Lab Members


“Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.”

Henry Ford 

Head of Institute

Univ.-Prof. Veronika Sexl


Vice Head of Institute

Andrea Hölbl-Kovacic Ph.D.



Renée Pollak


Mag.rer.nat. Alice Obermayr


Staff Scientists

Dipl.-Ing. Dr.rer.nat. Michaela Prchal-Murphy



Dipl.-Ing. Dr.rer.nat. Reinhard Grausenburger


“Trained as a biologist and bioinformatician, I support various projects in our lab, which mainly address the role of different STATs and their possible interaction with CDK6 in leukemia or hematopoietic stem cells. My main interest is to implement reproducible, bioinformatics analysis that allow biologists to easily interact and explore the data. Furthermore, I like to utilize large, published human data do confirm the relevance of our research results obtained in mouse in the human system.“

Thorsten Klampfl, Ph.D.


My research focuses on the role of the cell cycle kinase CDK6 in haematological malignancies. We aim to dissect the contribution of CDK6 to tumour initiation and progression in different oncogenic contexts. A main part of my work is to help design relevant genomics and proteomics experiments, to analyse the resulting data bioinformatically, and to interpret and discuss the results in their biological context. As a trained biologist with wet- and dry-lab experience, my aim is to make bioinformatics accessible for biologists and provide biology-centered data analyses.

David Martin, Ph.D.

Email to David Martin

“Working with next-generation sequencing data since this technology appeared, I am proud to follow on this path by applying my knowledge and contribute to research on JAK/STAT signalling and Leukemia.”

Mag.rer.nat. Markus Zojer


“I am using in-silico methods to get insights into biological challenges. Therefore I am constant evaluating and developing our software infrastructure in order to provide reliable and reproducible answers.”


Eszter Doma, Ph.D.


Life is the art of harmony. Hematopoietic stem cells are the main orchestrators of the harmony between self-renewal and differentiation, which without control can lead to unchecked cell growth and cancer formation. In the Sexl lab I have all needed capabilities and the intellectual environment to focus on CDK6, a natural born conductor in hematopoietic stem cells.

Dagmar Gotthardt, Ph.D.


NK-team leader

“I am supervising the NK cell team with the research focus on Natural Killer cells in autoimmune diseases and malignancies. Our team consists currently of 6 highly motivated young women trying to get a deeper understanding of the role of NK cells in disease development, progression and to harness their therapeutic potential in immunotherapy. Not only NK cell research is a lot of fun- also working with all the wonderful people here in the lab!”

Karoline Kollmann, Ph.D.


CDK6- team leader

“The regulation of the cell cycle is a key feature in all cells of the body and breaking its gears leads to disease. We are trying to understand the mechanisms influencing certain cell cycle members and the different functions of these members, with a strong focus on CDK6 in hematopoietic diseases. We are aiming to find novel treatment strategies by identifying new molecular inhibitors or drug combinations, e.g. combining CDK6 inhibitors with epigenetic agents.

Sebastian Kollmann, Ph.D.


“I am fascinated by the ability of hematopoietic stem cells to produce billions of blood cells every day and want to study this topic to its very depth. Here, I focus on the roles of STAT5A and STAT5B in hematopoiesis and leukemia. Following novel questions and techniques keep me enthusiastic in my research.”

Vanessa-Maria Knab, Ph.D


„My PhD project focuses on CDK8 and its function in triple-negative breast cancer. In particular, I am interested in tumor-intrinsic functions of CDK8 in cancer progression and metastasis and in studying NK cell-mediated immune evasion mechanisms. By elucidating small pieces of a big puzzle, I hope we contribute to find new therapeutic options to treat and cure this highly aggressive disease. Great people and good teamwork in the Sexl Lab support these intentions.”

PhD Students

Tania Brandstötter, M.Sc.


“In my PhD studies I aim to elucidate the molecular impact of mutations within the JAK/STAT signalling pathway that have recently been identified in patients suffering from leukemia. We aim to combine the state-of-the-art sequencing technologies (RNA-, ChIP-Seq and CRISPR Screens) to delineate the role of mutated STAT3 in promoting leukemogenesis. I particularly enjoy our thriving working environment and our diverse international research network.”

Dipl.-Ing. Jonatan Kendler


My work aims to elucidate the impact of activated STAT3 and STAT5 on the chromatin landscape in connection with CDK6. Highly motivated colleagues and their tremendous experience in the field, coupled with access to state-of-the-art infrastructure, create an inspiring environment, I am now happy to be a part of.

Isabella Mayer, M.Sc.


“Working on hematopoiesis is similar to having a bucket full of lego bricks. You have different types and it all starts from only one piece or cell. That is why I am interested in hematopoietic stem cells, especially in regard of the function of CDK6 in stressed conditions.”

Brian Ringhofer, M.Sc.


“Myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPNs) are considered rare hematologic diseases and mutations in the calreticulin (CALR) gene were shown to induce development and progression of some MPNs. CDK6, next to its value as a therapeutic target, has been associated with the most frequent MPN mutation, JAK2V617F. My PhD project focuses on elucidating functional effects and molecular mechanisms of CDK6 in the context of CALR mutations using in vitro and in vivo approaches. I am more than excited to be part of this interesting project and grateful to have such a pleasant working atmosphere in our team.

Lisa Scheiblecker, M.Sc.


“My project focuses on identifying novel interaction partners of CDK6 in acute myeloid leukemia. I aim to gain new insights into the transcriptional role of CDK6 using proteomics. In our lab, I especially enjoy the nice working atmosphere and the support within our team.“

Mag.dott.ssa Alessia Schirripa


“My PhD project is driven by the need to discern how, where and in response to which “stress” signals CDK6 is expressed in transformed and non-transformed hematopoietic cells and to identify drugs that should not interfere with the transcription of CDK6 in non-transformed cells but block transcription of CDK6 upon transformation. The stimulating environment with many dedicated scientists provides me the appropriate support to progress with my project.”

Belinda Schmalzbauer, M.Sc.


“My PhD Project is about investigating new treatment strategies for Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) to provide better therapeutic options for AML patients. We are looking forward to find promising new target candidates and want to understand the molecular mechanisms that are initiated by these treatments.”

Jana Trifinopoulos, M.Sc.


“Cyclin C has a special place among cyclins. Despite its name, it is “non-cycling”, it can regulate multiple pathways by exerting either positive or negative transcriptional control and also has a non-canonical role as mediator of stress signaling. In my project that focuses on cyclin C in healthy and transformed cells, I can always rely on a motivating environment and a wonderful team.”

master Students

Lea Stanek, B.Sc.

“During my master thesis, I would like to determine hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) and its oncogenic counterparts in the context of CDK6 and its kinase independent functions. I will focus on HSC homing and regulators critical in this process as well as functions and roles of cyclin depended kinase inhibitors. I am very grateful for the opportunity to work in this laboratory with such knowledgeable colleagues and a very great working environment.”

Mehak Randhawa, B.Sc.


My master’s project investigates the effects of different strengths of STAT5B signaling on NK cells. I am very glad to work with such passionate, knowledgeable and helpful colleagues.

Elisabeth Gamper, B.Sc.


My master project is about molecular mechanisms in calreticulin (CALR) mutated myeloproliferative neoplasms and CDK6 as possible therapeutic target. I am happy to work in such a nice team with constant support.

Theresa Harm, B.Sc.


” I support Dagmar Gotthardt in studying the role of CDK4 and CDK6 in the function of Natural Killer cells.”

Technical Assistants

Ina Dhrami, M.Sc.


Ing. Michaela Ensfelder-Koperek


Sabine Fajmann

Lab Manager


“I am the Lab Manager of the Institute and my primary task is to keep the daily lab life running. I am proud to be part of this young and innovative team and I really enjoy the new challenges I have to deal with from time to time so it never gets boring for me.”

Dr.rer.nat. Rugaia Idris


“I am responsible for cloning techniques in the Lab of Prof. Sexl Veronika. I am very glad to have such responsibility. In standard molecular cloning experiments, the cloning of any DNA fragment essentially involves seven steps: (1) Choice of host organism and cloning vector, (2) Preparation of vector DNA, (3) Preparation of DNA to be cloned, (4) Creation of recombinant DNA, (5) Introduction of recombinant DNA into host organism, (6) Selection of organisms containing recombinant DNA, (7) Screening for clones with desired DNA inserts and biological properties.”

Ing. Philipp Jodl


“As a technical assistant I provide technical support to our scientists by helping with their experiments. From cell sorting to PCR and even some administrative matters, my responsibilities cover a broad spectrum, which makes this job diversified and interesting. Working in this young and dynamic team also gives me the great opportunity to consistently learn new methods and scientific approaches.”

Mag.rer.nat. Petra Kudweis


“I am part of the NK-team and support them as a technician. I appreciate the nice colleagues and the team spirit.”

Meryem Şen, B.Sc.


Daniela Werdenich, B.Sc.


General Support

Reimar David


„Ich bin am Institut für die Durchflusszytometer (technisch), die IT und viele allgemeine Tätigkeiten zur Aufrechterhaltung des Lehr- und Forschungsbetriebs zuständig. Weiteres helfe ich bei der Lehre „Dispensierrecht“ mit. Ich versuche am Institut alles „nicht-wissenschaftliche“ am Laufen zu halten, oder wieder zum Laufen zu bringen. ;-). Wegen der abwechslungsreichen Tätigkeit und dem tollen Team macht die Arbeit hier wirklich Spaß!“

Maria Tutzer