Photo of Marco Bassetto, PhD

2023 Charles D. Kelman, MD Postdoctoral Scholar

Marco Bassetto, PhD
University of California
Irvine, USA

PROJECT TITLE: Pharmacological treatment for maculopathies based on oral administration of new visual cycle modulator

Dr. Bassetto developed his PhD in the field of ocular drug delivery. His early research aimed at establishing methods to enhance permeation of therapeutics within the eye after non-invasive, topical application. Most drugs are incompatible with the treatment of ocular diseases because they display unfavorable pharmacokinetic and/or pharmacodynamic profiles.
Philip Kiser, Associate Professor, Departments of Physiology & Biophysics, Ophthalmology and Clinical Pharmacy Practice at UCI will supervise and participate in the day-to-day development of Dr. Bassetto as a scientist, providing him with professional development and networking opportunities, and thereby ensuring that his scientific training is rigorous and thorough.
Dr. Kiser remarked “Marco has made outstanding progress in the development of a new small molecule for the treatment of maculopathies that exerts its effects through therapeutic inhibition of the visual cycle. Specifically, Dr. Bassetto has 1) successfully screened a library of 15 new derivatives of emixustat for inhibition of RPE65 in vitro, 2) demonstrated that the best hit, compound 16e, is characterized by resistance to VAP-1 oxidative deamination and faster hepatic metabolized compared to emixustat, 3) demonstrated the ability of 16e to inhibit RPE65 in vivo), 4) determined the pharmacokinetic of 16e after intraperitoneal injection. This is, by any measure, outstanding progress towards establishment of a new pharmacological treatment for maculopathies based on oral administration of inhibitors of the visual cycle.”