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Dr. Alina Urnikyte | Evolution | Best Researcher Award

👨‍🏫Profile Summary

Alina Urnikytė, PhD, is a seasoned researcher and associate professor specializing in Medical Genetics. With a Master’s degree from Vilnius University and extensive experience in human population genetics, her work focuses on evolutionary forces and genetic structure. As a senior researcher at Vilnius University, she delves into the complexities of the Lithuanian genome, exploring topics such as archaic introgression and genomic signatures of selection. A member of prestigious scientific societies, including the European Society of Human Genetics, her contributions have been recognized with awards and nominations. Through teaching and supervising, she continues to shape the field of genetics, bridging academia with public understanding through media engagement.

🌐 Professional Profiles

Education, Experience, and Academic Achievements 🎓

I completed my Bachelor’s degree in Biotechnology from the University of Vic, Spain, in 2009. Following this, I pursued a Master’s degree in Medical Genetics at Vilnius University in 2014, and later obtained a PhD in Biomedical Sciences from the same institution in 2018. Subsequently, I embarked on a post-doctoral fellowship in 2023. Throughout my career, I’ve been affiliated with Vilnius University Medical Faculty since 2009. My research interests primarily revolve around human genome variation, population genetics, natural selection, next-generation sequencing, and genomic data analysis. I further honed my expertise through traineeships at various esteemed institutions, including Universitat Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona, Latvian Biomedical Research and Study Centre in Riga, and University of Szczecin, Poland. Over the past five years, I’ve led two successful projects and currently serve as a principal investigator on an ongoing project. My contributions have been recognized through presentations at international conferences and numerous ISI publications. Notably, in 2022, I was nominated for the “Discovery of the Year” award for my analysis of the Lithuanian genome.

Contribution to Research & Development 🔬

My research focuses on genetic variations and human population studies, particularly in Northeastern European populations like Lithuania. By leveraging whole-genome sequencing data, I’ve identified introgressed Neanderthal segments in Lithuanians, candidate genetic regions under positive selection, and immune-related genes relevant to viral interactions. These findings offer valuable insights into our evolutionary history and adaptation, shedding light on present-day susceptibility and responses to infections. Notably, I spearheaded the sequencing of 75 Lithuanian genomes, a milestone in our country’s research landscape. This work not only enriches our understanding of human evolution but also holds implications for medical research, personalized medicine, and population health. Through my contributions, I aim to advance the fields of genetics, genomics, and population genetics, ultimately contributing to broader scientific and healthcare advancements.

📚Top Noted Publication

  1. Title: Patterns of genetic structure and adaptive positive selection in the Lithuanian population from high-density SNP data
    • Authors: A Urnikyte, A Flores-Bello, M Mondal, A Molyte, D Comas, F Calafell, …
    • Journal: Scientific reports
    • Volume: 9
    • Issue: 1
    • Pages: 9163
    • Year: 2019
    • DOI: 10.3390/cancers13112599


  1. Title: CNV analysis in the Lithuanian population
    • Authors: A Urnikyte, I Domarkiene, S Stoma, L Ambrozaityte, I Uktveryte, …
    • Journal: BMC genetics
    • Volume: 17
    • Pages: 1-8
    • Year: 2016


  1. Title: Recent effective population size estimated from segments of identity by descent in the Lithuanian population
    • Authors: A Urnikytė, A Molytė, V Kučinskas
    • Journal: Anthropological science
    • Volume: 125
    • Issue: 2
    • Pages: 53-58
    • Year: 2017


  1. Title: Inherited and de novo variation in Lithuanian genomes: Introduction to the analysis of the generational shift
    • Authors: A Urnikyte, L Pranckeniene, I Domarkiene, S Dauengauer-Kirliene, …
    • Journal: Genes
    • Volume: 13
    • Issue: 4
    • Pages: 569
    • Year: 2022


  1. Title: Genome-wide landscape of north-eastern european populations: a view from Lithuania
    • Authors: A Urnikyte, A Molyte, V Kučinskas
    • Journal: Genes
    • Volume: 12
    • Issue: 11
    • Pages: 1730
    • Year: 2021


  1. Title: Inferring effective population size and divergence time in the lithuanian population according to high-density genotyping data
    • Authors: A Urnikytė, A Molytė, E Pranckevičienė, ZA Kučinskienė, V Kučinskas
    • Journal: Genes
    • Volume: 11
    • Issue: 3
    • Pages: 293
    • Year: 2020
Alina Urnikyte | Evolution | Best Researcher Award

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