Meet the team

Pascale Vonaesch, PI

Pascale Vonaesch, MSc, MPH, PhD is a microbiologist/ infection biologist with a strong interest in public health. She has extensively worked on host-pathogen interactions, especially the interplay between enteric pathogens and the host and spent the last eight years trying to disentangle the complex interplay between nutrition, the microbiota, infection and systemic, pathophysiological changes in the (human) host both, in clinical studies and laboratory experiments. She earned her PhD at ETH in Zürich and worked subsequently for six years at the Institut Pasteur in Paris collaborating closely with the Institut Pasteur de Madagascar and the Institut Pasteur de Bangui and the University of British Columbia. Before joining the DMF in 2021, she set-up her own group at the Swiss TPH. Beside work, she likes mountaineering, travelling, baking and spending time with her family and friends.

Carla Hernández Cabañero, Postdoctoral fellow

Carla Hernández Cabañero,  MSc PhD is a microbiologist with a strong interest in infectious diseases and host-microbe interactions. She carried out her PhD at the University of Valencia working on the host-pathogen interaction of the aquatic zoonotic pathogen Vibrio vulnificus, trying to understand this bacterium pathogenesis as well as the immune response that it triggers in its main hosts. She increased her experienced in Vibrio spp. infection models working as a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Valencia. Since January 2022 she is part of Vonaesch‘s lab at DMF where she is studying gut microbiota-host interactions and how they contribute to small intestinal inflammation and nutrient absorption. Beside work, she loves dancing flamenco, hiking, reading and travelling with her family and friends.

Jeanne Tamarelle, Postdoctoral fellow

Jeanne Tamarelle, MPH, PhD, is an infectious diseases epidemiologist, working at the frontier with microbiology. She has worked for six years on Chlamydia trachomatis infections in women and on the vaginal microbiota composition and dynamics, through several clinical studies, including a large-scale clinical trial that she implemented. After carrying out her master’s work at the Institut Pasteur de Dakar, she joined the Pharmacoepidemiology and Infectious Diseases lab at the Institut Pasteur in Paris, and obtained her PhD at the University of Versailles-Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines in 2019. In 2020, she took a break from academia to contribute as an epidemiologist to the emergency response against the covid-19 global outbreak. She came back to academia in 2021 at the National Reference Center for bacterial sexually transmitted infections in Bordeaux, France, and then as a post-doc in Pascale Vonaesch’s group at the DMF. She is currently working on two projects: i) the role of gut microbiome and stunting in child neurodevelopment, ii) the role of pre-natal/early life exposures, including the mothers’ microbiome, on the metabolic development of children, in a cohort that she is contributing to implement in Laos. In the remaining time, she likes to carry out scientific mediation projects, play music and go hiking or boxing.

Youzheng Teo, MSc, Research Associate

Youzheng Teo, (pronounced You Journ, like in Journey) obtained his MSc in Infection Biology at the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute. During his master’s, he worked on the investigation of mycolactone as a potential candidate for a toxoid-based vaccine against Mycobacterium ulcerans. His interest in host-microbe interactions led him to join the Vonaesch group in September 2021 as a research associate. During his spare time, he enjoys reading, hiking, cooking, spending time with family and friends and hopefully skiing/snowboarding one day.

Margaux Crézé, MSc, PhD student

Margaux Crézé obtained her MSc in medical biology at the University of Lausanne, Switzerland. During her master project, she worked on the evolution of antibiotic resistance in a bacterial community composed of both plant and human pathogens. Having a strong interest in human microbiomes and host-microbes interactions, she started her PhD in march 2022 in the Vonaesch lab where she studies the dynamic of the gut microbiota early in life in the context of infant and maternal malnutrition in a clinical study in Laos. Beside work, she loves living an active lifestyle whether it is skiing, hiking, dancing or travelling and like spending time with her friends and family.

Julian Garneau, PhD, Postdoctoral fellow

Julian Garneau, PhD, is a Canadian microbiologist and bioinformatician with a long-term interest in pathogenic bacteria infecting humans, especially those resistant to antibiotics. During his master, he studied how genomic diversity can influence Clostridioides difficile’s dissemination, virulence, resistance and clinical outcomes in patients. Throughout his PhD completed at the Université de Sherbrooke in Canada, he spent most of his time investigating how temperate bacteriophages can modulate bacterial fitness and virulence. In Vonaesch’s lab, he aims to better understand how different health-promoting compounds and bacteria can be used to reduce the deleterious impacts of childhood undernutrition in poor regions of the world. Julian’s favorites activities include running, hiking, watching and playing hockey. He also loves to read a good book beside the chimney fire and spend time with his loved ones.

Simon Yersin, MSc, PhD student

Simon Yersin obtained his MSc in Industrial and Environmental Biotechnology at KTH in Sweden. He has a strong interest in the human gut microbiome, especially on microbiota-targeted interventions and effects of environmental factors on the development of the microbiome. He joined the Vonaesch lab at the DMF as a PhD student. In his spare time, he likes playing basketball, hiking, skiing, traveling and spending time with friends.

Sarah Mc Hugh, MSc, PhD student

Sarah is an Irish expat who earned her Master’s degree in Microbiology and Immunology at ETH Zürich. During her thesis, she explored the role of the Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium secretion systems in the generation of antibiotic persisters in vivo. Her great interest in the intricate interplay amongst microbiota, pathogens their host led her to join the Vonaesch lab in January 2022 for her PhD. Her work will focus on shedding light on the molecular mechanisms linking malnutrition and the development of metabolic syndromes. In particular, she will assess for a possible role of the very early life gut microbiome in metabolic changes as well as epigenetic imprinting in vivo. Outside of the lab, she enjoys travelling, hiking, sailing and socialising. 

Magdalena Bachmann, MSc student from ETHZ

Magdalena Bachmann is about to finish her Master’s degree in Food Science at ETH Zürich, with a major in Nutrition and Health and a minor in Toxicology. Aiming to get better understanding about the effects of host-microbes interaction, she decided to join the Vonaesch group for her master thesis. 

In her spare time, she likes playing tennis, reading books and spending time with her friends and family.

Former Group members

Munir Winkel, PhD (senior statistician, 2021); now statistician @ Novartis

Vera Hürlimann, MSc (Research Associate 2020-2021); now Research Associate @ Pharmabiome
Chi-Hsien (Ricky) Lee, MSc (MSc student 2021); now prospective PhD student @ the Cani Lab, Belgium
Paul Tetteh Asare, PhD (Postdoc 2020-2021); now clinical research scientist @ Gnubiotics