January 20, 2021

Urtė Neniškytė

Urtė Neniškytė completed her PhD program in biochemistry at St John’s College of the University of Cambridge, UK in 2012. She then went on to work as a scientific consultant at UAB Expertus Vilnensis, contributing to the development of automated anatomical pathology in Lithuania. From 2013 to 2016 she was a trainee at European Molecular Biology Laboratory in Italy. Neniškytė currently works at the department of Neurobiology and Biophysics of Life Sciences Center,  Vilnius University, leading molecular neurobiology group she herself has founded.

She is primarily interested in the interaction of neurons and immune cells in the human brain. Her group aims to define molecular signaling pathways that drive developmental pruning of unnecessary synapses, during which immune brain cells remove unnecessary connections from the developing neuron network, creating the conditions for the formation of a structurally and functionally developed network. Neniškytė herself has also studied the cellular mechanisms of Alzheimer’s disease and is the co-author of the first articles about cell death in relation to phagocytosis. She devotes a lot of her time and effort to sharing her knowledge of neurosciences with the general public.

Urtė Neniškytė has received several awards, including International Brain Research Organization Return Home Fellowship (2017), to support the establishment of her group, UNESCO-L‘Oreal For Women in Science and International Rising Talents awards. She has also been awarded the Marie Sklodowska Curie fellowship twice – once in 2012 and once in 2016. Since 2006 she is a member of the Lithuanian Biochemical Society and the Lithuanian Neuroscience Association and since 2017 – a board member of the Research Council of Lithuania. She is also a member of the Society for Neuroscience (2013) and Young IBRO (International Brain Research Organization). Together with co-authors, she has published more than 10 articles in international peer-reviewed journals, and gave presentations at many international conferences.

From an interview at zmones.lt:
Can you relate to the concepts of difficulty and boredom?

“Oh yes. Life shouldn’t have to be easy. Boredom allows the opportunity to find something you are interested in. And if the workload gets too much and you feel like you are headed into a panic attack – then you sit down and plan. You distribute that load, decide where your priorities lie, breathe in and start working calmly. Working anywhere is fine with me, even though a lot of people have asked me why I came back to Lithuania. If it had been much better elsewhere, I wouldn’t have come back – I don’t sacrifice anything for nothing.”

Photo sources: Lietaus vaikai || I. Gabalina