Johannes Diers studied medicine at the universities of Homburg, Heidelberg and Lausanne. Before his studies he worked for a NGO with street children in Ghana for one year. He gathered first work experience, among others, in a rural Tanzanian district hospital, in pharmaceutical research and development and in pediatric surgery at Children’s Hospital Zurich. At the department of surgical oncology at Heidelberg university hospital he investigated the prognostic significance of marker proteins in patients with colon cancer. As a Mercator Fellow, he looks into the so called “neglected tropical diseases” – a group of mostly infectious diseases that typically affect the economically weakest people in developing countries.