Portrait of the "Deutsche Gesellschaft für Hygiene und Mikrobiologie“ (DGHM)"

Short Portait of the DGHM in English

The "Deutsche Gesellschaft für Hygiene und Mikrobiologie" (DGHM, German Society for Hygiene and Microbiology) was founded in 1906 originally as "Free union for Microbiology ". It was intended to provide a scientific platform from the revolutionary discoveries by Robert Koch and his scholars in the field of the emerging of infectious diseases. Today the DGHM is one of the oldest specialized societies in the areas of recognition, treatment and prevention of infectious diseases.

The members are organized in specialized groups (FG), constant working groups (St AG) and commissions (KOM), which are essential organisations of the DGHM. Here experts discuss current research topics, give out guidelines and recommendation, and develop new scientific direction. At first the specialized groups (FG) are implemented for one period of four years and evaluated afterwards. In that way it is ensured, that only active and then productive FGs within the DGHM remain and if necessary, new FGs can be put into action.

All FG members have to be also a DGHM member. They come from universities, research or public institutions, and the industry. Therefore the FGs work interdisciplinary on aspects of medical and scientific microbiology. Results of the basic research are linked closely with concrete applications.

The constant working groups (St. AG) and commissions (KOM) work on topics, that are relevant for the society on a long term basis and advise the executive committee in structural and occupation-politically important questions.

The scientific exchange takes place on the annual convention of the DGHM which is usually held in the end of September. A broad spectrum of result on medical microbiology and infectious diseases is represented.

Symposia, workshops and meetings organized by the specialized groups (FG) and working groups (St AG) on more specialized topics are held during the rest of the year in addition.

Members of the Executive Board 2016/2018 are: President: Prof. Dr. Mathias Herrmann (Homburg/Saar), Secretary of Finance: Prof. Helmut Fickenscher (Kiel), Secretary: Prof. Dr. Jan Buer (Essen), Vice-Presidents: Prof. Dr. Petra Dersch (Braunschweig),  Prof. Dr. Georg Häcker (Freiburg), Prof. Dr. Herbert Schmidt (Hohenheim), Pastpresident: Prof. Dr. Sebastian Suerbaum (Munich)

Main topics of the specialized groups (FG) of the DGHM are:

The scientific interest of the joint DGHM/VAAMexterner LinkFG "Microbial Pathogenicity" (Chairman: Prof. S. Hammerschmidt, Borstel) is to improve the molecular understanding of microbial factors of virulence. Apart from classical topics of microbial pathogenicity such as toxic functions, adhesion or regularization of virulence genes the cellular microbiology is an important new direction in this group.

FG "Infection and Immunity"(Chair: Roland Lang, Erlangen) The protection from infections is one of the major tasks of the immune response. A goal of this FG is to promote the discussion and co-operations of those groups interested in the molecular structure, as well as in the interaction of the individual components of the immune system and their influence on infections.

The joint DGHM/VAAMexterner LinkFG "Food Microbiology and Hygiene" (Chair: Dr. M. Wenning, Freising) investigates food-associated micro-organisms such as production and fermentation organisms, and pathogenic or toxin producing micro-organisms. Members of the FG are active in national and international committees.

The FG "Gastrointestinal Infections" (Chair: Prof. Dr. M. Hornef (Aachen) supports research of the pathogenesis, micro-biological diagnostics, and therapy of infections of the gastrointestinal tract. Within the FG three groups (AG) are working on current topics (Escherischia coli, Helicobacter pylori and Salmonella).

The main topic of the FG "Eukaryontic Pathogens" (Chair: Prof.Dr. Sven Krappmann, Erlangen) is to investigate resistance mechanisms, immunological aspects, as well as the epidemiology and diagnostics of fungi and parasites.

The FG "Microbial Systematics, Population Genetics and Infection Epidemiology"(Chair: Prof. Dr. Ulrich Nübel, Braunschweig) works interdisciplinarily in the fields of microbial systematics and taxonomy, population genetics in bacterial and eukaryotic pathogens, as well as the epidemiology of infections.

The FG "Zoonosis"(Chair: Dr. Robin Köck, Münster).

FG Prevention of Infection and Antibiotic resistance in hospital hygiene (Chair: Prof. Dr. Iris Chaberny, Hannover).

In addition to the FGs there are six different constant working groups (St. AG) working on long term basis in relevant subjects. The St. AG "General and Hospital Hygiene" (Speaker: PD Dr. Christian Brandt) is involved with the surveillance of nosocomial infections and multi-resistant pathogens, as well as the transmission of nosocomial infections, and their prevention.

The primary aim of the constant working group "Clinical Microbiology" (Chair: Prof. C. von Eiff, Münster and Prof. N. Wellinghaus, Ulm)) is to support the continuing education training in medical microbiology. In 2002 the former three chairmen of the St. AG published the first book on clinical cases in this field in German.

The St AG Diagnostic Microbiology (Chair: Prof. Karsten Becker, Münster)

Two groups were installed for publication reasons (1) the St AG "Standard values for the orientation of microbial contamination in food" (Chair: Prof. Dr. Barbara Becker, Lemgo) is responsible for the publication of the of the "Mikrobiologische Richt- und Warnwerte zur Beurteilung von Lebensmitteln" and (2) the St AG MiQ for the publication of the “Microbiology procedure quality standards” -MiQ (Chair: Prof. andreas Podbielski, Rostock).

The Federal Ministry for Health (BMG) appoints national reference centres (NRZ) for important pathogens. This appointment takes place in coordination with representatives of the Robert Koch Institute (RKI, Berlin), particularly with the commission of infection epidemiology, and the scientific societies.

Additionally the scientific societies suggested the implementation of laboratories of consultancy. The constant working group "National Reference Centres and Laboratories of Consultancy" (Chair: Prof. Dr. U. Vogel, Würzburg) coordinates the work between the individual national reference centres and Laboratories of Consultancy and the DGHM on one side and the public health service and the RKI on the other side.

The Commission of Continuing Education (Chair: Prof. G. Peters, Muenster) supports the executive board in all interests at this subject.

The activities of the Commission for Safety of Quality (Chair: Prof. Dr. A. Hoerauf, Bonn) are interlaboratory tests (Ringversuche), quality standards in microbial diagnostics (MIQs), guidelines and accreditation. Apart from this regular activity, the commission supports the executive committee of the DGHM.

Annually the DGHM Foundation (Prof. M. Frosch, Würzburg) presents awards to the outstanding scientists, working in the field of the scientific and/or medical microbiology and hygiene.

In particular the Senior Scientist Prizes are awarded to active scientists with an outstanding long term record of scientific achievements in the field of medical microbiology or hygiene.

The Junior Scientist Awards intend to honour younger scientist for their innovative research and to motivate them for further research.

Furthermore a Diagnostic Prize is annually sponsored by the diagnostic company bioMérieux for research on a diagnostic relevant subject as well as a Research Award sponsored by BD for the publication of an outstanding paper within the last 2-3 years in this field.

Up to five outstanding thesis will be awarded with the Thesis Awards every year.


Please contact the DGHM Office if you have any further questions:
Nicole von Maltzahn, PhD
Medizinische Hochschule Hannover
Institut für Medizinische Mikrobiologie und Krankenhaushygiene
Carl-Neuberg-Str. 1
D-30625 Hannover
Tel: 0511 532 4655
Fax: 0511 532 9465