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Kathrin Mohr

Kathrin Mohr

Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research


Dr. Kathrin I. Mohr studied biology at the TU Braunschweig. During her postdoctoral time she investigated the “Biodiversity of algae and cyanobacteria in calcifying biofilms” and “in soil crusts from Namibia and South Africa” at the University of Göttingen. Since 2009 she works as a scientist at the Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research, department Microbial Drugs, Braunschweig. Her main focus is set on the isolation of myxobacteria and their screen and enhancement of production of new and known secondary metabolites. She is author and co-author of about 30 papers in reputed journals.

Research Interest

My main focus is set on the detection and increase in production of new bacterial secondary metabolites. From our huge collection of gliding bacteria (particularly myxobacteria; see working group “Microbial Strain Collection”), strains showing bioactivity against Gram-positive or Gram-negative bacteria, yeasts, fungi or cell lines are selected for further investigation. But also new metabolites which do not show bioactivity in our internal test panel are of interest, because all new compounds are introduced in diverse test systems of numerous co-operation partners. Here formerly inactive substances can turn out to be a “hit”. By nature, production of secondary metabolites is often not sufficient. Higher yields of the desired compounds can be obtained by regulation of biotic and abiotic parameters like carbon or nitrogen sources, oxygen-concentration, temperature or pH etc. Furthermore, various parameters need to be optimized while upscale of the production cultures from shake flasks (100 ml) to fermenter (up to 1000 liter). Another objective of my work is the isolation of new myxobacterial strains. Soil samples from all over the world and from diverse habitats (sampled in consideration of the Convention on Biological Diversity, 1992) are suitable to isolate myxobacteria. With different isolation techniques, it is possible to isolate new myxobacteria representing novel taxa, which are in particular promising sources of new metabolites.