ERA chair

Prof. Dr. Alexandros (Alexis) Stamatakis

Alexandros (Alexis) Stamatakis studied computer science at TU Munich and ENS Lyon (with internships in Athens, Paris, and Madrid). In 2001 he received his diploma in computer science from TU Munich.

In 2004 he received his PhD (also at TU Munich) for work on algorithms and parallel computing for phylogenetic inference (reconstruction of evolutionary trees using DNA data).

He continued working in the area of evolutionary Bioinformatics and parallel computing as a PostDoc at the Institute for Computer Science in Heraklion Greece (2005-2006) and at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology at Lausanne (2006-2008).

In early 2008 he returned to Munich to start his own independent junior research group (DFG Emmy-Noether grant), initially at LMU and then at TU Munich.

In fall 2010 he moved to the Heidelberg Institute for Theoretical Studies (HITS) to start his new job as permanent research group leader of the computational molecular evolution group that also entailed the management of the entire IT and HPC infrastructure at HITS until July 2013.

In summer 2012 he was appointed as full professor at the faculty of computer science of the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology. This appointment is in conjunction with his position at HITS.

From 2012-2017 he also held an appointment as adjunct professor at the Dept. of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Arizona at Tucson.

In 2023 he joined the Foundation of Research and Technology - Hellas again to assume his new role as ERA chair from 2023 - 2027, while maintaining an appointment as associated group leader with HITS and being a full professor on leave at KIT.

He was listed on the 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021, and 2022 ISI Web of Science (Clarivate Analytics) highly cited researchers lists.

His main research interests are algorithms, parallel computing, parallel architectures and evolutionary Bioinformatics.


Dr. Georgios Koutsovoulos

Georgios Koutsovoulos studied molecular biology and genetics at Democritus University of Thrace in Greece (2008).

In 2009 he moved to Edinburgh, Scotland where he obtained an MSc in Bioinformatics (2010) and a PhD for his work on nematode phylogenetics (2015).

He continued working as a PostDoc in the area of evolutionary genomics on different taxa (snails, tardigrades, fungi, bacteria, nematodes).

In 2016 he moved to Sophia-Antipolis, France to work on plant parasitic nematode species at INRAe. In 2022, he started working at ANSES on honey bee pathogens.

After 14 years abroad, he returned to Greece in 2023 at the Foundation of Research and Technology - Hellas in Crete to work on biodiversity projects.

He has authored more than 40 publications addressing various evolutionary questions.

His main research interests are comparative and evolutionary genomics, bioinformatics software, phylogenomics, horizontal gene transfer, and origin & evolution of host-parasite relationships.

Dr. Ben Bettisworth

Ben was born in Alaska, and studied at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, where he received both his Bachelor's and Master's degrees in Computer Science in 2017.

He received his PhD in Informatics from the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology in 2023. During his PhD, he produced three notable tools: RootDigger, Phylourny, and Lagrange-ng.

His current interests are historical biogeographical models and developing methods to more effectively work with ancient DNA data.

Dr. Panos Ioannidis

Panos is an environmental scientist with a PhD in molecular insect microbiology from the University of Ioannina. His PhD thesis (2008) was on the symbiotic Wolbachia bacterium and the different ways it interacts with its insect hosts.

He has worked as a postdoctoral researcher in different labs:

INRA-Nancy (2010-2011), where he studied the microbial metagenome of soil samples from forests.

Univ Maryland Baltimore (2011-2013), where he studied horizontal gene transfer between animals and their symbiobic bacteria, and the transcriptome of the invasive brown marmorated stink bug.

Univ Geneva (2013-2016), where he analyzed the genome of insects that belong to clades such as Palaeoptera, which were under-represented in terms of genomic resources. He also participated in the development of bioinformatics tools and resources.

IMBB-FoRTH (2018-2023), where he analyzed RNAseq data in order to study genes related to insectide resistance. He also participated in various projects including the study of the evolution of lepidopteran P450s as well as the assembly and analysis of the carob tree genome.

As of Dec 2023 he joined the Biodiversity Computing Group at ICS-FoRTH, in order to work on ways to analyze genome sequence data originating from various biodiversity projects.

His research interests include comparative genomics, evolution of genes related to insecticide resistance, and development of computational tools.

PhD Students

Noah Wahl

Noah studied computer science at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, where he did his Master's Thesis in the field of phylogenetic inference.

He joined the Biodiversity Computing Group at ICS-FoRTH in Feb 2024 as a PhD candidate.

His research interests include graph theory and algorithms, algorithm engineering and heuristics for phylogenetic inference.

Lucía Martín Fernández

Lucía holds a Bachelor’s in Biotechnology and a Master´s degree in Computational Biology from Universidad Politécnica de Madrid.

During her Master’s thesis she developed a series of scripts for better analyzing the funtional potential of metagenomics samples extracted from human gut microbiota.

She joined the Biodiversity Computing Group at ICS-FoRTH in Feb 2024 as a PhD candidate.

Her research interests include comparative genomics, phylogenetics and software developing.

Franziska Reden

Franziska studied Molecular Biology in her Bachelor's and Bioinformatics in her Master's, both at the University of Vienna.

She wrote her Master's thesis in the field of phylogenetics, where she worked on generating reference data for sequence simulations.

She joined the Biodiversity Computing Group at ICS-FoRTH in Feb 2014 as a PhD candidate.

Her research interests include phylogenetics and data science.

Visitors - Brain Circulation

Luise Häuser

Luise is a Master's student in computer science from KIT who works on better understanding the evolution of natural languages in collaboration with Dr. Pavlos Pavlidis at ICS-FORTH and Prof. Elena Anagnostopoulou from the University of Crete.

Julia Haag

Julia is a 1st year PhD student from Alexis' group in Heidelberg who works on data science aspectes of phylogenetic inference. At ICS-FORTH she will collaborate with Dr. Pavlos Pavlidis to study quantitative and numerical aspects of PCA analyses used in the area of pupulation genetics and ancient DNA analysis.