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Personal profile


Nicola Harris was born in New Zealand where she completed her undergraduate studies and PhD thesis. In 2002 she moved to Switzerland as a postdoctoral fellow where she worked with Hans Hengartner and the Nobel Laureate Rolf Zinkernagel at the Institute for Experimental Immunology, University of Zurich. In July 2005 she joined the ETH Zurich as an Assistant Professor and in August 2009 she gained a position as an Assistant Professor at the Swiss Vaccine Research Institute (SVRI) housed at the Global Health Institute, Department of Life Sciences, EPFL. In 2012 she gained a prestigious ERC starting grant, and in 2014 she was promoted to the role of Associate Professor at the EPFL. In 2018 she moved to Melbourne, Australia and is a laboratory head and NHMRC research fellow, located within the Department of Immunology and Pathology, Monash University, Central Clinical School, Alfred Medical Research and Education Precinct. Her laboratory studies type two immune responses with a particular focus on understanding their role in immune protection, physiology and wound repair/tissue regeneration both in health and following intestinal helminth infection.  

Research interests

We investigate how the organisms most commonly inhabiting the mammalian intestine, the microbiota and helminth parasites, interact with the host immune system. Our ongoing projects investigate how cells associtated with the type 2 immune system (alternativelyy activated macrophages, eosinophls, ILC2s and Th2 cells) function to:

i) maintain tissue architeture and impact on intestinal function in the healthy state,

ii) provide the host with adequate protection against the infection with large numbers of intestinal helminths,

iii) promotes wound healing and prevents excessive inflammation following helminth infection.

We also strive to better understand how helminth infection impacts on the intestinal microbiome and the consequences of this interactions on health of the mammlain health. This work is based on our published studies showing that the helminth-microbial interactions can prevent allergic asthma in mice. We believe this finding may explain the absence of autoimmune and inflammatory diseases (allergy, IBD) in human communities endemic for helminths and that investigating helminth-microbioal interactions furhter will lead to the identification of novel microbial-based therapeatics for a wide range of inflammatory disorders.

Supervision interests

We are currently seeking motivated and talented honors and PhD students


  • Intestinal Immunology
  • Helminth infection
  • Microbiome
  • type 2 immunity

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Projects 2018 2022

Research Output 1997 2019

The ins and outs of macrophages in tissue repair

Bouchery, T. & Harris, N., 1 Mar 2019, In : Immunology and Cell Biology. 97, 3, p. 244-245 2 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalEditorialOtherpeer-review

Erratum: Recent Advances in Type-2-Cell-Mediated Immunity: Insights from Helminth Infection ((****) ** (***–***), (S1074761317305162)(10.1016/j.immuni.2017.11.015))

Harris, N. L. & Loke, P., 20 Feb 2018, In : Immunity. 48, 2, 1 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalComment / DebateOtherpeer-review

Helminth–Bacterial Interactions: Cause and Consequence

Rapin, A. & Harris, N. L., 1 Jan 2018, (Accepted/In press) In : Trends in Immunology. p. 1-10 10 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Enteric helminth-induced type I interferon signaling protects against pulmonary virus infection through interaction with the microbiota

McFarlane, A. J., McSorley, H. J., Davidson, D. J., Fitch, P. M., Errington, C., Mackenzie, K. J., Gollwitzer, E. S., Johnston, C. J. C., MacDonald, A. S., Edwards, M. R., Harris, N. L., Marsland, B. J., Maizels, R. M. & Schwarze, J., 1 Oct 2017, In : Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. 140, 4, p. 1068-1078.e6

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Inflammatory arthritis and systemic bone loss are attenuated by gastrointestinal helminth parasites

Sarter, K., Kulagin, M., Schett, G., Harris, N. L. & Zaiss, M. M., 3 Apr 2017, In : Autoimmunity. 50, 3, p. 151-157 7 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review