Not being a native speaker of English, I would like to know how to best introduce myself, what sounds too formal, and what is maybe a bit too colloquial. I have a few questions I want to ask, but I am not sure how to start the email in the first place.
Since many people have pointed out the culture dependency of the question, I would like to make clear that I am concerned with the US / UK, or roughly the English speaking academic world.
Also, for future, subsequent emails, can I just start the email with things like:
Dear John, How are you? ... Dear John, I hope all is well in Brighton. ... Dear John, I hope you are doing good! ...