Scientific Director Prof. Dr. Jörg Overmann

Jörg Overmann studied Biology at the Universities of Bochum and Freiburg and acquired his diploma in 1987. He obtained a Ph.D. in Microbiology in 1991 under the guidance of Norbert Pfennig at the University of Konstanz. After a postdoctoral stay at the University of British Colombia, Canada, he joined the Carl von Ossietzky Universität in Oldenburg where he obtained his Habilitation in 1999. From 2000 until 2010, he was professor of microbiology at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München where he also served as Director of the Department Biology I from 2003 until 2009. In the year 2010, he became Director of the Leibniz-Institut DSMZ-Deutsche Sammlung von Mikroorganismen und Zellkulturen in Braunschweig and full professor of microbiology at the Braunschweig University of Technology.

Research of Jörg Overmann and his group focuses on (1) bacterial genome evolution and speciation, (2) diversity, biogeochemical functions and environmental controls of bacterial communities in natural environments, and (3) the molecular mechanisms of bacterial interactions, also in microbiomes. By using innovative cultivation methodology he isolated and described numerous new bacterial species that had previously escaped cultivation. Profound field experience was gained in Namibia, Angola, Botswana, Ethiopia, Senegal and Colombia. He has conceived and developed the novel bacterial metadatabase BacDive and participated in collaborative research programs funded by the DFG (Biodiversity Exploratories SPP1374, SFB-TRR51 Roseobacter), BMBF (BIOLOG, TFO, GBIF, de.NBI, DZIF, MIKROBIB) and the EU (MaCuMBA, BluePharmTrain, EMBRIC).

Prof. Overmann received the Ph.D. Award of the German Association for General and Applied Microbiology (VAAM) and was awarded the Inaugural Douglas Leigh Lecturer Award of the Waksman Foundation for Microbiology in 2013. He served as Member Elect of the review board 204 Microbiology, Virology and Immunology of the German Science Foundation (DFG) (2012-2020), is appointed member of the Permanent Senate Commission on Fundamental Issues of Biological Diversity of the DFG (since 2017), and appointed member of the Council of Scientists of the Human Frontier Science Program Organization (Strasbourg, France) (since 2020). He also serves in the supervisory boards and scientific advisory boards of several national and international institutions (e.g., Staatliche Naturwissenschaftliche Sammlungen Bayerns, Foundation Council of the Technische Informationsbibliothek/Hannover, ICRA-Institut Català de Recerca de L´Aigua).


Administrative Director Bettina Fischer

Bettina Fischer is the Administrative Director of the Leibniz Institute DSMZ-German Collection of Microorganisms and Cell Cultures GmbH.

After many years in managerial functions in the ecclesiastical sector, and most recently as Director of the Auditing Office of the Ev.-luth. Landeskirche Braunschweig, Bettina Fischer has worked as head of administration (authorized signatory) for the Leibniz Institute DSMZ since 1 January 2003. She was appointed as Administrative Director on 1 August 2018. 

Bettina Fischer is responsible for the departments Personnel, Finance, Purchasing and Building Maintenance, as well as Customer Service and Sales for the facility. In the context of certification of the DSMZ, and pursuant the audit ‘berufundfamilie’ (Career and Family), she is responsible for the project management.

Assistants to the management

Assistant to Prof. Dr. Jörg Overmann

Andrea Follmer-Hirt
E-Mail: Andrea.Follmer-Hirt(at)
Phone:  +49-531/2616-351

Assistant to Bettina Fischer

Kerstin Riske
E-Mail: Kerstin.Riske(at)
Phone:  +49-531/2616-424