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.
- Pharmaceutical chemistry for 2nd and 3rd year students;
- Scientific research practice for 3rd year students;
- Chemistry of medicines for 4th year students;
- Drug quality for 5th year students
- Drug metabolism for 5th year students;
- Drug analysis in pharmacy practice organization and evaluation for 5th year students.
- Master's thesis for 4th and 5th year students.
- Pharmaceutical Biochemistry for the 3rd year students of the MF MVB program
- MODULE "Pharmacognosy and Pharmaceutical Chemistry" study subject "Pharmaceutical chemistry" (for students of the 1st year students of the Joint Master's study program "Medical Chemistry" of the KTU-LUHS)
- Discovery of medicinal substances
Topics of Research and Development
- Synthesis and analysis of new biologically active substances. The synthesis of new biologically active compounds is carried out, the relationship between their chemical structure and the pharmacological action is determined.
- Antioxidant, antimicrobial and anticancer activity of plant products and chemical substances. Conditions are chosen for the optimal extraction of active substances from the plant material, the antioxidant activity of the extracts and chemical substances is determined, the effects on bacteria and fungi are carried out, anticancer activity is evaluated in cancer cell cultures.
- Studies of drug substances activity and penetration in cancer cell 2D and 3D cultures. The effect of herbal and chemical substances on the viability of the cancer cells and their penetration into cell monolayers and their spheroids (3D cultures), the effect on clonogenicity, migration and invasion is determined.
- Development of functionalized nanoformulations for targeted cancer therapy. Nanoformulations selectively targeting cancer cells are designed, their stability testing, release of the active substance and activity in 2D and 3D model systems is performed.
Projects since 2010
- 2009 10 01 – 2011 09 30 prof. V.Petrikaitė participated in a postdoctoral scholarship at the Institute of Biotechnology funded by Lithuanian Science Council. Supervisor of scholarship – prof. D.Matulis. Postdoctoral research topic: „Evaluation of pharmacokinetic properties, toxicity and anticancer activity of human Hsp90 inhibitors“. Project value – 149 854 Lt (43 400 Eur.).
- The Department has been implementing the LSC-funded project SVE-06/2014 "Perennial Legumes as a Source of Value-Added Ingredients for Functional Food", together with the Lithuanian Center for Agrarian and Forest Sciences and Vilnius University. Project start: 04/04/2014. Project end: 31/12/2015. The project value is 100 000 Lt. (28 962 Eur.)
- The Department has carried out a project supported by LSC in accordance with the signed Agreement on Student Research Exercise SMT2014P312. Scientific research topic "Synthesis of new 4-imidazolinone compounds" Research period from 24.04.2014 to 24.05.2014. Student Eligijus Kupriunas, supervisor prof. Hiliaras Rodovicius. This agreement was concluded in the framework of the Council project "Promotion of Student's Scientific Activity" in the framework of the Human Resource Development Program Priority 3 "Strengthening Researcher's Skills" of the Year 2007-2013 "Promotion of Researchers and Other Researchers' Mobility and Student Research Activities" under Financing and Administration contract No. VP1-3.1-SMM-01-V-02-003, signed in 2011 November 30 between the European Social Fund Agency, the Ministry of Education and Science and the Lithuanian Science Council - student research (free from studies). Project value is 1875 Lt. (543 Eur)
- In 2014 Assoc. Prof. V. Petrikaitė supervised the student‘s A.Ruminaitė scientific practice. Topic of the research: „Evaluation of anticancer activity of nitrothiophene derivatives“. Practice was implemented according to the Lithuanian Research Council project „Promotion of Student Research activities“, under Financing and Administration contract No. VP1-3.1-SMM-01-V-02-003, signed in 2011 November 30 between the European Social Fund Agency, the Ministry of Education and Science and the Lithuanian Science Council. Project value is 2500 Lt (724 Eur.).
- The doctoral student of the department, Jonas Salys, was involved in the project of the LUHS Science Foundation "Synthesis of new 4-thiazolinone, 4-imidazolinone compounds, their anticancer activity". Project start: 2015-01. Project end: 2015-12. Project value 10 000 Lt. (2896 Eur)
- KTU-LSMU joint project "Influence of ultrasound for efficiency of anticancer drugs in 3D cultures formed from different types of cells". Project start: April 1, 2017. Project end: 31st December 2017. Project leader from LSMU part was prof. V.Petrikaite. Project value 10 000 Eur.
- ProBioSanus Research Delivery Agreement "Qualitative Analysis of the Metabolites of Probiotic Bacillus and Lactobacillus sp" according to the Measure No 1 of the EU Funds Investment Action Program Priority 1 "Promotion of Research, Experimental Development and Innovation". 012.1-MITA-K-824 "Innovative Checks". Deadline for service from 01.01.2017 - 02.02.2018. Value 4000 Eur.
- Prof. V. Petrikaitė and PhD student I.Januškevičienė participate in a research project „Application of exosomes for targeted drug delivery (EXOTARGET)“, funded under measure 01.2.2.-LMT-K-718 Targeted research in smart specialisation areas of priority axis 1 Promotion of research, development and innovations of the operational programme for the European Union funds‘ investment in 2014–2020 1. Project leader – dr. Aistė Jekabsonė, project value is 499 872.20 Eur.
- PhD student M.Paškevičiūtė is involved in the project funded by LUHS Science Foundation „Application of intracellular transport modulators to enhance the penetration of doxorubicin and its pegylated formulations into 2D and 3D cell cultures“. Project start: 2018-01-01, project end: 2018-12-31. Project value is 2897 Eur.
- PD student I.Januškevičienė is involved in the project funded by LUHS Science Foundation „Differences in sensitivity of triple-negative breast cancer cell populations to anticancer drugs in 2D and 3D cultures“. Project start: 2018-01-01, project end: 2018-12-31. Project value is 2897 Eur.
Cooperation and business partnership
The scientists of the department collaborate with other departments of the Faculty of Pharmacy and Lithuanian and foreign science and study institutions:
Dr. Kristina Rysevaitė, Prof. Dainius Pauža, LUHS Anatomy institute
Dr. Julius Liobikas, Dr. Aistė Jekabsonė, LUHS Neuroscience institute
Prof. Dalė Vieželienė, LUHS Department of Biochemistry
Prof. Renaldas Raišutis, Dr. Kristina Andrėkutė, KTU Prof. K. Barshausko Ultrasonic research institute
Dr. Daumantas Matulis, GMC Institute of Biotechnology, Laboratory of Biotermodynamics and Drug Design
Dr. Linas Mažutis, GMC Institute of Biotechnology, Microfluidics Department
Dr. Rūta Aldonytė, UAB Ferentis
Prof. Helder A. Santos, University of Helsinki, Department of Pharmaceutical Nanotechnologies and Chemical Microsystems (Finland)
Dr. Artūras Žiemys, Nanomedicine Department, Houston Methodist Research Institute (USA)
Prof. Rytis Prekeris, Cell and Development Biology Department, Colorado University (USA)
Prof. Eugene Jansen, Institute of Public Health and Environment (The Netherlands)
2017 Prof. V.Petrikaitė was awarded as The Best Young Scientist of 2017, the 3rd place, from Lithuanian University of Health Sciences
2016 Assoc. Prof. V.Petrikaite got The LSMU Open Science Foundation award for research scholarschip in Colorado University
2014 Assoc. Prof. V.Petrikaite got The Baltic-American Freedom Foundation (BAFF) award for one year research scholarschip in USA
2012 Assoc. Prof. V.Petrikaite was awarded for a Short term scientific mission in Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute (IDIBELL), Barcelona (funding from COST action TD0905)
2010 Asist. Prof. V.Petrikaite was awarded from Lithuanian Minister of Science and Education, and from Kaunas Mayor for the excellent preparation of school pupils for the 22nd EU Contest for Young Scientists
2005 Asist. Prof. V.Petrikaite got a scholarship from The European Fellowship for Pharmacists for the professionalism and interest in clinical pharmacy
2005 PhD student V.Petrikaite was awarded by Memorial scholarship from Prof. Remigijus Zaliunas, Rector of Kaunas University of Medicine, for the excellent academical achievements
2004 PhD student V.Petrikaite was awarded by Lithuanian State Science and Studies Foundation for PhD studies
2001 Master student V.Petrikaite was awarded from L.Stašionienė foundation (Australia), for the excellent achievements