Dr. Pascale Vonäsch

Research interests

My research interests are in fundamental and translational/clinical research on tropical diseases with a focus on infection and nutrition. I am especially fascinated about the human intestinal ecosystem and the contribution of the microbiota to health and disease.


Main research topics:


Ø  Risk factors for undernutrition in Sub-Saharan Africa

Ø  Pathophysiology underlying stunting and other nutritional disorders

Ø  Triad of nutrition-infection and the gut microbiota

Ø  Host-pathogen interactions

Ø  Microbiota-targeted interventions for dysbiotic diseases


Together with Philippe Sansonetti, Institut Pasteur, I am leading the Afribiota project, a collaborative project with field sites in Bangui, Central African Republic and Antananarivo, Madagascar:



At SwissTPH, I work on the pathophysiological mechanism associated with different forms of undernutrition in pastoralist children in the Somali Region of Ethiopia (with the JOHI consortium, led by Jakob Zinsstag):



I also lead the VITERBI Gut Project, a collaboration with the VITERBI consortium in Laos PDR focused on understading the role of early life dysbiosis in nutrition and metabolic disease.

Further, with the support of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, I lead a project aimed at developing microbiota-targeted interventions for childhood undernutrition:



Positions held

since 1/2021: SNSF Eccellenza Assistant Professor & Group leader at the Swiss TPH, Basel, Switzerland

11/2020- 12/2020: Scientific Project Leader at the Swiss TPH, Basel, Switzerland

9/2019-10/2020: SNF Return Fellow at the Swiss TPH, Basel, Switzerland

since 9/2019: Invited researcher at the Institut Pasteur, Paris, France (OREX)

10/2013-6/2019: Postdoctoral Fellow at the Institut Pasteur, Paris, France. Regular scientific exchange stays at the Institut Pasteur de Madagascar, the Insitut Pasteur de Bangui (Central African Republic) and the University of British Columbia, Canada

3/2009-7/2013: PhD student and Postdoc, Institut of Microbiology, ETH Zürich, Switzerland

11/2008-2/2019: Trainee, Centre de Recherche Médicale et Sanitaire, Niamey, Niger

2/2007-7/2007: Trainee, Rockefeller University, New York, USA

2/2006-4/2006: Trainee, Swiss TPH and Laboratoire de Recherche Vétérinaire et Zootechniques (LRVZ), N'Djamena, Chad


Higher education and qualifications

Ø  2016 Master of Advanced Studies in Public Health (MPH), Pasteur-CNAM School of Public Health, Paris, France

Ø  2013 PhD in Infection Biology, ETH Zürich, Switzerland

Ø  2009 Interdisciplinary Diploma, Ecole Normale Supérieure, Paris, France

Ø  2008 MSc in Infection Biology, major in microbiology, Université Paris Descartes, France

Ø  2006 BSc in Microbiology, ETH Zürich, Switzerland


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