Khaitovich Laboratory

AboutTeamPublicationsFundingThesis defencesCourses

Start date – April 2014

As humans, we are always interested to know how exactly our species came to exist. Human evolution has resulted in a species that possesses an apparently unique set of phenotypic capabilities. Furthermore, humans are capable of modifying their environment through process of animal and plant domestication and cultivation. These evolutionary events resulted in reciprocal adaptations of humans and domesticated species. Some of these recent human adaptations might represent vulnerable points within otherwise well buffered functional networks, resulting in uniquely human disease susceptibilities.

In our laboratory, we search for molecular events underlying evolutionary adaptations of humans and some of the key domesticated species through integrative analysis of genetic, transcriptomic, and metabolomic data measured in modern and archaic humans, humans affected by cognitive disorders, related non-human primates, mammalian models, and domesticated species. Following this approach, we have identified several molecular mechanisms that potentially underlie the evolution of the human phenotype and identified changes in brain organization accompanying cognitive development, as well as functional decline in ageing and common cognitive disorders.

The research conducted in our laboratory is built on a combination of the following resources and instruments:

  • Collection of unique human and non-human samples.
  • Use of novel high-throughput data generation methods, including high-throughput sequencing and high precision mass spectrometry to generate comprehensive datasets covering gene structure (splicing) and activity (expression), as well as cellular and organismal physiology estimated using concentrations of thousands of biochemical markers: metabolites and lipids.
  • Use of novel analytical tools and algorithms to analyze data and intergrade heterogeneous data types.
  • Use of classical laboratory approaches, including microscopy and immunohistochemistry, as well as cell culture and organism-level experiments, to verified specific results obtained by the analysis of large datasets.

We use various combinations of these resources and instruments to get insights into complex biological problems, with the main focus on:

  • Evolution of cognitive abilities unique to humans or particularly advances in humans.
  • Metabolic and structural organization of the human brain, its evolution and variability across human populations.
  • Molecular features of natural and artificial selections in humans and domesticated species.
  • Lipidome determinants of maximal lifespan in mammals.Bozek K, Khrameeva E, Reznick J, Omerbašić D, Bennett N, Lewin G, Azpurua J, Gorbunova V, Seluanov A, Regnard P, Wanert F, Marchal J, Pifferi F, Aujard F, Liu Z, Shi P, Pääbo S, Schroeder F, Willmitzer L, Giavalisco P, Khaitovich PSci Rep. 2017 Dec;7(1):5. doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-00037-7. Epub 2017 Jan 31. PubMed PMID: 28127055; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5428381

Research grants/Industry funded research

Study of organisation of neuronal response mechanisms in primates, rodents and invertebrates brain
Development of an oilseed expedited selection technology based on high-throughput methods for genotyping and molecular phenotyping to ensure food security of the Russian Federation.
Big Neuro Data processing infrastructure to support new NeuroNet markets development (CoBrain-Analitycs).
Development of the technology of genetic evaluation of breeding pigs for economic-useful traits based on the methods of gene and genomic analysis and high-precision mass spectrometry to ensure the competitiveness of domestic breeding pig
Conducting tests of 10 promising hybrids of different soybean varieties. Getting full-genomic data

Systems biology fellowship

Molecular signatures of normal and aberrant development, aging and longevity in human brain
MSc 2017
Advanced Bioinformatics Lab