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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 affect 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 may promote or counteract the removal of circuit elements. So far, it is not known how microglia decide when to alter circuit elements. However, this information is critical since misinformed microglia can disconnect circuits leading to a disease outcome. Highly reactive microglia are for example a feature of various neurodegenerative diseases such as retinal degeneration and Alzheimer’s. The Siegert group addresses microglia function across the cortex as well as in the mammalian retina, which consists of morphologically well-defined cell types that are precisely mapped in their connection and functional properties.

On this site:


Image of Gloria Colombo

Gloria Colombo

PhD Student

Image of Ryan John Cubero

Ryan John Cubero


Image of Aaron Farrelly

Aaron Farrelly

Research Technician

Image of Verena Hübschmann

Verena Hübschmann

PhD Student

Image of Medina Korkut-Demirbas

Medina Korkut-Demirbas

Research Technician

Image of Margaret Maes

Margaret Maes


Image of Florianne Schoot Uiterkamp

Florianne Schoot Uiterkamp

PhD Student

Image of Rouven Schulz

Rouven Schulz

PhD Student

Image of Alessandro Venturino

Alessandro Venturino

Research Technician

+43 2243 9000 7673

Image of Natalie Özgen

Natalie Özgen

PhD Student

Current Projects

What defines microglial reactivity and how can we manipulate it? | How do microglia impact neuronal function?


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 RJA, 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

Maes ME, Wögenstein GM, Colombo G, Casado Polanco R, Siegert S. 2021. Optimizing AAV2/6 microglial targeting identified enhanced efficiency in the photoreceptor degenerative environment. Molecular Therapy – Methods and Clinical Development. 23, 210–224. View

Venturino A, Schulz R, De Jesús-Cortés H, Maes ME, Nagy B, Reilly-Andújar F, Colombo G, Cubero RJ, Schoot Uiterkamp FE, Bear MF, Siegert S. 2021. Microglia enable mature perineuronal nets disassembly upon anesthetic ketamine exposure or 60-Hz light entrainment in the healthy brain. Cell Reports. 36(1), 109313. 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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