Scientific studies in the Institute of Anatomy involve 2 periods, i.e. anthropology and neuroanatomy. Anthropology in Kaunas was initiated and developed by professor Jurgis Žilinskas and his followers (A. Jurgutis, J. Dobrovolskaitė-Tiknienė, R. Masalskis and others) in 1920 and continued until 1940. Kaunas anthropologists studied human fossil skulls and somatometry of the Lithuanian population. After the second world war, anthropological studies moved to Vilnius University together with prof. J. Žilinskas and his follower prof. S. Pavilonis.
Research work on neuroanatomy was undertaken by assoc. prof. Artūras Jurgutis who collected a large number of human brain samples and started to analyse macroscopically cerebral hemispheres and brain stem structures in order to identify age- and gender-related variations. The results of his studies were summarised in his dissertation "Human brain weight and structural variations”, which was defended in 1957 in the USSR Academy of Medical Sciences.
In the sixties, innervation of the human cardiovascular system has become the main topic of the researchers in the Institute of Anatomy. A pioneer in these studies was professor Adolfas Urbonas focusing on vascular innervation. Followers of prof. A. Urbonas applied neuroanatomical methods for research into the human heart and the hearts of animals. Throughout the period of neuroanatomical investigations into the cardiovascular system, new methods were developed and improved including microscopic dissection, silver impregnation, neurohistochemistry, electron microscopy, immunohistochemistry and intracellular staining. The findings on neuroanatomy of the cardiovascular system were summarised in 24 doctoral dissertations.
Heart innervation has been the main subject of scientific research in the Institute of Anatomy for more than 50 years. Currently, intrinsic cardiac neural plexus, its topography, intracardiac ganglia, neurons, nerves and nerve fibres are in a scope of the present neuroanatomical investigations as well.
Every 2 years, the Institute of Anatomy organises the Symposium of Baltic morphologists. The Institute maintains contacts with colleagues from Latvia, Estonia, Belarus, Ukraine, Czech Republic, Germany, the United States, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Austria, Poland, Japan, South Korea, Turkey and other countries.