Oregon Health & Science University
Dr. Mark Pennesi, MD, PhD, is an Associate Professor in Ophthalmology at Oregon Health & Science University. He holds the Kenneth C. Swan Endowed Professorship and is the Chief of the Ophthalmic Genetics Division at the Casey Eye Institute. Dr. Pennesi attended the University of Pennsylvania, where he graduated summa cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in biomedical engineering and was awarded the Herman P. Schwann award in bioengineering for exemplary scholarship. Dr. Pennesi’s interest in degenerative retinal disorders began shortly after his first year in college when he spent a summer working at the Retina Foundation of the Southwest, where he worked under the supervision of Dr. David Birch seeing patients with inherited retinal degenerations, such as retinitis pigmentosa.
Dr. Pennesi pursued a combined MD/PhD at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas. He received numerous awards while in graduate school, including the John J. Trentin Award for earning the highest GPA in his class and the BRASS scholarship for playing an active role in community service. This was followed by a residency in Ophthalmology at University of California, San Francisco, where he was awarded the Hogan-Garcia Award for having the best resident research project. In 2011 Dr. Pennesi received the ARVO/Alcon Early Career Clinician-Scientist Research Award. He is also the recipient of a Foundation Fighting Blindness (FFB) career development award, a Research to Prevent Blindness career development award and an FFB enhanced career development award. He was awarded the Alcon Young Investigator Award in 2014 and a Residency Teaching award in 2015. He has also been elected into both the Macula Society and Retina Society.
Dr. Pennesi is a clinician scientist with a passion for developing novel therapeutic regimens for inherited retinal diseases. He has helped propel the Casey Eye Institute into a leader in novel therapies for inherited retinal dystrophies. He is the PI or Co-PI on numerous clinical trials, including gene augmentation therapy for RPE65-related retinopathy, ABCA4-related retinopathy, Type IB Usher syndrome, CNGA3 and CNGB3-related achromatopsia, X-linked retinoschisis, X-linked retinitis pigmentosa and choroideremia. In addition, he is investigator for antisense oligonucleotide therapies for CEP290-related retinopathy, USH2A-related retinopathy and RHO autosomal dominant retinitis pigmentosa. He is a principal investigator on the Allergan Brilliance, where the first patient was treating with gene editing from CEP290-related retinopathy.