Institute for Biochemistry

[Translate to English:] Biochemie Titelbild

Head of the Institute

[Translate to English:] Institutsleitung

Prof. Dr. Gisa Gerold


Prof. Dr. Gisa Gerold
direct dial   +49 511 953-6146

Research Interest

Molecular and Clinical Infection Biology (Professor Dr. Gisa Gerold)

  • Molecular basis of infection with zoonotic RNA viruses and species-specific RNA viruses
  • Research into host proteins and protein networks that explain host changes and represent antiviral therapeutic approaches

Gerold Group

Infection Biochemistry (Professor Dr. Maren von Köckritz-Blickwede)

  • Importance of extracellular networks in the innate immune response to zoonotic infections
  • Research into new therapeutic approaches that strengthen the immune system against infections

von Köckritz-Blickwede Group

Patho-/Biochemical Basics of Protein Targeting (Professor Dr. Hassan Y. Naim)

  • Molecular basis of intestinal diseases such as carbohydrate malabsorption and inflammatory bowel disease (colitis)
  • Lysosomal storage diseases

Naim Group

Host-Virus Interaction (Junior-Working Group, Dr. Imke Steffen)

  • New RNA viruses and their interaction with the human and animal host
  • The role of flavivirus NS1 proteins in viral pathogenesis
  • The role of MAVS in CNS-resident cells

Steffen Group

History of the Institute for Biochemistry

The Institute for Biochemistry at the University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover was founded in 1965 with Prof. Niesar as the first director and head of the institute for Physiological Chemistry. The institute's office and laboratory rooms were initially located in the Physiological Institute building on the Bischofsholer Damm campus. As successor to Prof. Niesar, Prof. Jürgen Schole became the new director and head of the institute in 1969.

In 1977 the Institute for Physiological Chemistry moved into new office and laboratory rooms on two floors in Building 218 on the newly built campus on Bünteweg in the Kirchrode district. The staff of the institute at the new location included three professors, five research assistants, seven technical assistants and several doctoral students. In addition to the courses in biochemistry for veterinary students, the main research focus of the institute included the investigation of the metabolic pathways of carbohydrates and fats in animals. After the retirement of Prof. Schole (Prof. em.), Prof. Hans-Peter Sallmann took over the management of the institute from 1992 to 1997.

In 1997 the biochemist and cell biologist Prof. Dr. Hassan Y. Naim accepted the call of the University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover as the new director and head of the institute. The research interests now expanded to the investigation of the molecular mechanisms of protein and membrane transport in the healthy body and in diseases. The research focuses on gastrointestinal diseases, lysosomal storage diseases and prostate cancer. The teaching activities have also been expanded to include the entire curriculum of compulsory and elective courses in biochemistry for veterinary students. Furthermore, from now on, teaching and training events in cell and molecular biology as well as in pathobiochemistry were offered for students of biology and biochemistry.

In 2004 Prof. Sallmann retired and the biotechnologist Prof. Bernd Otto from the Fraunhofer Institute became an associate member of the institute. Prof. Otto held the chair for biotechnology and molecular biology, which was founded by the state of Lower Saxony. Until his retirement in 2010, he participated in the teaching and training events of the Institute for Physiological Chemistry.

In 2010, Dr. Maren von Köckritz-Blickwede became a new employee at the institute. She had already gained several years of professional experience in research on infectious diseases at the University of California in San Diego and at the Helmholtz Center for Infection Research in Braunschweig. Dr. von Köckritz Blickwede, together with Prof. Naim, initiated new research projects to investigate the biochemical basis of infections and the immune system. The focus is laid here on the investigation of the so-called extracellular traps (ETs) of phagocytic cells. These projects established the new research focus on infection biochemistry within the Department of Biochemistry. In February 2015, Dr. von Köckritz-Blickwede accepted a W2 professorship at the University of Veterinary Medicine in Hanover and became head of the new Infection Biochemistry Working Group at the Institute of Biochemistry.

In 2020, the biochemist and virologist Prof. Dr. Gisa Gerold accepted the call of the University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover as future director and head of the institute as part of the “Professorinnenprogramm III” of the federal government and the state of Lower Saxony. In 2022, Prof. Gerold took over as director of the institute. Her research interests include the study of protein interactions during infection with human pathogenic and zoonotic viruses. High-resolution quantitative mass spectrometric methods are used for this purpose. Special emphasis is put on the study of molecular mechanisms of pathogenesis, species tropism and zoonotic potential of viruses. Teaching activities in biochemistry were continued in the field of cell and molecular biology, and extended to modern proteome analysis and virus-host interaction. Prof. Gerold received the Postdoctoral Award of the Robert Koch Society as well as the Otto Hahn Medal of the Max Planck Society and is a board member of the German Society of Virology.