Vanja Nagy, PhD

Principal Investigator

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Vanja Nagy obtained her PhD at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai (MSSM), USA and received postdoctoral training in the Mediterranean Institute for Life Sciences (MedILS), Croatia, and Institute of Molecular Biotechnology, (IMBA), Austria. During her PhD, she studied basic molecular neuroscience and described a novel role for extracellular proteolysis supporting structural and functional synaptic remodelling underlining learning and memory.

During her postdoctoral fellowships she focused on preclinical phenotyping of mouse models and molecular pathophysiology of genetic disorders affecting basic functions of the nervous system. In 2016, she co-authored a successful application for the establishment of the first institute dedicated to the study of rare and undiagnosed diseases in Austria, The Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Rare and Undiagnosed Diseases (LBI-RUD).

There, she established her independent research group focusing on rare neurodevelopmental disorders. At this time, she was also appointed as Adjunct PI at CeMM Center for Molecular Medicine of the Austrian Academy of Sciences. Her group is located at the Neurology Department of the Medical University of Vienna (MUW).

 The Team


Achuta, PhD

Postdoctoral fellow

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Swaroop Achuta joined the team in November 2020 as a postdoctoral fellow. He received his doctoral degree in 2018 at the University of Helsinki, Finland. His Ph.D. studies mainly focused on unveiling molecular mechanisms involved in the altered differentiation of neural progenitors derived from individuals with Fragile X Syndrome. Later he continued his research on understanding autism pathophysiology using human ES/iPS cells-derived neurons at Sahlgrenska University Hospital, Gothenburg, Sweden. He is specialized in working with human embryonic and pluripotent stem cell maintenance, differentiation, and functional characterization. He is currently developing novel stem cell technologies to model neurodevelopmental disorders, focusing on Rett Syndrome.


Fell, MSc

Predoctoral fellow

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Chris joined the Nagy lab in September of 2017 as a PhD student. He studies genetics of rare neurodevelopmental disorders utilising cellular and animal models, molecular genetics and high-throughput approaches. Originally from the UK, Chris completed his MSc studies in Molecular Genetics and BSc in Biological Sciences (genetics), both at the University of Leicester, UK. For his master’s thesis, Chris developed novel genetic reporter systems of Drosophila circadian rhythm neural activity in the lab of Ezio Rosato. His PhD work is supported by an OeAW DOC fellowship.


Imhof, MSc

Predoctoral fellow

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Sophie Imhof is a PhD student under the co-supervision of Drs. Vanja Nagy and Hakan Cetin. Sophie completed her Master studies in Molecular Neuroscience at the University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands, followed by a visiting scientist position at the Harvard Stem Cell Institute, Boston, USA, where she first started working on the pathology underlying Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). In her PhD project she is focused on the toxicity of dipeptide repeat proteins (DPRs) in ALS with underlying C9orf72 repeat expansion. She is mainly looking at their effect on a genomic level and their contribution to heterochromatin remodelling, DNA damage and nucleolar stress.

Victoria Kartysh, MSc

Predoctoral fellow

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Victoria joined the lab as a PhD student in August 2020. She completed her undergraduate studies (BSc Biomedical Sciences) and received her Master’s degree (MRes Neuroscience) at Newcastle University in 2018. During her studies, she did an internship at the Campus for Ageing and Vitality (Newcastle General Hospital) working on pathophysiology of neurodegenerative diseases. In 2019, Victoria continued her studies at the University of Zurich as part of the life science graduate programme with a focus on drug screening in hematologic malignancies. Her PhD project involves combination of network-based strategies and CRISPR-based screening methods to discover common pathways and novel therapeutic targets in rare neurodevelopmental disorders. Her work is supported by an OeAW DOC fellowship. 

Tomislav Kokotovic


Predoctoral fellow

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Dr. Tomislav Kokotović is a predoctoral fellow in the Nagy Lab since 2016. He received his Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) in 2012 from University of Zagreb and license to practice medicine from the Croatian Medical Chamber in 2013. His interests lie in bed-to-benchside medicine of rare pediatric neurological disorders, focusing on rare disorders of nociception, as well as identifying novel intellectual disability associated genes. His work is supported by an OeAW DOC fellowship.

Angelica Scaramuzza, MSc

Technical Assistant

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Angelica joined the team in 2020 as a Technical Assistant. Originally from Italy, she completed her Master studies in Neuroscience at University of Trieste in 2019. For her master's project she worked at the University of Southern Denmark, Odense, where she worked on the characterization of astrocytes derived from human induced pluripotent stem cells. Additionally, as part of her Master's studies, she evaluated EEGs in children with Attention Deficit Disorder and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder before and after neurofeedback training. 

Maria Alejandra Silva Sifuentes, MSc

Technical Assistant

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Alejandra joined the team in December 2021. She completed her Bachelor in Biology in Lima, Peru. She arrived to Vienna in 2016, where she worked for 5 years at IST Austria, in the molecular neuroscience area focused on emotional memory and mossy cells of the hippocampus, and in parallel completed her Master degree in molecular biology, with a focus in neuroscience at the University of Vienna. Here in the group, she supports stem cell technologies underlining most of the ongoing projects.


Haluk Caliskan | Medical diploma student | 2021-2022


Fiona Freyberger, BSc  |  Technical Assistant, Rotational student  |  2020-2021


Ewelina Lenartowicz, MSc  |  Lab Manager  |  2016-2020

Mathilde Meyenberg, BSc  |  Rotational student  |  2019

Thomas Ackerbauer, MSc  |  Intern  | 2019

Florian Walter, MSc  |  Intern  | 2020

Chrysanthi Kagiou, MSc  |  Rotational student  | 2020

Elham Alehabib, MSc  |  Visiting Scientist  | 2020