2014 BBS Leadership Group Shot  

The Leadership Program

Luca Bertzbach


Coming from a rural area in a distant corner of Northern Germany, it was an extremely exciting challenge for me to start my studies of veterinary medicine in Berlin in 2008. After first having completed a carpentry apprenticeship and then worked with mentally challenged adults, I decided to make my dream of becoming a veterinarian come true and applied for it in 2008, putting in Berlin as my first choice.
Currently, I am in my fourth year at the Freie Universität and I'm enjoying the big city life and its vast potential of choices, especially regarding the broadly diversified opportunities in medical research. In addition to my curriculum, I also had the chance to work on Marek's Disease at the university's Institute of Virology last summer.
My research interests mainly focus on emerging diseases in virology, parasitology and microbiology and their rising threat due to the ongoing climate change as well as the globalization of food-, feed- and trade markets. I am especially intrigued by the research on wild animal reservoirs and parasite-host interactions of pathogenic agents.


Soccer, squash, cycling, running and beach volleyball are my favorite sports, which I love doing in order to balance out all the sitting around part of being a student. If there is time between that and my vet studies, I also enjoy reading, cooking and having friends around, going to the cinema and traveling around the world.

Career Goal:

After completing my veterinary degree in 2014, I would like to do a Ph.D. and then apply for a postdoctorate position in an ambitious research group.
In the long term, I would particularly like to contribute to the research and the control of zoonotic and epizootic diseases, keeping an eye on emerging ones in order to prevent or at least deal efficiently with outbreaks, in either an academical or extra-academical setting like an institution such as the CDC or the WHO.