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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.

On this site:


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 Cichon

Malgorzata Cichon


Image of Ingrid de Vries

Ingrid de Vries

Research Technician

+43 2243 9000 3804

Image of Manjunath Javoor

Manjunath Javoor

PhD Student

Image of Reena Kumari

Reena Kumari

Predoctoral Visiting Scientist

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 Michael Riedl

Michael Riedl


+43 2243 9000 2122

Image of Patricia Rodrigues

Patricia Rodrigues

PhD Student

Image of Julian Stopp

Julian Stopp

PhD Student

Current Projects

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


Riedl M. 2023. Synchronization in collectively moving active matter. Institute of Science and Technology Austria. View

Riedl M, Sixt MK. 2023. The excitable nature of polymerizing actin and the Belousov-Zhabotinsky reaction. Frontiers in Cell and Developmental Biology. 11, 1287420. View

Riedl M, Mayer ID, Merrin J, Sixt MK, Hof B. 2023. Synchronization in collectively moving inanimate and living active matter. Nature Communications. 14, 5633. View

Sitarska E, Almeida SD, Beckwith MS, Stopp JA, Czuchnowski J, Siggel M, Roessner R, Tschanz A, Ejsing C, Schwab Y, Kosinski J, Sixt MK, Kreshuk A, Erzberger A, Diz-Muñoz A. 2023. Sensing their plasma membrane curvature allows migrating cells to circumvent obstacles. Nature Communications. 14, 5644. View

Alanko JH, Ucar MC, Canigova N, Stopp JA, Schwarz J, Merrin J, Hannezo EB, Sixt MK. 2023. CCR7 acts as both a sensor and a sink for CCL19 to coordinate collective leukocyte migration. Science Immunology. 8(87), adc9584. 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

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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