Regine Kahmann is a microbiologist recognized for her work on site-specific recombination and gene regulation in phage Mu and her subsequent studies on the fungal maize pathogen Ustilago maydis. In the latter system her work has uncovered how mating and pathogenic development are regulated and has revealed critical determinants for the interaction of this pathogen with its host plant maize. Kahmann was born in Staßfurt, East Germany, and grew up in Rassau, a small village in Lower Saxony in West Germany. She graduated from Georg-August-Universität in Göttingen with a diploma degree in biology in 1972 and received a Ph.D. degree in Biology in 1974 from the Free University of Berlin. She was postdoctoral fellow and junior group leader at the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, followed by stays at the MPI for Biochemistry in Martinsried, the MPI for Molecular Genetics in Berlin and the IGF Berlin GmbH. In 1992 she became professor for Genetics at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität in Munich and transitioned from there to Marburg where she headed the department of Organismic Interactions at the Max Planck Institute of Terrestrial Microbiology and was professor for Genetics at the Philipps-Universität between 2000 and 2019.

Research Interests

Regine Kahmann´s laboratory is interested in the question how fungi colonize plants and cause disease. They have developed the biotrophic fungus Ustilago maydis as a model to obtain molecular insights into how this fungus suppresses host immune responses and modulates plant processes to benefit the pathogen. Since the publication of the U. maydis genome sequence and detecting clustered genes encoding novel secreted protein effectors, her group has focused on the challenging functional analysis of such novel effectors and how a subset of them are taken up by cells of the host plant. In her most recent work she has uncovered a fungal structure that is essential for virulence and is likely involved in effector delivery.

Membership Type

International Member

Election Year


Primary Section

Section 62: Plant, Soil, and Microbial Sciences

Secondary Section

Section 25: Plant Biology