Welcome to the Giovannelli Lab

Hi, my name is Donato Giovannelli and I am a Professor of Microbiology at the Department of Biology of the University of Naples “Federico II”, in Italy. My group aims to explore and understand the emergence and evolution of life and the co-evolution of the Geosphere and the Biosphere. I’ve been recently awarded a ERC Starting Grant to look at the co-evolution of biogeochemically-relevant proteins and trace metal availability in the environment called CoEvolve. Read more about the CoEvolve project here.


In my lab we combine classic microbiology techniques with data from comparative genomic, phylogenetic, geochemistry, environmental surveys and computational approaches to reconstruct geo-bio interactions. The majority of our work is carried out in extreme environments, ranging from deep-sea and shallow-water hydrothermal vents, hot springs and volcanoes, the subsurface and Polar regions.

Our laboratory logo (in its version 2.0), an abstract representation of what we call “microbiology in planetary context”. Designed by Patricia Barcala Dominguez

Check out our research, our latest publications or our interactive map showing our field sites. Head to the team section to read more about myself and the rest of the fantastic people I work with. Also, don’t forget to take a look at the gallery containing videos and pictures from the remote locations we visit or check out our outreach activities and appearance in the media. Take a look at the yearly report I post about my activities in the Year in Numbers section.

We are located at the University of Naples “Federico II”, the oldest public non-sectarian university in the world founded in 1224. We also interact with a number of world leading institutions, including Rutgers University, the Earth and Planet Laboratories A Carnegie Science, the Earth-Life Science Institute and the Italian CNR-IRBIM.

 We have a few openings in our group! Check out the specific calls here !

We are grateful for past and present funding from the European Research Council, the Deep Carbon Observatory, NASA, the International Continental Drilling Program (ICDP) and the International Oceanic Discovery Program (IODP), the Italian Arctic Program and the Italian Antarctic Research Program by the Italian Ministry of Research, the C-DEBI, the National Science Foundation and the ELSI Origins Network.

Additionally, we benefit from a number of technical sponsors that support our research and field activities globally providing cutting edge equipment for testing:


31. Oct 2023

The podcast 'ABISSI: Diario dai Fondali del Pacifico' made with Rai Radio3Scienza and RaiPlay Sound is finally out! You can listen to the 8 episodes on RaiPlay Sound

19. Nov 2022

The scientific drilling in the framework of the international project ICDP DIVE is on-going! Current depoth is 400 meters and counting...

12. Oct 2021

Donato was guest of the radio program SCARTI RADIOATTIVI (puntata 4 - in Italian) 'Cronache dalla Terra di Sotto' organized by the eXtemporanea group within FestivaLetteratura of Mantova.

4. Jul 2021

A short video interview (in italian) recorded while I was in Iceland sampling the shallow water vents of Strytan appeared today on the Swiss Radio Television Website. You can see the fantastic full 4 minute interview on the RSI website

12. May 2021

I recently appeared in an interview in the newspaper La Stampa speaking about the new Master Program in the Biology of Extreme Environments I have designed in Naples. The article is available online here

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