Rapolas Žilionis is a senior PhD student in Linas Mažutis lab at Vilnius University, which is also his alma mater for BSc and MSc degrees in biochemistry. His PhD experience included a 3 year visit to Allon Klein lab at Harvard Medical School, where he gained expertise in single cell RNA sequencing (scRNAseq), from method development (Žilionis et al., Nature Protocol 2017) to experimental design, applications and data analysis.
The main focus of this graduate studies is on two projects in both of which he is co-lead author. One focuses on using scRNAseq to systematically compare immune cell populations in mouse and human lung tumors, providing a valuable resource for translational research across the two organisms (under review). The second project revisited the composition of the airway epithelium, leading to the discovery of pulmonary ionocytes, a novel cell type with potential relevance to cystic fibrosis (Plasschaert, Žilionis et al., Nature 2018). His main interests are in high-throughput single-cell analysis technologies and computational tools, particularly in immunology-related applications.