Andrea Crisanti is the Head of the Department of Molecular Medicine at the University of Padua and the Director of the Virology and Microbiology Laboratory at the University Hospital of Padua. 

He recently came back to Italy from the Imperial College of London, where he is Professor of Molecular Parasitology (currently on leave).

He pioneered the molecular biology of the human malaria vector Anopheles gambiae and made a number of important scientific contributions that advanced the genetic and molecular knowledge of the malaria parasite and its mosquito vector, leading to the elaboration of visionary solutions based on the development of genetic elements similar to endonuclease genes (HEGs) that allow genetic modifications to spread from a group of a few individuals to an entire vector population. These modifications can either interfere with the fertility of mosquitoes, thus causing the suppression of the population, or make them resistant to malaria parasites, thus blocking the transmission within the aforementioned Anopheles gambiae complex, the most relevant malaria vector.

Very recently, the impact of this innovative approach based on CRISPR gene editing technolgies was demonstrated by the collapse of laboratory-reared mosquito populations composed of a relatively small number of individuals inoculated with a genetic construct that altered a conserved sequence in the female-specific region of the so-called doublesex gene.

Professor Crisanti’s work will have significant implications for synthetic biology and gene editing in general and will provide the basis for further advances in the containment of other vector-borne diseases, in the control of agricultural pests that threaten the safety of our food supply and in the monitoring of invasive species in fragile ecosystems. 

More recently, Professor Crisanti earned distinction for his study in Vo’ Euganeo on the first outbreak of Covid-19 in Italy. This was a pilot study of fundamental importance, the results of which were instrumental in implementing virus control measures both nationally and internationally and in managing the emergency in the Veneto region, together with other members of a top-level scientific task force.