Mike Gait obtained a Ph. D. in Chemistry in 1973 at the University of Birmingham, UK working on Nucleic Acids analogues. After a postdoc 1973-75 at M.I.T USA with H. Gobind Khorana working on gene synthesis, he returned to the UK as a Staff Scientist at the Medical Research Council, Laboratory of Molecular Biology, in Cambridge. He formed his own group in 1978, becoming a Senior Staff Scientist in 1987 and then in 1994 he became a MRC Programme Leader.
His early work was devoted to development of methods of solid-phase DNA and RNA synthesis, becoming particularly known for his edited book “Oligonucleotide Synthesis: A Practical approach” in 1984. Later he switched to the synthesis of nucleic acids analogues in of study of ribozymes and HIV RNA-protein interactions. In the late 1990s, he started to develop the synthesis and biological activity of peptides as conjugates of steric block antisense oligonucleotide analogues. This became particularly successful in the case of uncharged analogues PNA and PMO. These conjugates were applied initially as potential antiviral agents and later for redirection of pre-mRNA splicing. In 2007 he formed a very strong collaboration with Matthew Wood and colleagues in Oxford to develop peptide conjugates of PMO for exon skipping in Duchenne muscular dystrophy. This work has now expanded to other neuromuscular diseases. He joined the UK MDEX clinical consortium in 2010.
Mike Gait is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry and he has been President of the International Society of Nucleosides, Nucleotides and Nucleic Acids. He has been a board member of the Oligonucleotide Therapeutic Society since it’s founding in 2003. He was also elected to EMBO in 2006. He was an Executive Editor of Nucleic Acids Research from 1988-2012 and remains an advisory board member. He is also on the advisory board of a number of other nucleic acids and therapeutics journals. He has over 250 research publications.
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