christopher-treiberChristoph Treiber, ERC Awardee and Group Leader, Oxford University. Christoph was the first Masters student to join the Keays lab in 2008. As a diploma student he showed that clusters of iron-rich cells in the upper beak of pigeons are macrophages not magnetosensitive neurons. Christoph undertook a doctorate at Oxford University with Professor Scott Waddel, where he worked on transposal elements and behavioural variation in Drosophila. In 2022 he was awarded an ERC grant and started his own lab in Oxford. See Treiber et al, Nature, 2012.

breussMartin Breuss, Assistant Professor University of Colorado. Martin undertook a diploma thesis in the lab of Vic Small on cytoskeletal dynamics in cell migration. Martin was the first PhD student to join the Keays lab in 2009 and worked on the role of tubulin genes in neurodevelopment and disease. He showed that mutations in the tubulin isoform TUBB5 cause microcephaly with structural brain abnormalities. See Breuss et al, Cell Reports, 2012. Martin was the first PhD student to graduate from the Keays lab. Martin was awarded an EMBO Fellowship which supported his post-doctoral work with Dr Joesph Gleeson at UCSD. In 2020 Martin was appointed to a faculty position at the University of Colorado School of Medicine.

pascal-smallPascal Malkemper, Max Plank group leader at CAESAR in Bonn. Pascal did his Masters in biology with focus on neuroscience at the Ruhr-University Bochum, Germany. During his doctoral studies which he performed under the supervision of Hynek Burda in Germany he worked on the sensory biology of the red fox. Pascal joined the Keays lab in 2016, undertaking a systematic screen in the inner ear for magnetite (See Malkemper et al, Current Biology 2019). In 2019 he started his own laboratory at CAESAR in Bonn which will focus on the magnetic sense of African Mole Rats ( He was awarded an ERC starting grant in 2020.

Landler Lukas_smallLukas Landler, Faculty University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences. Lukas did his diploma in Zoology at the University of Vienna studying the magnetic compass of toads (see Landler & Gollmann Front. Zool. 2011). He performed his doctoral studies at Virginia Tech under the supervision of John B. Phillips on the spontaneous orientation responses of turtles, crayfish and woodpeckers. He graduated in Spring 2015 and joined the Keays Lab, where he explored magnetoreception in model systems (Lander et al, e-life 2018). In 2019 Lukas was appointed to a faculty position at University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna (

Thomas_small2Thomas Gstrein performed his undergraduate studies at the University of Innsbruck in biological sciences before joining the Masters program in molecular biology at the University of Vienna. He undertook his PhD in the Keays lab focusing on the molecular mechanisms that facilitate neuronal migration. Thomas showed that a hypomorphic mutation in Vps15 caused a hippocampal migration defect in the Marble mouse. He further demonstrated that this mutation perturbs endosomal-lysosomal trafficking and autophagy, resulting in an upregulation of Nischarin, which inhibits Pak1 signaling (Gstrein et al, Nature Neuroscience 2018). Thomas now works for Teva Pharmaceuticals as a consultant, and he still can’t beat Dave at squash.

Fernanda Reza, graduated from the National Autonomous University of Mexico with a bachelors degree in Genomic Sciences. She undertook her bachelor thesis in the lab of Johannes Gräff at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne where she investigated the effect of prenatal stress on the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. She joined the Keays lab in 2017 for her masters thesis, focusing on genes involved in brain developmental disorders. In 2020 Fernanda started her doctoral studies with Magdalena Goetz at LMU on axonal repair.

mattias lauwersMattias Lauwers joined the Keays lab in 2011 as a PhD student. Mattias was responsible for discovering the “cuticulosome” in Avian hair cells (Lauwers et al, Current Biology, 2013). Mattias was a brilliant experimentalist, a patient and thoughtful scientist, a lover of all things made of cheese, and a wonderful friend. He died following a mountain biking accident on September 12th 2014. There are no words to describe how much we miss him.

Jasmin SmallJasmin Morandell joined the Keays lab in 2013 as a Masters student. Jasmin’s thesis focused on Tubb2b, a gene that has been implicated in a variety of brain disorders. Jasmin showed that Tubb2b undergoes a developmental transition in cortical neurons. Tubb2b is abundantly expressed in both progenitors and post-mitotic neurons in development, but is restricted to the glial lineage in adulthood (See Breuss and Morandell, Journal of Comparative Neurology 2015). Jasmin performed her doctorate at the Austrian Institute of Technology with Prof. Gaia Novarino on Cul3 and neuronal migration. In 2022 she was awarded a Marie Curie Fellowship!

andreas-braunAndreas Braun joined the Keays lab in 2009 as a diploma student. Andreas profiled the expression of tubulin genes during neurodevelopment. He showed that Tuba8 is expressed at very low levels in the developing brain, whereas Tubb5 is enriched in stem cells and post-mitotic neurons. Andreas completed his doctorate at the Centre for Gene Regulation in Barcelona, before pursing a career in management consulting. See Braun et al, AJHG, 2010.

frenk-lorenzLorenz Fenk joined the Keays lab in 2009 as a bachelor student. Lorenz investigated whether C57/Bl6 mice can be conditioned to magnetic stimuli. He undertook a doctoral project at the University of Cambridge under the supervision of Dr Mario de Bono, and is currently a post-doc with Dr Gilles Laurent at the Max Plank Institute for Brain Research.

pichler-paulPaul Pichler joined the Keays lab in 2010 as a diploma student. Paul established a screen for magnetosensitive nematodes, and undertook ultrastructural analysis of the cuticulosome. Paul completed his doctorate under the supervision of Leon Lagnado at the University of Sussex. In 2021 Paul returned to Vienna for post-doctoral studies with Manuel Zimmer at the University of Vienna. See Lauwers and Pichler et al, 2013.


Marion Salzer joined the Keays lab in 2009 as a bachelor student. Working alongside Christoph Trieber, Marion employed histological techniques to show that a conserved magnetic sense system in the upper beak of pigeons does not exist. She completed her doctorate at the Institute for Research in Biomedicine in Barcelona with Salvador Benitah and is now a post-doc at the Center of Gene Regulation in Spain with Elvan Boke.

Nathaniel-EdelmanNathaniel Edelman joined the Keays lab in 2011 as a research technician. Nate pioneered the development of single cell correlative light and electron microscope permitting the analysis of putative magnetoreceptors in pigeons and trout. Nate completed his doctorate program at Harvard University with Professor Jim Mallet on butterfly speciation, and in 2020 was appointed as a Hutchinson Fellow at Yale University.

Kelvin SmallKelvin Chan joined the Keays lab in 2013 as a Fullbright Scholar. Kelvin joined forces with Martin Breuss and investigated the effect of Tubb5 mutations on the progression of the cell cycle. He is currently attending medical school as part of the NIH Medical Scientist Training Program (MD/PhD) at Stony Brook University and the Cold Spring Harbour Laboratories.

Andi-HarleyAndi Hansen initially joined the Keays lab as a bachelors student where he focused on the behavioural characterisation of a number of mouse mutants. As a Masters student Andi turned his attention to the multi-tubulin hypothesis, establishing a live cell imaging set up to assess microtubule dynamics. Andi is currently a doctoral student at the Austrian Institute of Technology. Andi likes Bonferroni corrections.

fritz-tanyaTanja Fritz graduated from the University of Applied Sciences in Krems and then undertook her Masters thesis in the Keays lab in 2012. Employing the “magnetoscope” she screened for magnetic cells in the pigeon and the rainbow trout. After a stint as a part time technician in the Keays lab, she started medical studies at the Medical University of Vienna. Tanja now works as a medical doctor in Vienna and has lots of amusing stories.

Anastasopoulos Artemis_smallArtemis Papadaki-Anastasopoulou studied Molecular Biology and Genetics at the Democritus University of Thrace in Greece. She followed this with a Masters degree in Neuroscience at the University of Edinburgh where she worked on seasonal expression of hormone receptors in a free-living arctic bird. Artemis joined the Keays lab in October 2014 where her work focused on understanding the neural basis of magnetoreception. She is currently undertaking a doctorate supported by a DOC fellowship from the Austrian Academy of Sciences Science and Technology Studies department at the Social Science Faculty at the University of Vienna.

William Snider received his Bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry from Columbia University. As an undergraduate, he worked in the labs of Rafael Yuste and René Hen, studying interneuron microcircuits and the function of the raphe nuclei in adaptive emotional responses (see Karnani et al, Neuron 2016). William initially joined the Keays lab as a VBC summer student in 2016, and returned as a research assistant in February 2017. In October 2018 he started a PhD in neuroscience at Johns Hopkins University. Tobias taught William how to perform laser dissection microscopy, and Dave taught him how to play poker.

Ratna small

Ratna Tripathy performed her Doctoral studies at the Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology at Tübingen, Germany. During this time she revealed the role of two transcription factors, Midline and Lola, to be essential for embryonic gonad formation in Drosophila. Ratna joined the Keays lab in January 2014 focusing on the role of the MAST family of protein in development and disease. In 2018 Ratna married three times…… to the same guy. He is very nice.

Tobias_SmallTobias Hochstöger did his undergraduate degree in biomedicine and biotechnology at the Veterinary University of Vienna. He initially joined the Keays lab in April 2013 as a trainee and then performed his Masters in the lab. Tobias’s work focused on the expression pattern and interactome of the pigeon cryptochromes. In March 2019 Tobias moved to the FMI in Basel and is currently performing a doctorate in the laboratory of Jeff Chao.

Maritina Sergaki graduated from the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in Greece with a bachelors degree in biochemistry. During her PhD at the Hellenic Pasteur Institute Maritina she studied the role of Cend1 during cerebellar development. She continued her research on cerebellar development during her postdoctoral studies in the laboratory of Prof. Carlos Ibanez at the Karolinska Institute. Maritina joined the Keays lab in 2017 where she worked with Ratna on MAST1, before accepting a position as the scientific affairs adviser for Qualitis Ltd.

Dante Vazquez, hails from Puerto Rico where he performed backyard chemistry and worked in a funeral home. He undertook his masters in Biochemistry at the University of Tübingen where he worked on protein evolution and folding mechanisms in the Höcker Lab. He conducted his thesis project at the Weizmann Institute of Science where he performed biophysical characterization of protein models that may have played a role in the origin of life. Dante joined the Keays lab in 2017 and focused on the biphysical properties of cryptochromes. He is currently performing a doctorate in physics at the MFPL with Thomas Juffmann.


Lyubov Ushakova, Technician. Lyubov did her undergraduate studies in Microbial Genetics at Kazan State University. In 2011 she moved to Vienna and worked in the Rumpel Lab as a Research Technician where her worked focused on the auditory cortex (See Bathellier et al, Neuron 2012). In 2012 Lyubov joined the Keays lab where she is responsible for histological and behavioural phenotyping, before taking on the position of Lab manager. Lyubov did an amazing job, each and every day. Unfortunately we couldn’t persuade her to move to Munich or Cambridge!

Leca Maria Ines 1_SmallInes Leca, Biotech Guru. Ines graduated with a bachelors degree in Biological Engineering from the University of Lisbon and performed her master thesis in Cambridge under the supervision of Fanni Gergely. In Cambridge she employed the CRISPR/Cas system to study TACC3, a centrosomal protein known to be involved in mitotic spindle stabilization. Ines joined the Keays lab in 2015, with the goal of gaining further insight into the molecular mechanisms that cause tubulinopathies. See Leca et al, 2020, Plos Genetics.

Kagerbauer Daniel_smallDaniel Kagerbauer, Physicist. Daniel did his undergraduate degree in physics at the Technical University of Vienna. His masters thesis, which was a joint project between the Keays and Eisterer Labs (Atomic Insitute), focused on the magnetic characterisation of biological samples. Daniel continued in the Keays lab as the resident “magnetic consultant” advising and guiding our experiments based on theoretical calculations.



Noemi Li Arzapalo (Munich). Noemi graduated with a bachelors degree in Molecular Biotechnology at the Heidelberg University, where her interest in neuroscience led her to study astrocytes and their mitochondria. She is currently enrolled in the Master’s Program Molecular and Cellular Biology at the Ludwig Maximilians University (LMU). Noemi was an intern in the Keays Lab, investigating microtubule-associated proteins and their potential interaction partners. 

Sebastian Ramish (Munich).  Sebastian completed his bachelors degree at LMU Munich were he studied the properties of the blood-brain barrier in amphibians. He worked alongside Patrick generating cerebral organoids to study the role of MAST1 in development and disease. He is now undertaking a Masters Program in stem cell biology at the University of Utrecht.