Dirk-Peter Herten

Colleges, School and Institutes


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.

Research interests

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.


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