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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 glia cells embedded within this network has mostly been overlooked.

Microglia play a particularly fascinating role in the nervous system because they constantly surveil their environment and can actively alter neuronal connectivity. The Siegert group is interested in how microglia detect and interpret local environmental cues, and how they influence the neuronal system without causing brain dysfunction. This is of particular interest as misinformed or functionally impaired microglia can disrupt neuronal connections, leading to various disease phenotypes ranging from depression to Alzheimer’s disease.

In their research, the Siegert group combines molecular, cellular, and behavioral neuroscience, as well as virology, immunology, and epigenetics together with strategies of applied mathematics and machine learning. For their model system, they focus on well-defined brain regions, such as the retina. Moreover, to model human-related aspects, they employ human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs).

On this site:


Image of Ryan John Cubero

Ryan John Cubero


Image of Aaron Farrelly

Aaron Farrelly

Research Technician

Image of Shadi Gharagozlou

Shadi Gharagozlou

PhD Student

Image of Verena Hübschmann

Verena Hübschmann

PhD Student

Image of Medina Korkut-Demirbas

Medina Korkut-Demirbas

PhD Student

Image of Margaret Maes

Margaret Maes


Image of Florianne Schoot Uiterkamp

Florianne Schoot Uiterkamp

PhD Student

Image of Alessandro Venturino

Alessandro Venturino

Research Technician

+43 2243 9000 7673

Image of Natalie Özgen

Natalie Özgen

PhD Student

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


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

Bartalska K, Hübschmann V, Korkut M, Cubero RJ, Venturino A, Rössler K, Czech T, Siegert S. 2022. A systematic characterization of microglia-like cell occurrence during retinal organoid differentiation. iScience. 25(7), 104580. View

Venturino A, Siegert S. 2021. Minimally invasive protocols and quantification for microglia-mediated perineuronal net disassembly in mouse brain. STAR Protocols. 2(4), 101012. View

View All Publications

ReX-Link: Sandra Siegert


since 2015 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

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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