LIFE SCIENCES

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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Benoit Godard

Postdoc

+43 2243 9000 3902

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Karla Huljev

PhD Student

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Roland Kardos

Postdoc


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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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Kornelija Pranjic-Ferscha

Laboratory Technician

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Alexandra Schauer

PhD Student

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Cornelia Schwayer

PhD Student

+43 2243 9000 5003


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Ste Tavano

Postdoc

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Peng Xia

Postdoc

+43 2243 9000 0


Current Projects

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


Publications

Xia P, Gütl DJ, Zheden V, Heisenberg C-PJ. 2019. Lateral inhibition in cell specification mediated by mechanical signals modulating TAZ activity. Cell. 176(6), 1379–1392.e14. View

Capek D, Smutny M, Tichy AM, Morri M, Janovjak HL, Heisenberg C-PJ. 2019. Light-activated Frizzled7 reveals a permissive role of non-canonical wnt signaling in mesendoderm cell migration. eLife. 8. View

Petridou N, Grigolon S, Salbreux G, Hannezo E, Heisenberg C-PJ. 2019. Fluidization-mediated tissue spreading by mitotic cell rounding and non-canonical Wnt signalling. Nature Cell Biology. 21, 169–178. View

Asaoka Y, Morita H, Furumoto H, Heisenberg C-PJ, Furutani-Seiki M. 2019. Studying YAP-mediated 3D morphogenesis using fish embryos and human spheroids. The hippo pathway. Methods in Molecular Biology, MIMB, vol. 1893. 167–181. View

Carvalho L, Patricio P, Ponte S, Heisenberg C-PJ, Almeida L, Nunes AS, Araújo NAM, Jacinto A. 2018. Occluding junctions as novel regulators of tissue mechanics during wound repair. Journal of Cell Biology. 217(12), 4267–4283. 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

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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