Dr. Koonin graduated from Moscow State University, Moscow, Russia and received his Ph.D. in Molecular Biology from the same University in 1983. He has been working in the fields of Computational Biology and Evolutionary Genomics since 1984. Dr. Koonin moved to the US in 1991, first, as a Visiting Scientist, and then, since 1996, as a Senior Investigator at the National Center for Biotechnology Information, National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD.
The major research directions in Dr. Koonin's group include:
Evolutionary systems biology: emergence and evolution of genomic and organizational complexity in biological systems; comparative analysis of sequenced genomes and automatic methods for genome-scale annotation of gene functions; application of comparative genomics for phylogenetic analysis, reconstruction of ancestral life forms and building large-scale evolutionary scenarios; mathematical modeling of genome evolution; comparative-genomic study of the major transitions in the evolution of life, such as the origin of eukaryotes; origin of cells and viruses; evolution of eukaryotic signaling and developmental pathways from the comparative-genomic perspective; testing fundamental predictions of evolutionary theory, in particular, the relationship between neutral evolution and various modes of selection, using genome-wide sequence comparison; developing a general theory of evolution using principles and models of statistical physics.
The overall gist of Dr. Koonin's research is to take advantages of the advances of comparative genomics and systems biology to address fundamental problems of the evolution of life.
Dr. Koonin is Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology and American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a Member of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA and a Foreign Associate of the European Molecular Biology Organization. He the founder and is Editor-in-Chief of the journal Biology Direct and author of “The Logic of Chance: on the Nature and Origin of Biological Evolution” (2011).