Genetic Dissection of Cerebral Cortex Development

Simon Hippenmeyer

The human brain, of which the cerebral cortex is the largest structure, is composed of a sophisticated network of billions of interconnected neurons. Precise mapping of the cortical architecture is an essential starting point to learn how cortical circuits account for behavior and cognitive activity, and how alterations in the cytoarchitecture might lead to neurological and psychiatric disorders or dementia. We use multidisciplinary approaches including the genetic MADM (Mosaic Analysis with Double Markers) technology with the aim to trace the logic of how individual neurons successively build up the cortical entity during development. MADM technology offers an unparalleled method to visualize and concomitantly manipulate sparse clones and small subsets of genetically defined neurons at the single cell level in mice. In other words, if one imagines looking at a forest afar it is very difficult to recognize the trimming of a single branch of an individual tree. However, when a single tree stands lonely in a field one can easily observe the snip of even the finest branches of that tree. Similarly, with the MADM method we can now navigate through the dense brain meshwork and follow individual neurons and their fine branches in differently shining red and green colors. An added critical feature of MADM is the possibility to not only label single cells but at the same time also pursue genetic manipulations: it is feasible to label certain neurons that are wild-type in one color, say green. At the same time, MADM can also label in red genetically mutant neighboring sisters of the ‘healthy’ green cells. This allows comparison of wild-type and mutant neurons side by side. We apply MADM to study the fundamental cellular, molecular and epigenetic mechanisms underlying the critical neurodevelopmental processes that control the assembly of the cortex cytoarchitecture.

Simon Hippenmeyer
Institute of Science and Technology Austria (IST Austria)
Am Campus 1
A – 3400 Klosterneuburg

Phone: +43 (0)2243 9000-5101

CV and publication list

Hippenmeyer Group website

Lena Marr

Phone: +43 2243 9000-1073

Open Positions in the Hippenmeyer Laboratory

We are currently looking for postdocs and PhD students. Candidates with a strong background in Molecular Biology are particularly encouraged to apply. Experience with next generation sequencing, live-imaging, human organoid culture or mouse genetics is an asset. Postdoc candidates send their application including CV, and statement of motivation and research interests to PhD student candidates should apply directly at the IST Austria Graduate School.


  • Melissa Stouffer (Postdoc; supported by ISTplus Fellowship)
  • Amarbayasgalan Davaatseren (Student Intern)
  • Giselle Cheung Johnson (Postdoc; supported by ISTplus Fellowship)
  • Nicole Amberg (Postdoc; supported by FWF Hertha-Firnberg Fellowship)
  • Florian Pauler (Senior Technician)
  • Andi Harley Hansen (PhD student, supported by ÖAW DOC Fellowship)
  • Robert Beattie (Postdoc; supported by FWF Lise-Meitner Fellowship)
  • Johanna Sonntag (Technician)
  • Carmen Streicher (Technician)
  • Ximena Contreras (PhD student)
  • Susanne Laukoter (Postdoc)

Selected Publications

  • Beattie, R., Postiglione, MP., Burnett, LE., Laukoter, S., Streicher, C., Pauler, FM., Xiao, G., Klezovitch, O., Vasioukhin, V. Ghashghaei HT & Hippenmeyer, S. (2017). Mosaic Analysis with Double Markers Reveals Distinct Sequential Functions of Lgl1 in Neural Stem Cells. Neuron, 94(3):517-533.e3.
  • Gao, P.*, Postiglione, MP.*, Krieger, TG., Hernandez, L., Wang, C., Han, Z., Streicher, C., Papusheva, E., Insolera, R., Chugh, K., Kodish, O., Huang, K., Simons, BD., Luo, L., Hippenmeyer, S.* & Shi, SH.* (2014). Deterministic Progenitor Behavior and Unitary Production of Neurons in the Neocortex. Cell, 159(4):775-788.
  • Hippenmeyer, S.*, Johnson, RL. & Luo, L.* (2013). Mosaic Analysis with Double Markers Reveals Cell Type Specific Paternal Dominance. Cell Reports, 3: 960-967.
  • Hippenmeyer, S., Youn, YH., Moon, HM., Miyamichi, K., Zong, H., Wynshaw-Boris, A. & Luo, L. (2010). Genetic Mosaic Dissection of Lis1 and Ndel1 in Neuronal Migration. Neuron 68 (4): 695-709.

Selected Reviews

  • Hansen, AH., Düllberg, C., Mieck, C., Loose, M. & Hippenmeyer, S. (2017). Cell Polarity in Cerebral Cortex Development – Cellular Architecture Shaped by Biochemical Networks. Frontiers in Cellular Neuroscience, 11(176):1-16.
  • Postiglione, MP. & Hippenmeyer, S. (2014). Monitoring Neurogenesis in Cerebral Cortex – an Update. Future Neurology, 9(3):323-340.
  • Hippenmeyer, S. (2013). Dissection of Gene Function at Clonal Level using Mosaic Analysis with Double Markers. Frontiers in Biology, 8(6): 557-568.
  • Hippenmeyer, S. (2014). Molecular Pathways Controlling the Sequential Steps of Cortical Neuron Migration. Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology (Editors: L. Nguyen and S. Hippenmeyer), Vol. 800:1-24.


Since 2012 Assistant Professor, IST Austria
2011-2012 Research Associate, Stanford University, Palo Alto, USA
2006-2011 Postdoctoral Fellow, Stanford University, Palo Alto, USA
2004-2006 Postdoctoral Associate, University of Basel and Friedrich Miescher Institute for Biomedical Research, Basel, Switzerland
2004 PhD, University of Basel and Friedrich Miescher Institute for Biomedical Research, Basel, Switzerland

Selected Distinctions

2016 ERC Consolidator Grant
2014 HFSP Grant
2013 Marie Curie Career Integration Grant
2009-2011 SNF Fellowship for Advanced Researchers
2007-2009 HFSP Long-Term Fellowship
2006 EMBO Long-Term Fellowship
2005 Natural Sciences Faculty Prize (University of Basel)
2005 Edmond H. Fischer Prize

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