Aravind Iyer, Ph.D.

Senior Investigator

Protein and Genome Evolution Research Group


Building 38A, Room 5N505
8600 Rockville Pike
Bethesda, MD 20894


Research Topics

Dr. Iyer's research uses sensitive sequence and structure analysis methods and comparative genomics to study the evolutionary history of proteins and discover new biochemical activities and biological functions. Some of the key areas of his research have been:

  • Establishment of the deep events in the evolution of topoisomerases and primases, the DNA repair system and diverse DNA binding proteins
  • Discovery of new domains involved in small molecule binding and elucidation of the evolutionary principles that determine their architectures
  • The first quantitative estimates of the role of horizontal gene transfer in evolution
  • Identification of the principal evolutionary events that determined the origin of multicellularity in eukaryotes, such as ciliogenesis and nucleogenesis
  • Reconstruction of the earliest events that occurred close to the origin of the protein universe
  • Establishment of the role of lineage specific gene expansions in the emergence of biological diversity
  • Determination of the principal evolutionary events involved in the emergence of specialized Apicomplexan parasites from a generalized parasitic common ancestor
  • Elucidating origins and identifying novel enzymes involved protein and nucleic acid modifications
  • Elucidating origins of the ubiquitin conjugation system
  • Discovery of the oxidative DNA modification enzymes, such as Tet and AlkB
  • Discovery and analysis of polymorphic and related toxin systems involved in inter- and intra-specific conflicts


Dr. Iyer goes by the name L. Aravind. He obtained a Masters Degree in Biotechnology from the University of Pune, India and subsequently moved to Texas A & M University, USA, for his doctoral studies in computational and evolutionary biology. He conducted most of his doctoral research at the National Center for Biotechnology Information/NIH, Maryland and graduated with a Doctorate in Biology from TAMU in December 1999. He was subsequently a staff scientist at NCBI till 2001 and a tenure-track investigator thereafter. Currently, he works at the National Center for Biotechnology as a Senior Investigator.

Selected Publications

Related Scientific Focus Areas

This page was last updated on Tuesday, August 31, 2021