Axel received his Ph.D. (1993) and M.S. (1991) degrees in computer science from the University of Nebraska — Lincoln, and a Dipl. Ing. (1982) in electrical engineering from the FH-Aachen, Germany. During 1993-1994, he was on the faculty of the Technische Universität Clausthal, Germany, then joined the University of Idaho Computer Science faculty in 1995. While on sabbatical leave from the University of Idaho during 2004-2005, he served as a visiting professor at the Institut d'Informatique et Mathématiques Appliquées de Grenoble, at the Institut National Polytechnique de Grenoble, France.
His research interests are in the area of computer and network survivability, fault tolerance and security. In short, it is all about how to design, defend, attack, model and analyze networked computer systems operating in hostile environments. Current research ranges from algorithms and analysis mechanisms for surviving attacks on wireless ad hoc networks, to design of inherently attack-resilient embedded systems, to fault tolerant scheduling algorithms. He has published extensively in his research domain, has organized and chaired conferences and tracks in the area of system survivability, and has been on numerous conference program committees.