Elliot Lefkowitz

Position: Professor

Research focus: Viral genomics, evolution, classification, and taxonomy

What do you love about viruses?
How they manage to do such magnificent things from such a small package

Who is your favourite scientist and why?
My own personal mentors. They helped me at different stages in my career and helped me find my own path.

On what topic could you give a 30-minute presentation without any preparation?
Poxvirus evolution or virus classification

What is your favourite way to spend a day off?
Sitting on the deck of a boat, gin & tonic in hand, reading whatever science fiction novel comes up first on my iPad.

What are you currently learning?
PHP, Drupal, SQL (in depth). (I am having to take up the slack from not be able to find a developer to hire.)

What is the most interesting question or challenge in science that is still unanswered?
Are we alone in the universe?

What is the coolest thing about your research?
I get to “touch” (figuratively, at least) essentially all known viruses on the planet since the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses (ICTV) classifies all viruses.

What do people think about you that isn’t true?
That I don’t have a soft spot.

For which project idea are you still looking for a cooperation partner?
These days, it is difficult to find people to hire with the expertise needed to support any of the projects I work on. I need to hire Bioinformaticians and Software (Web) Developers (full-stack developers).

What was your biggest achievement, and what your biggest failure?
I’m not a boom and bust kind of a guy. Myself, and my work are fairly even keeled.

If you were completely free to choose a scientific topic to work on, which would it be?
None of us is completely free to choose a topic to work on. Someone or something is always needed to pay for what you are doing. Therefore, I don’t waste time on such fanciful musings.

If you had the option to advise a younger version of yourself, what would that be?
Promote yourself.