Asta Valancuite

Research Fellow


Prior to joining the THT Group as a Postdoctoral Researcher, Asta completed her PhD in the lab of Professor Djillali Sahali (University of Val-de-Marne, Creteil, France). Here, her research focused on NF-kB signalling and immunopathology mechanisms in Minimal change nephrotic syndrome, a renal disorder effecting children.  

Asta’s current research focuses on understanding the photodynamic therapy against human lung cancer cells following immunogenic cell death. She has demonstrated that the photosensitizer methylene blue augments immunogenic cell death and potentiates CD8+ T cells-mediated cytolysis of human lung cancer cells. The effects of methylene blue are associated with an increased expression of the calreticulin, intercellular cell-adhesion molecule-1 and major histocompatibility complex 1 in lung cancer cells.  

Additionally, her research also aims to develop the airway organoid model to investigate the effects of inflammation and infection on lung epithelial cells and specifically to address the following key questions:  

  • How do viruses or bacteria induce pro-inflammatory responses in human lung organoids in vitro
  • How do viruses or bacteria trigger immune responses in human lung organoids? 
  • Can we identify specific pathways and drugs to modulate an immune crosstalk to reduce pro-inflammatory response and cell death in human airway organoids? 

Outside of work Asta enjoys painting, photography, making silver jewellery, reading, cooking, gardening, flower arranging, knitting, hiking, visiting museums and art exhibitions, travel, and volunteering.



An Inhaled Galectin-3 Inhibitor in COVID-19 Pneumonitis (DEFINE): A Phase Ib/IIa Randomised Controlled Trial (2022).
Gaughan EE, Quinn TM, Mills A, Bruce A M, Antonelli J, Mackinnon A, Aslanis V, Li F, O’connor R, Boz C, Mills R, Emanuel P, Burgess M, Rinaldi G, Valanciute A, Mills B, Scholefield E, Hardisty G, Gwyer Findlay E, Parker R A, Norrie J, Dear JW, Akram AR, Koch O, Templeton K, Dockrell DH, Walsh TS, Partridge S, Humphries D, Wang-Jairaj J, Slack RJ, Schambye H, Phung D, Gravelle L, Lindmark B, Shankar-Hari M, Hirani N, Sethi T, Dhaliwal K.


Randomised Controlled Trial of Intravenous Nafamostat Mesylate in COVID pneumonitis: Phase 1b/2a Experimental Study to Investigate Safety, Pharmacokinetics and Pharmacodynamics (2022).
Quinn T, Gaughan E E, Bruce A, Antonelli J, O’Connor R A, Li F, McNamara S, Koch O, Mackintosh C, Dockrell D, Walsh T, Blyth K G, Church C, Schwarze J, Boz C, Valanciute A, Burgess M, Emanuel P, Mills B, Rinaldi G, Hardisty G, Mills R, Findlay EG, Jabbal S, Duncan A, Plant S, Marshal ADL, Young I, Russell K, Scholefield E, Nimmo AF, Nazarov IB, Churchill GC, McCullagh JSO, Ebrahimi KH, Ferrett C, Templeton K, Rannard S, Owen A, Moore A, Finlayson K, Shankar-Hari M, Norrie J, Parker RA, Akram AR, Anthony DC, Dear JW, Hirani N, Dhaliwal K.


Phototherapeutic Induction of Immunogenic Cell Death and CD8+ T Cell-Granzyme B Mediated Cytolysis in Human Lung Cancer Cells and Organoids (2022).
Valančiūtė A, Mathieson L, O’Connor R A, Scott J I, Vendrell M, Dorward D A, Akram A R, Dhaliwal K.


Tissue proteomic analysis identifies mechanisms and stages of immunopathology in fatal COVID-19 (2021)
Russell C D, Valanciute A, Gachanja N, Stephen J, Penrice-Randal R, Armstrong S D, Clohisey S, Wang B, Al Qsous W, Wallace W, Oniscu G, Stevens J, Harrison D J, Dhaliwal K, Hiscox J A, Baillie J K, Akram A R, David D, Lucas C D.

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