Professor Dirk-Peter Herten

Professor Dirk-Peter Herten

Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences
School of Chemistry
Chair in Cell Biology of Membrane Proteins

Contact details

Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences & School of Chemistry
College of Medical and Dental Sciences
Medical School
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Dirk-Peter Herten is a Chair in Cell Biology of Membrane Proteins at the University of Birmingham shared by the Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences and the School of Chemistry with his labs located in the Institute of Biomedical Research (IBR).

Dirk’s interdisciplinary research spans from microscopy techniques over switchable fluorescent probes to biological applications, like T-cell signalling in the context of inflammation. He has specialized in single-molecule microscopy enabling quantitative studies of the composition and dynamics of cellular structures and enzymatic reactions in living cells.

ORCID ID: 0000-0002-3884-0262

Researcher ID: P-4836-2016


  • Venia legendi in Physical Chemistry 2008
  • PhD in Physical Chemistry 2000
  • Diploma in Chemistry, Heidelberg University 1996


Dirk graduated from the Heidelberg Department of Physical Chemistry in 2000 after studying Chemistry at the Heidelberg University, Germany.

After collecting experiences in industry at ATTO-TEC GmbH, Germany he returned to academia in 2002 by specializing in single-molecule spectroscopy at Heidelberg University where he was awarded the venia legendi in Physical Chemistry in 2008. In 2015 he became University Professor in Single-Molecule Spectroscopy at Heidelberg University until accepting a Chair in Cell Biology of Membrane Proteins at the University of Birmingham in 2019.


Dirk researches tools to enable quantitative studies of the composition and dynamics of cellular structures and enzymatic reactions in living cells. This highly interdisciplinary research will improve our general understanding of intracellular functions and cellular responses to external stimuli in the context of various diseases by bridging biochemistry and cell biology. The design of fluorescent probes for live-cell single-molecule studies has potential for biomedical research and diagnostic applications.

Dirk is currently active in three areas in single-molecule research: single photon based molecular counting, switchable fluorescent probes for advanced fluorescence microscopy, e.g. super-resolution in living cells, and single-molecule studies of chemical reaction pathways.


Recent publications


Wiegand, T, Fratini, M, Frey, F, Yserentant, K, Liu, Y, Weber, E, Galior, K, Ohmes, J, Braun, F, Herten, D, Boulant, S, Schwarz, US, Salaita, K, Cavalcanti-adam, EA & Spatz, JP 2020, 'Forces during cellular uptake of viruses and nanoparticles at the ventral side', Nature Communications, vol. 11, no. 1, 32.

Werther, P, Yserentant, K, Braun , F, Kaltwasser, N, Popp , C, Baalmann , M, Herten, D-P & Wombacher, R 2020, 'Live‐cell localization microscopy with a fluorogenic and self‐blinking tetrazine probe', Angewandte Chemie - International Edition, vol. 59, no. 2, pp. 804-810.

Erdel, F, Rademacher, A, Vlijm, R, Tünnermann, J, Frank, L, Weinmann, R, Schweigert, E, Yserentant, K, Hummert, J, Bauer, C, Schumacher, S, Al Alwash, A, Normand, C, Herten, D, Engelhardt, J & Rippe, K 2020, 'Mouse heterochromatin adopts digital compaction states without showing hallmarks of HP1-driven liquid-liquid phase separation', Molecular Cell, vol. 78, no. 2, pp. 236-249.e7.

Braun, F, Comba, P, Grimm, L, Herten, D-P, Pokrandt, B & Wadepohl, H 2019, 'Ligand-sensitized lanthanide(III) luminescence with octadentate bispidines', Inorganica Chimica Acta, vol. 484, pp. 464-468.

Herten, D-P, Haderspeck, A, Braun, F & Wadepohl, H 2018, 'Copper(II)‐induced fluorescence quenching of a BODIPY fluorophore', Zeitschrift fur Anorganische und Allgemeine Chemie, vol. 644, no. 14, pp. 735-739.

Schelkle, KM, Schmid, C, Yserentant, K, Bender, M, Wacker, I, Petzoldt, M, Hamburger, M, Herten, D-P, Wombacher, R, Schröder, RR & Bunz, UHF 2017, 'Cell fixation by light-triggered release of glutaraldehyde', Angewandte Chemie (International Edition) , vol. 56, no. 17, pp. 4724-4728.

Kallenberger, SM, Gabhann, FM (ed.), Unger, AL, Legewie, S, Lymperopoulos, K, Klingmüller, U, Eils, R & Herten, D-P 2017, 'Correlated receptor transport processes buffer single-cell heterogeneity', PLoS Computational Biology, vol. 13, no. 9, e1005779.

Comba, P, Eisenschmidt, A, Gahan, LR, Herten, D-P, Nette, G, Schenk, G & Seefeld, M 2017, 'Is CuII coordinated to patellamides inside prochloron cells?', Chemistry: A European Journal, vol. 23, no. 50, pp. 12264-12274.

Grußmayer, KS & Herten, D-P 2017, 'Time-resolved molecule counting by photon statistics across the visible spectrum', Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics, vol. 19, no. 13, pp. 8962-8969 .

Best, M, Porth, I, Hauke, S, Braun, F, Herten, D-P & Wombacher, R 2016, 'Protein-specific localization of a rhodamine-based calcium-sensor in living cells', Organic and Biomolecular Chemistry, vol. 14, pp. 5606-5611.

Wirtz, M, Grueter, A, Heib, F, Huch, V, Zapp, J, Herten, D-P, Schmitt, M & Jung, G 2015, 'A two-color fluorogenic carbene complex for tagging olefins via metathesis reaction', Methods and Applications in Fluorescence.

Liesche, C, Grussmayer, KS, Ludwig, M, Woerz, S, Rohr, K, Herten, D-P, Beaudouin, J & Eils, R 2015, 'Automated Analysis of Single-Molecule Photobleaching Data by Statistical Modeling of Spot Populations', Biophysical Journal.


Yserentant, K & Herten, D-P 2016, Single-Molecule Light Microscopy. in eLS.

Entry for encyclopedia/dictionary

Hänselmann, S & Herten, D-P 2016, Single-Molecule Spectroscopy. in JC Lindon, GE Tranter & DW Koppenaal (eds), Encyclopedia of Spectroscopy and Spectrometry. 3 edn, vol. 4, Elsevier, pp. 84-88.

Review article

Gruβmayer, KS, Yserentant, K & Herten, D-P 2019, 'Photons in - numbers out: perspectives in quantitative fluorescence microscopy for in situ protein counting', Methods and Applications in Fluorescence, vol. 7, no. 1, 012003.

View all publications in research portal