Skip to main content

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:


Current Projects

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


Tomasek K, Leithner AF, Glatzová I, Lukesch MS, Guet CC, Sixt MK. 2022. Type 1 piliated uropathogenic Escherichia coli hijack the host immune response by binding to CD14. eLife. 11, e78995. View

Assen FP, Abe J, Hons M, Hauschild R, Shamipour S, Kaufmann W, Costanzo T, Krens G, Brown M, Ludewig B, Hippenmeyer S, Heisenberg C-PJ, Weninger W, Hannezo EB, Luther SA, Stein JV, Sixt MK. 2022. Multitier mechanics control stromal adaptations in swelling lymph nodes. Nature Immunology. View

Nicolai L, Kaiser R, Escaig R, Hoffknecht ML, Anjum A, Leunig A, Pircher J, Ehrlich A, Lorenz M, Ishikawa-Ankerhold H, Aird WC, Massberg S, Gärtner FR. 2022. Single platelet and megakaryocyte morpho-dynamics uncovered by multicolor reporter mouse strains in vitro and in vivo. Haematologica. 107(7), 1669–1680. View

Gaertner F, Reis-Rodrigues P, de Vries I, Hons M, Aguilera J, Riedl M, Leithner AF, Tasciyan S, Kopf A, Merrin J, Zheden V, Kaufmann W, Hauschild R, Sixt MK. 2022. WASp triggers mechanosensitive actin patches to facilitate immune cell migration in dense tissues. Developmental Cell. 57(1), 47–62.e9. View

Tomasek K. 2021. Pathogenic Escherichia coli hijack the host immune response. IST Austria. 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

theme sidebar-arrow-up
Back to Top