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Ernst Müllner
Dr. Ernst Müllner

Center for Medical Biochemistry (Division of Molecular Genetics)
Position: Associate Professor

T +43 1 4277 61783

Further Information


Blood Banks; Blood Physiological Processes; Blood Platelet Disorders; Blood Preservation; Erythrocyte Aging; Erythrocyte Membrane; Erythrocyte Transfusion; Erythrocytes, Abnormal

Research interests

In contrast to long-held views, erythrocytes are not merely bags full of hemoglobin but equipped with a large set of signaling components, currently emerging as important players in various physiologic processes. We teamed up with clinical cooperators from Vienna, Munich and Dresden to explore the intricate regulatory properties, diagnostic potential and therapeutic possibilities/limitations of these most abundant blood cells. Basic research on erythrocyte physiology: Erythrocytes actively engage in blood clotting and thrombus formation. We currently explore the intracellular signaling and the molecular players of this process. Erythrocytes are oxygen carriers and are loaded with molecules preventing oxidative stress. In an ongoing project, we study the complex regulation of the response to intracellular oxidative stress and the involvement of erythrocytes in the defense against oxidative stressors in blood plasma. 

In addition we do research on erythrocytes to identify molecular mechanisms underlying neurodegeneration involving the rare congenital neurodegenerative disorders chorea acanthocytosis (ChAC), McLeod syndrome  and pantothenate kinase-associated neurodegeneration(PKAN).

Another project aims at assessing the quality of erythrocytes in transfusion units. We investigate molecular changes that occur during the storage of transfusion units, assess  inter-donor and -recipient variability and search for novel molecular markers for senescence within stored erythrocytes.

Techniques, methods & infrastructure

 A broad spectrum of biochemical, cell biological, and imaging techniques are used.

Selected publications

  1. Gov, N., Müllner, E.W. & Salzer, U., 2017. Cytoskeletal connectivity may guide erythrocyte membrane ex- and invagination - A discussion point how biophysical principles might be exploited by a parasite invading erythrocytes. Blood Cells, Molecules, and Diseases, 65, pp.78-80. Available at:
  2. Mullner, E.W., 2011. Erythropoiesis: early, not primitive. Blood, 117(18), pp.4685-4686. Available at:
  3. Friedbichler, K. et al., 2010. Stat5a serine 725 and 779 phosphorylation is a prerequisite for hematopoietic transformation. Blood, 116(9), pp.1548-1558. Available at:
  4. Lagger, S. et al., 2010. Crucial function of histone deacetylase 1 for differentiation of teratomas in mice and humans. The EMBO Journal, 29(23), pp.3992-4007. Available at:
  5. Kerenyi, M. & Mullner, E.W., 2009. Muscle iron in stress erythropoiesis? Blood, 113(26), pp.6507-6508. Available at: