Dr Kai Erdmann

School of Biosciences

Senior Lecturer in Molecular Cell Biology

Director of Postgraduate Research

BMS - Dr Kai Erdmann
Profile picture of BMS - Dr Kai Erdmann
  • 2012-present: Senior Lecturer, School of Biosciences, The University of Sheffield
  • 2006-2012: Group leader, Ruhr-University Bochum, Germany
  • 2005-2006: Research Associate, Yale University School of Medicine, USA
  • 2003-2005: Feodor Lynen Fellow (Alexander von Humboldt foundation), Yale University School of Medicine, USA
  • 1998-2003: Junior group leader, Ruhr-University Bochum, Germany
  • 1996-1998: Postdoctoral work, Ruhr-University Bochum, Germany
  • 1993-1996: PhD, Ruhr-University Bochum, Germany
Research interests

Molecular and Cellular Mechanobiology: Mechanisms of Mechanotransduction

Mechanical cues like extracellular matrix stiffness, fluid flow shear stress or spatial confinement play an important role in development, cell and tissue homeostasis as well as in disease initiation or progression (e.g., cancer or fibrosis). Our group is interested in how such mechanical signals are translated into cellular biochemical changes (a process called mechanotransduction) and how these changes contribute to regulate key cellular behaviour like cell proliferation and migration. Importantly, we also investigate the role of mechanotransduction in disease progression with a special focus on its role in fibrosis and cancer. We have used the well-established mechanotransducer YAP (Figure 1) as a model to develop molecular screens to identify novel proteins with a role in mechanotransduction.

Kai Erdmann - Research Image 1
Figure 1: It is well established that the subcellular localisation of the transcription regulator YAP is controlled by ECM stiffness (A) and spatial confinement/cell spreading (B) (first reported by Dupont et al. Nature 2011).

Note: We are aiming to identify proteins that are controlled in a similar manner and investigate their role in mechanotransduction.

Membrane trafficking: Regulation of receptor cell surface expression

Cell surface expression levels of receptors are controlled by a tight balance of receptor endocytosis and recycling. We are investigating underpinning membrane trafficking mechanisms that regulate receptor cell surface expression.  In particular we are interested in the cell surface regulation of the apoptosis receptor Fas/CD95 and have recently identified a novel crosstalk between regulation of Fas/CD95 membrane trafficking and apoptotic signalling (Figure 2). More recently we have started to investigate the effect of mechanical cues like ECM stiffness on the regulation of membrane trafficking as part of the cellular mechanoresponse.

BMS - Kai Ermann - Research Image 02
Figure 2: Model of impaired Fas endolysosomal sorting, which leads to a positive feedback loop of apoptotic signalling (Sharma et al. Nature Commun. 2019).

Show: Featured publications All publications

Journal articles

All publications

Journal articles

Conference proceedings papers

  • Yu F, Hagemann N, Ackermann N & Erdmann KS (2014) Protein tyrosine phosphatase PTPN13 and its interaction partner SDCCAG3 are involved in the regulation of cytokinesis. FEBS JOURNAL, Vol. 281 (pp 78-78) RIS download Bibtex download
  • Skowronek A, Hagemann N & Erdmann KS (2014) FERM and PDZ domain containing protein 2 regulates epithelial cell polariZation. FEBS JOURNAL, Vol. 281 (pp 197-197) RIS download Bibtex download
Research group

Previous lab members:

  • Fangyan Yu
  • Shruti Sharma
  • Agnieszka Skowronek
  • Claire Murzeau
  • Kinga Kosim
  • Sindhu N Naik
  • Antonio Carmona-Serrano
  • Elena Naumovska
  • Claudia Beaurivage


  • Jochen Guck Technical University, Dresden, Germany
Teaching activities

Undergraduate and postgraduate taught modules


  • BMS110 Research Topics in Biomedicine
  • BMS301 Membrane Receptors
  • BMS376 Membrane Trafficking
  • Level 3 Practical and Dissertation Modules

MSc (Masters)

  • BMS6082 Practical Cell Biology
Professional activities and memberships
  • Coordinator of the Marie Curie Initial Training Network (ITN) TRANSPOL
  • Visiting scientist Yale University School of Medicine (Sept/Oct. 2011)
  • Eurotrans-Bio (ETB) Award (2011) (consortium)
  • Feodor Lynen postdoctoral fellow (Alexander von Humboldt foundation) (2003-2005)

We advertise PhD opportunities (Funded or Self-Funded) on FindAPhD.com

For further information about these projects and how to apply at Sheffield, see our PhD Opportunities page.