Bernhard Herrmann studied biology and molecular genetics at the University of Würzburg and at the State University of New York at Albany. He did his PhD work at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory in Heidelberg and received his doctorate from the University of Karlsruhe in 1987. He worked as EMBO postdoctoral fellow at the National Institute for Medical Research in London and was recruited by the Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology in Tübingen as head of a research group in 1989. In 1994 he moved as senior scientist and head of a research group to the Max Planck Institute for Immunobiology in Freiburg, and was appointed as Member of the Max Planck Society in 2003.
He is Director of the Department Developmental Genetics at the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics and Professor and Head of the Institute for Medical Genetics at the Charité – Campus Benjamin Franklin. The main focus of his research is in understanding the gene regulatory networks controlling mesoderm formation and organogenesis during trunk development in the mouse, and tumor formation caused by aberrant tissue homeostasis. Another emphasis of his work is the molecular basis of transmission ratio distortion, a phenomenon of non-Mendelian inheritance caused by the mouse t-haplotype. In 2002 Bernhard Herrmann was elected as a Member of the European Molecular Biology Organisation.