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Karolis

Karolis Leonavicius

Welcome to my website describing my activities while in the doctoral training centre. Our programme focuses on interdisciplinary bioscience, new biotechnology fields emerging after combining other natural science techniques to biological problems. The programme is funded by BBSRC, who focuses on solving fundamental challenges in sustainable food and energy production, as well treatments for ageing population.

About me

Although I couldn't pinpoint the beginnings of my passion for natural sciences, it was the end my Master of Chemistry degree, when I realised the unrealised possibilities at the interfaces of different disciplines. Since I was a child I've developed a hobby like interest for electronics, engineering and software, which combined with my Chemistry degree and the recent move into biological research, creates a rather strange researcher's profile. Thankfully, soon after joining the programme I realised, that the growing vibrant field of tissue engineering requires such a profile, which made my decision to pursue the DPhil degree.

Tissue engineering

Towers

If a car breaks down because of a malfunctioning part, the function can be restored by replacing the part. Unfortunately, the same analogy does not apply to our body parts, which cannot be replaced by man-made analogues, as they are increadibly complex. This complexity emerges during embryo development when proliferate and specialise depending on the context they find themselves in. Fundamental understanding of how their environment provides developmental cues is central to successful stem cell culture in vitro and their applications to regenerate lost body functions. To date, many chemical factors are already known to drive cell differentiation, which is due to the rise of modern molecular biology techniques. In addition, geometry itself has been proposed to play important roles, albeit without any evidence, because there aren't convenient and reliable methods to manipulate tissues mechanically. Thus my DPhil project centres on using gel-like materials to create conditions, which would reproducibly deform developing tissues in order to study how geometry affects stem cell development into tissues.