Photo of Volker Behrends
  • 2004 Parkstead House, Whitelands


Research output per year

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Personal profile


I'm a biologist working at the interface of microbiology and analytical chemistry with interest in bacterial metabolism, evolution and infection. The overarching aim of my research is to understand how fundamental biological processes are affected by the metabolic state of an organism. Using metabolic profiling techniques I investigate the mechanistic link between metabolism, virulence and resistance, placing particular emphasis on bacterial interaction.


PhD: Metabolic profiling of cystic fibrosis pathogen (Imperial College, 2010)
MRes : Biomedical Research (Imperial College, 2006)
Dipl. Biol: Biochemistry, Microbiology, Phys. Chemistry (Univ. Göttingen, 2005)

Research interests

I am interested in how different microbes manage the trade-off between optimising growth an maintaining physiological flexibility. In particular, I want to investigate how stress and antibiotic exposure affect bacterial intra- and inter-species competition.

I have worked in the field of microbial and general metabolomics, employing NMR and MS-based metabolomics coupled to statistical analysis of large and complex datasets, I aim to understand the role of bacterial metabolism in health and disease and how the metabolism is influenced by the cell's surroundings. My work encompasses both wet- and dry-lab settings, in which I develop sampling and data analysis approaches drawing on and enhancing my knowledge in the areas of microbiology, infection biology and bacterial stress responses as well as scientific programming

Research projects

Understanding metabolic evolution of Pseudomonas aeruginosa in the cystic fibrosis lung

P. aeruginosa can cause chronic infections in the lung of cystic fibrosis. During the time, the bacterium undergoes genetic as well as phenotypic alterations. I am interested in how these changes affect microbial virulence and antibiotic resistance.

Characterising intracellular host-pathogen interactions with a view of discovering new avenues for treatment.

Treating intracellular infections presents a formidable clinical challenge, as antibiotics effective at killing the pathogen in vitro are often unable to do so once the pathogen enters the host cells. We aim to understand the host pathways that are important or essential for pathogen survival. The enables us to look for host-directed treatments, e.g. looking to repurpose drugs that have been approved for treatment of different condition, in an infection biology context.

Professional affiliations

Vereinigung fuer allgemeine und angewandte Microbiologie (DE): 2006-present
Biochemical Society (UK): 2011-present
Society for Applied Microbiology (SfAM, UK): 2011-present


My teaching interest include microbiology, analytical chemistry and bacterial pathophysiology. Projects for supervision include antibiotic susceptibility-centred projects and metabolic profiling data analysis.


External positions

Honorary Lecturer, Imperial College London

15 Sep 201414 Sep 2017

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Research Output

Acceptance of biological evolution in first-year Life Sciences university students

Betti, L., Shaw, P. & Behrends, V., 22 Feb 2020, In : Science & Education. 29, p. 395–409 15 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access

Anopheles coluzzii stearoyl-CoA desaturase is essential for adult female survival and reproduction upon blood feeding

Ferdous, Z., Fuchs, S., Behrends, V., Trasanidis, N., Vlachou, D. & Christophides, G. K., 15 Jun 2020, (Submitted) In : bioRxiv.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Antibiotic Pollution in Surface Fresh Waters: Occurrence and Effects

Danner, M-C., Robertson, A., Behrends, V. & Reiss, J., 10 May 2019, In : Science of the Total Environment. 664, p. 793-804 12 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Host-directed kinase inhibitors act as novel therapies against intracellular Staphylococcus aureus

Bravo-Santano, N., Stölting, H., Cooper, F., Bileckaja, N., Majstorovic, A., Ihle, N., Mateos, L. M., Calle-Patino, Y., Behrends, V. & Letek Polberg, M., 19 Mar 2019, In : Scientific Reports.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
1 Downloads (Pure)

Host-targeted therapeutics against multidrug-resistant intracellular Staphylococcus aureus

Bravo-Santano, N., Behrends, V. & Letek Polberg, M., 25 Nov 2019, (Accepted/In press) In : Antibiotics.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access


Hijacking of host cellular functions by opportunistic pathogens during intracellular infections

Volker Behrends (Organiser)

10 Jul 2019

Activity: Public engagement and outreachInvited talk

Society for Applied Microbiology Award Recipient Lecture

Volker Behrends (Speaker)

10 Jul 2019

Activity: Public engagement and outreachInvited talk

London Metabolomics Network meeting

Volker Behrends (Organiser)

22 Nov 2019

Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipation in workshop, seminar, course

Metabolites (Journal)

Volker Behrends (Guest editor)

1 Dec 2019

Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial workEditorial Activity

Pint of Science

Volker Behrends (Organiser)

2018 → …

Activity: Public engagement and outreachWork on advisory panels for social community and cultural engagement