Dr Jasmina Kapetanovic has been awarded an MRC Clinician Scientist Fellowship, for her research: 'New genetic therapy approaches for inherited retinal diseases.' The award will support her research on optimising the delivery and expression of genes in retinal disorders using latest technologies.
The focus of her research has been to use pre-clinical models to develop new treatments for inherited retinal degenerations, the commonest cause of blindness in working age population. One of the main obstacles in translating retinal genetic therapies is low efficiency of retinal vector transduction. To address this, the fellowship programme will develop innovative delivery strategies using robotic assistance to improve targeting of retinal neurons with gene therapy vectors. The project will also focus on optimising gene expression in mitochondria, for the treatment of optic neuropathies, and in inner retinal neurons for optogenetic applications to restore vision.
The MRC fellowship will allow her to establish her independent research programme within the Clinical Ophthalmology Research Group, and develop new treatments that can be applied directly to patients to prevent and restore sight loss.