David Moi

I’m a post doctoral researcher currently working on graph neural networks and their applications to to phylogenetics as well as leveraging AI and structural prediction methods to construct phylogenies. I completed my PhD in a collaborative effort between the University of Lausanne and the University of San Martin (Buenos Aires Argentina). My thesis was centered on the discovery and description of the proteins responsible for gamete membrane fusion in plants, protostomes and protists. I also developped phylogenetic profiling methods based on the OMA database using probabilistic data structures to reconstruct protein interaction networks from phylogenetic signal.

I obtained my masters in Bioengineering at the EPFL where I specialized in bioinformatics and dynamical systems modelling.

My research has often been centered by the need to provide actionable answers to the biological questions of my network of collaborators that are more wet-lab oriented. As such I’ve become a bit of a jack of all trades and I enjoy bringing together approaches from structural biology, phylogenetics and AI to develop these approaches to piece together methods to respond to these needs.

I’ve had many positive experiences mentoring interns at the bachelors and masters level for longer term projects as well as providing support in the classroom for bioinformatics courses. During my PhD in Argentina I also coached the Univeristy of San Martin’s TECNOx team (A South American equivalent of the IGEM competition) and helped them develop and present their project.


  • Machine Learning
  • Graph neural networks
  • Probabilistic data structures
  • Deep homology detection
  • Structural phylogenetics
  • Metagenomics and mobilome
  • Eukaryogenesis
  • The evolution of sexual reproduction


  1. Moi, David, Shunsuke Nishio, Xiaohui Li, Clari Valansi, Mauricio Langleib, Nicolas G. Brukman, Kateryna Flyak, et al. 2022. “Discovery of Archaeal Fusexins Homologous to Eukaryotic HAP2/GCS1 Gamete Fusion Proteins.” Nature Communications 13 (1): 3880.

  2. Moi, David, Laurent Kilchoer, Pablo S. Aguilar, and Christophe Dessimoz. 2020. “Scalable Phylogenetic Profiling Using MinHash Uncovers Likely Eukaryotic Sexual Reproduction Genes.” PLoS Computational Biology 16 (7): e1007553.

  3. Valansi, Clari, David Moi, Evgenia Leikina, Elena Matveev, Martín Graña, Leonid V. Chernomordik, Héctor Romero, Pablo S. Aguilar, and Benjamin Podbilewicz. 2017. “Arabidopsis HAP2/GCS1 Is a Gamete Fusion Protein Homologous to Somatic and Viral Fusogens.” The Journal of Cell Biology.

  4. Altenhoff, Adrian M., Clément-Marie Train, Kimberly J. Gilbert, Ishita Mediratta, Tarcisio Mendes de Farias, David Moi, Yannis Nevers, et al. 2021. “OMA Orthology in 2021: Website Overhaul, Conserved Isoforms, Ancestral Gene Order and More.” Nucleic Acids Research 49 (D1): D373–79.

  5. Benton, Richard, Christophe Dessimoz, and David Moi. 2020. “A Putative Origin of the Insect Chemosensory Receptor Superfamily in the Last Common Eukaryotic Ancestor.” eLife 9 (December). https://doi.org/10.7554/eLife.62507.

  6. Cummings, Thomas F. M., Kevin Gori, Luis Sanchez-Pulido, Gavriil Gavriilidis, David Moi, Abigail R. Wilson, Elizabeth Murchison, Christophe Dessimoz, Chris P. Ponting, and Maria A. Christophorou. 2022. “Citrullination Was Introduced into Animals by Horizontal Gene Transfer from Cyanobacteria.” Molecular Biology and Evolution 39 (2). https://doi.org/10.1093/molbev/msab317.

  7. Zajac, Natalia, Stefan Zoller, Katri Seppälä, David Moi, Christophe Dessimoz, Jukka Jokela, Hanna Hartikainen, and Natasha Glover. 2021. “Gene Duplication and Gain in the Trematode Atriophallophorus Winterbourni Contributes to Adaptation to Parasitism.” Genome Biology and Evolution 13 (3). https://doi.org/10.1093/gbe/evab010.