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Sixt Group

Cellular Morphodynamics

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.


Image of Zane Alsberga

Zane Alsberga

PhD Student

Image of Mario Avellaneda

Mario Avellaneda


Image of Nikola Canigova

Nikola Canigova

PhD Student

Image of Malgorzata Anna Cichon

Malgorzata Anna Cichon


Image of Ingrid de Vries

Ingrid de Vries

Research Technician

+43 2243 9000 3804

Image of Philippe Dehio

Philippe Dehio


Image of Francesco Di Matteo

Francesco Di Matteo


Image of Manjunath Javoor

Manjunath Javoor

PhD Student

Image of Reena Kumari

Reena Kumari


Image of Sergio Lembo

Sergio Lembo


Image of Ziqiang LI

Ziqiang LI


Image of Isabelle Mayer

Isabelle Mayer

PhD Student

Image of Theresa Muthspiel

Theresa Muthspiel

PhD Student

Image of Patricia Rodrigues

Patricia Rodrigues

PhD Student

Current Projects

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


Gärtner FR, Ishikawa-Ankerhold H, Stutte S, Fu W, Weitz J, Dueck A, Nelakuditi B, Fumagalli V, Van Den Heuvel D, Belz L, Sobirova G, Zhang Z, Titova A, Navarro AM, Pekayvaz K, Lorenz M, Von Baumgarten L, Kranich J, Straub T, Popper B, Zheden V, Kaufmann W, Guo C, Piontek G, Von Stillfried S, Boor P, Colonna M, Clauß S, Schulz C, Brocker T, Walzog B, Scheiermann C, Aird WC, Nerlov C, Stark K, Petzold T, Engelhardt S, Sixt MK, Hauschild R, Rudelius M, Oostendorp RAJ, Iannacone M, Heinig M, Massberg S. 2024. Plasmacytoid dendritic cells control homeostasis of megakaryopoiesis. Nature. 631, 645–653. View

Avellaneda Sarrió M, Sixt MK. 2024. Rescuing T cells from stiff tumors. Cell Chemical Biology. 31(7), 1242–1243. View

LI Z, Huard J, Bayer EM, Wattelet-Boyer V. 2024. Versatile cloning strategy for efficient multigene editing in Arabidopsis. Bio-protocol. 14(13), e5029. View

Lembo S, Sixt MK. 2024. Nuclear squeezing wakes up dendritic cells. Nature Immunology. 25, 1131–1132. View

Link K, Muhandes L, Polikarpova A, Lämmermann T, Sixt MK, Fässler R, Roers A. Integrin β1–mediated mast cell immune-surveillance of blood vessel content. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. View

View All Publications

ReX-Link: Michael Sixt


Since 2013 Professor, Institute of Science and Technology Austria (ISTA)
2010 – 2013 Assistant Professor, Institute of Science and Technology Austria (ISTA)
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

2022 ERC Synergy Grant
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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