Sergei Mirkin

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Sergei Mirkin is a Russian-American molecular biologist. He holds the White Family Chair of Biology at Tufts University.


Sergei Mirkin was born in 1956 in Moscow, Russia. His father was a professional violin player. His mother gave up playing cello to be an engineer. In 1978, he received a master's degree in Genetics from the Moscow State University. From 1978 to 1989, he worked in the Institute of Molecular Genetics, Russian Academy of Sciences. In 1983, he received a Ph.D. degree in Molecular Biology (advisor – Roman B. Khesin), after which he joined the laboratory of Maxim Frank-Kamenetskii (currently, Professor of Biomedical Engineering, Boston University). In 1989, he joined the faculty of the University of Illinois at Chicago, where he worked until moving on to the position of the White Family Chair of Biology at Tufts University, in 2007.[1]


His work focuses on unusual DNA structures and their role in genomic instability, as well as on dynamic mutations, such as Trinucleotide repeat disorders. His major scientific accomplishments include discovery of triple helix structure of H-DNA (triplex DNA, Triple-stranded DNA)[2] and discovery of the fact that trinucleotude repeats in DNA inhibit replication of the genome, which is likely to be the cause for more than 30 hereditary disorders in humans, including Fragile X syndrome, Huntington's disease, Myotonic dystrophy and Friedreich's ataxia.[3] The former was done in Russia and the latter in the US.


  1. ^ Mirkin Laboratory website
  2. ^ Mirkin, S. M.; V. I. Lyamichev; K. N. Drushlyak; V. N. Dobrynin; S. A. Filippov; M. D. Frank-Kamenetskii (December 3, 1987). "DNA H form requires a homopurine-homopyrimidine mirror repeat" (PDF). 330. Nature: 495–497. doi:10.1038/330495a0. 
  3. ^ Samadashwily, G.M.; Raca, G.; Mirkin, S.M. (1997). "Trinucleotide repeats affect DNA replication in vivo" (PDF). 17. Nature Genetics: 298–304. doi:10.1038/ng1197-298.