Piergiorgio Percipalle

Prof. Percipalle has a degree in Chemistry and a PhD in Molecular Genetics awarded by the International School for Advanced Studies, Trieste, Italy. As PhD student he trained at the UNIDO International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (ICGEB), Trieste. For postdoctoral training he worked at the Medical Research Council Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge, UK, and at the Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, in the Department of Cell and Molecular Biology. As postdoc, he was awarded EMBO, Marie Curie and Blanceflor-Ludovisi long-term postdoctoral fellowships. In 2004, Prof. Percipalle joined the Department of Cell and Molecular Biology, Karolinska Institute, as Group Leader and, later on, as Associate Professor of Cell Biology with grants from the Swedish Research Council (Vetenskapsrådet) and Swedish Cancer Society (Cancerfonden). During this period, he was awarded tenure at the Karolinska Institute and got the Svedberg Prize for Biochemistry by the Swedish Academy of Science. In 2015 he moved to New York University (NYU) Abu Dhabi as Associate Professor of Biology, affiliated with the Department of Biology, NYU, New York. In 2019, he was awarded tenure at NYU. He is currently standing faculty at NYU Abu Dhabi, Science Representative at the Faculty Council Steering Committee and Director of the Biology Program. He currently holds an appointment as Guest Professor in the Department of Molecular Biosciences, The Wenner-Gren Institute, Stockholm University. He maintains close collaborative research and teaching ties with national and international research institutions including Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi and ICGEB. Prof. Percipalle is Associate Editor for the journal Experimental Cell Research (Elsevier)

Most research interests for a scientist

Prof. Piergiorgio Percipalle is a tenured biology faculty at New York University Abu Dhabi. His primary research interest is in genome organization and gene expression regulation. Understanding genome organization is important during mammalian development and differentiation when cells acquire a specific identity. To learn how the architecture of the genome is organized during development and differentiation, the Percipalle lab combines 2D and 3D cellular models with advanced genomics and imaging to study spatial and temporal chromatin and transcriptional patterns during neurogenesis, and how they are altered in disease. The lab also studies key differentiation pathways such as neurogenesis, osteogenesis and the immune system under simulated loss-of-gravity (microgravity) using a unique random positioning machine. The overall interest is to understand developmental disorders including neurodevelopmental ones and immunosuppression, with a goal to implement personalized medicine.

Prof. Percipalle is also exploring effects of pathogens on gene expression regulation, focusing on the assembly of the SARS-Cov-2 Replication-Transcription Complex (RTC), a step that is essential for viral replication and disease. For this purpose, the lab has generated nanobodies against specific viral targets which are being tested to study Sars-Cov-2 replication in living cells, in diagnostics and as potential therapeutic antiviral drugs.


  • Molecular Genetics
  • Biotechnology