Professor Dr. Katja Becker

President of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG; German Research Foundation)

Professor Dr. Katja Becker

Professor Dr. Katja Becker


Born 7 March 1965 
in Heidelberg

Download Curriculum Vitae

Career History (Selection)

Since 2000Full (C4/W3) Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Giessen
2005 - 20066-month research visit to Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, CA, Proteomic Mass Spectrometry Lab, Prof. John Yates III
1999 - 2000Junior Group Leader at the Research Center for Infectious Diseases, University of Würzburg
1998Medical specialisation in Biochemistry
1996Habilitation in Biochemistry, Heidelberg University
19946-month research visit to Institute of Pathology, Prof. N. H. Hunt, University of Sydney, Australia
1993Licence to practise medicine
1993 - 1999Research associate at Heidelberg University Biochemistry Center
1992 - 1993Medical assistant at Heidelberg University Children's Hospital. 3 months of clinical and research work in Nigeria
1990 - 1991Practical year at University Hospital Basel (internal medicine), Heidelberg University Hospital (surgery) and John Radcliffe Hospital Oxford (paediatrics)
1988 - 1989Research visit to Institute of Pathology, University of Sydney; clinical work with the Royal Flying Doctor Service, Katherine, NT, Australia
1986 - 1988Dissertation with Prof. Heiner Schirmer at Institute of Biochemistry II, Heidelberg University; title: "Glutathione reductase and its apoenzyme: contributions to the chemotherapy of malaria and the diagnosis of FAD deficiencies" (summa cum laude)
1984 - 1991Studies in human medicine, Heidelberg University

Offices and Roles in the Research System

Since 2020President of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft 
(DFG, German Research Foundation)
2021 - 2023Chair of the Governing Board of the Global Research Council (GRC)
2014 - 2019Vice President of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft 
(DFG, German Research Foundation)
2009 - 2012Vice President for Research and Early Career Support, University of Giessen
2007 - 2014Spokesperson for the Bioresources and Biotechnology Section, Giessen Graduate Center for the Life Sciences
2004 - 2005Spokesperson for the interdisciplinary Research Centre for BioSystems, Land Use and Nutrition (IFZ), University of Giessen
2018 - 2019Spokesperson for LOEWE centre DRUID (Novel Drug Targets against Poverty-related and Neglected Tropical Infectious Diseases), part of an initiative by the state of Hesse to promote scientific and economic excellence
2014 - 2019Spokesperson for DFG Priority Programme 1710 "Dynamics of Thiol-based Redox Switches in Cellular Physiology"

Review and Advisory Activities

2021Collaboration on the statement "The Need for a One Health Approach to Zoonotic Diseases and Antimicrobial Resistance" for the G7 summit 2022
2020Collaboration on the statement "Coronavirus Pandemic – Measures Relevant to Health", Leopoldina (April 2020)
2020Collaboration on the statement „Coronavirus Pandemic in Germany: Challenges and Options for Intervention“, Leopoldina (March 2020)
2020 - 2023Chair (ex officio) of the DFG’s Interdisciplinary Commission for Pandemic Research
2017 - 2018Member of the German government round table on Internationalisation of Education, Science and Research
2016 - 2017Collaboration on the statement on Improving Global Health for the G20 summit 2017
2015 - 2017German representative on the Scientific Committee of the EU COST programme
2016 - 2020Member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Research Center for Infectious Diseases, University of Würzburg
2014 - 2015Collaboration on the statement on Neglected Tropical Diseases for the G7 summit 2015
2013 - 2019Member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Kerckhoff Heart Research Institute, Bad Nauheim
2007 - 2010Member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Center for International Development and Environmental Research

Honours and Awards

2010Rudolf Leuckart Medal of the German Society for Parasitology
Since 2009Member of the Leopoldina, Germany's National Academy of Sciences
2003 / 2004Carus Medal of the Deutsche Akademie für Naturforscher Leopoldina/Carus Prize of the city of Schweinfurt
2000 - 2005Member of the Junge Akademie of the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities and the Deutsche Akademie der Naturforscher Leopoldina
2003Support for the congress "Redox Metabolism in Malaria: From Genes to Drugs", Bellagio, Italy, from the Rockefeller Foundation (together with Prof. Hagai Ginsburg, Hebrew University)
1989First Ludolf Krehl Prize (dissertation prize) of the Southwest German Society for Internal Medicine
1984 - 1986Funding from the Studienstiftung des Deutschen Volkes

Memberships of Learned Societies

  • German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina
  • German Society for Parasitology
  • German Society for Tropical Medicine and Global Health
  • German Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
  • International Society for Free Radical Research

Publications (Selection from more than 300 Publications)

  1. Becker K, Savvides S, Keese M, Schirmer RH, Karplus PA (1998). Enzyme inactivation through sulfhydryl oxidation by physiologic NO-carriers. Nature Struct Biol 5: 267 - 271.
  2. Kanzok S, Fechner A, Bauer H, Ulschmid JK, Müller HM, Botella-Munez J, Schneuwly S, Schirmer RH, Becker K (2001). Substitution of the thioredoxin system for glutathione reductase in Drosophila melanogaster. Science 291: 643 - 646.
  3. Fritz-Wolf K, Becker A, Rahlfs S, Harwaldt P, Schirmer RH, Kabsch W, Becker K (2003). X-ray structure of glutathione S-transferase from the malarial parasite Plasmodium falciparum. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 100: 13821 - 13826.
  4. Urig S, Fritz-Wolf K, Réau R, Herold-Mende C, Tóth K, Davioud-Charvet E, Becker K (2006) Undressing of phosphine gold(I) therapeutic agents as irreversible inhibitors of human disulfide reductases. Angew Chem Int Ed Engl 45: 1881 - 1886.
  5. Perez-Jimenez R, Li J, Kosuri P, Sanchez-Romero I, Wiita AP, Rodriguez-Larrea D, Chueca A, Holmgren A, Miranda-Vizuete A, Becker K, Cho SH, Beckwith J, Gelhaye E, Jacquot JP, Gaucher E, Sanchez-Ruiz JM, Berne B, Fernandez JM (2009). Diversity of chemical mechanisms in thioredoxin catalysis. Nature Struct Mol Biol 16: 890 - 896.
  6. Koncarevic S, Rohrbach P, Deponte M, Prieto H, Yates J, Rahlfs S, Becker K (2009) Plasmodium falciparum imports the human protein peroxiredoxin 2 for peroxide detoxification. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 106: 13323 - 13328.
  7. Fritz-Wolf K, Kehr S, Stumpf M, Rahlfs S, Becker K (2011). Crystal structure of the human thioredoxin reductase - thioredoxin complex. Nature Commun. 2: 383.
  8. Wang L, Delahunty C, Fritz-Wolf K, Rahlfs S, Prieto JH, Yates III JR, Becker K (2015). Characterization of the 26S proteasome network in P. falciparum. Sci Rep 5: 17818.
  9. Krieg R, Jortzik E, Goetz A-A, Blandin S, Wittlin S, Elhabiri M, Rahbari M, Nuryyeva S, Voigt K, Dahse HM, Brakhage A, Beckmann S, Quack T, Grevelding CG, Pinkerton AB, Schönecker B, Burrows J, Davioud-Charvet E, Rahlfs S, Becker K (2017) Arylmethylamino steroids as antiparasitic agents. Nature Commun. 8: 14478.
  10. Felber J, Poczka L, Scholzen K, Zeisel L, Maier MS, Busker S, Theisen U, Brandstädter C, Becker K, Arnér ESJ, Thorn-Seshold J, Thorn-Seshold O (2022) Cyclic 5-membered disulfides are not selective substrates of thioredoxin reductase, but are opened nonspecifically by thiols. Nature Commun. 13: 1754.