In memory of Fotis C. Kafatos: 1940-2017

It is with great sadness that we mark the passing of Fotis C. Kafatos on 18 November 2017 in Heraklion, Crete.

Fotis was one of the pioneers who introduced molecular biology into the study of animal development. His achievements include development of fundamental molecular biology techniques such as the dot-blot and cDNA synthesis, cloning, and sequencing.

He has been a Professor at Harvard University (1965-1994), the Universities of Athens (1972-1982) and Crete (1982-1993) and Imperial College London (2005-2012). He founded the Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology at the Foundation of Research and Technology Hellas, which he directed from 1983 to 1993. From 1993 to 2005, he was the Director-General of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory. He was the founding President of the European Research Council, a position he served from 2007 to 2010.

His scientific contributions and leadership have been recognized by numerous distinctions, including membership of several academies such as the National Academy of Sciences, USA, the French Academy of Sciences, the Royal Society (foreign member) and the Pontifical Academy of Sciences. He received many medals and honors, including the Robert Koch Gold Medal and the Leibniz Medal.

Fotis recognized the importance of bioinformatics and genome database resources in vector-borne disease research and was a founding principal investigator and one of the key architects of VectorBase.