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. Whitney Weigel


Curriculum Vitae

Education and Employment

* 2010 - 2012

M.S., Microbiology & Immunology, University of Louisville, Ky, USA

* 2012 - 2015

Ph.D. Microbiology & Immunology, University of Louisville, Ky, USA, Thesis "Functional characterization of A. actinomycetemcomitans QseBC: a bacterial adrenergic recpetor and global regulator of virulence"

since 2016

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


Selected Publications:

Weigel WA, Demuth DR, Torres-Escobar A, Juarez-Rodriguez MD, A. actinomycetemcomitans QseBC is activated by catecholamines and iron and regulates genes encoding proteins associated with anaerobic respiration and metabolism. Mol. Oral Microbiol. 2015, 30(5):384-98.

Weigel WA, Demuth DR, QseBC: a global regulator of virulence in the Enterobacteriaceae and Pastuerellaceae. Mol. Oral Microbiol. 2015.


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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