Dr. Zivile Useckaite is the Drug Metabolism and Disposition Highlighted Trainee Author for the November 2021 issue. Dr. Useckaite is a Pfizer Postdoctoral Research Fellow based in the College of Medicine and Public Health at Flinders University in South Australia, under the mentorship of Professor Andrew Rowland. She received her Doctorate in Surgery (Cancer Research) at Trinity College Dublin in Ireland, and subsequently completed a postdoctoral research fellowship based at The Royal College of Surgeons and Trinity College Dublin, before joining Flinders University in 2019. The DMD article that earned her selection as a Highlighted Trainee Author is titled “Role of Extracellular Vesicle Derived Biomarkers in Drug Metabolism and Disposition” and is available at https://doi.org/10.1124/dmd.121.000411.
Dr. Useckaite has established an outstanding reputation in the field of extracellular vesicle (EV) biomarker research and is at the forefront of development and application of this technology in the study of Drug Metabolism and Disposition. Her research is foundational to the field and critical to the successful clinical implementation of EV-derived biomarkers for drug exposure. Specifically, Dr. Useckaite’s research utilizing EV-derived protein and nucleic acid cargo demonstrates the potential for a liquid biopsy, in place of conventional tissue biopsy of exogenous probe phenotyping, to determine the impact of factors that influence an individual’s drug metabolism capacity.
It is anticipated that this research will 1) markedly streamline early clinical drug development by eliminating the need to undertake explicit drug interaction studies and will 2) enhance the efficacy and tolerability of medication use in clinical practice by prospectively accounting for sources of variability in drug exposure.
When not in the laboratory, Zivile enjoys running and hiking. She also enjoys practicing Pilates and barre.