Heisenberg Group

Morphogenesis in Development

The most elaborate shapes of multicellular organisms – the elephant’s trunk, the orchid blossom, the lobster’s claw – all start off from a simple bunch of cells. This transformation of a seemingly unstructured cluster of cells into highly elaborate shapes is a common and fundamental principle in cell and developmental biology and the focus of the Heisenberg group’s work.

To gain insights into critical processes by which the developing organism takes shape, the Heisenberg group focuses on gastrulation in zebrafish and ascidians, a highly conserved process in which a seemingly unstructured blastula is transformed into an organized embryo. The group has chosen a transdisciplinary approach, employing a combination of genetic, cell biological, biochemical, and biophysical tools. Using these tools, the group is addressing how the interplay between the physical processes driving cell and tissue morphogenesis and the gene regulatory pathways determining cell fate specification control gastrulation. Insights derived from this work may ultimately have implications for the study of wound healing and cancer biology, as immune and cancer cells share many morphogenetic properties of embryonic cells.

Group Leader


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Team

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Feyza Arslan

PhD Student

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Silvia Caballero Mancebo

PhD Student

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Ehsan Ghasemian

Project Technician

+43 22 439000 7452


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Karla Huljev

PhD Student

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David Labrousse Arias

Laboratory Technician

+43 2243 9000 7452

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Suyash Naik

PhD Student


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Diana Nunes Pinheiro

Postdoc

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Oleksandr Ostrenko

Postdoc

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Nicoletta Petridou

Postdoc


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Alexandra Schauer

PhD Student

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Cornelia Schwayer

Postdoc

+43 2243 9000 5003

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Shayan Shamipour

PhD Student

+43 2243 9000 4781


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Ste Tavano

Postdoc


Current Projects

Cell adhesion | Actomyosin contraction | Cell and tissue morphogenesis | Cell polarization and migration


Publications

Nunes Pinheiro DC, Heisenberg C-PJ. Zebrafish gastrulation: Putting fate in motion. Current Topics in Developmental Biology. View

Schwayer C. 2019. Mechanosensation of tight junctions depends on ZO-1 phase separation and flow, IST Austria, 107p. View

Schwayer C, Shamipour S, Pranjic-Ferscha K, Schauer A, Balda M, Tada M, Matter K, Heisenberg C-PJ. 2019. Mechanosensation of tight junctions depends on ZO-1 phase separation and flow. Cell. 179(4), 937–952.e18. View

Petridou N, Heisenberg C-PJ. 2019. Tissue rheology in embryonic organization. The EMBO Journal. 38(20), e102497. View

McDougall A, Chenevert J, Godard BG, Dumollard R. 2019. Emergence of embryo shape during cleavage divisions. Evo-Devo: Non-model species in cell and developmental biology. RESULTS vol. 68. 127–154. View

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Career

since 2010 Professor, IST Austria
2001 – 2010 Group Leader, Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics, Dresden, Germany
1997 – 2000 Postdoc, University College London, UK
1996 PhD, Max Planck Institute of Developmental Biology, Tübingen, Germany


Selected Distinctions


2019 Carus Medal, German Academy of Sciences Leopoldina
2017 ERC Advanced Grant
2017 Lower Austrian Science Award
2015 Member, EMBO
2015 Member, German Academy of Sciences Leopoldina
2000 Emmy Noether Junior Professorship


Additional Information

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