Vincenzo Pennisi


Project Update 17.04.2020

Current activities/Accomplishments:

After collecting data from 11 Glaucoma patients equipped with an intraocular pressure sensor, I am currently finalising one manuscript where I´ve investigated the effects of physical activity on intraocular pressure (IOP). In parallel to this, I am writing another manuscript regarding the effects of different breathing pattern on IOP. In my third work, will analyse the effects of tilting body positions on IOP.

All of these studies show the effects of physiology on IOP and thanks to the Eyemate-IO sensor, it is possible to show with high accuracy the small IOP fluctuation that was not possible to detect with conventional devices.

Future plans:

After my PhD, I would like to continue my research activity. The field of ophthalmology has shown to be for me a new and interesting research opportunity that I would like to combine with my experience in virology and pharmacology.

My EGRET+ Experience:

Being part of the Egret/+ has represented one of the biggest opportunities I had so far in my scientific career. I have had the chance to travel, met and work with scientists from all over the world. Also, the possibility to share ideas and create a solid network that will help me in developing my future plans. Last but not least, the experiences gained during the grant-writing and the business start-up planning courses have broadened my horizon for future goals.


Assessment of interactions of physiology, intraocular pressure (IOP), and visual function in glaucoma


Dr. Lars Choritz (

Prof. Dr. Michael Hoffmann (

Background & Interest

My name is Vincenzo Pennisi and I am from Italy. I got a master´s degree in Pharmacy at the University of Catania. My thesis was a comparative study between Rapamycin and Temsirolimus and the anticancer effects in an animal model of prostate cancer. After that I worked as visiting researcher at the University Hospital “Policlinico-Vittorio Emanuele” section of Virology. Thanks to all these experience I have had the possibility to work with animals, cells and of course with patients!

Aim of the project

Individually elevated intraocular pressure (IOP) is an important pathophysiological risk factor for the development and progression of glaucoma. Despite the fact, that lowering IOP is currently the only clinically available strategy for the therapy of glaucoma, in the current standard of care often a single measurement of IOP every three months is used to determine therapeutic choices. There is a vast lack of information about the regulation and variability of IOP.

Recently, an implantable pressure sensor was developed by partner IMP that allows non-invasive quasi-continuous telemetric measurement of IOP. The device was implanted in more than 20 patients during a clinical trial and is currently being evaluated for its safety and efficacy. After more than 12 months of follow-up and several thousands of data points for some of the patients, the device has already shown great utility for therapeutic adjustments, a surprising variability of IOP throughout the day and dependence on physical activities, emotional states and external conditions. The aim of this project is to systematically investigate the influence of various physiological parameters (e.g. blood pressure, body position, intra-thoracic pressure, etc.) on IOP and visual function in this uniquely equipped patient population.

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