- Junior Research Fellow in Physiology and Medicine, St John’s College, University of Oxford
In 2022, I joined St John’s College (Oxford University) as a Junior Research Fellow in Physiology and Medicine, and in 2023, as a visiting researcher in DPAG investigating microglial cells trophic factors as possible treatment candidates for neurodevelopmental disorders and long scale synaptic pruning under different conditions in activity-dependent and immunodeficient models. Furthermore, my research expands to creating neuropathological investigation tool using either machine learning or mathematical approaches to differentiate glial cells in control and pathological tissue based on age, brain region and sex.
I completed my BSc in Medical and Veterinary Genetics at the Faculty of Medicine, Lithuanian University of Health Sciences (LUHS) in 2015. During that time, I worked and did my research at the Department of Pulmonology and Immunology and investigating the role of nuclear factor happa B (NFkB) role in allergic asthma. At the same time, I specialised in genetic counselling as clinical intern and as a trainee to investigate glioblastomas' genetic markers AREG and NDRG2 at the Institute of Neuroscience, Laboratory of Neuro-oncology and Genetics (LUHS). During that time, I had research internships at Pavol Jozef Safarik University, Department of Occupational Medicine and Clinical Toxicology and Deparment of Forensic Medicine, and Autonomous University of Nuevo Leon (UANL) working on morphological models of cerebral isquemia.
After graduation I joined Dr. Cornelius Gross group at European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL), Epigenetic and Neurobiology Units in Monterotondo, Italy. I contributed to the research on molecular signal for synaptic pruning by microglia under the supervision of Dr Urte Neniskyte. In 2017, I obtained MSc in Neurobiology (magna cum laude) from Vilnius University. During two-years master program I was in collaboration with Dr Urte Neniskyte and continued my master thesis project in Gross group at EMBL in 2016, studying “The Role of Xkr8 Scramblase in Microglia-Dependent Synaptic Pruning”. At the same time, I joined Dr Davide Ragozzino group in the Department of Physiology and Pharmacology at the Sapienza University of Rome, investigating electrophysiological profile of Xkr8 scramblase-deficient mice hippocampal circuitry using whole-cell patch-clamp method.
I conduced my DPhil thesis research in the laboratory of Prof Zoltán Molnár in the Department of Physiology, Anatomy & Genetics (2018-2022). My DPhil project investigated the role of microglia in activity-dependent neuronal network maturation and maintenance. Initial experiments revealed that microglia dynamic and behaviour are neuronal activity-dependent in sex-specific manner during development. Subsequently, I revealed that microglia adapt to neuronal activity changes in acute and chronic ‘silencing’ models and that changes in neuronal activity-dependent have more severe effect on developing males’ brain.
Microglia remodel synapses by presynaptic trogocytosis and spine head filopodia induction
Weinhard L. et al, (2018), Nature Communications, 9
Sexual dimorphism of microglia and synapses during mouse postnatal development
Weinhard L. et al, (2018), Developmental Neurobiology, 78, 618 - 626