Short CV/Education and training

Academic Training

  • 1984 – 1986
    Diploma student in Biology, University Ulm

  • 1986 – 1989
    Diploma student in Biology, University Konstanz

  • 1990
    Diploma thesis at the University Konstanz

  • 1991 – 1995
    PhD thesis at the Max-Planck-Institute of Terrestrial Microbiology

  • 1995 – 1998
    Postdoc at the Tufts Medical School/Howard Hughes Institute, Boston, Massachussetts, USA

  • 2005
    Habilitation in Microbiology, Free University Berlin

Professional Career

  • 1998 – 2002
    Research Assistent (C1), Free University Berlin

  • 2003 – 2005
    Junior Group Leader at the Robert Koch Institute, Berlin

  • 2005 – 2008
    University Professor (W2) at the Technical University Braunschweig

  • Since 2008
    Head of the department Molecular Infection Biology at the Helmholtz Centre of Infection Research and University Professor of Microbiology (W3) at the Technical University Braunschweig

Selected publications

  • Böhme K., Steinmann R., Kortmann J., Seekircher S., Heroven AK., Berger E., Pisano F., Thiermann T., Wolf-Watz H., Narberhaus F., and Dersch P. (2012). Concerted actions of a thermo-labile regulator and a unique intergenic RNA thermosensor control Yersinia virulence. PLoS Pathogens 8(2):e1002518. Epub 2012 Feb 16

  • Uliczka F., Pisano P., Schaake J., Stolz T., Rohde M., Fruth A., Strauch M., Skurnik M., Batzilla J., Rakin A., Heesemann J., and Dersch P. (2011) Unique cell adhesion and invasion properties of Yersinia enterocolitica O:3, the most frequent cause of human yersiniosis. PLoS Pathogens, 7(7):e1002117. Epub 2011 Jul 7

  • Herbst K., Bujara M., Heroven AK., Opitz W., Weichert M., Zimmermann A. and Dersch P. (2009) Intrinsic thermal sensing controls proteolysis of Yersinia virulence regulator RovA. PLoS Pathogens 5(5):e1000435

  • Heise and Dersch P. (2006) Identification of a domain in Yersinia virulence factor YadA that is crucial for extracellular matrix-specific cell adhesion and uptake. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2006 Feb 28;103(9):3375-80

  • Dersch P, Isberg RR.A region of the Yersinia pseudotuberculosis invasin protein enhances integrin-mediated uptake into mammalian cells and promotes self-association. EMBO J. 1999 Mar 1;18(5):1199-213.

Membership in scientific bodies/juries

  • VAAM

  • ASM

  • DGHM

  • DHV


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  1. Bacterial hiding game uncovered

    A team of scientists led by AcademiaNet member Prof Petra Dersch discovered how Yersinia germs hide from the immune system: They reduce the production of a toxin that, during an acute infection, causes tissue inflammation. When the inflammation subsides, the bacteria can "go undercover" and persist in their host for years.

  2. Bacteria Use Rapid Defence Mechanism

    HZI researchers from Prof. Petra Dersch's team elucidate the mechanism used by yersinia bacteria to quickly evade the attack of the immune system, together with colleagues from Sweden.

  3. Bacterial Toxin Facilitates Infection

    More than five million people die of gastro-intestinal diseases each year. Researchers from Braunschweig, Germany, have now discovered a molecule in a typical bacterial strain that facilitates the infection process considerably.