Prof. Sergei Mirkin, USA
Sergei M. Mirkin received his M.S. in Genetics from the Moscow State University in 1978, followed by a Ph.D. in Molecular biology from the Institute of Molecular Genetics, Russian Academy of Sciences, in 1983. During his graduate studies under the supervision of Roman B. Khesin, he found that DNA gyrase is essential for both DNA replication and transcription in E. coli. He then carried out his postdoctoral studies under the supervision of Maxim D. Frank-Kamenetskii studying conformational transitions in superhelical DNA. His research resulted in the discovery of the first multi-stranded DNA structure, called H-DNA, which is an intramolecular triplex formed by homopurine-homopyrimidine mirror repeats. He was appointed a Group Leader at the Institute of Molecular Genetics in Moscow in 1988. Anticipating the demise of the Russian science, he moved to the United States in 1989, where he became an Assistant Professor at the University of Illinois, College of Medicine at Chicago in 1990. During his years at UIC, he rose in ranks to the Full Professor establishing himself as an international leader in the field of DNA structure and functioning, broadly defined. One of his major achievements was unraveling the replication mechanism of the expansion of triplet repeats – a phenomenon responsible for more than thirty hereditary disorders in humans. In 2007, he moved to Tufts University to become a Professor and the White Family Chair in Biology. His current research concerns the role of repeat instability in human disease and the mechanisms and consequences of transcription-replication collisions.