planck-Institute for Biochemistry, Munich-Martinsried (2005), and Honorary Visiting Professor at the University of Bradford until 2010 and again since 2012. From 2005-2013, Ralf's primary affiliation was as Professor and Head of Experimental Dermatology, Dept. of Dermatology, University of Luebeck, Germany.
In 2008, Ralf joined the University of Manchester as Professor of Cutaneous Medicine (secondary affiliation), before moving his main laboratory to Manchester in 2013, where he has also served as Director of Research and Deputy of the Centre for Dermatology Research, University of Manchester, since 2014. From 2013-2016 Ralf had a secondary affiliation with the University of Münster, as Head of the Laboratory for Hair Research and Regenerative Medicine in the Dept. of Dermatology. During this time in his home town, Münster, he also founded "Monasterium Laboratory - Skin & Hair Research Solutions GmbH", for which Ralf acts as Chief Consultant.
Besides having served as President of the Arbeitsgemeinschaft Dermatologische Forschung (ADF, Berlin) and as Associate and Section Editor for the Journal of Investigative Dermatology, Ralf has been Editor of Experimental Dermatology since 2007.