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Andrea Ablasser

Andrea Ablasser

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NOMIS Project(s)

Andrea Ablasser is a 2024 NOMIS Awardee and full professor at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL; Switzerland). She is leading the Exploring Innate Immune (In)activities project.

Born in Germany, Ablasser studied medicine at the Ludwig Maximilian University (Munich, Germany), earning her MD in 2010. She completed clinical rotations at both Harvard Medical School (Boston, US) and the University of Oxford (UK). After postdoctoral work at the University of Bonn (Germany), she joined EPFL as professor in 2014 and was promoted to full professor in 2021.

Research Focus

Ablasser’s research has advanced our understanding of innate immunity. She played a significant role in deciphering how cells respond to intracellular DNA as a signal of infection via the so-called cGAS-STING pathway — a fundamental mechanism of immunity that evolved in bacteria billions of years ago. Apart from its beneficial role in pathogen defense, recognition of DNA is implicated in the pathogenesis of several inflammatory diseases, including neurodegenerative disease and autoimmunity. She also identified cyclic GMP-AMP (cGAMP) as a second messenger in the immune response. In addition, Ablasser demonstrated that aberrant activation of the cGAS-STING pathway can lead to chronic inflammation and autoimmunity, illuminating the processes that contribute to disease.

Ablasser’s current research focuses on understanding the molecular rules that govern the termination and control of innate immune responses. Using this insight, she is investigating the roles of innate immunity in contexts of disease and exploring novel therapeutic paradigms for cancer immunotherapy.

Awards and Recognition

Among numerous distinctions and awards, Ablasser is a recipient of the William B. Coley Prize, the EMBO Gold Medal, and the National Latsis Prize. In 2020 she was named a Highly Cited Researcher by Clarivate. Ablasser is an elected member of the European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO) and the German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina.

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