Prof. Dr. Siegfried Scherer


Microbial Ecology
Professor emeritus since April 1, 2021

Academic Career and Research Areas

Prof. Scherer (b. 1955) conducts research into molecular ecology of food-borne bacterial pathogens and evolutionary biology. The Chair’s research groups recently investigated the pathogenic bacteria Pseudomonas aeruginosa and pathogenic Escherichia coli, especially enterohemorrhagic EHEC strains. In application-oriented projects, he explores the characterization of the biodiversity of microbial populations in industrial habitats. Basic research deals with the de novo evolution of protein coding genes via overlapping encoding and well as the description of novel bacterial taxa. Since his retirement he conducts theoretical studies on the evolution of syn-organized biomolecular machines.

After studying biology, chemistry and physics, Prof. Scherer did his doctorate at the University of Konstanz (1983). He completed his lecturer qualification there in plant physiology and microbial ecology (1991). Research work took him to the Chinese Academy of Science (1986) and VirginiaTech in Blacksburg, USA (1988-89). In 1991, he became an associate professor at TUM. He declined a professorship at the University of Veterinary Medicine in Vienna in 2002. In 2003, he was appointed to the Chair of Microbial Ecology at TUM. Between 2003 and 2013, Prof. Scherer was the Managing Director of TUM’s Nutrition and Food Research Center ZIEL. Between February and May 2023 he was working as a visiting professor at the Weizmann Institute, Rehovot, Israel.


  • TUM Award for excellent teaching (2017)
  • MIV Innovation Award (2016): Connection of basic and applied science
  • Otto von Guericke Research Award (2016): Detection of the emetic toxin cereulide
  • Teaching Award from the Faculty of Bioscience (2007)
  • Otto von Guericke Research Award (2005): Diagnostics by FTIR Spectroscopy

Kreitmeier M, Ardern Z,  Miriam Abele M,  Christina Ludwig C, Scherer S and Neuhaus K: “Spotlight on alternative frame coding: Two long overlapping genes in Pseudomonas aeruginosa are translated and under purifying selection”. iScience. 2022; 25:103844. 


Neuhaus K, Landstorfer R, Fellner L, Simon S, Schafferhans A, Goldberg T, Marx H, Ozoline ON, Rost B, Kuster B, Keim DA and Scherer S: “Translatomics combined with transcriptomics and proteomics reveals novel functional, recently evolved orphan genes in Escherichia coli O157:H7 (EHEC)”. BMC Genomics. 2016; 17:133.


Böhm M-E, Huptas C, Krey V, Scherer S: “Massive horizontal gene transfer, strictly vertical inheritance and ancient duplications differentially shape the evolution of Bacillus cereus enterotoxin operons hbl, cytK and nhe”. BMC Evolutionary Biology. 2015; 15:246.


Fellner L, Simon S, Scherling C, Witting M, Schober S, Polte C, Schmitt-Kopplin P, Keim DA, Scherer S, Neuhaus K: “Evidence for the recent origin of a bacterial protein-coding, overlapping orphan gene by evolutionary overprinting”. BMC Evolutionary Biology. 2015; 15:283.


Loewe L, Textor V, Scherer S: “High Deleterious Genomic Mutation Rate in Stationary Phase of Escherichia coli”. 2003. Science. 302:1558-1560.