Dr Ilva Dana Rupenthal

PhD, BPharm, DipLang


Ilva is currently an Associate Professor and Deputy Head in the Department of Ophthalmology as well as the Director of the Buchanan Ocular Therapeutics Unit, which aims to develop and translate ocular therapeutic related scientific research into the clinical setting. She received a BPharm from the Philipps-University of Marburg, Germany, in 2003 and completed a PhD on ‘Ocular delivery of antisense oligonucleotides’ with the School of Pharmacy and the Department of Ophthalmology, University of Auckland, in 2008. In 2010, Ilva was awarded a prestigious three-year New Zealand Science and Technology Postdoctoral Fellowship to establish an ocular pharmaceutics group within the New Zealand National Eye Centre. In 2013, she then received a prestigious HRC Sir Charles Hercus Research Fellowship to continue her innovative research into stimuli-responsive ocular implants. Dr Rupenthal has received several awards including the 2016 HRC Emerging Researcherh Excellence Award, a 2014 University of Auckland Early Career Research Excellence Award and most recently, a Humboldt Research Fellowship for Experienced Researchers.

Research | Current

The Buchanan Ocular Therapeutics Unit (BOTU) aims to develop and translate ocular therapeutic related scientific research into the clinical setting whether pharmaceutical, cell, or technology-based. Current research focusses on the evaluation of novel drug therapies for the treatment of sight-threatening diseases with an inflammatory component, such as age-related macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, uveitis and dry eye. Moreover, we are investigating novel molecules and drug delivery systems that can be targeted specifically to diseased cells while also offering sustained drug release over time.

For further information on current research of the Unit, please visit the BOTU website.

Teaching | Current

OPTOM 345 - Pharmacokinetics and Ocular Drug Delivery

OPTOM 783 - Research Project in Vision Science

PHARMACY 312 - Ocular Delivery Systems

PHARMACY 750 - Ocular Drug Delivery

Ocular Therapeutics Conference and Evenings

Postgraduate supervision

Associate Professor Rupenthal supervises postgraduate students at Masters and PhD level in the area of novel treatments for ocular dieases.

For more information on student supervision and projects available, please visit FindaThesis or the BOTU website.



  • Humboldt Research Fellowship for Experienced Researchers (2021)
  • Health Research Council Emerging Researcher Excellence Award (2016)
  • Senior Scholar Award in the Faculty of Arts, University of Auckland (2015)
  • Early Career Research Excellence Award, University of Auckland (2014)
  • Spark Entrepreneurship Ideas Challenge Prize (2014)
  • Health Research Council Sir Charles Hercus Health Research Fellowship (2013)
  • Spark Entrepreneurship Ideas Challenge UniServices Prize (2012)
  • Foundation of Research, Science and Technology Postdoctoral Fellowship (2010)
  • New Zealand Postgraduate Study Abroad Award (2006)
  • Harriette Jenkins Award, New Zealand Federation of Graduate Women (2006)
  • University of Auckland International Doctoral Scholarship (2005)
  • Young Microscopist Award, Otago University (2005)


  • Director of the Buchanan Ocular Therapeutics Unit
  • Deputy Head of Department
  • Department of Ophthalmology Graduate Advisor

Areas of expertise

Ocular drug delivery

Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

As of 29 October 2020 there will be no automatic updating of 'selected publications and creative works' from Research Outputs. Please continue to keep your Research Outputs profile up to date.
  • Thakur, S. S., Pan, X., Kumarasinghe, G. L., Yin, N., Pontre, B. P., Vaghefi, E., & Rupenthal, I. D. (2020). Relationship between rheological properties and transverse relaxation time (T2) of artificial and porcine vitreous humour. Experimental Eye Research, 19410.1016/j.exer.2020.108006
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Sachin Thakur, Wilson Pan, Beau Pontre, Ehsan Vaghefi
  • Thakur, S. S., Shenoy, S. K., Suk, J. S., Hanes, J. S., & Rupenthal, I. D. (2020). Validation of hyaluronic acid-agar-based hydrogels as vitreous humor mimetics for in vitro drug and particle migration evaluations. European Journal of Pharmaceutics and Biopharmaceutics, 148, 118-125. 10.1016/j.ejpb.2020.01.008
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Sachin Thakur
  • Mat Nor, M. N., Rupenthal, I. D., Green, C. R., & Acosta, M. L. (2019). Connexin Hemichannel Block Using Orally Delivered Tonabersat Improves Outcomes in Animal Models of Retinal Disease. Neurotherapeutics : the journal of the American Society for Experimental NeuroTherapeutics10.1007/s13311-019-00786-5
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Monica Acosta
  • Mugisho, O. O., Rupenthal, I. D., Paquet-Durand, F., Acosta, M. L., & Green, C. R. (2019). Targeting connexin hemichannels to control the inflammasome: the correlation between connexin43 and NLRP3 expression in chronic eye disease. Expert opinion on therapeutic targets, 23 (10), 855-863. 10.1080/14728222.2019.1673368
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Monica Acosta, Lola Mugisho
  • Agarwal, P., Craig, J. P., Krösser S, Eickhoff, K., Swift, S., & Rupenthal, I. D. (2019). Topical semifluorinated alkane-based azithromycin suspension for the management of ocular infections. European journal of pharmaceutics and biopharmaceutics : official journal of Arbeitsgemeinschaft fur Pharmazeutische Verfahrenstechnik e.V, 142, 83-91. 10.1016/j.ejpb.2019.06.008
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Priyanka Agarwal, Jennifer Craig, Simon Swift
  • Rupenthal, I. D., & Daugherty, A. L. (2019). Ocular drugs and drug delivery systems - Current trends and future perspectives. Drug discovery today, 24 (8), 1425-1426. 10.1016/j.drudis.2019.07.005
  • Agban, Y., Thakur, S. S., Mugisho, O. O., & Rupenthal, I. D. (2019). Depot formulations to sustain periocular drug delivery to the posterior eye segment. Drug discovery today, 24 (8), 1458-1469. 10.1016/j.drudis.2019.03.023
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Sachin Thakur, Lola Mugisho
  • Agarwal, P., Khun, D., Krösser S, Eickhoff, K., Wells, F. S., Willmott, G. R., ... Rupenthal, I. D. (2019). Preclinical studies evaluating the effect of semifluorinated alkanes on ocular surface and tear fluid dynamics. The ocular surface, 17 (2), 241-249. 10.1016/j.jtos.2019.02.010
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Priyanka Agarwal, Steve Thornborough, Jennifer Craig, Geoff Willmott


Contact details

Primary office location

M&HS BUILDING 504 - Bldg 504
Level 4, Room 408
New Zealand

Social links

Web links