David S. Holmes, PhD


David Holmes is head of the Laboratory of Bioinformatics and Genome Biology at the Fundación Ciencia & Vida. He received a BA (Genetics, First Class Honors) from Trinity College Dublin, Ireland and a PhD in Biochemistry from the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), USA. He did postdoctoral research in the Dept of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering at Caltech. He then held several academic positions from Assistant Professor to Full Professor in the USA and also worked for 6 years at the Research and Development Labs of General Electric. Dr. Holmes has over 180 publications. One of his papers became a Scientific Citation Classic. He has graduated 40 Masters and PhD students and has served on numerous editorial and scientific boards. He has been the organizer or co-organizer of many international congresses.

David’s current research focusses on the genomics of extremophiles including those that live in environments with ultra-low pH, high temperature, and high concentration of salt. Research questions include i) what are the thermodynamic limits of life? ii) how can an understanding of the extraordinary metabolisms of extremophiles suggest models for the emergence of life on Earth? and iii) how can extreme environments on Earth be used as surrogates to search for potential life-supporting habitats on exoplanets and moons?

David’s awards include a Helen G. and Arthur McCallum Fellowship; a Lucy Mason Clark Fellowship; a Damon Runyon Fellowship; Member of the Recombinant DNA Advisory Panel to the Governor of New York State; Scientific Advisory Board, International Museum of Life, Boston; NSF review panel; United Nations Visiting Scholar to India, Chile, and Russia; Kings Mille Jones prize in Natural Sciences; Life Time Achievement Award in Biotechnology (Indonesia); Life Time Achievement Award in Bioinformatics (Spain); He has been cited as one of the most influential scientists in the development of Bioinformatics in Latin American and was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology in 2015.