Position: Full Professor, Scientific Computing Group, Heidelberg Institute for Theoretical Studies, Heidelberg, Germany
Research topic: Computational molecular evolution
What do you love about viruses?
That you can observe evolution in real time.
Who is your favourite scientist and why?
Joe Felsenstein, he introduced the phylogenetic likelihood model.
On what topic could you give a 30-minute presentation without any preparation?
What is your favourite way to spend a day off?
Hiking in the mountains of Crete
What are you currently learning?
Ancient DNA challenges and archeology
If you could create a new invention, what would it be?
An AI-based system to automatically handle all academic and private administration tasks
What is the most interesting question or challenge in science that is still unanswered?
What is the coolest thing about your research?
Developing useful software for biologists that can yield new insights – enabling science
What do people think about you that isn’t true?
That I spend my whole time in front of a computer
What was your most surprising scientific finding?
I am essentially an engineer, so I don’t encounter surprising findings.
For which project idea are you still looking for a cooperation partner?
I would like to get more deeply involved in software verification & software quality assessment
What was your biggest achievement, and what your biggest failure?
The development of the RAxML software for phylogenetic inference – all the bugs I managed to implement in RAxML
Which scientific topic (outside of your field of research) do you think should have more scientific attention?
Again: Earthquake research & prediction
If you were completely free to choose a scientific topic to work on, which would it be?
If you had the option to give advice to a younger version of yourself, what would that be?
Be more relaxed about things
Is there anything else you would like to share with other EVBC members?
Apart from my lab in Germany, I am now also co-directing an ancient DNA lab in Crete, Greece, so if there is interest in ancient Virus research let me know.