Short CV/Education and training

Academic training

  • 2005
    Habilitation in Microbiology, Free University Berlin

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

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

  • 1990
    Diploma thesis at the University Konstanz

  • 1986 – 1989
    Diploma student in Biology, University Konstanz

  • 1984 – 1986
    Diploma student in Biology, University Ulm

Professional career

  • 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

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

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

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

Selected publications

  • Kusmierek M., Hoßmann J., Witte R., Opitz W., Vollmer I., Volk M., Heroven AK., Wolf-Watz H., Dersch P. (2019)

    A bacterial secreted translocator hijacks riboregulators to control type III secretion in response to host cell contact.

    PLoS Pathogens 15(6):e1007813. doi: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1007813.

  • Schmühl C., Beckstette M., Heroven AK., Bunk B., Spröer C., McNally A., Overmann J., Dersch P. (2019)

    Comparative transcriptomic profiling of Yersinia entercolitica O:3 and O:8 reveals major expression differences of fitness- and virulence relevant genes indicating ecological separation. mSystems 23;4(2). pii: e00239-18. doi: 10.1128/mSystems.00239-18.

  • Heine W., Beckstette M., Heroven A.K., Thiemann S., Heise U., Nuss A.M., Pisano F., Strowig T., Dersch P. (2018) Loss of CNFY toxin-induced inflammation drives Yersinia pseudotuber¬culosis into persistency. PLoS Pathogens 14(2):e1006858.

  • Nuss AM. #, Beckstette M. #, Pimenova M., Schmühl C., Opitz W., Pisano F., Heroven AK., and Dersch P. Tissue dual RNA-seq allows fast discovery of infection-specific functions and ribo¬regulators shaping host-pathogen transcriptome. (2017). Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA Jan 17. pii: 201613405. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1613405114.

  • Nuss AM. #, Schuster F. #, Roselius L. #, Klein J., Bücker R., Herbst K., Heroven AK., Pisano F., Wittmann C., Münch R., Müller J., Jahn D., and Dersch P. A precise temperature-responsive bistable switch controlling virulence (2016). PLoS Pathogens Dec 22;12(12):e1006091. doi: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1006091. PMID: 28006011

  • Wang H., Avican K., Ertmann S., Nuss A.M., Dersch P., Fällman M., Edgren T, Wolf-Watz, H. Increased plasmid copy number is essential for Yersinia T3SS function and virulence (2016), Science 353(6298): 492-495, pii: aaf7501.

  • Righetti R., Nuss AM., Twittenhoff C., Beele S., Urban K., Stadler P., Dersch P., and Narberhaus F. The temperature-responsive RNA structurome of Yersinia pseudotuberculosis (2016), Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 113(26):7237-42.

  • Nuss A.M., Heroven AK., Waldmann B., Reinkensmeyer J., Jarek M., Beckstette M. & Dersch P. (2015) Transcription profiling by RNAseq reveals Crp as master regulator of small regulatory RNAs in Yersinia pseudotuberculosis, PLoS Genetics, 11(3):e1005087.

  • Schweer J., Kulkarni D., Kochut A., Pezoldt J., Pisano F., Pils M.C., Genth H., Huehn J. & Dersch P. (2013). The cytotoxic necrotizing factor of Yersinia pseudotuber¬culosis (CNFY) enhances inflammation and Yop delivery during infection by activation of Rho GTPases, PLoS Pathogens, 9(11):e1003746

  • 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.

Complete list of publications

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.