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Katja Becker



Katja Becker


Address Chair of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology 
Interdisciplinary Research Center, Justus Liebig University Giessen
Heinrich-Buff-Ring 26-32, 35392 Giessen

Tel.: +49-(0)641-9939120
Fax: +49-(0)641-9939129

Scientific Focus
Cellular redox and energy metabolism, rational drug development against malaria and cancer cells
Languages German, English, Latin
Parents Ursula Becker, Teacher, Prof. Dr. Georg E. Becker, Professor of Pedagogics
School Karlsschule, Freiburg i. Br., and Kurpfalz Gymnasium Schriesheim/Heidelberg, 
Graduation 1984
1984-1991       Medical education, Heidelberg University
1986-1988 MD thesis (PhD equivalent) at the Institute of Biochemistry, University of Heidelberg; title: "Glutathione reductase and its apoenzyme: contributions to malaria chemotherapy and to the diagnostics of FAD deficiency" (summa cum laude)
08/1988-03/1989 DFG scholar at the Institute of Pathology, Sydney University, Australia; clinical work with the Royal Flying Doctor Service, Katherine, NT, Australia; internal medicine at the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Sydney
1990-1991 Internship at the Kantonspital Basel (internal medicine), Heidelberg University (cardiac surgery), and at the John Radcliffe Hospital Oxford (pediatrics)
25.11.1991 Final medical examination
01/1992-06/1993 Medical assistant at the University Children's Hospital, Heidelberg. Clinical focus: tropical medicine, infectious diseases, oncology, neonatology. Three months clinical and research work in Nigeria
12.08.1993             Licensed to practice medicine
07/1993-02/1999 Assistant professor at the Center of Biochemistry, Heidelberg University
07-12/1994 Postdoctoral researcher, Institute of Pathology, Sydney University, Australia; scientific work on cerebral malaria
5.09.1996 Professor qualification for biochemistry, Ruprecht Karls University, Heidelberg 
11.11.1998 Medical specialization in biochemistry
03/1999-09/1999 Assistant professor (C2) at the Center of Biochemistry, Heidelberg University
10/1999-08/2000 Independent junior group leader at the Research Center for Infectious Diseases, Würzburg University
Since 09/2000 C4/W3 professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (chair) at the Interdisciplinary Research Center, Giessen University
11/2005-04/2006 Research sabbatical at the Department of Cell Biology, The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, CA, USA, Prof. John Yates III, MudPIT (Proteome) analyses
1983 Winner of the contest "Ancient Languages" (Baden Württemberg); scholar of the German National Academic Foundation
1988 Scholarship from the German Research Foundation for studies and scientific work abroad
1989 Ludolf Krehl Prize from the Southwest German Society for Internal Medicine
1993 Young Investigator Award from the Nutritional Science Foundation, Göttingen 
1994 Boehringer Mannheim research scholarship
1998 Friedrich Fischer Estate, Heidelberg University
Since 07/2000 Member of the Young Academy at the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and the Leopoldina German Academy of Natural Scientists
2003 Funding for the symposium “Redox Metabolism in Malaria: From Genes to Drugs,” Bellagio, Italy, by the Rockefeller Foundation
Autumn 2003 Carus Medal from the German Academy of Natural Scientists Leopoldina
Early 2004 Carus Prize
Since June 2009 Member of the German National Academy of Scientists  Leopoldina
March 2010 Rudolf Leuckart Medal from the German Society of Parasitology
Since 2011 Member of AcademiaNet
Teaching activities
1991-1999 Biochemistry at Heidelberg University (seminars and practicals; 1997-1999 lectures)
Since 1993 Supervision of MD and PhD theses (>50; biochemistry, biology, chemistry, medicine)
1998/1999 Guest lecturer at the Biomedical Institute of the Medical Faculty, Milano University, Italy
1999/2000 Contributions to the teaching activities of the Research Center for Infectious Diseases, Würzburg
Since 2000 C4/W3 professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. Regular lectures, seminars, and practicals: Advanced Biochemistry, Molecular Biology and Genetic Variation, Pathobiochemistry, Methods of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Infection and Immunity, and others
2002-2005 Lectures on Intermediary Metabolism, Academy for Advanced Training in Medicine
2007 Summer course, Molecular Parasitology, Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole, USA (invited lecturer)
Management experience
Since 09/2000 Full professor of Biochemistry
10/2002-09/2004 Chairman of the PhD committee, FB09, JLU
10/2002-09/2004 Executive Director of the Institute
06/2004-05/2005 Speaker of the Interdisciplinary Research Center, Giessen University
Since 05/2005 Design and implementation of the graduate course, Applied Life Sciences, at the Interdisciplinary Research Center, Giessen
Since 04/2007 Speaker of Section 7, Bioresources and Biotechnology, of the Giessen Graduate Center for the Life Sciences (GGL)
11/2009-10/2012 Vice President (Research) of the Justus Liebig University Giessen
Since 03/2014 Speaker of the DFG Priority Program SPP 1710, "Dynamics of Thiol-based Redox Switches in Cellular Physiology"
Since 07/2014 Vice President of the German Research Foundation
Since 04/2015 German Representative in the COST Scientific Committee, Brussels
Scientific Activities
Publications (Hirsch index: 54)
226 publications, of those 155 original, peer-reviewed articles in international journals, 60 book articles, 5 books and special issues, 6 patents
Consulting activities
Since 1994 Member of the editorial board of the journal Redox Report
2002 Consultant for the Volkswagen Foundation's Africa Program
2003-2005 Member of the scientific advisory board of the BlueCQ clinical trial (chloroquine-methylene blue combination therapy), Heidelberg University
2006-2011 Member of the scientific advisory board of the German Institute of Nutrition Research, Potsdam
Since 2006 Member of the scientific advisory board of the German Center of International Development and Environmenal Research
Since 2010 Mentor for female early career academics (Pro Professur and SciMento)
Since 4/2011 Panel reviewer, Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, Bonn
Since 9/2013 Member of the scientific advisory board of the Kerkhoff Cardiac Research Institute, Bad Nauheim
Membership in academic societies
German Society of Parasitology, German Society of Tropical Medicine and International Health, Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, International Society for Free Radical Research
Organization of conferences
1991-1999 Member of the organizing committee of different workshops and symposia for the Research Focus, Tropical Medicine, Heidelberg University
10/2001 "Ethics vs. Lack of Ethics. How Much Ethics Does Science Need?" Symposium of the Young Academy, Berlin
7/2002 Member of the organizing commitee, 14th International Congress on Flavins and Flavoproteins, Cambridge, UK
2/2003 "Redox Metabolism in Malaria: from Genes to Drugs." Joint organization with Prof. Hagai Ginsburg, Hebrew University, Israel in the conference center of the Rockefeller Foundation, Bellagio, Italy
7/2004 Member of the organizing and scientific committee of the international Leopoldina symposium, "Threat of Infection," Würzburg
4/2005 Member of the international scientific advisory board of the 15th International Congress on Flavins and Flavoproteins, Tokyo, Japan
7/2008 Member of the international scientific advisory board of the 16th International Congress on Flavins and Flavoproteins, Jaca, Spain
3/2009 Organizer of the 10th Antiparasitic Drug Design and Development Seminar at Rauischholzhausen Castle, Giessen, Germany
2009/2010 Member of the organizing committee of the international symposium on "Redox Metabolism in Microbes and Plants," Barcelona, 2011
7/2011 Member of the international scientific advisory board of the 17th International Congress on Flavins and Flavoproteins, Berkeley, USA
9/2011 Member of the organizing committee of the ESF-EMBO symposium, "Glutathione and Related Thiols in Living Cells," Spain, 2011
Top 5 publications
1. Becker K, Savvides S, Keese M, Schirmer RH, Karplus PA (1998). Enzyme inactivation through sulfhydryl oxidation by physiologic NO-carriers. Nat 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. 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. Nat Struct Mol Biol 16: 890-896.
5. Fritz-Wolf K, Kehr S, Stumpf M, Rahlfs S, Becker K (2011). Crystal structure of the human thioredoxin reductase - thioredoxin complex. Nat Commun 2:383. doi: 10.1038/ncomms1382.