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Barbara Sixt

My research focuses on cell-autonomous immunity and bacterial evasion strategies

Research qualifications: Docent


Works at

Research fellow at Department of Molecular Biology
6K och 6L, Sjukhusområdet Umeå universitet, 901 87 Umeå
Affiliated as research fellow at Molecular Infection Medicine Sweden (MIMS) Section: Research groups
6L, Institutionen för molekylärbiologi Institutionen för molekylärbiologi, 90187 Umeå

The introduction of antibiotics has been one of the greatest achievements in medicine. However, as bacteria develop antibiotic resistance with a tremendously fast pace, the threat has returned and there is an urgent need for finding novel ways of fighting infectious diseases.

Many pathogens have the capacity to invade human cells and to exploit the interior of their host cell as a growth niche. While human cells can sense invading microbes and can activate powerful defense programs (cell-autonomous immunity) to destroy the microbe or limit its growth, successful pathogens evolved to counteract these defenses. In my research group, we believe that a profound understanding of the molecular basis of this arms race could pave the way for innovative antimicrobials. We therefore apply state-of-the-art tools in mo­lecular genetics and microscopic imaging, as well as high-throughput genetic and compound screening approaches, to uncover the hid­den protective potential of pathogen-suppressed cellular defense programs, to identify the mo­lecular determinants of host de­fense and pathogenic countermeasures, and to find means to disturb their balance to the ben­efit of the host.

Our current research focuses primarily on the bacterial pathogen Chlamydia trachomatis. With over 100 million cases annually, C. trachomatis is the most frequent bacterial agent of sexually transmitted diseases, and as such a common cause of infertility and adverse pregnancy outcomes. Furthermore, C. trachomatis is responsible for the ocular disease trachoma, a significant cause of visual impairment and blindness in underprivileged areas of the world. Because C. trachomatis can only grow in the interior of a human host cell, this pathogen is an exquisite model system to study cell-autonomous immunity and bacterial evasion strategies.


More information:

eLIFE, eLife Sciences Publications Ltd 2024, Vol. 12
Bastidas, Robert J.; Kędzior, Mateusz; Davidson, Robert K.; et al.
mBio, American Society for Microbiology 2023, Vol. 14, (4)
Meier, Karsten; Jachmann, Lana H.; Türköz, Gözde; et al.
ISME Communications, Springer Nature 2022, Vol. 2, (1)
Halter, Tamara; Köstlbacher, Stephan; Collingro, Astrid; et al.
Cell Host and Microbe, Cell Press 2022, Vol. 30, (4) : 475-479
Sixt, Barbara Susanne
PLoS Pathogens, Public Library of Science 2022, Vol. 18, (7)
Ölander, Magnus; Sixt, Barbara S.
FEMS Microbiology Reviews, Oxford University Press 2021, Vol. 45, (1)
Sixt, Barbara Susanne
Science, American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) 2020, Vol. 369, (6506) : 936-942
Fluckiger, Aurélie; Daillere, Romain; Sassi, Mohamed; et al.
Scientific Reports, Nature Publishing Group 2020, Vol. 10, (1)
Schott, Benjamin H.; Antonia, Alejandro L.; Wang, Liuyang; et al.
PLOS ONE, Public Library of Science 2019, Vol. 14, (11)
Filcek, Kimberly; Vielfort, Katarina; Muraleedharan, Samada; et al.
Cell Death and Differentiation, Nature Publishing Group 2019, Vol. 26, (8) : 1485-1500
Sixt, Barbara Susanne; Núñez-Otero, Carlos; Kepp, Oliver; et al.
Cell Host and Microbe, Elsevier 2017, Vol. 21, (1) : 113-121
Sixt, Barbara Susanne; Bastidas, Robert J.; Finethy, Ryan; et al.
EBioMedicine, Vol. 23 : 2-3
Sixt, Barbara Susanne; Kroemer, Guido
Microbial cell (Graz, Austria), Shared Science Publishers OG 2017, Vol. 4, (3) : 101-104
Sixt, Barbara Susanne; Valdivia, Raphael H.; Kroemer, Guido
Annual Review of Microbiology, Vol. 70 : 179-198
Sixt, Barbara Susanne; Valdivia, Raphael H.
FEMS Microbiology Reviews, Vol. 38, (4) : 779-801
Omsland, Anders; Sixt, Barbara Susanne; Horn, Matthias; et al.
Environmental Microbiology, John Wiley & Sons 2013, Vol. 15, (11) : 2980-2993
Sixt, Barbara Susanne; Kostanjšek, Rok; Mustedanagic, Azra; et al.
PLoS Pathogens, Vol. 9, (8)
Sixt, Barbara Susanne; Siegl, Alexander; Müller, Constanze; et al.
PLOS ONE, Vol. 7, (1)
Sixt, Barbara Susanne; Hiess, Birgit; König, Lena; et al.
Proteomics, Wiley-VCH Verlagsgesellschaft 2011, Vol. 11, (10) : 1868-1892
Sixt, Barbara Susanne; Heinz, Christian; Pichler, Peter; et al.
Molecular Microbiology, Blackwell Publishing 2010, Vol. 77, (3) : 687-700
Haider, Susanne; Wagner, Michael; Schmid, Markus C.; et al.
The ISME Journal, Vol. 4, (11) : 1366-1374
Leitsch, David; Köhsler, Martina; Marchetti-Deschmann, Martina; et al.

Research groups

Head of research
Barbara Sixt Group

Research projects

Studying the interplay between host cell and pathogen

Barbara Sixt wants to know how human cells can fight pathogenic bacteria.