Molecular Infection Biology

Gastrointestinal infections are counted among the most common types of infectious diseases worldwide. In particular in developing countries, diarrhoeal diseases are still a leading course of death. Indeveloped countries, diarrhoeal diseases are under better control, but they still represent a very common affliction, especially among children and the elderly. Among the most important bacterial pathogens of food-animal origin are Salmonella, Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli, and enteropathogenic Yersinia species. Their primary route of transmission from animals to humans is through contaminated food. Once inside our bodies, they trigger an impressive range of different intestinal disorders from diarrhoea to acute infections of the small and large intestines – at times with severe consequences! Our primary focus is on Yersinia. We study the ways in which these bacteria adhere to the intestinal epithelium, penetrate it, and ultimately spread within the host.



Dr Ann Kathrin Heroven


Curriculum Vitae

Education and Employment 

* 1996-2002

Studies in Biology, Freie Universität Berlin

Diploma thesis: "Identification and analysis of regulatory factors of the Yersinia pseudotuberculosis virulence gene regulator RovA"

* 2003-2007

Thesis in the research group of Prof. Dr. Petra Dersch: "Characterization of the environmental control of virulence genes in Yersinia pseudotuberculosis"

01/2003-10/2005 at the Robert Koch-Institute, Berlin, Nachwuchsgruppe 6

 11/2005-04/2007 at the Technische Universität Braunschweig, Institut für Mikrobiologie


Postdoc, Technische Universität Braunschweig, Institut für Mikrobiologie (Prof. Dr. Petra Dersch)

since 2010

Postdoc at the Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research, Department of Molecular Infection Biology (Prof. Dr. Petra Dersch)


Audio Podcast

  • Bakterien mit Thermometer - Vom Kühlschrank in den KörperYersinien machen uns Bauchschmerzen. Wenn wir die Bakterien mit verseuchtem Fleisch zu uns nehmen, infizieren sie unsere Darmzellen und vermehren sich. Aber wie wissen die Yersinien, dass sie nicht mehr in der vergammelten Wurst sind sondern in unserem Körper? Die Antwort ist simpel: Die Bakterien haben ein Thermometer. Hören Sie zu, wie das funktioniert...
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