Michael J. Gait obtained a Ph. D. in 1973 in Chemistry from the University of Birmingham UK. From 1973-75 he was Research Associate at M.I.T with H. Gobind Khorana working one gene synthesis. Since 1975 he has been a staff scientist at the Medical Research Council, Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge, UK, becoming a MRC Programme Leader in 1994. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry and was elected to EMBO in 2006.
He was an Executive Editor of Nucleic Acids Research from 1986 – 2012 and served as senior editor for 10 years. He was President of the International Society of Nucleosides, Nucleotides and Nucleic Acid for 2009-2010 and has taken other roles in this society. He has been a board member of the Oligonucleotide Therapeutics Society practically from the very start and has helped to organize several OTS meetings, including as chair of the OTS committee for the 5th Annual meeting in Japan in 2009.
He started his career on development of solid-phase DNA and RNA synthesis and later worked on studies of ribozymes and HIV RNA-protein interactions. More recently, his group has focused on steric blocking antisense oligonucleotide analogues, initially targeting HIV RNA and more recently concentrating on PNA and PMO oligonucleotide analogues and their peptide conjugates for splicing redirection and as therapeutics for treatment of Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) and other neuromuscular diseases.
As part of the UK MDEX clinical consortium and in particularly in partnership with Matthew Wood and his group at the University of Oxford, his lab hopes to take Peptide-PMO conjugates to the clinic for neuromuscular disease treatment, and they are now starting a own spin-off company in order to effect this.