Dr. Mark Pennesi is an Assistant Professor in Ophthalmic Genetics at Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU) – Casey Eye Institute. Dr. Pennesi attended the University of Pennsylvania for his undergraduate studies. There he graduated Summa Cum Laude with a bachelor’s degree in biomedical engineering. Dr. Pennesi pursued combined at MD/PhD at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas. He received numerous awards while in graduate school including the John J. Trentin Award and the BRASS scholarship. This was followed by a residency in Ophthalmology at University of California – San Francisco. In 2011 Dr. Pennesi received the ARVO/Alcon Early Career Clinician-Scientist Research Award. In 2014, he was honored with the Alcon Young Investigator award. He is currently supported by a RPB career development award.
Since joining the faculty at OHSU, Dr. Pennesi has become a member of the gene therapy clinical trials there including: the RPE65 gene therapy trial for Leber Congenital Amaurosis, the Stargen trial for treating Stargardt Disease, and the UshStat trial to treat Type I Usher Syndrome. Dr. Pennesi is involved with a natural history study to monitor the progression of X-linked retinoschisis and achromatopsia. He is also the Principal Investigator on the Valproic Acid clinical trial, to determine its efficacy in the treatment for Retinitis Pigmentosa. Additionally, he serves as the Director of the Visual Function Services, Ophthalmic Imaging Services, ERG Reading Center of the OHSU Casey Eye Institute Translational Clinical Trials Center (TCTC) Reading Center.
Dr. Pennesi recently joined the faculty of the Casey Eye Institute as an Assistant Professor in Genetics and is a member of the Oregon Retinal Degeneration Center. He also serves as the Head of the Ophthalmic Imaging Department at Casey.
The Foundation Fighting Blindness has recognized Dr. Pennesi with a Career Development Award to support his ambition to conduct transitional research that will bring treatments for diseases such as retinitis pigmentosa from the laboratory to the clinic. His research focuses on developing novel treatments for inherited retinal diseases. He is currently exploring the potential of a new class of drugs to up regulate protective growth factors in the retina.