Candidate for Council Member for Inclusion and Training, 2-3 Years – 2021 ICIS Leadership Election

Justina Kulikauskaite

Justina Kulikauskaite
fourth year PhD
Francis Crick Institute and University College London, UK

Justina Kulikauskaite is a fourth year PhD student in the Immunoregulation lab of Dr. Andreas Wack at the Francis Crick Institute and University College London. Her graduate research focuses on alveolar macrophages in the lung, their functions at the steady state and during and after infection. Specifically, she is interested in a new population of monocyte-derived alveolar macrophages found at the complete resolution of influenza infection (day 28). Compared to their tissue-resident counterparts of embryonic origin, these monocyte-derived macrophages exhibit a more immunoreactive phenotype upon bacterial stimulus, evident by their distinct chromatin landscape, upregulated genes enriched in the immune response pathways, and elevated production of various cytokines. Justina and her co-authors study factors contributing to the enhanced immunoreactivity of monocyte-derived alveolar macrophages (observed at 1 month post flu), as well as how the lung environment shapes alveolar macrophages into a hyporeactive state (found at 2 and 4 months post flu), affecting lung immune status and the outcome of subsequent infections.

Before moving to the Francis Crick Institute in London, Justina was awarded Japanese government MEXT scholarship for her bachelor’s and master’s studies at Kanazawa University, where she worked on transcriptional regulation of circadian genes.

Personal Statement:

During my undergraduate and graduate studies in Japan, I was a student ambassador, promoting student exchange between Japan and European countries. I also worked as a Learning Concierge for International Students and was an active member of the International Student Committee, aimed to improve support for international students at Kanazawa University, and to promote the internationalisation of Japanese society according to the Japanese government’s Top Global University Project. In 2015, I volunteered at Junior Chamber International (JCI) World Congress held in Kanazawa, the mission of which is to empower young people to become active citizens and create a positive impact for the future of our world.​ After many years studying abroad, I believe that talent has no borders, and research highly benefits from a diverse and inclusive community.