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Siegert Group

Microglia-Neuron Interaction

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 affect neuronal circuit formation and function in health and disease.
Microglia are the CNS-resident macrophages, which continuously sense their neuronal environment also beyond just pathogenic insults. The Siegert group and others have shown that microglia adapt to defined environmental cues and can severely interfere with well-established neuronal circuit elements such as synapse but also extracellular matrix remodeling. Yet, the scientists are only starting to identify these cues, how they drive a microglia response, and which consequences those have on neuronal function in the adult brain. The goal of the Siegert group is to dissect the impact of defined environmental cues like drugs, extracellular matrix, sex, and metabolic insults, and how those cues modulate microglia response to either be beneficial or detrimental to neuronal circuit function and behavior.
The Siegert group combines live imaging approaches with electrophysiological/cellular, molecular, and behavior analysis in the preclinical and human iPSC models. Furthermore, the group incorporates strategies of biophysics, mathematics, and machine learning in its research line.


Current Projects

Disentangle the morph-functional relationship of microglia | How to alter microglia function and pinpoint the consequences on the neuronal network | Microglia-neuron interaction in the human context

For further details, see also the lab webpage below.


Maes ME, Colombo G, Schoot Uiterkamp FE, Sternberg F, Venturino A, Pohl EE, Siegert S. 2023. Mitochondrial network adaptations of microglia reveal sex-specific stress response after injury and UCP2 knockout. iScience. 26(10), 107780. View

Michalska JM, Lyudchik J, Velicky P, Korinkova H, Watson J, Cenameri A, Sommer CM, Amberg N, Venturino A, Roessler K, Czech T, Höftberger R, Siegert S, Novarino G, Jonas PM, Danzl JG. 2023. Imaging brain tissue architecture across millimeter to nanometer scales. Nature Biotechnology. View

Hübschmann V, Korkut M, Siegert S. 2022. Assessing human iPSC-derived microglia identity and function by immunostaining, phagocytosis, calcium activity, and inflammation assay. STAR Protocols. 3(4), 101866. View

Colombo G, Cubero RJ, Kanari L, Venturino A, Schulz R, Scolamiero M, Agerberg J, Mathys H, Tsai L-H, Chachólski W, Hess K, Siegert S. 2022. A tool for mapping microglial morphology, morphOMICs, reveals brain-region and sex-dependent phenotypes. Nature Neuroscience. 25(10), 1379–1393. View

Schulz R, Korkut M, Venturino A, Colombo G, Siegert S. 2022. Chimeric GPCRs mimic distinct signaling pathways and modulate microglia responses. Nature Communications. 13, 4728. View

View All Publications

ReX-Link: Sandra Siegert


Since 2023 Professor, Institute of Science and Technology Austria (ISTA)
2015 – 2023 Assistant Professor, Institute of Science and Technology Austria (ISTA)
2011 – 2015 Postdoctoral Associate, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, USA
2010 PhD, Friedrich Miescher Institute for Biomedical Research, Basel, Switzerland

Selected Distinctions

2023 Horizon 2020 – ERC Proof-of-Concept
2023 FWF Stand Alone Grant
2019 SFN “Hot Topic” Selection
2017 Liese Prokop Award
2016 ERC Starting Grant
2012 HFSP Long-term Fellowship

Additional Information

View Orcid Account
Siegert Lab Website

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