Eugene Koonin

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Eugene Koonin
Eugene V. Koonin

(1956-10-26) October 26, 1956 (age 67)
CitizenshipUnited States
Alma materMoscow State University (1978)
Scientific career
FieldsComputational biology
InstitutionsNational Center for Biotechnology Information
ThesisMultienzyme organization of encephalomyocarditis virus replication complexes (1983)
Doctoral advisorVadim I. Agol

Eugene Viktorovich Koonin (Russian: Евге́ний Ви́кторович Ку́нин; born October 26, 1956) is a Russian-American biologist and Senior Investigator at the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI). He is a recognised expert in the field of evolutionary and computational biology.[1][2][3]


Koonin gained a Master of Science in 1978 and a PhD in 1983 in molecular biology, both from the Department of Biology at Moscow State University. His PhD thesis, titled "Multienzyme organization of encephalomyocarditis virus replication complexes", was supervised by Vadim I. Agol.[4]


From 1985 until 1991, Koonin worked as a research scientist in computational biology in the Institutes of Poliomyelitis and Microbiology at the USSR Academy of Medical Sciences, studying virus biochemistry and bacterial genetics. In 1991, Koonin moved to the NCBI, where he has held a Senior Investigator position since 1996.[4]

Koonin's principal research goals include the comparative analysis of sequenced genomes and automatic methods for genome-scale annotation of gene functions.[5] He also researches in the application of comparative genomics for phylogenetic analysis, reconstruction of ancestral life forms and building large-scale evolutionary scenarios, as well as mathematical modeling of genome evolution.[6][7][8] Koonin's research also investigates computational study of the major transitions in the evolution of life, such as the origin of eukaryotes,[9] the evolution of eukaryotic signaling and developmental pathways from the comparative-genomic perspective.[10]

Koonin is an advocate of the extended evolutionary synthesis.[11]

In 2011 Koonin outlined his views on evolution in the book "The Logic of Chance: The Nature and Origin of Biological Evolution".[2]


Koonin has worked as Adjunct Professor at the Georgia Institute of Technology, Boston University and the University of Haifa.[4][12]

As of 2014, Koonin serves on the advisory editorial board of Trends in Genetics,[13] and is co-Editor-in-Chief of the open access journal Biology Direct.[14] He served on the editorial board of Bioinformatics from 1999 until 2001. Koonin is also an advisory board member in bioinformatics at Faculty of 1000.[15]

In 2016 he was elected to the National Academy of Sciences.[16][17]

In 2016, Semantic Scholar AI program included Koonin on its list of top ten most influential biomedical researchers.[18]

Political positions[edit]

In February 2022, he signed an open letter by Russian scientists condemning the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine,[19] and renounced his membership in the Russian Academy of Sciences out of protest.[20]


  1. ^ Koonin's page at the National Center for Biotechnology Information
  2. ^ a b Eugene V. Koonin (23 June 2011). The Logic of Chance: The Nature and Origin of Biological Evolution. FT Press. ISBN 978-0-13-262317-9. Retrieved 5 April 2013.
  3. ^ Koonin, E. V. (2004). "Eugene V. Koonin". Current Biology. 14 (3): R96–97. doi:10.1016/j.cub.2004.01.010. PMID 14986627.
  4. ^ a b c "CV E. Koonin". Haifa Institute of Evolution. Retrieved 28 July 2020.
  5. ^ Lander, E. S.; Linton, M.; Birren, B.; Nusbaum, C.; Zody, C.; Baldwin, J.; Devon, K.; Dewar, K.; Doyle, M.; Fitzhugh, W.; Funke, R.; Gage, D.; Harris, K.; Heaford, A.; Howland, J.; Kann, L.; Lehoczky, J.; Levine, R.; McEwan, P.; McKernan, K.; Meldrim, J.; Mesirov, J. P.; Miranda, C.; Morris, W.; Naylor, J.; Raymond, C.; Rosetti, M.; Santos, R.; Sheridan, A.; et al. (Feb 2001). "Initial sequencing and analysis of the human genome" (PDF). Nature. 409 (6822): 860–921. Bibcode:2001Natur.409..860L. doi:10.1038/35057062. ISSN 0028-0836. PMID 11237011.
  6. ^ Koonin, E. V. (2011). Bourne, Philip E. (ed.). "Are There Laws of Genome Evolution?". PLOS Computational Biology. 7 (8): e1002173. arXiv:1108.3589. Bibcode:2011PLSCB...7E2173K. doi:10.1371/journal.pcbi.1002173. PMC 3161903. PMID 21901087. Open access icon
  7. ^ Koonin, E. V. (2007). "The Biological Big Bang model for the major transitions in evolution". Biology Direct. 2: 21. doi:10.1186/1745-6150-2-21. PMC 1973067. PMID 17708768.
  8. ^ Koonin, E. V.; Senkevich, T. G.; Dolja, V. V. (2006). "The ancient Virus World and evolution of cells". Biology Direct. 1: 29. doi:10.1186/1745-6150-1-29. PMC 1594570. PMID 16984643.
  9. ^ Martin, William; Koonin, Eugene V. (2006). "Introns and the origin of nucleus–cytosol compartmentalization". Nature. 440 (7080): 41–45. doi:10.1038/nature04531. ISSN 0028-0836.
  10. ^ Uhlmann, F; Wernic, D; Poupart, M. A.; Koonin, E. V.; Nasmyth, K (2000). "Cleavage of cohesin by the CD clan protease separin triggers anaphase in yeast". Cell. 103 (3): 375–386. doi:10.1016/s0092-8674(00)00130-6. PMID 11081625. S2CID 2667617.
  11. ^ Svensson, Erik I. (2023). "The Structure of Evolutionary Theory: Beyond Neo-Darwinism, Neo-Lamarckism and Biased Historical Narratives About the Modern Synthesis". Evolutionary Biology: Contemporary and Historical Reflections Upon Core Theory. Evolutionary Biology – New Perspectives on Its Development. Vol. 6. pp. 173–217. doi:10.1007/978-3-031-22028-9_11. ISBN 978-3-031-22027-2.
  12. ^ "Faculty and Researchers". Haifa Institute of Evolution. Retrieved 28 July 2020.
  13. ^ "Masthead: Trends in Genetics". Retrieved 3 September 2014.
  14. ^ "Biology Direct – Editorial Board". Retrieved 3 September 2014.
  15. ^ "Eugene Koonin: Advisory Board Member in Bioinformatics – F1000Prime". Retrieved 3 September 2014.
  16. ^ National Academy of Sciences Members and Foreign Associates Elected, News from the National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Sciences, May 3, 2016, archived from the original on May 6, 2016, retrieved 2016-05-14.
  17. ^ Gabrielsen, Paul (2017-01-31). "Profile of Eugene V. Koonin". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 114 (5): 793–796. Bibcode:2017PNAS..114..793G. doi:10.1073/pnas.1621406114. ISSN 0027-8424. PMC 5293061. PMID 28115717.
  18. ^ Chawla, Dalmeet Singh (17 October 2017). "Who's the most influential biomedical scientist? Computer program guided by artificial intelligence says it knows". Science | AAAS. Retrieved 2022-02-16.
  19. ^ "Открытое письмо российских учёных и научных журналистов против войны с Украиной" [An open letter from Russian scientists and scientific journalist against the war in Ukraine] (in Russian). 24 February 2022. Retrieved 2 April 2022.
  20. ^ "Global Science Community Condemns Russian Invasion of Ukraine". Scientific American. Archived from the original on 2023-03-12.

Selected bibliography[edit]

External links[edit]