Ioli Kalavrezou since 1989 is the Dumbarton Oaks Professor of Byzantine art History at the department of History of Art and Architecture at Harvard University, having taught earlier at UCLA and at the Humbolt University in Munich. She has served as Chair of the department for six years and is also Senior Fellow and Senior Research Associate at Dumbarton Oaks and Trustee at the Cyprus Research Institute.
Of special interest in her research are topics in political and ideological history, the relationship of Church and State, the role of King David in manuscript illumination, the cult of the Virgin Mary, the sun imagery in the person of the emperor and private devotion as for example in her book on Byzantine Steatite Icons. These questions lead her to investigate the visual evidence ranging from monumental wall paintings and mosaics to objects carved in ivory and steatite, icons, and manuscripts. The role and place of women in Byzantine society has been another ongoing field of research, which produced in a large exhibition entitled: Byzantine Women and their World and its catalogue.