Donato Giovannelli is an Entrepreneur and a Microbial Ecologist working on the microbiology of extreme environments. He is Professor of Microbiology at the University of Naples Federico II where he works on the coevolution of Life and the Planet. He received his B.Sc. in Marine Biology and M.Sc. in Marine Ecology from the Polytechnic University of Marche, Italy. He obtained his Ph.D. in Applied Biology, Microbiology and Ecology in 2013 from the University of Naples Federico II. After the PhD, he spent time as a Postdoctoral Fellow in the laboratory of Costa Vetriani at Rutgers University, as a Visiting Scholar in the Program in Interdisciplinary Studies at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, USA, and as an EON Research Fellow at ELSI, Japan. In December 2018 he joined the Department of Biology of the University of Naples Federico II as an Assistant Professor and was promoted directly to Full Professor in 2021.
Donato's research is focused on the co-evolution of the biosphere and the geosphere and in understanding how life influences planetary-scale processes. In his work, Donato combines classic microbiology techniques with data from comparative genomic, phylogenetic, and environmental surveys and computational approaches to reconstruct geo-bio interactions. In 2020 he was awarded a ERC Starting Grant to study the co-evolution of life and planet. The project, called CoEvolve, is looking at the co-evolution of biogeochemically-relevant proteins and trace metal availability in the environment. Additional projects include the subsurface of Antarctica, the relationship between convergent margins and subsurface microbiology and shallow-water hydrothermal vents among many others. He is also the vice-director of the master’s degree program in the Biology of Extreme Environments at the University of Naples, a new master program with a curricula in Astrobiology.
Giovanni Covone is an astrophysicist, working on exoplanets and observational cosmology. He is Professor of Astrophysics and Cosmology at University of Naples Federico II, Italy. He received his PhD we studied at from the University of Naples Federico II. After the PhD, he was Postdoc Research at the Italian National Telescope Galileo, Canary Islands (Spain). Then he spent three years at the Laboratoire d’Astrophysique de Marseille (France) within the “Euro3D” network. He obtained a Cordis European Grant when he moved back to Italy at the INAF - Capodimonte Astronomical Observatory (Naples, Italy). He then moved to the Physics Department at University of Naples Federico II in 2008, where he is now Associate Professor.
His research is focused on two main fields of astrophysics: observational cosmology and exoplanets. Within the field of observational cosmology, he is interested in studying the structure of galaxy clusters by means of gravitational lensing and the property of dark matter.
In the field of exoplanets, he is interested in the search and characterization of terrestrial exoplanets by means of photometric transits and the study of the astrophysical conditions that allow life. Since 2018 he collaborates with the TESS team and he has participated in the first discoveries of Earth-like planets by TESS. He is a member of the PLATO Consortium, the ESA space mission designed to search Ears-like planets around Sun-like stars, to be launched in 2026. In Naples, he coordinates ExoPlaNATS, a growing team of researchers interested in exoplanets and exobiology. He is coordinator of the Astrophysics curriculum in the Physics master’s degree program in Naples and is teaching on wide range of topics: he teaches “Cosmology” at the Physics Department, “Fundamentals of physics and Cosmology” at the Philosophy Department and since this year the new class “Astrophysics of Life” at the Biology Department, within the new Master Degree program in the Biology of Extreme Environments.
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