Department: BIOLOGÍA MOLECULAR

Area: Microbiology

Research group: APLICACIONES BIOTECNOLÓGICAS DE ACTINOBACTERIAS

Email: michal.letek@unileon.es

Personal web: https://microbio.unileon.es/wordpress/?page_id=1143

Doctor by the Universidad de León with the thesis Implicación de la proteína DivIVA en el crecimiento polar de "Corynebacterium glutamicum" 2007. Supervised by Dr. José Antonio Gil Santos, Dr. Luis Mariano Mateos Delgado.

Michal Letek (ML) is a Distinguished Researcher at the University of León since 2019. He received a BSc (Hons) in 2002 and obtained his Ph.D. in Molecular Biology and Biotechnology in 2007. He has been a visiting researcher at the University of Oxford (2004), University of Texas (2005), and University of Lund (2006). ML has been a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Bristol (the UK, 2007), University of Edinburgh (the UK, 2009), and Centro de Investigación del Cáncer de Salamanca (2009-2013), and has obtained several competitive fellowships, among others: FPU, Wellcome Trust, JAE-Doc, Juan de la Cierva, and Beatriz Galindo. ML has worked as a Lecturer and Senior Lecturer at the University of Roehampton (the UK, 2013-2019), he has a recognized research trajectory for the effects of the I3 program and was accredited by the ANECA as “Profesor Titular de Universidad” in 2020. ML has an H-index of 22 and more than 50 research outputs, most of them published in Q1/D1 journals including PLOS Genetics, EMBO J, Antioxidants, Molecular Microbiology, JBC, Journal of Bacteriology or Veterinary Research. ML has three six-year research periods (sexenios; 18 uninterrupted years from 2003 to 2020) certified by the National Commission for the Evaluation of Research Activity (CNEAI). ML is part of the editorial board of Antibiotics, Microbiology Research, Frontiers in Microbiology and Frontiers for Young Minds. ML is a reviewer for the BBSRC, MRC, AEI and the Latvian Council of Science. Since 2022, ML has been the PI of the "Grupo de Investigación Reconocido" GIR-481 BIOACTINOTEC and the "Unidad de Investigación Consolidada" UIC-352. Research interests: My research work has always been focused on identifying novel ways to control bacterial pathogens. During my Ph.D., I studied bacterial cytokinesis and cell wall synthesis to understand how Actinobacteria grow and divide. This group of bacteria includes important human pathogens that are becoming increasingly resistant to currently available antibiotics, such as Mycobacterium tuberculosis. The proteins involved in bacterial cytokinesis and cell wall synthesis could be used as targets for novel antibiotherapies. However, I have also an interest in studying actinobacterial virulence to identify novel ways to block the pathogenesis of these bacteria. During my first postdoctoral years, I functionally analyzed the genome of an intracellular pathogen, Rhodococcus equi. The reconstruction of the regulatory network of this pathogen led to the discovery of novel virulence factors used by R. equi to survive inside macrophages. I am now studying the redox biology of these Actinobacteria during host cell infection. My research work is also focused on the identification and characterization of the host molecular factors that are involved in the intracellular survival and proliferation of Staphylococcus aureus, another major human pathogen. This could be crucial to design novel therapeutic strategies to control MRSA and to identify the major determinants of susceptibility to S. aureus. Academic achievements and interests: ML has lectured in Biomedicine, Biology, and Biotechnology, in undergraduate and postgraduate programs at the Universities of León, Edinburgh, and Roehampton. ML is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy since 2014, a qualified professional Ph.D. supervisor since 2015, and has so far directed or co-directed 3 Ph.D. theses, and more than 40 dissertations of Master or Undergraduate students.