Sixt Group

Morphodynamics of Immune Cells

Immune cells zip through our bodies at high speeds to fight off infections and diseases. The Sixt group works at the interface of cell biology and immunology to investigate how cells are able to migrate through tissues.

Most cells in our bodies are stationary, forming solid tissues and encapsulated organs. One exception are leukocytes, immune cells essential for both the innate and adaptive immune responses to infections. Leukocytes migrate with extraordinary speed and are used by the Sixt group as a model to study cell migration. The group works at the interface of cell biology, immunology, and biophysics, and aims to identify basic mechanistic principles that are equally important for developmental processes and cancer cells. One research focus is how the cell’s internal skeleton generates and transduces the force to change shape, move the cell body and interact with other cells. The group also investigates how cells navigate along guidance cues, specifically how they orient their polarity axis in response to chemotactic gradients. In their work, the members of the Sixt group combine genetics, pharmacology, micro-engineering, surface chemistry, and advanced imaging approaches, as well as in vivo imaging techniques.


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Team

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Jonna Alanko

Postdoc

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Mario Avellaneda

Postdoc

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Nikola Canigova

PhD Student


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Alessandra Casano

Postdoc

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Ingrid de Vries

Senior Laboratory Technician

+43 2243 9000 3804

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Florian Gärtner

Postdoc


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Alba Juanes Garcia

Postdoc

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Patricia Rodrigues

PhD Student

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Julian Stopp

PhD Student


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Saren Tasciyan

PhD Student

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Kathrin Tomasek

PhD Student

+43 2243 9000 7459


Current Projects

Environmental control of leukocyte migration | Cellular force generation and transduction | Interpretation of chemo-attractive gradients


Publications

Gärtner FR, Sixt MK. 2021. Engaging the front wheels to drive through fibrous terrain. Developmental Cell. 56(6), 723–725. View

Vaahtomeri K, Moussion C, Hauschild R, Sixt MK. 2021. Shape and function of interstitial chemokine CCL21 gradients are independent of heparan sulfates produced by lymphatic endothelium. Frontiers in Immunology. 12, 630002. View

Leithner AF, Altenburger L, Hauschild R, Assen FP, Rottner K, TEB S, Diz-Muñoz A, Stein J, Sixt MK. 2021. Dendritic cell actin dynamics control contact duration and priming efficiency at the immunological synapse. Journal of Cell Biology. 220(4), e202006081. View

Düllberg CF, Auer A, Canigova N, Loibl K, Loose M. 2021. In vitro reconstitution reveals phosphoinositides as cargo-release factors and activators of the ARF6 GAP ADAP1. PNAS. 118(1), e2010054118. View

Nicolai L, Schiefelbein K, Lipsky S, Leunig A, Hoffknecht M, Pekayvaz K, Raude B, Marx C, Ehrlich A, Pircher J, Zhang Z, Saleh I, Marel A-K, Löf A, Petzold T, Lorenz M, Stark K, Pick R, Rosenberger G, Weckbach L, Uhl B, Xia S, Reichel CA, Walzog B, Schulz C, Zheden V, Bender M, Li R, Massberg S, Gärtner FR. 2020. Vascular surveillance by haptotactic blood platelets in inflammation and infection. Nature Communications. 11, 5778. View

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Career

since 2013 Professor, IST Austria
2010 – 2013 Assistant Professor, IST Austria
2008 – 2010 Endowed Professor, Peter Hans Hofschneider Foundation for Experimental Biomedicine
2005 – 2010 Group Leader, Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry, Martinsried, Germany
2003 – 2005 Postdoc, Institute for Experimental Pathology, Lund, Sweden
2003 MD, University of Erlangen, Germany
2002 Approbation in human Medicine


Selected Distinctions

2016 ERC Consolidator Grant
2014 EMBO Member
2013 European Biophysical Societies Association (EBSA) Young Investigator Medal
2013 Elected member of the Young Academy of the Austrian Academy of Sciences (ÖAW)
2012 Ignaz L. Lieben Award
2011 ERC Starting Grant
2011 FWF START Award
2008 Endowed Professor of the Peter Hans Hofschneider Foundation
2003 Novartis dissertation prize


Additional Information

Download CV
View Sixt group website



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