MIT EAPS Directory

Gregory Fournier

Cecil & Ida Green Assistant Professor of Geobiology

Greg Fournier is an expert in the use of fossil/biochemical age calibrations of horizontal gene-transfer (HGT) events to time-calibrate the “Tree of Life”.

Accomplishments of his short career include the identification of the HGT origin of acetoclastic methanogenesis and demonstration that it occurred at a time consistent with the Permian-Triassic extinction and the identification of the impact of partial gene transfer on the eukaryote "Eocyte" hypothesis, demonstrating that the evolution of Eukarya involved two histories and not a single evolution from Archaea. Looking forward, his research objectives include the time-calibration of microbial evolution and determination of its role in global biogeochemical change and the reconstruction of the evolutionary origins of eukaryotes and their co-evolution with the Proterozoic environment.

Fournier received an A.B. degree in Genetics from Dartmouth (2001) and a Ph.D. in Genetics and Genomics from the University of Connecticut (2009). Since then he has worked as a Postdoctoral Associate at the University of Connecticut and – in the past 4 years – as a Postdoc in MIT’s Biological Engineering Department. He joined the faculty at MIT in 2014.


Fournier, G.P. and Alm E.J. (2015), Ancestral Reconstruction of a Pre-LUCA Aminoacyl-tRNA Synthetase Ancestor Supports the Late Addition of Trp to the Genetic Code, J Mol Evol. 2015 Apr;80(3-4):171-85. doi: 10.1007/s00239-015-9672-1. 

Gregory P Fournier, Cheryl P Andam and Johann Peter Gogarten (2015), Ancient horizontal gene transfer and the last common ancestors, BMC Evolutionary Biology, 201515:70, doi: 10.1186/s12862-015-0350-0




Young Investigator Selected Talk: American Society of Microbiology 112th General Meeting, San Francisco (2012) | Sherwood Change Award for Student Excellence in the Origin of Life: Gordon Research Conference on Origin of Life, California (2008)

Contact Information

t: 617 324 6164





Ph.D. in Genetics and Genomics, University of Connecticut (2009)
A.B. in Genetics, Dartmouth (2001)

Administrative Assistant