Helping us Unlock Potential: Grigoris Amoutzias’ Story

11 August 2023


Professor Grigoris Amoutzias has been a faculty member at the University of Thessaly, Greece, since 2010, working on the evolution and comparative genomics of bacteria and viruses and more. Professor Amoutzias chose to support the Unlocking Potential Fund by donating in order to help our most promising scientists during the current challenging times.

Though not a member himself, Professor Amoutzias learned about the Unlocking Potential Fund through his PhD supervisor, lifelong mentor, and active Microbiology Society Member, Professor Stephen G. Oliver.


When reflecting on why it was so important to support the fund, Professor Amoutzias commented, “These are very challenging and frustrating times for young and very promising scientists, especially those doing fundamental research in Microbiology. The Unlocking Potential Fund is an excellent initiative focused on helping these young scientists and deserves all the support from established academics.”

After completing his bachelor’s degree in biology at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece, and an Erasmus placement at Queen's University Belfast where he first became acquainted with Bioinformatics, Professor Amoutzias went on to complete a master’s in bioinformatics at Leeds University, UK. He then went on to finish a PhD at Manchester University, UK, and postdocs at the University of Lausanne, Switzerland, and the University of Cambridge, UK. Professor Amoutzias also spent some time at Ghent University, Belgium, as an EMBO long-term fellow.

However, Professor Amoutzias’ career journey was not always easy, as he shares, “There were several very challenging points in my career as a PhD student, postdoc, and faculty member. Academic life is full of them. The advice and help of family and good colleagues were pivotal in overcoming these difficulties.”

Professor Amoutzias also commented on how critical support funds can be by saying, “During the final year of my PhD, when my EPSRC and CASE scholarships had ended, I received support from the Bridge Funding of the University of Manchester. This was very important for finishing my PhD.”

Finally, we asked Professor Amoutzias what advice he would leave for microbiologists who are still at an early stage of their career. “Hard and focused work is the first thing to advise. A deep knowledge and understanding of the literature is also critical for success. Be critical of your work and goals, be patient, and persistent. Very importantly, treasure and cultivate the personal relations you establish with colleagues that you respect and admire not only as scientists but as people too.”

The Microbiology Society has a role in helping unlock and harness the potential of the next generation of leading microbiologists. Join Professor Grigoris Amoutzias by donating to the Unlocking Potential Fund and support us in spreading the word.