Prof. Dr. Wolf-Dietrich Hardt

Prof. Dr. Wolf-Dietrich Hardt
Institute of Microbiology, Department of Biology, ETH Zurich, Switzerland
Research profile
Wolf-Dietrich Hardt was trained as a biochemist. He studies how pathogenic bacteria interact with their hosts and its microbiota, and how these interactions evolve. Wolf-Dietrich Hardt obtained a PhD in Biochemistry and performed postdoctoral research in Jorge Galan’s laboratory at the State University of New York in Stony Brook, NY, USA. From 1998-2001 he lead a Salmonella research laboratory at the Max von Pettenkofer Institute in Munich. In 2001 he was appointed as Professor of Microbiology at the Institute of Microbiology, which is part of the Department of Biology of ETH Zurich. Wolf-Dietrich Hardt’s laboratory develops new concepts in infection biology and uses the enteropathogenic bacterium Salmonella Typhimurium as the main model for investigation. The choice of this pathogen has permitted rapid progress, as S. Typhimurium combines excellent tools for genetic manipulation of the pathogen, elaborate tissue culture infection models, a detailed understanding of host-cell manipulation by the pathogen (“cellular microbiology”), superb clinical strain collections, and a large number of clinical cases per year. The Hardt lab has complemented this by a highly versatile mouse model for the diarrheal infection to discover innate host defenses limiting the S. Typhimurium gut infection, Microbiota-pathogen interactions in the gut, Salmonella population dynamics, or the pathogen’s within-host evolution.

Wolf-Dietrich Hardt has received several scientific honors and awards, including a Boehringer Ingelheim Foundation PhD Fellowship (1992-1995), the Ernst-Reuter-Award for an outstanding PhD thesis (1996), a DKFZ Postdoctoral Fellowship (1995-1998), a Postdoc Award from the Robert-Koch-Foundation (1999), a DFG Nachwuchsgruppe in den Biowissenschaften (1999-2001) and the Main Award from the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Hygiene und Mikrobiologie (2012). He was elected to the European Academy of Microbiology (2013), received the Golden Owl teaching award from the ETH Zurich student association (2013) and was elected to the German Academy of Sciences, Leopoldina (2018).