Karen Peynshaert, PhD

Ghent University
Flanders, Belgium

After obtaining her master's degree in drug development (MPharm) at Ghent University in Belgium in 2012, Karen Peynshaert, PhD, began doctoral studies at the university's Laboratory of General Biochemistry and Physical Pharmacy under the supervision of Dr. Katrien Remaut and Dr. Stefaan De Smedt. The first two years were dedicated to deciphering the intracellular processing of quantum dot nanoparticles with an emphasis on the autophagy pathway. In the second phase of her doctoral work, Dr. Peynshaert switched to ocular drug delivery. During this time, she developed a novel ex vivo model (vitreoretinal explant) designed to look into the inner limiting membrane as a drug delivery barrier. 

Her PhD thesis on nanotoxicology and retinal drug delivery received the APGI Young Investigator Award in 2018 for best Belgian thesis in Pharmaceutical Sciences. During her junior postdoctoral years in the same research group, she continued to deepen her expertise on the inner limiting membrane and focused her efforts on the development of an innovative approach to specifically manipulate the membrane using pulsed laser light and a photosensitizer (photodisruption). She has provided proof of principle of this technology in bovine retinal models and showed the first evidence of the merit of this approach for lipid nanoparticle delivery. Fascinated by the potentially great value of inner limiting membrane photodisruption for cell delivery, in 2022, she started on a new avenue of research in the context of retinal ganglion cell replacement.


First published on: September 13, 2023

Last modified on: February 26, 2024