Laboratory of Biochemistry

Laboratory of Biochemistry
Neuroscience Institute
Lithuanian University of Health Sciences
Eiveniu st. 4
Kaunas LT-50161

Phone:  +370 37 302968


Head of the laboratory:

prof. Vilmantė Borutaitė, PhD,


prof. Ramunė Morkūnienė, PhD,

prof. Sonata Trumbeckaitė, PhD,

prof. Rasa Banienė, PhD,

Daiva Majienė, PhD,

Julius Liobikas, PhD,

Odeta Arandarčikaitė, PhD,

Kristina Škėmienė, PhD,

Paulius Čižas, PhD,

Silvija Jankevičiūtė, PhD,

Katryna Pampuščenko, PhD student,

Zbigniev Balion, PhD student,

Danielius Umbrasas, PhD student,


Research topic

Title: The investigation of cell death and protective mechanisms in models of brain ischemia, neurodegenerative and other diseases

Protein aggregates containing beta amyloid (Aβ) and other multimeric proteins are critical factors in the pathogenesis of neurodegenerative diseases (including Alzheimer's disease) by causing synaptic dysfunction, neuronal death and loss. Molecular mechanism by which protein aggregates cause death of brain cells and activation of neuroimmune processes will be investigated. Alongside, search and investigation of possible pharmacological modulators of the processes involved will be performed.

The study also will focus on mechanisms of ischemic mitochondrial damage in brain tissue. The possible sites of ischemic damage in mitochondria will be determined and the possible protective pharmacological agents against ischemic mitochondrial injury will be tested. In the frame of the Global Grant project, cultures of human inducible pluripotent stem cells will be introduced as a model to investigate how human cells die and how to protect them from ischemic damage. A wide comparative analysis of effects of ischemia and reperfusion on immature, mature and aging brain cells (neurons, astrocytes and microglia) will be performed to test whether potential inhibitors of mitochondrial permeability transition pore can protect against ischemia-induced cell death or inflammatory responses in the brain and help to restore functional activity of neurons.

We are going to determine which compounds (synthetic and natural), acting separately or in combination with pharmacological compounds, are able to suppress viability of brain cancer cells, mitosis/interphase cycle, proliferation and migration of cells in the model systems. We are planning to reveal possible molecular mechanisms of action of those compounds in model systems. We expect that obtained data will pave the way for the in vivo studies on mice glioma allograft and human/mice xenograft models, and will allow us to confirm and specify in vitro data.

The Laboratory has expertise in primary neuronal and transformed cell cultures; cell biology; potentiometric methods using oxygen, nitric oxide and ion-selective electrodes; spectroscopy, fluorescent microscopy, protein chemistry, DIGE, etc.          


Main projects

2018-2020 – contribute (prof. S.Trumbeckaitė, dr. J.Liobikas) in the project No J05-LVPA-K-03-0117„Promotion of UAB AKVAVITA Investment in R&D Activities for the Development of Innovative Products in the Beverage Industry“, managed by Lithuanian Business Promotion Agency, head prof. V.Jakštas

2018-2020 – contribute (prof. R.Banienė) in the project No J05-LVPA-K-01-0220 „Promotion of UAB "Birštono mineraliniai vandenys" Investment in R&D Activities for the Development of Innovative Products“, head prof. V.Lesauskaitė

2018-2020 – collaboration (prof. S.Trumbeckaitė, prof. R.Banienė) in the project No BN 18-255 "Effect of Farming Systems on the Accumulation of Biologically Active and Anticancer Compounds of potato tubers with Coloured Flesh”, funded by Ekhagastiftelsen Grant Foundation Program (Sweden), head prof. E.Jarienė (ASU)

2018-2020 – Lithuania–Japan collaboration program project NO LJB-18-2 “Investigation of molecular factors of Alzheimer’s disease: link between extracellular tau, beta-amyloid and neuroinflammation”, funded by the Research Council of Lithuania, head prof. R.Morkūnienė, participants prof. V.Borutaitė, K.Pampuščenko

2017-2021 – Global grant project No LMT-K-712-01-0131 "Dissecting ischemic brain injury: role of mitochondrial permeability transition pore in cells of developing and aging brain", head prof. V.Borutaitė

2017-2021 – EU funded COST Action project CA16225 “Realising the therapeutic potential of novel cardioprotective therapies” (EU-CARDIOPROTECTION), prof. V.Borutaitė, dr. O.Arandarčikaitė

2016-2020 - EU funded COST Action project  MITOEAGLE “Mitochondrial mapping: Evolution - Age - Gender - Lifestyle - Environment", prof. V.Borutaitė

2016 m. – project No PR16-82 "Imaging of live tissue/models' mimetics", supported by Joint Stock Company Ferentis, dr. A.Jekabsone

2015-2018 – collaboration (prof. S.Trumbeckaitė) in the project No SEN-01/2015 „Optimizing the effectiveness of Hyperthermic chemotherapy by modulation of heat shock proteins, energy resources and adhesion in malignant cells“, head prof. A.Gulbinas

2015-2016 – collaboration in the EU Horizon 2020 project No 664339 HEALTH-TECH “Centre of Excellence in Science and Technology for Healthy Ageing", prof. V.Borutaitė

2015 – project No VP2-1.3-ŪM-02-K-04-016 "Investigation of interaction of cells with customer's prototypic hydrogel samples in vitro", managed by Lithuanian Business Promotion Agency, dr. A.Jekabsone

2013-2015 – EU funded COST Action project FA 1005 INFOGEST "Improving health properties of food by sharing our knowledge on the digestive process", dr. J.Liobikas, dr. S.Trumbeckaitė

2012-2015 – contribute (dr. S.Trumbeckaitė) in the Global grant project* No VP1-3.1-ŠMM-07-K-02-062 "Energetic, genetic and epigenetic mechanisms of resistance to chemotherapy induced apoptosis in pancreatic cancer", head prof. Ž.Dambrauskas

2012-2014 – a project No LIG-04/2012 MALPAMA "Molecular mechanisms of pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s disease” (n collaboration with Institute of Biochemistry, and Institute of Biotechnology of Vilnius University, Department of Neurology of Lithuanian University of Health Sciences Hospital), funded by Research Council of Lithuania, dr. R.Morkūnienė

2012-2014 – ESF funded project No VP1-3.1-ŠMM-08-K-01-022 „Implementation of R&D activities of Medicine National Research Programmes in clinical and molecular research of fundamental cardiology, neurosciences, and digestive systems“, dr. G.Svirskis, prof. V.Borutaitė

2012-2014 – contribute (dr. S.Trumbeckaitė) in the project No LIG-12002 STELLATA „Investigation of activity and redox status of Pancreatic Stellate Cells", funded by the Research Council of Lithuania, head prof. G.Barauskas

 2011-2015 – Global grant project* No VP1-3.1-ŠMM-07-K-01-130 “Mitochondria, nitric oxide and cytochrome c reducing agents in protection against brain and heart ischemia-reperfusion injury”, head prof. V.Borutaitė

2011-2014 – a project No SVE-11008 HIBRIDAI „Interspecific hybrids of orchard plant – a novel source of anthocyanins“, funded by the Research Council of Lithuania, head dr. J.Liobikas

2010-2011 – a project No MIP-10182 "The evaluation of biological activity and technological functionalization of lectins", dr. J.Liobikas, dr. D.Majienė

2008-2010 – a project AMILOIDE “Detection of pathogenic beta-amyloid oligomers for diagnostics of Alzheimer’s disease”, funded by Lithuania State Science and Studies Foundation, head prof. V.Borutaitė

2007-2011 – EU funded COST Action project FA0602 MITOFOOD (A research community for nutritional optimization of mitochondrial function for health promotion and disease resistance), Lithuania deputy prof. V.Borutaitė

2006-2009 – EUREKA project E! 3694 PROPOCREAM „The development of the multifunctional semisolid preparations from natural products“, dr. D.Majienė

2006-2007 – EC 6FP Marie Skłodowska-Curie project No MERG-CT-2006-044907 MITOCHONDRIA & ABETA (Mitochondria and beta-amyloid in brain ischemia/reperfusion), dr. A.Jekabsone

2004-2006 – EC 6FP Marie Skłodowska-Curie project No CT-2004-010313 MITOCHONDRIA (Role of nitric oxide/oxygen competition at mitochondria in neuronal death during ischemia and/or inflammation), dr. A.Jekabsone


The Laboratory participates in a project of the Advanced Pharmaceutical and Health Technologies Centre of Lithuanian University of Health Sciences. The researchers have access and are actively using open access facilities of the Laboratory for Pharmacological Regulation of Pathological Processes and Research of Drug Metabolism.


International collaboration

Dr. Guy Brown, Department of Biochemistry, University of Cambridge, UK

Dr. Erich Gnaiger, Department of General, Visceral and Transplant Surgery, Daniel Swarovski Research Laboratory, Innsbruck Medical University, Innsbruck, Austria



2018.06.01-08.31 Erasmus+ programe funded PhD student Katryna Pampuščenko traineeship at Cambridge University (UK), Department of Biology, head prof. Guy C. Brown


2017.10.01-11.30 – MITA supported dr. Silvija Jankevičiūtė traineeship at the Stem Cell Laboratory for CNS Disease Modeling, Lund University (Sweden)



Other important information

In 2012, prof. V.Borutaitė was awarded with Osvalds Šmidebergs Medal of Latvian Society of Pharmacology.

In 2008, prof. A.Toleikis, prof. V.Borutaite, prof. V.Mildaziene (former member of the laboratory) were awarded with Lithuanian National Price for Science.

Members of the Laboratory in collaboration organized the 4th MiPsummer School on Mitochondrial Physiology in Druskininkai, Lithuania on June 10-16, 2010.


pdf-logo.jpg (90x68, 68x68)  2018 - 2011 main publications


Updated on 22 May 2019