NSU Students’ Internship in Oxford

A biology internship for NSU students is offered by the Oxford Institute for Radiation Oncology (UK). Our students are planning to study DNA repair in cancer cells under the supervision of Professor Grigory Dianov. This research is vital for understanding how healthy cells turn into cancer ones and for discovering new approaches to overcome radio- and chemotherapy resistance. NSU is going to develop cooperation with British researchers in this area.

Senior students of the Natural Sciences Department, Dmitry Limonov and Petr Mikhailov tell us about the internship they are to go through.

“We are lucky to go to Oxford University and work under the supervision of Prof. Grigory L. Dianov, a renowned expert in studying the proteins and mechanisms involved in the coordination and regulation of Base Excision Repair (BER). While working at the Institute for Radiation Oncology for two months, we are going to conduct a series of experiments on BER.”

Petr Mikhailov creates cancer cell models by knocking down XRCC1 and causing a BER deficiency, followed by studying other genes expression. There is a hypothesis that the genes increasing their expression are essential for the organism to survive during the knock down. Then he plans to knock down these genes as well, simultaneously with knocking down a DNA repair gene. Cell survivability is expected to decrease.

Dmitry Limonov deals with the influence of PARP1 inhibition on normal human fibroblasts. We already know that the loss of expression of this protein, which is one of the most important structures in the BER system, causes changes in the expression of other BER structures, which, in turn, leads to failure of DNA repair. Further experiments at Oxford University are to prove how PARP1 inhibition affects healthy cells. It is important to find it out as this approach is currently used in cancer therapy for breaking the DNA repair in cancer cells artificially.

BER is one of the main systems of DNA repair which maintains the DNA molecule's integrity and helps to prevent some serious diseases, e.g. cancer.

The students are grateful to the science adviser of SAE Synthetic Biology and the head of the laboratory of genomic research at NSU Prof. Dmitry Zharkov and the Dean of the Natural Sciences Department at NSU Prof. Vladimir Reznikov for their support and encouragement while making the students’ dream to conduct research at Oxford University come true.

The laboratory of genomic research at NSU plans to start close cooperation with Prof. G. Dianov’s laboratory at Oxford in the areas discussed.