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Mikhail Metelev

Professor: Konstantin Severinov

Mikhail graduated from the Department of Bioengineering and Bioinformatics of the Lomonosov Moscow State University and continued his professional development in the Laboratory of Molecular Microbiology headed by Prof. Severinov at the Institute of Gene Biology of the Russian Academy of Scinces. Mikhail obtained his Candidate of Sciences degree in molecular genetics from this Institute. After the defense, he was involved in the international project with the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA. In 2014, he joined a laboratory of Prof. Mitchell at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign as a visiting scholar. The project allowed him to expand his knowledge in chemical biology and to take a leading role in a new laboratory in St. Petersburg founded by Prof. Severinov.

In his research, Mikhail has employed genome mining to identify uncharacterized microbial gene clusters encoding putative drug-like molecules, developed biosynthetic systems for production of encoded compounds by means of heterologous expression or reconstitution of biosynthesis in vitro, and elucidated structures and biological activities of new small molecules. He characterized several new bioactive modified peptides produced by bacteria, inhibitors of main cellular targets: DNA gyrase, RNA polymerase, ribosome and cell wall. Collaborative working in the multidisciplinary teams allowed him to expand his knowledge in molecular biology and to investigate in depth the mode of action of several antibacterial peptides by applying single-molecule techniques and X-ray crystallography. Heterologous expression of silent biosynthetic gene clusters has been his main approach although it has many limitations, especially when it comes to large gene clusters with complex regulation, but the development of techniques to sequence and mine genomes has greatly outpaced progress in genetic manipulation.

The use of CRISPR editing to optimize expression of silent bacterial genes involved in antibiotic synthesis