Department of Biochemistry
Department of Biochemistry
The department’s mission is to provide help to the students of all Health Sciences study programmes in gaining appropriate knowledge of the basics of biochemistry and skills necessary for the analysis, assessment and interpretation of laboratory data of humans and animals; to investigate molecular mechanisms of damage to tissues and organs and to perform analysis of innovative food products quality.
About the Department
The Biochemistry Department is located in the both academies of LUHS. In the Medical Academy there are 3 teaching laboratories, one of them is designed for student practical training of most common biochemistry procedures and methods within Medical and Veterinary Biochemistry study programme. The laboratory is equipped for computerised spectrophotometry, oximetry, immunohistochemical assay, etc. The other two laboratories are for medical chemistry and biochemistry studies of Odontology, Pharmacy, Medicine, Public Health, Nursing, Food Science and Animal Science programmes 1st and 2nd year students.
In the Veterinary Academy there are three more laboratories for teaching and one for scientific research. One of the teaching laboratories is specializing in food chemical analysis. The research laboratory is equipped with new gas-chromatography system adapted for analysis of food and biological specimen components.
Academic staff of the Department is comprised of 29 teachers: nine professors, eight associate professors, seven lecturers and five assistant lecturers. The studies administrator, two laboratory managers and five senior laboratory technicians provide service of the studies.
The Department of Biochemistry started as a Department of Physiology and Physiological Chemistry founded in 1921 by professor Vladas Lašas at the High Courses of Lithuania. Under the same name the department operated until 1944 in the Medicine faculty of Vytautas Magnus University. All those years professor Vladas Lašas was the Head of Department. In the year 1944, the Department of Physiology and Physiological Chemistry was divided into two separate units. One of them became Department of Biological and General Chemistry with professor Alfonsas Gabrėnas as the Head. Later, when Institute of Medicine was established in Kaunas in 1950, it became the Department of Chemistry. In 1953, the department was divided again forming the Department of Biological and Organic Chemistry. In 1956-1966, its Head was professor Alfonsas Gabrėnas, succeeded by academician professor Antanas Praškevičius. In 1987, the department was re-named to Department of Biological and Bioorganic Chemistry. The subject courses the department delivered were oriented toward medical biochemistry and clinical biochemistry. Since 2000, the department has been entitled Biochemistry Department, managed until 2004 by academician professor Antanas Praškevičius, and afterwards by professor Laima Ivanovienė.
Kaunas University of Medicine and Lithuanian Academy of Veterinary joined together in 2010 to become Lithuanian University of Health Sciences. The Department of Biochemistry has expanded and participates in teaching of most LUHS programmes.
The department is responsible for I cycle study programme of Medical and Veterinary Biochemistry. The most remarkable representatives of department’s academic staff are the members of Medical and Veterinary Biochemistry programme committee. The department provides study courses on medical chemistry, biochemistry and biological chemistry for Odontology, Pharmacy, Veterinary medicine, Animal Technologies (I cycle), Nursing (I cycle), Public Health (I cycle), Food Science(I cycle), Veterinary Food Safety (I cycle), and Animal Science (I cycle) study programmes. The major part of pedagogical work comes from department’s activities in integrated study programme of Medicine: the study course of Medical chemistry is provided for 1st year students, the department contributes to teaching of almost all problem-based pre-clinical modules of 2nd and 3rd year, and some clinical medicine modules of the 4th year. The academic staff of the department act as bachelor and master thesis supervisors in Medicine, Veterinary Medicine, Food Science, Veterinary Food Safety, and Medical and Veterinary Biochemistry study programmes.
The department’s teachers are involved in PhD student training. They lecture and provide seminar sessions for PhD students in fields of Medicine, Biology, and Veterinary Medicine.
Teachers and PhD students at the Biochemistry Department conduct scientific research in two areas: 1. Molecular mechanisms of tissue and organ damage; 2. Complex evaluation of innovative foods. The research is carried out in tight cooperation with Neuroscience institute, Department of Maxillofacial Surgery at Hospital of LUHS Kauno Klinikos, and other research centres of LUHS.
Results of the researches are presented in conferences and scientific journals with citation indexes of Clarivate Analytics Web of Science. During the recent five years, 39 such articles were published.
Research posters of PhD students were nominated at conferences and other scientific events: Evelina Rekuvienė (supervisor prof. R.Morkūnienė) was II prize holder at 9th Lithuanian Neuroscience Conference in 2017 (LUHS, Kaunas) and I prize holder at 8th Lithuanian Neuroscience Conference in 2016 (Vilnius).
Connections with National Institute for Public Health and Environment (Bilthoven, the Netherlands), Geneva University (Switzerland), Cambridge University (UK), and other European universities help to improve the methods of teaching, to master in implementation of new methods in scientific research at LUHS, and assist in development of new contacts.
Academic staff of the Department contribute to public activity developed by LUHS. We take part in educational events organized by high-schools by making presentations about study programmes of LUHS and sharing information about entry requirements. Teachers of high-schools also come to the department for educational purposes: a group of chemistry teachers visited the department in 2017. In 2018 by initiative of Association of Biology Teachers and Association of Chemistry Teachers, the department organized two sessions on advanced methods of DNA analysis.
Head of the department: prof. Laima Ivanovienė
Phone: +370 37 327323