Get in touch.

List of contacts

Do you have any questions about ZB MED`s services or the range of literature we offer? Or maybe you need some tips on how to run searches in LIVIVO?

Phone: +49 (0)221 478-5685

Cologne Site

Medicine and Health

ZB MED – Information Centre for Life Sciences
Gleueler Straße 60
50931 Cologne (Köln)

Bonn Site

Nutritional, Environmental and Agricultural Sciences

ZB MED – Information Centre for Life Sciences
Friedrich-Hirzebruch-Allee 4
53115 Bonn




An infrastructure and research centre for data and information in the life sciences.

Prof. Dr. Konrad Förstner

Head of Data Science and Services

Key tasks and activities

  • W2-Professorship for Information and Data Literacy at the TH Cologne
  • Bioinformatics and systems biology integration of omics data
  • Text mining of biomedical literature
  • Provision of the Discovery Service LIVIVO and the ZB MED KE


Born in Heidelberg, Konrad Förstner studied biochemistry in Greifswald with computer science as an additional subject. He took his PhD at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory in Heidelberg, choosing to focus entirely on bioinformatics. During a brief sidestep into industry, Förstner worked in a number of areas including software development. He subsequently joined research groups at the University of Würzburg as a postdoc. In 2013, he took up the position of Head of Bioinformatics at the Core Unit Systems Medicine at the University of Würzburg, eventually becoming the head of the entire unit. Since 2018, Konrad Förstner has been head of the programme area "Data Science and Services" at ZB MED and is Professor for "Data and Information Literacy" at the Institute for Information Science (IWS) at the TH Köln.

Förstner is active in various working groups and other bodies. He represents the German Rectors‘ Conference in the Digital Tools – Software and Services working group as part of the Digital Information priority initiative run by the Alliance of Science Organisations in Germany. He is also a founding member of the German-speaking AG Open Science working group of the Open Knowledge Foundation. Förstner is active in the WikiCite community and co-hosts the Open Science Radio podcast.

Educational background

  • 1999 – 2004
    Studies in biochemistry and computer science, University Greifswald, stays in Switzerland and the USA
  • 2004 – 2009
    PhD (Computational biology) Research Group Peer Bork, European Molecular Biology Laboratory, Heidelberg
    Thesis: "Computational Analysis of Metagenomic data: Delineation of Compositional Features and Screens for Desirable Enzymes"

Career to date

  • 2009 – 2011
    Self-employed software developer and trainer for bioinformatics software, Darmstadt/Berlin
  • 2011 – 2013
    Postdoc in the research group of Jörg Vogel and Cynthia Sharma, Institute of Molecular Infection Biology and Research Center for Infectious Diseases, University of Würzburg
  • 2013 – 2018
    Head of Bioinformatics, Core Unit Core Unit Systems Medicine, University of Würzburg
  • 2016 – 2018
    Overall management of the Core Unit Systemic Medicine, University of Würzburg
  • since 2018
    Head of Data Science and Services at ZB MED and W2 Professor for Information and Data Literacy at the TH Köln

Boards and committees

  • Representative of the German Rectors' Conference in the working group "Digital Tools - Software and Services" of the priority initiative "Digital Information" of the Alliance of German Science Organisations
  • Member of the Executive Council of Carpentries
  • Founding member of the AG Open Science of the Open Knowledge Foundation
  • WikiCite community
  • Member of the Advisory Board of the Weizenbaum Institute for the Networked Society - The German Internet Institute
  • Member of the Library Carpentry Advisory Group