Professor Kenn Gerdes
Professor of Bacterial Cell Biology


The Gerdes group at Newcastle University uses Escherichia coli as a model organism to study basic problems of how bacteria grow and divide. Using the vast information available in the DNA databases (>1,000 prokaryotic genomes), we can identify genes of general biological importance and rapidly obtain new insights of the genetics, cytology and molecular biology of the gene products and hence infer gene functions in other organisms. We have recently identified a novel cell division factor and noumerous messenger RNA cleaving enzymes that are activated by nutritional stress - these latter enzymes are functionally related to RNAi in eukaryotes.

Roles and Responsibilities

  • Head of the Gerdes group at the Centre for Bacterial Cell Biology
  • Leader of the MRes/PhD module "Molecular Microbiology"
  • Editor of Molecular Microbiology


1983 Masters Degree in Molecular Genetics at SDU, Odense, Denmark
1986 Ph. D. Degree in Molecular Genetics, Technical University, Copenhagen

Previous Positions

1986 -1987 Assistant Professor, Department of Microbiology, Technical
University of Denmark, Copenhagen
1987 - 1988 Research Chemist at Novo Nordisk Inc., Bagsværd, Denmark
1988 - 1992 Assistant Professor, Department of Molecular Biology, University of Southern Denmark (SDU)
1990 Short term Research Fellow, Department of Microbiology, BMC, Uppsala University, Sweden
1992 - 2002 Associate Professor, Department of Molecular Biology, SDU
2002 - 2006 Full Professor in Molecular Microbiology, Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology (SDU)


American Society for Microbiology (since 1981)
European Molecular Biology Organization (since 2005) (EMBO)
Society for General Microbiology, UK (since 2006)
American Academy of Microbiology (since 2008)
American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (since 2008)

The Gerdes laboratory focusses on two main research areas:

1. Bacterial Stress Responses and Antibiotic Multidrug Tolerance (Persistence)

2. Bacterial Cell Division and Shape

Further details 


Interested in this research?

Post doc and PhD positions available in the Gerdes group, see:


 Further information:




Undergraduate Teaching

Leader of MRes module Molecular Microbiology (MMB8016)