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Straight talk with...Fotis Kafatos

Biologist Fotis Kafatos has spent a career balancing his own research endeavors with efforts to create opportunities for other scientists. Born and raised in Crete, Greece, Kafatos moved to the US to study zoology at Cornell University and, later in the 1960s, biology at Harvard University, where he went on to become the university's youngest full professor at age 29. During his three decades at Harvard, Kafatos maintained close ties with Europe, teaching part-time at Greek universities and founding Crete's Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology. In 1993, he returned to Europe to direct the continent's premiere molecular biology center, the Heidelberg-based European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL), where he strived to create an equal-opportunity environment for scientists from all corners of Europe. More recently, in late 2005, Kafatos was elected chairman of the policy-setting body for the European Research Council (ERC). Kafatos now divides his time between studying malaria-causing mosquitoes at Imperial College London and leading an organization charged with doling out some €7.5 billion ($11 billion) to Europe's most promising scientists from 2007 to 2013—an infusion of money intended to revitalize the continent's research community. Kafatos talks about his research and his stewardship of the ERC with Coco Ballantyne.

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Straight talk with...Fotis Kafatos. Nat Med 14, 902–903 (2008).

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