Department of Drug Chemistry
The University of Lithuania (Kaunas) was founded in 1922 (in 1930 renamed Vytautas Magnus University). The Faculty of Medicine of the University had 4 branches; one of them was the Pharmacy branch, which had only one Department of Pharmacy and Pharmacognosy. The Department was established and headed until 1939 by prof. Petras Raudonikis. In 1932, the building of the Faculty of Medicine (A.Mickevičius str. 9) was built and the Department of Pharmacy and Pharmacognosy was transferred to the third floor of the building. In 1944, after the re-establishment of the University, this Department was reorganised into 2 profile departments: the Department of Pharmacy (later renamed the Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry) and the Department of Botany and Pharmacognosy. The Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry was headed by prof. B. Šiaulis since 1939 until his death in 1957. The Department was headed by assoc. prof. V. Brasiūnas in 1957-1972, by assoc. prof. E. Tarasevičius in 1972-1983, by assoc. prof. P. Vainauskas in 1983-1987, by assoc. prof. F. Malinauskas in 1987-1993 and by prof. V. Janulis in 1993-2008. Since 2008, after reorganisation of the Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry and Pharmacognosy into 2 departments, the Department of Pharmacognosy has been headed by prof. V. Janulis and the Department of Drug Chemistry by prof. H. Rodovičius.
The staff of the Department defended their doctoral theses: E. Tarasevičius in Lviv Medical Institute in 1967, R. Bernatonienė in Moscow Medical Institute in 1977, H. Rodovičius in Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv in 1984, F. Malinauskas in All-Union Scientific-Research Institute of Drug Chemistry and Technology of Kharkiv in 1987, V. Brusokas in Moscow Institute of Precision Chemical Technology in 1988, A. Dagilytė in Kaunas University of Medicine in 2001, V. Petrikaitė in Kaunas University of Medicine in 2007 and R. Benetis in Kaunas University of Medicine in 2009. E. Tarasevičius defended his thesis for the degree of Habilitated Doctor in Moscow Medical Academy in 1990.
The Department of Drug Chemistry delivers the following subjects in the study programme of pharmacy: Pharmaceutical chemistry for second and third year students, 2 elective subjects in the module Discovery of drugs – Drug structure-activity relationship and Molecular modelling in drug discovery – for third year students, Chemistry of medicines for fourth year students, Xenobiotics metabolism and Practice of pharmaceutical analysis for fifth year students. The teachers of the Department deliver the following subjects for pharmacy technicians in the master’s study programme in pharmacy: Pharmaceutical chemistry for second year students, Chemistry of medicines for second and third year students, Xenobiotics metabolism for third year students and Practice of pharmaceutical analysis for fourth year students. Under the supervision of the staff of the Department, students of the Faculty of Pharmacy perform practice of pharmaceutical analysis in various pharmacies of Lithuania.
The subject of the research work of the Department of Drug Chemistry is “Synthesis, analysis and investigation of the action of biologically active compounds in living organisms”. In the Department, the researchers perform synthesis and analysis of biologically active compounds, investigate relation between chemical and biological activity, as well as research metabolism, identify metabolites, investigate relation between chemical structure and pharmacological activity and select most effective compounds for preclinical research. Synthesis of the new compounds with antifungous, antimicrobial, antituberculosis and anticancer activities is based on pharmacophore modelling and further structure activity relationship analysis. We also study a possible protective role of phytochemicals, Zn and Se on the protein synthesis system under the action of the ions of heavy metals (Pb,Cd, Al) in animals as well as the action of phytochemicals on the dynamic changes of heavy metals in vivo and interactions of biologically active compounds with heavy metals in vivo.