Department of Histology and Embryology
The Department of Histology and Embryology was established in 1923 in the Faculty of Medicine of Lithuanian University in Kaunas. The first head of the Department was Eber Landau, Professor of Bern University in Switzerland. Prof. E.Landau worked in the Department until 1932. In 1934, another foreign Professor Vera Danchakova was employed. Prof. V. Danchakova arrived from Columbia University (USA, New York) in 1934 and stayed until 1937. From 1939 to 1971, the Department of Histology and Embryology was headed by prof. Blažiejus Abraitis, from 1971 to 1994 by prof. Albertas Vitkus and from 1994 to 2003 by assoc. prof. Kęstutis Baltrušaitis. In 2003, Professor Angelija Valančiūtė was elected the head of the Department.
The Department of Histology and Embryology owns 2 microscopy laboratories equipped with modern facilities. During laboratory work, every student is supplied with binocular microscope Olympus. For teaching purposes, in every laboratory there is an image demonstration system composed of a teacher’s microscope, aninteractive whiteboard and 1 or 2 monitors. This system allows teachers to demonstrate live images from histological slides and helps in the teaching process. The Department of Histology and Embryology also owns the Museum of Embryology with more than 100 items. The collection of preparations started before the Second World War and was well preserved. The collection of the Museum includes preparations of aborted normal embryos at different stages of development and with various birth defects. Our Department also owns a collection of old microscopes that belonged to the Department at different periods. The Department is equipped with items necessary for preparation of histological slides, incubation of chicken embryos and immunohistochemistry.
The academic staff of the Department is composed of 9 teachers, including 2 professors, 4 associate professors, 2 lecturers and 2 assistants. The majority of the academic staff (7 teachers) are full-time employees, and the remaining 2 are part-time teachers from other departments of the University. Among full-time staff, there also is a study administrator and 3 technicians.
The Department of Histology and Embryology is responsible for teaching the Histology and Embryology subject to first year students of the Faculty of Medicine and to first and second year students of the Faculty of Odontology. Our Department is involved in the teaching process in integrated modules of the second and third year of medical studies. These modules are the following: Basics of Pre-clinical Studies and Locomotion, Nutrient Uptake and Homeostasis, Respiration and Circulation, Fundamentals of Neuroscience, Human Reproductive Health and Essentials of Clinical Studies, Immune Response and Infection. The modules include lectures, laboratory work, seminars and tutorials. The Department of Histology and Embryology is responsible for the organisation the part Reproduction and Inheritance of the module Human Reproductive Health and Essentials of Clinical Studies. Our Department also teaches the Histology and Embryology subject to students of Medical and Veterinary Biochemistry and Medical and Veterinary Genetics. In the academic year 2012-2013, we started teaching in the following new study programmes: Obstetrics and Medical Psychology. In the academic year 2012-2013, we started teaching the new subject Embryology and Developmental Genetics to students of Medical and Veterinary Genetics. Our academic staff also participate in several elective courses, including students’ scientific research, and postgraduate studies (PhD doctoral studies).
Research in the Department of Histology and Embryology has 2 main directions: 1. Investigation of age-related changes of female and male reproductive system and 2. Investigation of changes in chicken embryo chorioallantoic membrane and the embryo itself after transplantation of malignant cells on the chorioallantoic membrane. The teachers regularly participate in international scientific conferences.