Prof. Jan Pawłowski

Associate Professor,
Department of Genetics and Evolution,
University of Geneva

Paleoceanography Department
Laboratory Of Environmental DNA
Institute of Oceanology Polish Academy of Sciences

jan.pawlowski[at],   janpawlowski[at]

Current research projects
My primary research interests lie in the fields of molecular evolution and systematics. I am particularly interested in evolution of microbial eukaryotes, using genomic data to reconstruct their phylogeny, assess their diversity and establish their classification. My preferred organisms are Foraminifera, the highly diverse group of single-cell eukaryotes, which fossilized tests provide the richest archives of earth history. I’m analysing genetic diversity of foraminifera and other groups of eukaryotes to better understand their evolution and help using them as bio-indicators of past and present environmental changes.
Main topics of my studies are:
  • Reconstruction of eukaryotic tree of life using phylogenomic data.
  • Assessment of environmental diversity based on DNA barcoding and metabarcoding.
  • Development of eDNA tests for the biomonitoring of aquatic ecosystems
  • Development of molecular markers for species detection
  • Description of new species using integrative taxonomy approach.
Recent research grants:
  • 2018 - Molecular evolution and ecology of Foraminifera and related protists – Swiss National Science Foundation grant 31003A-1 79125
  • 2016 – SYNAQUA - SYNérgie transfrontalière pour la bio-surveillance et la préservation des écosystèmes AQUAtiques – INTERREG EU
  • 2016 – Introducing DNA barcoding technology as a tool to monitor environmental impact of aquaculture in the Kei Islands, ETH Global
  • 2016 – Multiplex eDNA assays for early warning system to detect invasive species – Commission for Science and Technology, CTI, Switzerland
  • 2015 – Monitoring marine biodiversity in the genomic era – Swiss Network for International Studies (SNIS)
  • 2015 – Molecular evolution and ecology of Foraminifera and related protists SNSF grant 31003A-1 59709
  • 2013 – High-throughput sequencing for research on evolution and ecology of microeukaryotes – SNSF grant 316030-150817
Teaching and academic activities:
  • Currently teaching following courses: Systematics and Biodiversity, Evolution, Microbiology, Advances in Systematics, Marine Biology
  • Member of the Commission for Scientific Collaboration between the City and the University of Geneva – President of Pole Life Sciences (2015-
  • Co-organizer of Master in Biodiversity and Systematics, University of Geneva
  • Lectures at International School on Foraminifera, Urbino (2014- )
  • Organizer of lectures and practical courses in Biological Sciences (CUSO)
  • Supervisor of 15 master, 12 PhD students and several postdoctoral fellows
Service to national and international societies:
  • Member of the MC of EU COST Action DNAqua-net, leader of WG2 (2016-)
  • Co-founder and CSO of ID-Gene ecodiagnostics Ltd (2014-)
  • Swiss Delegate to the SCAR Life Sciences Group (2015-)
  • Chairman of the Swiss DNA Barcoding Network (2012-)
  • Member of International Barcode of Life ISCC committee (2012-2018)
  • President Paul Brönnimann Foundation (2012-)
  • Board member of the Commission Suisse pour Océanographie et Limnologie SCNAT (2003-2019), National Committee of the International Union of Biological Sciences (2010- 2020), Board of Trustees of the Grzybowski Foundation (2001 -)
  • Associate editor in Intern. J. Systematic Evolutionary Microbiology (2005-2009), European Journal Protistology (2006-), Marine Micropaleontology (2006-), Polish Polar Research (2005-), Journal of Foraminiferal Research (2009-), BMC Biology (2009- )
  • Reviewer of articles for Science, Nature, PNAS, Molecular Biology and Evolution, Molecular Phylogeny and Evolution, Journal of Molecular Evolution, Gene, Protist, European Journal of Protistology, Journal Eukaryotic Microbiology, BMC Evolutionary Biology, PLoS Biology, Current Biology, Marine Pollution Bulletin, etc.
  • Reviewer of proposals for FNSRS, NSF, NERC, ANR, Genome Canada, Wellcome Trust, Austrian FWF, Belspo, Humboldt Foundation, etc.
Participation in international programs and research projects:
  • DNAqua-net – EU COST Action 15219 on developing new genetic tools for bioassessment of aquatic ecosystems in Europe (Chair: Florian Leese, Essen)
  • Biomarks – EU Biodiversa project on biodiversity of marine eukaryotes (PI Dr. C. de Vargas, Roscoff, France)
  • Participation in several polar expeditions to Arctic and Antarctic, and deep-sea cruises (1998-2016)
The results of my research have been published in over 280 peer-reviewed papers, including articles in Nature (3), PNAS (6), BMC Biology (1), BMC Evolutionary Biology (3), Current Biol. (5), Mol. Biol. Evol. (9), PLoS Biology (2), Mol. Ecol. Res, (3) Citation number = 16486, h index = 70 (Google Scholar), 56 (Web of Science).
Full list of publications is available on Google Scholar:

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