Dr Michael Romanov completed his tertiary education and PhD (Candidate of Biological Sciences) in Ukraine. Since then, he has been participating in research projects in the field of avian genetics and genomics in the USA, UK, Germany, Russia and Ukraine.
Over recent years, Michael was involved in a research project in Prof Darren Griffin’s lab supported by a BBSRC grant. The main focus of this project was to produce comparative cytogenetic maps in multiple bird species. This benefited from both lab work and bioinformatic support for the proposed avian molecular cytogenetics studies. In the course of this project, the following pivotal hypotheses were tackled and proved to understand genome evolution in birds and other vertebrates: (1) homologous synteny blocks (HSBs) are distributed in birds in a non-random fashion, (2) specific gene ontology signatures can be observed within HSBs and evolutionary breakpoint regions (EBRs), (3) unlike mammals, EBRs represent recombination hotspots in birds, and (4) transposable elements are more frequent in EBRs.
His current studies, in collaboration with Russian research labs, are focused on: (1) development of the methodology of genomic selection in chickens for the conservation and effective use of the potential of genetic resources, and creation of highly productive strains, and (2) development of state-of-the-art biotechnologies to assess gene expression in relation to performance and disease resistance in the poultry industry.
Insights into relationships between the genes of immunity, metabolism and productive traits in laying hens, their nutrition and state of the microbiome in their gastrointestinal tract are very important for progress in the poultry industry sector. Relevant genomic applications serve as most appropriate and effective tools to address these biological questions in breeding, rearing and exploiting commercial poultry lines and crossbreds. Outcomes of the research in this field will help improve poultry production and reduce the risks of human diseases caused by foodborne toxicoinfections. Practical solutions developed during the implementation of this research will increase profitability of the poultry industry and will contribute to improving food security. Interests in this area and independent activity of Dr Mike Romanov led to a project supported by the Russian government agency and aimed at a comprehensive testing of genomic technologies for evaluating gene expression as related to the productivity and resistance of laying hens of industrial crosses when using feed additives that correct the intestinal microbiota. Another continuing interest is non-invasive methods and technologies to assess physical characteristics of poultry eggs that may potentially improve hatchability and lead to developing future cross-disciplinary manufacturing systems including sex separation in-ovo that would contribute to reduction of costs and wastes in the poultry industry.