Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen, Interfaculty Institute of Microbiology and Infection Medicine (IMIT), Dpt. Microbiology / Biotechnology

Full Professor, Microbiology

Universität Tübingen,
Interfaculty Institute of Microbiology and Infection Medicine (IMIT),
Dpt. Microbiology / Biotechnology
Auf der Morgenstelle 28
72076 Tübingen

+49 7071 2976944



Background and expertise of the representative

Wolfgang Wohlleben is full professor and Head of the Department for Microbiology/Biotechnology within the Interfaculty Institute of Microbiology and Infection Medicine of the University of Tübingen. His group has a strong expertise in analysing key biosynthetic steps of various antibiotic biosyntheses by genetic and biochemical approaches. Wolfgang Wohlleben has been involved with actinomycetes genetics since 1978, hence a platform of genetic tools and gene cloning systems (including gene disruption/replacement vectors) for manipulating different actinomycetes strains are available. Apart from antibiotic biosynthesis, the group also has experience in other aspects of streptomycetes biology in particular in the physiology and regulation of primary metabolism, as well as in differentiation and recombination. Wolfgang Wohlleben has published more than 200 publications and 30 patent (applications) and is co-founder of Combinature Biopharm AG, Berlin (now merged with Merlion Pharmaceuticals, Singapore). He was Dean and Dean of Studies of the Faculty of Biology of the University of Tübingen and served as Editor for Chemistry&Biology (2003-2013). Furthermore, he was speaker (1999 – 2012) of the section „Bacterial Producers of Natural Compounds“ of the VAAM (German Association for General and Applied Microbiology). Wolfgang Wohlleben is speaker of the Collaborative Research Centre (SFB) 766 “The Bacterial Cell Envelope: Structure, Function and Infection Interface” and has coordinated various national and international research consortia on different aspects of antibiotic biosynthesis.

Organisation profile

The Department of Microbiology/Biotechnology at the Science Faculty of the Eberhard-Karls-University Tübingen, has been working for more than 50 years on the identification and characterization of natural products (mostly antibiotics) from actinomycetes. Since its foundation in 1964 (by Hans Zähner) more than hundred new compounds were identified and a collection of more than 400 purified natural compounds and 2000 characterized secondary metabolite producers were collected.

Together with further Microbiology groups from the Science Faculty and the colleagues from the Medical Faculty we have founded the first joint Interfaculty Institute of Microbiology and Infection Medicine (IMIT) in Germany (2009) with the aim to comprehensively study various aspects of controlling bacterial infections.

The Microbiology/Biotechnology Department including the group of Prof. Dr. Nadine Ziemert working on Applied Natural Products Genome Mining analyses the biosynthesis of antibiotics with molecular genetic, biochemical and bioinformatics approaches. We aim to detect novel antibiotics, to characterize their chemical properties and to optimize their production.

Research of the Department is financed by the German Research Association (DFG), the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), different European Initiatives (e.g. ERA-IB) and by industrial cooperation partners. Central research initiatives of the Department include the Collaborative Research Centre „The Bacterial Cell Envelope“ (SFB 766) and various projects in the framework of the German Center of Infection Research. Currently the Department employs ca. 60 people.

Microbiology and Infection Biology are core focus areas of the University Tübingen, which provides an optimal infrastructure for this type of research (e.g. Proteome Center, Quantitative Biology Center [QBiC], Tuebingen Center for Academic Drug Discovery and Development [TüCAD2]). The University also offers  advice and support in transferring the generated knowledge into cooperation projects with industry or spin-off endeavors.

Contribution to the network

Wolfgang Wohlleben will participate in the network by providing his expertise in antibiotic biosynthesis. His group will identify and characterize novel biosynthetic pathways using genetic, biochemical, analytical chemical and bioinformatics tools.

The Tübingen strain collection as well as the purified natural products of this collection will contribute to a joint resource of the Network. Wolfgang Wohlleben will help with his various international and national contacts to academia and industry to strengthen the network by including additional external competence.