Nicolas Thomä leaving the FMI

Nicolas Thomä, who has been a group leader at the FMI since 2006, will leave our institute to take on a new role as Full Professor at the Faculty of Life Sciences of the École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), where he will hold the Paternot Chair in Interdisciplinary Cancer Research.

An expert in structural biology and cryo-electron microscopy, Nicolas Thomä is an internationally acclaimed researcher. His laboratory investigates the structure and function of macromolecular machines that control genome stability, gene expression, and DNA repair. During his career, Thomä has made groundbreaking discoveries in molecular structures and interactions that contribute to advancing rational drug design. He received several awards, including three grants from the European Research Council, which support outstanding researchers. In 2012, he was honored with the Novartis Leading Scientist Award, and in 2022 he received the Otto Naegeli Award for Medical Research, one of the most prestigious scientific awards in Switzerland.

A specific emphasis of Thomä’s research has been on small-molecule therapeutics that target disease-causing proteins for degradation. His work has shown how some small molecules function as "molecular glues", inducing interactions between a target protein and an enzyme that tags proteins for destruction. Such molecular glues have the potential to target proteins that were previously thought to be undruggable.

’ Read more about Thomä’s work on targeted protein degradation At EPFL, Thomä will bring new technologies and innovative approaches to existing groups at the forefront of therapeutic innovation. He will hold the Paternot Chair in Interdisciplinary Cancer Research, which was recently created by the ISREC Foundation and EPFL.

’ Learn more in the EPFL