Personal information


Tel.: + 370 5 2729269 (office)

Tel.:+ 370 6 9887279 (mobile)

Faks: + 370 5 272 93 52



Research areas:

The specificity and virulence of avian malaria parasites to their vertebrate hosts. Genetic divergence of haemosporidian parasites, their identification based on the microscopic and PCR diagnosis. The molecular and evolutionary biology of avian haematozoa. Development of new molecular methods and studies with single cells of parasites.


Education and Academic degrees: 

M.Sc., Ecology, 2005, Vilnius University, Vilnius, Lithuania;

Ph.D., Zoology, 2009, Institute of Ecology, Vilnius University, Vilnius, Lithuania.


Current appointment:

2010-present: Senior Researcher, P.B. Šivickis’ Laboratory of Parasitology, Institute of Ecology, Nature Research Centre, Vilnius, Lithuania.


Bachelor and master student supervision:Mikas Ilgūnas, Vilius Armalis, Dovilė Bukauskaitė, Dovilė Murauskaitė, Egidijus Kinderis, Paulius Rapševičius, Adomas Lekavičius, Justė Aželytė.


External professional activities:

Vice-President of the Scandinavian – Baltic Society for Parasitology (2013-present).

Member of the Lithuanian Society of Young Researchers (2009-present).

Opponent of dissertation at the Nature Research Centre, Lithuania (2011).

Dissertation defence committee member at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Spain (2016) and Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Columbia (2016) 


Participation in scientific conferences:

50 scientific conference presentations in Bulgaria, France, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, Russia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Thailand, Turkey, USA.


Conference organization:

Member of the Organizing Committee, 1st Symposium of the Scandinavian-Baltic Society for Parasitology, Vilnius, Lithuania ,May 2005;

Member of the Organizing Committee, Avian Malaria Symposium, Lund, Sweden, March 2006;

Member of the Organizing Committee, 1st Nordic Malaria Conference, Lund, Sweden, September 2010;

Member of organizing committee, International Conference on Malaria and Related Haemosporidian Parasites of Wildlife, Vilnius, Lithuania, August 2013.

Member of organizing committee, International Conference on Malaria and Related Haemosporidian Parasites of Wildlife, Arbanasi, Bulgaria, September 2016.

Member of organizing committee, 20th Anniversary Conference on Laboratory Animals in Research Vilnius, Lithuania, November 2016;

Member of the Organizing Committee, Conference of the Scandinavian-Baltic Society for Parasitology, Riga, Latvia , June 2017.


International collaborations:

Dr. Yukita Sato, Nihon University, Tokyo, Japan; Dr. Alfonso Marzal Reynolds, Ekstremadura University, Badajoz, Spain; Prof. Staffan Bensch and dr. Olof Hellgren, Lund University, Lund, Sweden; Dr. Casimir Bolshakov, Zoological Institute, St. Petersburg, Russia; Prof. Ravinder Sehgal, San Francisco State University, San Francisco, USA; Dr. Pavel Zehtindjiev, Institute of Biodiversity and Ecosystem Research, Sofia, Bulgaria;  Dr. Ana Rivero, Institut de Recherché pour le Developpement IRD, Montpellier, France.


Scholarships, awards and recognitions:

Scholarship from Swedish Institute (VISBY program 2006-2007).

Scholarship from Lithuanian State Science and Studies Foundation (2006-2009).

Lithuanian Academy of Sciences scholarship for Young Scientist Research entitled “Avian malaria parasites (Plasmodium, Haemosporida): the development and effects on the immune system of experimentally infected passerine birds” (2011).

Award for the best presentation of Young Scientist at The 3rd Symposium of the Scandinavian Baltic Society for Parasitology (2009).

Lithuanian Academy of Sciences award for Young Scientist Research cycle entitled “Experimental investigations of avian malaria and related blood parasites” (2010).

Training award for young researchers from the Malaria Research Coordination Network (2011).

Training award for young researchers from Nihon University, Japan (2014).


Other important activities:

Revision Commission member of the Baltic Laboratory Animal Science Association (2011-present).

President of Animal welfare committee at Nature Research Centre (2016 - present)


Selected publications:

Palinauskas, V., Bernotienė, R., Žiegytė, R., Bensch, S., Valkiūnas, G. 2017. Experimental evidence for hybridization of closely related lineages in Plasmodium relictum. Molecular and Biochemical Parasitology. 217: 1-6. DOI: 10.1016/j.molbiopara.2017.08.002

Palinauskas, V., Žiegytė, R., Iezhova, T. A., Ilgūnas, M., Bernotienė, A., Valkiūnas, G. 2016. Description, molecular characterization, diagnostics and life cycle of Plasmodium elongatum (lineage pERIRUB01), the virulent avian malaria parasite. International Journal for Parasitology, 46 (11): 697-707;

Bensch, S., Canbäck, B., DeBarry, J. D., Johansson, T., Hellgren, O., Kissinger, J. C., Palinauskas, V., Videvall, E., Valkiūnas, G. 2016. The genome of Haemoproteus tartakovskyi and its relationship to human malaria parasites. Genome Biology and Evolution, 8(5): 1361–1373;

Mukhin, A., Palinauskas, V., Platonova, E., Kobylkov, D., Vakoliuk, I., Valkiūnas, G. 2016. The strategy to survive primary malaria infection: an experimental study on behavioural changes in parasitized birds. PLoS ONE 11(7): e0159216. (doi:10.1371/journal.pone. 0159216).

Palinauskas, V., Žiegytė, R., Ilgūnas, M., Iezhova, T. A., Bernotienė, A., Bolshakov, C., Valkiūnas, G. 2015. Description of the first cryptic avian malaria parasite, Plasmodium homocircumflexum n. sp. with experimental data on its virulence and development in avian hosts and mosquitoes. International Journal for Parasitology, 45: 51-62.

Palinauskas, V., Križanauskienė, A., Iezhova, T. A., Bolshakov, C. V., Jönsson, J., Bensch, S., Valkiūnas, G. 2013. A new method for isolation of purified genomic DNA from haemosporidian parasites inhabiting nucleated red blood cells. Experimental Parasitology, 133: 275–80;

Bensch, S., Hellgren, O., Križanauskienė, A., Palinauskas, V., Valkiūnas, G., Outlaw D., Ricklefs, R. E. 2013. How can we determine the molecular clock of malaria parasites? Trends in Parasitology, 29 (8): 363-9;

Hellgren, O., Kutzer, M., Bensch, S., Valkiūnas, G., Palinauskas, V. 2013. Identification and characterization of the merozoite surface protein 1 (msp1) gene in a host-generalist avian malaria parasite, Plasmodium relictum (lineages SGS1 and GRW4) with the use of blood transcriptome. Malaria Journal, 12(1): 381;

Santiago-Alarkon, D., Palinauskas, V., Schaefer, H.M. 2012. Diptera vectors of avian Haemosporidian parasites: untangling parasite life cycles and their taxonomy. Biological Reviews, 87: 928-964;

Palinauskas, V., Dolnik, O.V., Valkiūnas, G., Bensch, S. 2010. Laser microdissection microscopy and single cell PCR of avian haemosporidians. Journal of Parasitology, 96(2): 420-424;

Palinauskas, V., Valkiūnas, G., Bolshakov, C.V., Bensch, S. 2008. Plasmodium relictum (lineage P-SGS1): Effects on experimentally infected passerine birds. Experimental Parasitology, 120: 372-380.


For details of further publications see here: Publications