Manfred Kayser is a molecular biologists and geneticists with a broad interest in human variation. Since 2004, he is (full) professor of Forensic Molecular Biology at Erasmus MC and founding head of the Erasmus MC Department of Forensic Molecular Biology, renamed Department of Genetic Identification in 2015.
His scientific interested is in understanding human (epi)genetic and (epi)genomic variation and applying it to answer forensic, medical, and anthropological questions, such as:
1) unveiling the genetic basis of normal and disease-associated human appearance and predicting appearance traits from biological samples such as those found at crime scenes and from human remains for genetically describing a person as relevant in forensic DNA phenotyping and anthropology,
2) exploring genetic variation of autosomal DNA, Y-chromosomal DNA, and mitochondrial DNA for respectively inferring bio-parental, paternal and maternal biogeographic ancestry from biological samples such as those found at crime scenes and human remains for genetically describing a person as relevant in forensic DNA phenotyping and anthropology,
3) unlocking variation of male-specific Y-chromosome DNA for linking and separating paternally related men from biological samples such as those found at crime scenes as relevant in forensic cases of sexual assault,
4) unveiling the epigenetic consequence of environmental exposure and epigenetically predicting externally visible habits from biological samples such as those of medical relevance or found at crime scenes,
5) exploring transcriptome and genome variation on the single cell level and applying it to separating multi-person biological mixtures and genetically characterizing and individual identifying separated mixture contributors as relevant in forensic practice.
He is further interested in various aspects of human molecular biology and their applications to forensic and anthropological questions, such as:
6) variation of gene expression and microbiomes across human tissues and inferring the cell type of crime scene samples for inferring human activity at crime scenes,
7) diurnal and circadian variation of various types of biomarkers and predicting the time of day and night from crime scene samples for molecular alibi testing,
8) age-dependent variation of gene expression and DNA methylation and inferring a person’s age from biological samples such as those found at crime scenes and human remains for describing a person as relevant in forensic DNA phenotyping and anthropology.
He additionally develops and validates new technologies that allow bringing his newly discovered biomarkers into practical applications, such as in forensics, medicine, or anthropology, and holds three patents.
As of October 2023:
He published almost 300 peer-reviewed articles in international scientific journals and close to 40 non-peer reviewed editorials in international scientific journals and book chapters.
His publications were cited over 22,000 times.
He has an H-index of 81 (meaning 81 of his papers were cited at least 81 times).
He is the most cited scientists worldwide in the field of Forensic Genetics and second most cited in the field of Forensic Medicine 1960-2022, based on citations in the year 2022, he is the most cited in Forensic Medicine - https://elsevier.digitalcommonsdata.com/datasets/btchxktzyw/6
He was involved in successful grant applications worth of 45 million Euros, of which 9.6 million Euros was available for his own research. For instance, he was the main applicant and work package leader of a large (3 institutions, 6.5 million Euros) Netherlands Genomics Initiative project Forensic Genomics Center Netherlands (FGCN). He also was the initiating applicant, work package leader and coordinator of a large (13 institutions, 5 million Euros) EU project Visible Attributes Through Genomics (VISAGE) https://www.visage-h2020.eu/
He was awarded the Research Award of the German Society of Legal Medicine in 1998, the Heisenberg Fellowship of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft in 2004, the International Fellowship Environmental Science and Research of New Zealand in 2004, and the Biennial Scientific Prize of the International Society for Forensic Genetics in 2017.In 2023, he was elected as Member of the European Molecular Biology Organisation (EMBO) https://people.embo.org/profile/manfred-kayser
Field(s) of expertise
Forensic genetics, forensic molecular biology, anthropological genetics, human molecular biology, human molecular genetics.
Education and career
2015-today Head of Department of Genetic Identification at Erasmus MC
2008-today Full Professor (Type 1) of Forensic Molecular Biology at Erasmus MC
2006-2007 Visiting Professor for Evolutionary Genetics at University of Cologne
2004-2008 Full Professor (Type 2) of Forensic Molecular Biology at Erasmus MC
2004-2014 Founding Head of Department of Forensic Molecular Biology at Erasmus MC
2004 Heisenberg Fellow of Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft at Max Planck
Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology Leipzig (own research group)
2004 Habilitation in Genetics and Lecturer in Genetics at University of Leipzig
1999-2003 Staff Scientist at Department of Evolutionary Genetics, Max Planck Institute
for Evolutionary Anthropology Leipzig
1998-1999 Research Associate at Anthropological Genetics Laboratory, Department of
Anthropology, Pennsylvania State University
1998 Doctoral Degree in Biology / Genetics from Humboldt-University Berlin with
summa cum laude
1994 Diploma Degree in Biology from University of Leipzig with magna cum laude
For Manfred Kayser’s publications, see https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/?term=Kayser+Manfred&sort=date
Erasmus MC Bachelor and Master Program Nanobiology,
Erasmus MC Medical Curriculum and Erasmus University Minor Program Genetics in Society,
Erasmus MC Research Master Program Molecular Medicine,
Erasmus MC Research Master Program Genomics in Society