I work as a PhD student on helminth parasite genetics with the focus on understanding the development of anthelmintic resistance to various drugs used to treat animals as well as monitoring for genetic changes associated with resistance together with creating diagnostic tools to detect and quantify these changes (i.e. mutations) in field populations. My work is centered around drug resistance in gastrointestinal parasite species of livestock, specifically the most pathogenic in sheep - Haemonchus contortus, due to the fact that parasitosis in livestock not only costs the livestock industry 100s of millions of euros per year in the EU alone but also cripples the health of animals themselves ultimately leading to less sustainable production outcomes in terms of food and other animal products.
I was working with creating a diagnostic tool based on the ddPCR platform to monitor for the presence and abundance of mutations associated with resistance to benzimidazole drugs in the most pathogenic sheep parasite Haemonchus contortus. My further efforts were focused on performing country-wide screenings using non-invasively acquired samples from sheep farms for the estimation of prevalence of these mutations with the newly developed diagnostic platform.
During this time i was working with colleagues from the Institute of Parasitology in Slovakia as well as Freie University located in Berlin, Germany as a joint international effort to combat anthelmintic resistance (COMBAR) focused on understanding benzmidazole drug resistance diagnostics with different techniques as well as in different strains of Haemonchus contortus.
I also started researching putative drug targets of the levamisole drug in Haemonchus contortus and conducted a study focused on investigating whether or not a previously discovered transcript variant of a gene Hco-acr8 (coding for a acetyl choline receptor subunit) can be reliably used as a diagnostic marker in determining resistance to levamisole in various geographical isolates and well characterized strains of Haemonchus contortus.
We conducted a genome-wide association study (based on whole genome sequencing) together with a colleague at Wellcome Sanger Institute in the UK wherein we focused on understanding the origin(s) of ivermetic drug resistance in helminth parasites of sheep using Haemonchus contortus as a model organism.
My work further continued on investigating the survival potential of different species of helminths from sheep by performing metagenomics using the gastrointestinal content recoved from sheep treated with various drugs in field conditions.
I was also part of a nation-wide screening study focused on descriptively analyzing sheep samples for the presence of parasites and resistance to all currently used anthelmintic compounds.
I have a Bsc degree in Molecular biology at Vilnius university with the focus on the production and purification of recombinant viral proteins via the use of high pressure liquid chromatography.
In 2018 i have attained my Msc degree in Medical bioscience with the focus on Infection biology at Uppsala University. My final thesis revolved on evaluating mutant allele diversity and prevalence using next generation sequencing approaches.
Currently, i am a PhD student in biomedical science at the BVF department at SLU.
All my publications can be found on my ORCID or Google Scolar profiles below.