Synthetic Biology

Supported by Project 5-100 that aims at maximizing the competitive position of leading Russian universities in the global education market
A high relevance of this research field is confirmed by
world scientific community

Nobel Prizes 2012 in Physiology or Medicine Discovering the possibility to differentiated cell reprogramming into pluripotent ones
he recognition of genomic editing via CRISPR as a scientific breakthrough of the year 2015 by The Science journal
The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2015 for mechanistic studies of DNA repair

Key achievements
R&D and engineering projects at the world scale
A set of enzymes has been developed for the improvement of degraded DNA quality in the analyses of low-quality biological specimens - "ancient DNA", archived medical probes, forensic probes, deeply processed food products and other.

A series of candidate substances has been obtained, based on natural compounds, for combined therapy of cancer, which brings together the damage of DNA and the inhibition of repair systems, - a new therapeutic approach, approved in 2015 in the USA and Europe.
Humanized monoclonal antibodies against tick-born encephalitis virus have been developed to replace high-cost, not safe, and often low-effective donor immunoglobulin, which currently is in medical practice. Preclinical trials are now at the final stage.
Virus strains have been developed for selective killing of cancer cells. Some works on creation of medicines based on them for clinical trials in the treatment of cancer are currently being done.

Research areas
Genome editing for the development of cell-based models of diseases and the search of efficient therapeutics
  • development of cell-based models of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and hypertrophic cardiomyopathy for their use in pharmacological screening of candidate compounds
  • development of panels of human cells with inactivated DNA reparation pathways for the industrial genotoxicity testing without the use of animals

Development of new tools for molecular genetics and bioanalytical technologies
  • development of technologies of synthesis, immobilization and hybridization of phosphoryl guanidine oligonucleotides for molecular diagnostics
  • development of epigenomic and metabolomic signatures in defecation and blood for early diagnostics of colorectal cancer
  • development of technology of synthesis and purification of recombinant multi-target antibodies
  • producing strains of the enzymes necessary for in vitro genotoxicity analysis, and their forms with improved activity and specificity

Protection and repair systems as a basis of population genetic safety
Studies of functioning of human DNA reparation complexes, the establishment of the connection of DNA reparation with oncogenesis, neurodegeneration and ageing. DNA repair plays an important role in the maintenance of genetic information in cell, since different environmental agents as well as endogenic agents permanently cause DNA damage. Specific protein systems of DNA repair are able to fix any damages of DNA structure. Abnormalities in the work of DNA repair systems cause serious hereditary human diseases, malignancies and senescence. Investigations in this sphere are connected directly with the search of pathways of organisms' survival as well as with optimal ways of treatment of hereditary and oncological diseases.

Bioinformatics technologies of personalized diagnostics of social and economic essential diseases
  • Development and improvement of experimental and statistical methods of data analysis aimed at the search of new human disease biomarkers
  • Analysis of three-dimensional structure of genome and regulation of gene expression based on the data on long-range chromatin interactions.

Food safety in providing the quality of food products using modern biotechnology
Interdisciplinary studies in the field of food safety and quality will be directed to the evaluation of the possibility to use molecular genetic approaches for the control of technological properties of gramineous plants and to the development of new tools of analysis and modeling for identification of science-based prognostic scenarios for agrofood market. The use of modern genetic and genomic methods for revealing new genes, which determine the quality and nutrient value of the grain, and the ability of plants to give a heavy crop and to be used for the industrial production of natural food products.

Breakthrough projects

Publications in journals indexed in Scopus

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Scientific & Technical Council
Dmitriy Zharkov
Leading specialist in the field of fundamental mechanisms of DNA damage, DNA reparation and cell response to genotoxic stress, the creation of molecular- biological tools using DNA reparation ferments, the design of ferments and multi-component complexes of biopolymers with given functions. He has discovered several ferments of human reparation, defined special structures of some DNA-glycosylases, and developed the theory of substrate specificity of ferments that recognize nucleic acids as dynamic multi-stage process.
Pavel Vorobyev
Scientific area: DNA aptamers for bioanalytical and therapeutic applications, DNA nanocomposites.
Vladimir Reznikov
Research interests include stable nitroxyl radicals, chemistry, nitrogen-containing organic compounds, including heterocyclic, chemistry of coordination compounds with paramagnetic ligands, the use of nitroxyl radicals for Molecular Biology and Biophysics (spin labels, probes, pH indicators, detection of NO in vivo, etc). A Laureate of the State Prize of Russia in the field of science and technology (1994).
Olga Lavrik
One of leading Russian scientists in the field of physic-chemical biology. She has contributed a lot into the study of complex key ferment of protein biosynthesis – phenylalanyl-tRNA-synthetase (α2β2) not only with the help of affine modification methods but also X-ray diffraction analysis of high definition. Results of such experiments led to the understanding of tRNA recognition mechanisms. She has been awarded the USSR State prize in the field of chemical enzymology for the study of phenylalanyl-tRNA-synthetase. In the recent year as part of international cooperation professor Lavrik develops methods of atomic-powered microscopy that allow to investigate the interaction of proteins with DNA damages at single-molecule study level as well as methods of X-ray structural analysis to study the structures of supramolecular complexes of DNA reparation.
Sergei Netesov
Well-known scientist in the field of virology, molecular biology and medical biotechnology. He has contributed a lot to the study of molecular diversity of a number of human and animal viruses genomes as well as into the development of diagnostics and preventive treatment of a number of viral infections. Under the supervision of professor Netesov nucleic acid sequences of such viruses genomes as Marburg, Ebola and Western horse brain fever have been defined for the first time in the world. The full-scale DNA-copy of VEE virus has been constructed and turned into a live virus. New genetically engineered variants of oncolytic viruses have been successfully obtained. Genetic variety of Russian strains of crucial for Russian health care viruses has been studied. The most important scientific results obtained by Sergei Netesov's team in the recent years are the following: the study of molecular diversity of A, B and C hepatitis, gastroviruses and enteroviruses that are widely spread in Russia; engineering oncolytic viruses of the new generation; development of a number of viral familias taxonomy using as a sample the filovirus familia.
Elena Bagryanskaya
One of leading Russian scientists in the field of physical chemistry and application of magnetic resonance techniques to study the mechanisms of chemical reaction including nitroxide mediated radical polymerization, structure and function of bioplolymers. Research interests during the last years include the study of functional properties of new spin probes and spin labels based on stable nitroxide and trytil radicals and their supramolecular complexes and development of new magnetic resonance approaches for investigation of the structure and functions of biopolymers. E. Bagryanskaya is the member of Editorial Board of "Applied Magnetic Resonance", the Russian representative in the International society of magnetic resonance committee, vice president of the International Society of Electron Paramagnetic Resonance , President of Asia-Pacific EPR Society , President of Russian EPR Society. She was awarded by President grant for young Doctor of Sciences (1996-1998), and by Russian Science Support Foundation for young Doctor of Sciences (2001-2002).
Alexander Graphodatsky
A prominent scientist in the field of human and animal cytogenetics and the evolution of mammals, authoring over 160 papers. The primary research interests are organization and evolution of mammalian karyotypes. He carried out the first Russian studies in human and animal genome mapping using in situ hybridization methods, including FISH.

Prof. Grafodatsky was a member of the scientific board of the Russian State and Technical Program "Human Genome". At present, he is a member of the Human Genome Organisation (HUGO) and the RAS Scientific Council on Genetics and Breeding. In 2009, Prof. Graphodatsky become one pf the founding members of Project Genome 10K.

Yuri Orlov
World recognized specialist in the field of computer genomics, development of software to analyze data of high-performance genomic sequencing including ChIP-seq and ChIA-PET technology. He deals with interdisciplinary challenges of behavior neuro-informatics. Yuri Orlov is also the member of the international organization of human genome study HUGO.
Maxim Filipenko
World recognized specialist in the field of methods development to define structural polymorphism of genomes, design, cloning and expression of recombinant proteins, as well as in the field of system biology and genomic and transcriptomic data analysis. He is the active member of «The European Association for Predictive, Preventive & Personalised Medicine».
Bakulina Anastasia
The main research interests include the investigation of protein function and structure relationships as well as
the design of molecules for medical and biotechnological applications.
Also of importance is bioinformatics support of experimental biologists.