Edinburgh Cancer Research

Dirk Sieger

In Vivo Studies of Microglia-glioma Interactions

Dr Dirk Sieger – The University of Edinburgh Chancellor’s Fellow

Research in a Nutshell

Glioblastoma is the most aggressive malignant brain tumour that cannot be cured by currently available standard therapies. Glioblastomas are recognized by the immune system and subsequently populated by the residential immune cells of the brain, the microglia. Usually microglia survey the brain and react immediately to any abnormalities to protect our brain. Unfortunately, during glioblastoma growth they fail to do so and seem to support tumour growth instead. The reasons for this disastrous behaviour are not fully understood. Importantly, new studies reveal that microglia can be manipulated within the tumour leading to an anti-tumoural activity of these cells.

We aim to understand how microglia are controlled within the tumour environment and intend to identify the underlying molecular mechanisms. This is the necessary first step in the development of new therapeutic strategies to activate these immune cells to fight the tumour.


Research Programme


D.Sieger group


Dirk Sieger Principal Investigator, holder of CRUK Career Establishment Award and UoE Chancellor’s Fellow
Katy Astell Research Assistant-Lab Manager
Julie Mazzolini Postdoctoral Researcher
Kelda Chia PhD student
Lloyd Hamilton PhD student
Gregoire Morisse Research Technician




  • Dr Marina Mione, University of Trento, Italy
  • Dr Steven Pollard, University of Edinburgh, UK
  • Dr Paul Brennan, University of Edinburgh, UK
  • Dr Asier Unciti-Broceta, University of Edinburgh, UK
  • Prof Catherina Becker, University of Edinburgh, UK
  • Prof David Lyons, University of Edinburgh, UK

Partners and Funders

  • Cancer Research UK
  • Royal Society
  • MS Society

Scientific Themes

Brain tumour, Glioblastoma, Microgli, Zebrafish

Technology Expertise

Confocal microscopy, Live imaging, Image processing, Zebrafish genetics, Xenografts