Fotis Kafatos

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Fotis Constantine Kafatos
Born Φώτης Κωνσταντίνος Καφάτος
(1940-04-16) April 16, 1940 (age 77)[citation needed]
Heraklion, Crete, Greece
Institutions Imperial College London
European Research Council
Cornell University
Harvard University
European Molecular Biology Laboratory
Thesis The escape of moths from the cocoon: biochemical, physiological, morphological, and developmental studies (1965)
Notable awards

Fotis Constantine Kafatos (Greek: Φώτης Κ. Καφάτος; born 16 April 1940) is a Greek biologist.[2][3][4][5][6][7] Between 2005-2010 he was the founding president of the European Research Council (ERC)[8][9] and member of its Scientific Council. He remains Honorary President of the ERC.[10]


At the beginning of his career, he contributed to the development of the Complementary DNA (cDNA) cloning technology and worked on the mechanisms of cellular differentiation leading to the formation of the eggs in insects. He has particular interest in malaria research and used his knowledge of the genetics and molecular biology of insects to understand how the insect vector copes with the Plasmodium parasite. He also participated in the sequencing of the genome of the mosquito Anopheles gambiae completed in 2002.[11][12]


Kafatos was sponsored by Anne Gruner Schlumberger to study in the United States of America.[13] He received a Bachelor of Science degree from Cornell University, and a Ph.D. from Harvard University on entomology in 1965.[14]


He was Assistant Professor and later Professor and Chairman of the department of Cellular and Developmental Biology of Harvard University, Professor of Biology at the University of Athens and at the University of Crete, director of the Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology (IMBB) of the Foundation for Research & Technology – Hellas in Heraklion and third Director-General of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory from 1993 to 2005.[15][16][17] Since 2005, he has been a professor at Imperial College in London. Since 2008, he is the President of the European Research Council.[18]

Fotis Kafatos is an influential Greek biologist, having had a pivotal role in triggering the interest of the Greek government for Science, with the establishment of the Faculty of Biology in the University of Athens, the Faculty of Biology in the University of Crete and the IMBB in Heraklion[citation needed].

Awards and honours[edit]

Kafatos was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 2003,[1] and is a member of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, the Académie des Sciences, the National Academy of Sciences (since 1982), the European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO).

In recognition to his contribution to the development of Biomedical research in Europe, he was awarded a 25th anniversary special prize by the Louis-Jeantet Foundation in 2008.[19] More recently he was awarded the Robert Koch Gold Medal 2010 and the Leibniz Medal 2011, as well as the BioMalPar/EviMalaR Lifetime Achievement Award in 2011.[citation needed]

Personal life[edit]

Kafatos is the brother of Menas Kafatos, a physicist.[citation needed]


  1. ^ a b Anon (2003). "Professor Fotis Kafatos ForMemRS". London: Royal Society. Archived from the original on 2015-11-17. 
  2. ^ Kafatos, F. (2008). "Straight talk with...Fotis Kafatos". Nature Medicine. 14 (9): 902–903. PMID 18776875. doi:10.1038/nm0908-902. 
  3. ^ Efstratiadis, A.; Kafatos, F. C.; Maxam, A. M.; Maniatis, T. (1976). "Enzymatic in vitro synthesis of globin genes". Cell. 7 (2): 279–288. PMID 60178. doi:10.1016/0092-8674(76)90027-1. 
  4. ^ Jones, C. W.; Rosenthal, N.; Rodakis, G. C.; Kafatos, F. C. (1979). "Evolution of two major chorion multigene families as inferred from cloned cDNA and protein sequences". Cell. 18 (4): 1317–1332. PMID 519771. doi:10.1016/0092-8674(79)90242-3. 
  5. ^ Dimopoulos, G.; Müller, H. M.; Kafatos, F. C. (1999). "How does Anopheles gambiae kill malaria parasites?". Parassitologia. 41 (1–3): 169–175. PMID 10697851. 
  6. ^ Kafatos, F. (2005). "Chairman explains Europe's research council". Nature. 438 (7069): 723. Bibcode:2005Natur.438..723.. PMID 16340980. doi:10.1038/438723a. 
  7. ^ Lescai, F. (2008). "Interview with Professor Fotis C. Kafatos, President of the European Research Council". New Biotechnology. 25 (1): 35–36. PMID 18504013. doi:10.1016/j.nbt.2008.04.006. 
  8. ^ Antonoyiannakis, M.; Hemmelskamp, J.; Kafatos, F. C. (2009). "The European Research Council Takes Flight". Cell. 136 (5): 805–809. PMID 19269357. doi:10.1016/j.cell.2009.02.031. 
  9. ^ Gilbert, N. (2010). "The labours of Fotis Kafatos". Nature. 464 (7285): 20. PMID 20203577. doi:10.1038/464020a. 
  10. ^ Biography at European Research Council Archived January 9, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
  11. ^ Holt, A.; Subramanian, M.; Halpern, A.; Sutton, G.; Charlab, R.; Nusskern, R.; Wincker, P.; Clark, G.; Ribeiro, M.; Wides, R.; Salzberg, S. L.; Loftus, B.; Yandell, M.; Majoros, W. H.; Rusch, D. B.; Lai, Z.; Kraft, C. L.; Abril, J. F.; Anthouard, V.; Arensburger, P.; Atkinson, P. W.; Baden, H.; De Berardinis, V.; Baldwin, D.; Benes, V.; Biedler, J.; Blass, C.; Bolanos, R.; Boscus, D.; et al. (Oct 2002). "The genome sequence of the malaria mosquito Anopheles gambiae". Science. 298 (5591): 129–149. Bibcode:2002Sci...298..129H. ISSN 0036-8075. PMID 12364791. doi:10.1126/science.1076181. 
  12. ^ Zheng, L.; Saunders, R. D.; Fortini, D.; Della Torre, A.; Coluzzi, M.; Glover, D. M.; Kafatos, F. C. (1991). "Low-resolution genome map of the malaria mosquito Anopheles gambiae". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 88 (24): 11187–11191. Bibcode:1991PNAS...8811187Z. PMC 53099Freely accessible. PMID 1763031. doi:10.1073/pnas.88.24.11187. 
  13. ^ "Fotis Kafatos: the model mentor". Rtdinfo. 50 (August 2006). 
  14. ^ Kafatos, Fotis (1965). The escape of moths from the cocoon: biochemical, physiological, morphological, and developmental studies (PhD thesis). Harvard University. 
  15. ^ Hoffmann, J. A.; Kafatos, F. C.; Janeway, C. A.; Ezekowitz, R. A. (1999). "Phylogenetic Perspectives in Innate Immunity". Science. 284 (5418): 1313–1318. Bibcode:1999Sci...284.1313H. PMID 10334979. doi:10.1126/science.284.5418.1313. 
  16. ^ Abbott, A. (1993). "Kafatos to be EMBL director; promises greater opportunity". Nature. 362 (6417): 198. Bibcode:1993Natur.362Q.198A. PMID 8459842. doi:10.1038/362198a0. 
  17. ^ Brief history of EMBL
  18. ^ Butcher, J. (2008). "Fotis Kafatos: President of the European Research Council". The Lancet. 371 (9610): 379. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(08)60189-0. 
  19. ^ The 2008 Louis-Jeantet Prize-Winners

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