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Management team 

Management team 

Gerald Spaeth

​Experienced Researcher – Scientific coordinator and WP leader (WP6)

Dr. Gerald Spaeth currently holds a Research Director position at the Institut Pasteur in Paris, where he directs the Unit Parasitologie moléculaire et Signalisation (12 members) and the Department Parasites and Insect Vectors (ca. 110 members). His team investigates Leishmania/host interaction applying integrative approaches to study (i) parasite adaptive differentiation and evolution during intracellular infection, (ii) modulation of the host cell phenotype by the release of parasite signaling proteins, and (iii) impact of such parasite trans-signaling on the host cell immune-competence. Each of these research axes has a strong translational component dedicated to biomarker, drug target or compound discovery, which are at the core of the various coordination actions conducted by Dr. Spaeth, including the FP7-LeishDrug, ANR-TransLeish, ANR-TranSig, or the H2020 LeiSHield consortia. He is author of 65 publications and published as last author in various prestigious journals, including Nature Ecology & Evolution, Cell Host & Microbes, and PNAS. His scientific success is well reflected by his competitiveness in fund raising with current external grants totaling over 2,5M€. His research program is highly visible as judged by his coordination actions, his assignment as reviewer for many international funding organizations (including HFSP, MRC, Wellcome Trust, DFG), his committee assignments or invitations as keynote speaker and session chair at international meetings (most recently at WorldLeish6 in 2017 or the Future in Parasitology Symposium at the Weizmann Institute in 2018). Finally, he animates the LeishRIIP platform (, LeiSHield project (, and an International Mixed Unit (IMU) with a partner team at IP Shanghai, thus delivering important structuring capacity for the fragmented Leishmania research efforts inside the Institut Pasteur International Network, which has been recognized by a Chair of Excellence awarded in 2016.

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Giovanni Bussotti


Experienced Researcher – WP leader (WP2)

I am a bioinformatitician and since November 2015 I hold a research engineering position at C3BI-HUB. I am currently embedded in Dr. Gerald Spaeth unit and coordinating the bioinformatic aspects of the LeiShield consortium. Before joining Pasteur I completed a 3 years postdoc in the groups of Anton Enright and Eileen Furlong at EMBL working on sequencing data analysis. As part of my training I completed a PhD in the comparative genomics group at the Centre for Genomic Regulation (CRG) in Barcelona, Spain. The focus of my thesis was detecting and comparing long non-coding RNAs. Before my PhD I gathered both bioinformatics and wet lab experience. I joined the University of Zurich, Switzerland, to work on a research project about the study of evolutionary adapted yeast strains and SNPs identification. In Rome, Italy, I worked in two research groups. I have a master of genomic biotechnology and a bachelor of biotechnology from the University of Rome “La Sapienza”, Italy.

Pascale Pescher


Experienced Researcher - WP leader (WP 1)

Pascale Pescher has an engineer position in the "Parasitologie moléculaire et signalisation" unit at the Institut Pasteur in Paris. Over the past years she worked on (i) systems-level analysis of Leishmania stage-specific expression for which she applied genomic, transcriptomic, proteomic, phosphoproteomic and metabolomics analyses to compare tissue-purified amastigotes with freshly culture-derived virulent promastigotes (Pescher et al. in preparation) and (ii) Leishmania evolutionary adaptation in vitro applying HT sequencing, molecular parasitology and in vivo experiments (Pescher et al 2011, Prieto et al. 2017). She was co-coordinator for the technical aspects of the LeiSHield network and is currently co-coordinating the LeiSHield-MATI (H2020-MSCA-RISE project).

Maëlle Pichard


​Administrative staff - Project Manager (WP 5 & 6)

Maëlle Pichard received her master's degree in European Affairs from Nantes University. She is currently working as a European project manager in the Grants Office at Institut Pasteur providing support for researchers as they conceptualize, develop, and write their proposals to international funding agencies, as well as assisting researchers in obtaining and managing research grants funded by international funding sources.

Katharina Kopf

katharina kopf.png

​Administrative staff - Project assistant (WP 6)

Originally from Austria, Katharina has been working in France in the research and education sectors for the past 10 years. She joined the Leishield-MATI team at Institut Pasteur in September 2020. Katharina is thrilled to be part of this exciting project, bringing energy, adaptability and also the necessary rigor to ensure a smooth project management process.


Scientific Advisory board 

The Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) is chaired by the Project Coordinator and comprises stakeholders from consortium and external. It is envisaged that a representative from vaccine/biomarkers industry and academic will be invited to provide feedback as to how the project should be focused to provide solutions to their respective sectors and to alert the Project Coordinator of particular issues which may affect the scientific strategy.

The SAB:

  • Advice on scientific and administrative content,

  • Assessing the scientific quality and especially practical relevance of the work,

  • Advice and support in terms of external communications and dissemination.

Scientific Advisory board 

This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement N°778298.

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