Zaira Rizopoulos

Manager, Program Leadership and Strategy
Research & Development

What I do at MMV:

As a Research Scientist, I support the Drug Discovery team by providing scientific input in the areas of biology and parasitology. My main focus is to manage the validation, deployment, and logistics of in vitro and in vivo platforms to discover and test compounds active against the Plasmodium liver stage and, especially, against dormant hypnozoites.

Why I work at MMV:

My fascination for complex infection processes led me to Plasmodium parasites and malaria research for my PhD. As I gained a deeper understanding of the disease and the nuances of its impact, I became determined to contribute to the complex fight against malaria beyond the scope of basic research. Therefore, it is a privilege to be working with a deeply knowledgeable and passionate team as part of MMV—a key driver in enacting tangible, positive change on the path toward malaria eradication.

More about me:

I am a Biologist with an interest in human disease in general and infection in particular, and I obtained my MSc degree in Microbiology and Immunology from the ETH Zurich. Prior to entering the malaria field, I worked on vaccinia virus trafficking and learned a lot about high-throughput screening and microscopy approaches. After that, I went on to do a PhD at the Max-Planck Institute for Infection Biology in Berlin, where I worked on P. berghei, trying to discover essential Plasmodium genes, identify vaccine or drug candidates, and shed light on parasite-host interactions.

Ask me about:

The Plasmodium liver stage, host-pathogen interplay, or microscopy. If you need a break from science, we can talk about movies and filmmaking, culinary exploration, or the human condition. I would also love to hear about your passions, pets, or travel adventures, and I immensely enjoy cultural exchange!