Nicolas Brancucci is a cell biologist and parasitologist, born in Basel in 1982. He obtained his MSc and PhD at Swiss TPH and the University of Basel, where he investigated epigenetic mechanisms controlling antigenic variation of the human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum. He then worked as a postdoctoral fellow in Boston (Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health) and Glasgow (Wellcome Centre for Integrative Parasitology) focusing on the process of malaria transmission stage formation.
Brancucci will lead a new unit at Swiss TPH called "Malaria Host Interactions". The unit studies the way in which the malaria parasite P. falciparum perceives its immediate environment within the human host and adapts its development cycle accordingly. It is now clear that the parasite closely links its gene regulation to external influences, for example by monitoring the concentration of host molecules. With the professorship of Brancucci at Swiss TPH, a research programme will be developed to decipher the molecular mechanisms of such host-parasite interactions.