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2023. 06. 16 -

Life sciences specialist E. Navakauskas defends his doctoral thesis

Dr. Edvinas Navakauskas. Photo: FTMC
Edvinas Navakauskas, a Senior Engineer at the Department of Organic Chemistry of FTMC, became a PhD in Natural Sciences. He defended his thesis on "Biomimetinių sistemų tyrimas suminio dažnio generacijos spektroskopijos metodu" ("Investigation of biomimetic systems by sum frequency generation spectroscopy"). Scientific supervisor is Dr. Simona Strazdaitė.
Congratulations to our colleague, good luck and inspiration in your work!
And the work is significant because it is related to amyloidosis, a large group of relatively rare diseases in which amyloid proteins bind and accumulate unnaturally in living organisms. This leads to the formation of structures that are harmful to cells and can disrupt the function of many organs. Alzheimer's disease is one of the most common cases of amyloidosis, where brain function is affected.
"There are many different studies around the world. These diseases have been studied for more than a hundred years, from the very first case. But perhaps the biggest problem is that the structures of the proteins that form can start to diverge with the slightest change in the environment. Even if you do excellent research, you will always be confused by the multitude of structures that can form.
So our research is about simplifying things and starting from the beginning. We make it as simple as possible in order to get fundamental knowledge. A hundred years of research and there is still no 'one size fits all' medicine - it is strange. Probably the reason for this is the lack of fundamental knowledge. This is what we are working on with membrane model systems," says Dr. Navakauskas.
(Edvinas Navakauskas (left) defending his PhD thesis. Photo: FTMC)
Edvinas, from Marijampolė, studied physics and biophysics at Vilnius University. In order to carry out the research required for his PhD, the young scientist had to acquire new knowledge in physics, biology and chemistry. The experiments, as the members of the Dissertation Defence Panel and other colleagues have repeatedly remarked, were very complex and difficult to achieve.
"Most importantly, it is the first time that a sum frequency generation spectroscopy has been applied to the study of such biological systems. There are a very limited number of methodologies available to study systems. So our application is unique. This model allows us to carry out research by making the system more complex little by little. We aim to understand it from the ground up, step by step, to gather the necessary knowledge," says Edvinas. 
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