Petra Gastmeier was certified as a specialist in Hygiene and Environmental Medicine in 1988. Following several years working as a senior physician at the Institute of Hygiene of the Free University Berlin she was appointed as an associate professor at Hanover Medical School and head of the Division of Hospital Epidemiology in 2000. Since 2008 she is head of the Institute of Hygiene and Environmental Medicine, Charité -University Medicine Berlin. She is an expert on surveillance of nosocomial infections and antimicrobial resistance and has published more than 300 scientific papers and review articles in this field. She is coordinating the work of the German Nosocomial Infection Surveillance System (called KISS) with data from more than 1400 German hospitals. She is also responsible for the current German national hand hygiene campaign funded by the German Ministry of Health with 900 hospitals participating.