Founded in 1975 as an independent research institution, now part of Vilnius University, the Institute of Biotechnology strives to maintain the high standards of excellence in scientific endeavour, research training and technological advance with its main focus in a broadly defined field of molecular biotechnology including nucleic acid and protein technologies, bioinformatics, molecular diagnostics, drug design, next generation epigenomic and gene editing technologies. The Institute provides an interface between advanced education, basic research and technological development for the economic and social benefit of Lithuania.


Department of Biothermodynamics and Drug Design • Research teams






The Laboratory of Biothermodynamics and Drug Design was founded in 2006 in the place of the former Laboratory of Recombinant Proteins. After reorganization in 2010, now it is called the Department of Biothermodynamics and Drug Design (DBDD). The DBDD designs novel chemical compounds with anticancer activity. The efficiency of both naturally occurring and synthetic compounds is evaluated by structural biothermodynamics and molecular modelling methods.

The laboratory’s personnel consist of five teams according to their research activities:

The Team of Molecular and Cellular Biology


The Team of Molecular and Cellular Biology,

headed by Dr. Jurgita Matulien? (Ph. D. in cell biology from the University of Minnesota, USA, 2003) produces drug target proteins by gene cloning, expression in E.coli, insect, or mammalian cells, and chromatografic purification of large quantities of active proteins sufficient for biothermodynamic measurements of binding chemical compounds. Several projects involve the design of protein domain constructs. Live human cancer cells are cultured for the evaluation of compound anticancer activity.

The Team of Organic Synthesis


The Team of Organic Synthesis,

headed by Dr. Virginija Dudutien? (Ph. D. in organic synthesis from the Vilnius University, 2005) synthesizes compounds that are designed to bind drug target proteins. Compounds are designed by computer docking, molecular modelling, and comparison with naturally occurring or previously synthesized compound functional groups. The special interest and capabilities of the group are in the field of synthesis of compounds with multiple conjugated aromatic heterocycles.

The Team of Biophysics


The Team of Biophysics,

headed by Dr. Daumantas Matulis (Ph. D. in biochemistry, molecular biology and biophysics from the University of Minnesota, USA, 1998) measures compound/ligand binding to target proteins by isothermal titration calorimetry (ITC), thermal shift assay (ThermoFluor®), and pressure shift assay (PSA). The team performs the characterization of protein stability in the presence of various excipients and the measurement of enzymatic activity.

The Team of Molecular Modeling


The Team of Molecular Modelling,

is responsible for the in silico docking of large compound libraries and the analysis of X-ray crystal structures of synthetic compound – protein complexes solved in collaboration with Dr. Saulius Gra˛ulis group in the Laboratory of Protein – DNA interactions. Molecular modeling of candidate compounds often predicts novel compounds with improved binding capabilities. The group, together with several collaborating scientists is developing the software that estimates the energetics of ligand binding to a protein when only the crystal structure of free protein is available.




The DBDD has ongoing collaborations with a number of research laboratories and industry worldwide, including:

  • Institute of Medical Technology, University of Tampere, Finland.
    University of Florence, Italy.
    International Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology, Warsaw, Poland.
    Pharmaceutical Research and Development, L.L.C., Johnson&Johnson, USA.
    Centre for Structural Biochemistry, Montpellier, France.
    Institute of Organic Synthesis, Riga, Latvia.
    Institute of Organic Chemistry, University of Tubingen, Germany.
    Chemistry Centre of Madeira, University of Madeira, Portugal.
    Cancer Research Centre, University of Edinburgh, UK.
    University of Bristol, UK.
    Faculty of Chemistry, Vilnius University, Lithuania.
    Faculty of Natural Sciences, Vilnius University, Lithuania.
    Institute of Biochemistry, Vilnius, Lithuania.
    Lithuanian University of Agriculture, Kaunas, Lithuania.
    AB “Amilina”, Panev?˛ys, Lithuania.


Lithuanian Biophysical Society