Alexei was born in Volgograd city (formerly named Stalingrad), USSR. He was educated at the Physics Department of Rostov-on-Don State University until 1989, when he entered Special Astrophysical Observatory of Russian Academy of Science (SAO RAS), located at Northern Caucasus, Russia. He worked there for 12 years, reaching Senior Research Scientist level.
He completed his PhD in 1997 on searches and studies of extremely metal poor galaxies and on acquisition and reduction systems of different kinds of astronomical data. In 2001 he moved to a Post-Doctoral Research position in Germany at the Max-Planck-Institut fur Astronomie (MPIA, Heidelberg). There he was formally a member of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey Group, but also worked for the European Southern Observatory (ESO) as a Phase2 Support Astronomer for instruments mounted at the 2.2-m MPG/ESO
telescope at La Silla, Chile. He moved to a Paid Associated position at ESO in 2004 and he became a SALT Astronomer from the end of 2005.
His research interests lie mainly in the area of extragalactic astronomy: galaxies with intense current bursts of star formation, low surface brightness galaxies, planetary nebulae in nearby galaxies etc.
He is author or co-author of 150 publications where 70 of them are in refereed journals.
You can find more information about Alexei from his personal homepage: http:www.saao.ac.za/~akniazev/