Eugene Koonin

National Center for Biotechnology Information

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Dr. Koonin is a Senior Investigator in the Computational Biology Branch at the National Center for Biotechnology Information. He received his Ph.D. in 1983 from Department of Biology, Moscow State University in Molecular Biology. Dr. Koonin and his research group employ existing and new methods of computational biology to perform research in four main areas: i) Empirical comparative and evolutionary genomics - comparison of prokaryotic and eukaryotic genomes with the aim of predicting gene functions, constructing evolutionary scenarios for particular gene families and functional categories, and deciphering general evolutionary trends. One of the products of this research direction is the database of Clusters of Orthologous Groups of proteins (COGs). ii) Exploitation of genome comparisons, particularly those between relatively close genomes, for addressing fundamental issues of evolutionary biology such as the nature of adaptation and selection in different categories of genes. iii) Classification and evolutionary analysis of protein domains and domain architectures. An important dimension in this type of research is the discovery of "new" domains that are shared by many diverse proteins but have not been defined previously. iv) Construction of a general physical theory of evolution. Dr. Koonin is the author (with Michael Galperin) of Sequence-Evolution-Function: Computational Approaches in Comparative Genomics, 2003 and the founder and Editor-in-Chief (with Laura Landweber and David Lipman) of Biology Direct, an open access journal that also employs open peer-review.