photo credit Nerissa Escanlar
My name is Donato Giovannelli and I am a Microbial Ecologist working on the microbiology of extreme environments. I currently hold an appointment as a joint EON Research Fellow at the Earth-Life Science Institute, Tokyo (eon.elsi.jp/) and Rutgers University, USA (marine.rutgers.edu/deep-seamicrobiology/), I am a Visiting Scholar at the Institute of Advanced Studies in Princeton, USA, and an Adjunct Researcher at the National Research Council of Italy. I received my B.Sc. in Marine Biology (2005) and M.Sc. in Marine Ecology (2007) from the Polytechnic University of Marche, Italy. From 2007 to 2010 I worked as a graduate assistant at the Polytechnic University of Marche and the Institute of Marine Science of the National Research Council of Italy. I obtained my Ph.D. in Applied Biology, Microbiology and Ecology in 2013 from the University of Naples Federico II. I am also part of a new no-profit institute dedicated to exploring the origins and nature of awareness, YHouse (yhousenyc.org), located in Manhattan, New York, USA.
I am fundamentally interested in the co-evolution of the biosphere and the geosphere and how life influences planetary-scale processes. My current research focuses on two major themes, integrally linked to each other: 1) the microbial diversity and ecosystem functioning of extreme environments and their role in global biogeochemistry; and 2) reconstructing the emergence and evolution of metabolism. This diverse interests stems from three basic assumptions underlying my research: i) prokaryotes dominated the evolutionary history of our planet; ii) they are responsible for the bio in biogeochemistry both at the ecosystem level and through time; and iii) extremophilic prokaryotes living in extreme environments resembling early Earth analogs, despite being extant organisms, retain a higher number of ancestral metabolic traits. In my work, I combine classic microbiology techniques with data from comparative genomic, phylogenetic, and environmental surveys and computational approaches to reconstruct geo-bio interactions. For more information on current and past project visit the Project page.
I am a convinced supporter of Open Science, and I am currently involved in the OPERAS (OPEn Research And Science Group) of the National Research Council of Italy, an interdepartmental group dedicated to promote Open Science practices within the research community. I try to be as transparent as possible with my research, and I am (slowly) uploading all my code, my protocols and my data to GitHub, FigShare or other appropriate open access databases.
I am also the co-founder of a nanotechnology company, Nano-Tech S.p.A (italnanotech.com), where I am still involved as member of the Board of Directors and I recently founded a biotech startup, Cypress Biotechnology (cypressbiotech.com).
On my free time I play Rugby, Sail and I like to spend time outdoor.