Over the past decade, our laboratory has focused on understanding how pharmacological agents used in glaucoma therapy lower IOP, with the belief that understanding how IOP is lowered can lead to the identification of candidate molecules that can be utilized for future targeted therapy. Towards this goal, we identified ATP-sensitive potassium channels and Stanniocalcin-1, two key molecules involved in IOP regulation but with very different mechanisms of action. My talk will describe our adventure (and tribulations) in developing therapeutics, seeing them through preclinical and safety studies, and will discuss key steps necessary to get drugs from the bench to the bedside in an academic setting.
Dr. Mike Fautsch is the Joseph E. and Rose Marie Green Professor of Visual Sciences at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN. He is a molecular biologist with an active research laboratory probing the pathogenesis of glaucoma. Dr. Fautsch has devoted his research efforts to understanding the physiology of elevated intraocular pressure regulation, which is the most prevalent and only treatable risk for the disease. Toward this understanding, his laboratory team utilizes numerous in vitro, ex vivo and in vivo model systems to study the molecular and cellular changes that occur in normal and glaucomatous eyes during elevated pressure, and more recently has developed several new pressure-lowering therapeutics, one of which is in phase 2 clinical trials. Dr. Fautsch has published nearly 120 peer-reviewed papers, has received the Ruth Salta Young Investigator award, the Lew Wasserman Mid-career scientist award, obtained multiple National Eye Institute and foundational grants to support his research, and co-chaired several international conferences on the aqueous humor outflow pathway. He earned his undergraduate degree from St. Johns University, his PhD degree from Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, and completed his postdoctoral fellowships from UC San Diego and Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science.