Research - Our Team

Gemma Moncunill Piñas

Gemma Moncunill Piñas

Assistant Research Professor Malaria Elimination, Malaria, Maternal, Infant and Reproductive Health, HIV / AIDS & TB https://scholar.google.es/citations?user=P_pAZVoAAAAJ&hl=ca

Gemma Moncunill graduated in Biology at the Universitat de Barcelona in 2004. She obtained her PhD on Immunology (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona) in 2009 at the laboratory of José A. Esté (IrsiCaixa Foundation) in the study of mechanisms of action of new HIV drugs.

In 2009 she joined CRESIB/ISGlobal as a postdoctoral fellow working on malaria immunology at the laboratory of Dr Carlota Dobaño with research work conducted at the Centro de Investigação em Saúde de Manhiça (CISM) in Mozambique. She was a recipient of a Sara Borrell fellowship (Instituto de Salud Carlos III, Spain). She assessed cellular immune responses through flow cytometry and Luminex techniques and applied systems biology approaches to identify signatures and biomarkers of malaria protection and susceptibility.

From 2013 to 2014 she was a visiting researcher at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center (Seattle, USA), where she developed different multi-colour flow cytometry panels to evaluate RTS,S malaria vaccine cellular responses. From 2015 to 2017 she was a visiting researcher at the Children & Family Research Institute (Vancouver, Canada) to participate in a study assessing the impact of HIV and malaria exposure on immune responses of children and pregnant women. In 2017 she moved back to ISGlobal to the Malaria Immunology Group as an Assistant Research Professor and is currently a recipient of a PERIS contract (Generalitat de Catalunya, Catalonia).

Lines of Research

  • Cellular and antibody responses to malaria in endemic populations, including pregnant women and children.
  • Immunogenicity, molecular signatures and mechanism of protection induced by Plasmodium falciparum vaccines.
  • Biomarkers of infection, protection and pathogenesis of malaria and other infectious diseases.
  • Impact of pathogens and environmental and host co-factors on the immune system and the development of acquired immune responses to infections and vaccines.

Main Publications

  • Moncunill G, Mpina M, Nhabomba AJ, Aguilar R, Ayestaran A, Sanz H, Campo JJ, Jairoce C, Barrios D, Dong Y, Díez-Padrisa N, Fernandes JF, Abdulla S, Sacarlal J, Williams NA, Harezlak J, Mordmüller B, Agnandji ST, Aponte JJ, Daubenberger C, Valim C, Dobaño C. Distinct TH1 and TH2 cellular responses associated with malaria protection and risk in RTS,S/AS01E vaccinees. Clin Infect Dis. 2017 Sep 1;65(5):746-755. doi: 10.1093/cid/cix429.
  • Moncunill G, De Rosa SC, Ayestaran A, Nhabomba AJ, Mpina M, Cohen KW, Jairoice C, Tutishauser T, Campo JJ, Harezlack J, Sanz H, Díez-Padrisa N, Williams NA, Morris D, Aponte JJ, Valim C, Daubenberger C, Dobaño C, McElrath JM. RTS,S/AS01E malaria vaccine induces memory and polyfunctional T cell responses in a pediatric African phase III trial. Front Immunol. 2017 Aug 23;8:1008. doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2017.01008.
  • Pons MJ, Gomes C, Aguilar R, Barrios D, Aguilar-Luis MA, Ruiz J, Dobaño C, Del Valle-Mendoza J, Moncunill G. Immunosuppressive and angiogenic cytokine profile associated with Bartonella bacilliformis infection in post-outbreak and endemic areas of Carrion's disease in Peru. PLoS Negl Trop Dis. 2017 Jun 19;11(6):e0005684. doi: 10.1371/journal.pntd.0005684.
  • Moncunill G, Dobaño C, McElrath MJ, De Rosa SC. OMIP-025: Evaluation of human T- and NK-cell responses including memory and follicular helper phenotype by intracellular cytokine staining. Cytometry Part A. 2015; 87(4):289-92.
  • Moncunill G, Mayor A, Jiménez A, Nhabomba A, Casas-Vila N, Puyol L, Campo JJ, Manaca MN, Aguilar R, Pinazo MJ, Almirall M, Soler C, Muñoz J, Bardají A, Angov E, Dutta S, Chitnis CE, Alonso PL, Gascón J, Dobaño C. High antibody responses against Plasmodium falciparum in immigrants after extended periods of interrupted exposure to malaria. PloS ONE 2013; 8(8):e73624.