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.



Prof Dr Petra Dersch

Head of the Department Molecular Infection Biology

Curriculum Vitae

Prof. Dr. Petra Dersch

Date of birth

May 22, 1965

Born in

Gießen, Hessen, Germany


Education and Employment

 * since December 2008

Head of Department: Molecular Infection Biology & Professor (W3) at the Technische Universität Carolo-Wilhelmina zu Braunschweig

Research Topics: Pathogenicity factors of enteric bacteria, in particular Yersinia, bacterial invasion into human cells and virulence gene regulation

* 2005-2008

Professor (W2) at the Institute of Microbiology at the Technische Universität Carolo-Wilhelmina zu Braunschweig

* 2003-2005

Leader of a Junior Research Group at the Robert Koch-Institute in Berlin

* 1998-2002

Research Assistent (Wissenschaftliche Assistentin C1) at the Freie Universität Berlin

* 1995-1998

Post-Doc at the Tufts University/Howard Hughes Medical School in the group of Prof. Dr. Ralph Isberg

* 1991-1995

PhD Thesis at the Max Planck Institute of Terrestrial Microbiology and the University of Konstanz

* 1986-1990

Diploma in Biology at the University of Konstanz

* 1984-1986

Vordiploma at the University of Ulm



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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