Siegert Group

Neuroimmunology in Health and Disease

Identifying brain function has primarily concentrated on how environmental signals are encoded within a complex neuronal network – the impact of the immune system was mostly overlooked. The Siegert group focuses on how neurons and microglia interact with each other and how malfunctions within this relationship impact neuronal circuit formation and function in health and disease.

Microglia are the CNS-resident macrophages and continually sense their neuronal environment. They switch between functional states that either promote or counteract removal of circuit elements. But how microglia decide when to alter circuit elements without inducing circuit malfunction is not known. Activated microglia are a feature of CNS pathologies such as glaucoma and Alzheimer’s disease. Thus, it is important to study the contribution of these cells and to develop strategies for manipulating them in a beneficial manner. The Siegert lab addresses this using the mammalian retina, which consists of morphologically well-defined cell types that are precisely mapped in their connection and functional properties. They combine molecular biology, virology, genomics, computational, and functional imaging as well as iPS technology to translate their observations to a human-relevant perspective.

Group Leader

On this site:



Katarina Bartalska

Senior Laboratory Technician


Gloria Colombo

PhD Student


Ryan Cubero



Verena Hübschmann

PhD Student


Medina Korkut-Demirbas

Project Technician


Margaret Maes



Florianne Schoot Uiterkamp

PhD Student


Rouven Schulz

PhD Student


Alessandro Venturino

Laboratory Technician

+43 2243 9000 7673

Current Projects

To define microglial activation | To identify strategies to manage microglia in neuronal environment | To recapitulate microglia-neuron interaction in a human model system


Maes ME, Colombo G, Schulz R, Siegert S. 2019. Targeting microglia with lentivirus and AAV: Recent advances and remaining challenges. Neuroscience Letters. 707. View

Mungenast A, Siegert S, Tsai L. 2016. Modeling Alzheimer’s disease with human induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells. Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience. 73, 13–31. View

Tsai L, Siegert S. 2016. How MicroRNAs Are involved in splitting the mind. JAMA Psychiatry. 73(4), 409–410. View

Siegert S, Seo J, Kwon E, Rudenko A, Cho S, Wang W, Flood Z, Martorell A, Ericsson M, Mungenast A, Tsai L. 2015. The schizophrenia risk gene product miR-137 alters presynaptic plasticity. Nature Neuroscience. 18, 1008–1016. View

Rei D, Mason X, Seo J, Gräff J, Rudenko A, Wang J, Rueda R, Siegert S, Cho S, Canter R, Mungenast A, Deisseroth K, Tsai L. 2015. Basolateral amygdala bidirectionally modulates stress induced hippocampal learning and memory deficits through a p25/Cdk5-dependent pathway. PNAS. 112(23), 7291–7296. View

View All Publications


since 2015 Assistant Professor, IST Austria
2011 – 2015 Postdoctoral Associate, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, USA
2010 PhD, Friedrich Miescher Institute for Biomedical Research, Basel, Switzerland

Selected Distinctions

2017 Liese Prokop Award
2016 ERC Starting Grant
2012 HFSP Long-term Fellowship
2011 EMBO Long-term Fellowship
2011 SNSF Fellowship for prospective researchers

Additional Information

View Orcid account
Open Siegert lab website

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