The prize is awarded for the results of research on the structure and limitations of miniaturising very small multicellular living organisms.
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Alexei Polilov was born on June 22, 1981 in Moscow. He holds a PhD in Biology and is an associate professor at the Entomology Department at the Biology Faculty of Lomonosov Moscow State University.
Mr Polilov is not only a pioneer in the study of very small insects, but is also a leader in the field of researching miniaturisation of animals throughout the world.
Mr Polilov’s painstaking work in studying very small insects has not only enriched the field of entomology with new data but has also provided momentum in developing embryology, cytology, and many other biological disciplines in the life sciences.
Miniaturisation is an important fundamental problem in evolutionary biology, since the reduction in body size, which is often associated with assimilating to new habitats, leads to a restructuring in the function of the main organ systems and the entire organism overall, as well as changes in energy exchange. These patterns have been investigated extensively in warm-blooded animals, but until recently, insects have not been studied in depth.
Mr Polilov conducted comparative morphological studies of the main organ systems of larvae and adult insects through the use of a series of histological sections, studied through electron and laser microscopy scanning. The use of 3D computer models to assess changes in the volume of individual organs during animal development was an innovative methodological approach. Alexei Polilov’s work has made it possible to identify previously unknown features in the internal structure of very small insects.
In his work, Mr Polilov discovered and described 3 new genera and 12 new species of insects. He first described the unnucleated neurons discovered in these animals and proved the existence of nervous systems built almost entirely from unnucleated nerve cells. The researcher also achieved a range of other interesting results in studying the topology and functionality of the nervous system of very small multicellular organisms.
These results open new opportunities for many directions in biotechnology and bioinformatics, such as micro-robotechnology, nano-optics, neural network modelling, genomics and many others, whose potential scope of application is enormous.
Mr Polilov has published over 50 works, including articles in leading scientific publications, and has done extensive field research through various expeditions (to the Kola Peninsula, Karelia, the Polar Urals, Moscow Region, the Crimea, the Caucasus, the Sayan Mountains, the Far East, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Iran). He is the winner of multiple international and Russian competitions and prizes.