After 4 years of successful study according to Vernadski PhD program* at Skoltech and Sorbonne University, PhD student Sofia Medvedeva completed her PhD thesis. Sofia conducted her research on the natural diversity of CRISPR spacers under the supervision of professors Konstantin Severinov and Mart Krupovic. The joint PhD thesis defense will take place at the Pasteur Institute, Paris, on June 3. The PhD defense jury was jointly appointed by the institutions and represents an equal contribution from both parties. Follow this link for detailed information about the defense.
In her thesis, Sofia explored the diversity of CRISPR spacers in different natural prokaryotic communities, including an extinct Escherichia coli community from a mammoth intestine, Flavobacterium communities from Antarctic surface snow, Thermus communities from four distant hot springs in Italy and Chile, and a Sulfolobales community from a Japanese thermal field. The comparison between the environmental spacer sets that were gathered and with spacers from public databases, as well as with virus sequences, allowed her to reach several significant conclusions and gain insights into virus-host and virus-virus interactions in natural microbial communities.
*Within the framework of the Vernadsky program, aimed at supporting the mobility of young scientists, the Embassy of France in Russia awards grants (scholarships) to postgraduate students who study under the joint French-Russian postgraduate program.