Sigi Hapfelmeier

Group Leader

Siegfried “Sigi” Hapfelmeier is ERC Assistant Professor at the University of Bern. He is a Biologist with specializations in general and medical Microbiology and has a long-standing interest in the mechanisms of bacterial-host interactions. As a PhD in the group of Prof. Wolf-Dietrich Hardt at LMU Munich and ETH Zurich (2001-2006) he co-established a new mouse infection model for Salmonella colitis, the “streptomycin model” (Barthel, Hapfelmeier and others 2003) that has since been adopted by leading labs in the field. In 2006, when he joined the lab of Prof. Andrew Macpherson at McMaster University, Canada, his focus moved to the interaction between commensal bacteria (microbiota) and host immune system. During his postdoctoral fellowship (2006-2009) he was introduced to gnotobiology and intestinal immunology. Playing with microbial genetic engineering and germ-free animal technology led him to invent the intestinal “reversible intestinal colonization” model (Hapfelmeier et al. 2010). This approach allowed novel kinds of immunization experiments that revealed new details of the dynamics of intestinal IgA antibody responses (Hapfelmeier and others 2010; Fritz and others 2012). Since the foundation of his independent research group at the IFIK in 2011, Sigi’s team has been further developing this system and its applications. In 2011, he has been awarded with a European Research Council (ERC) Starting Grant.

Sigi is less known for being also a professionally trained drummer, but he knows more about drumming than he can still actually play. In his free time he still tries to improve his drumming skills but he can also recharge doing nothing much or nothing at all.