Professor Mark Pennesi, M.D., Ph.D.

Our Retina International World Congress (RIWC24) takes place from the 5th – 8th June 2024 in the Dublin Royal Convention Centre, in the heart of Dublin city centre.

Our Scientific Committee has been working relentlessly to secure an impressive lineup of outstanding speakers to shed light on this research area so as part of our Meet the Speaker series, we are delighted to announce one more distinguished speaker.

Prof. Mark Pennesi, M.D., Ph.D., is a Director of Ophthalmic Genetics at the Retina Foundation and Professor of Ophthalmology, School of Medicine, Kenneth C. Swan Endowed Professor of Ophthalmology, Molecular and Medical Genetics, School of Medicine at Oregon Health & Science University US.

We are delighted to have Prof. Pennesi with us at the Retina International World Congress to present on Friday, June 7, at 9:30 AM – 9:45 AM, about ‘Gene Editing for CEP290-related Retinal Dystrophy’.

Headshot of Professor Mark Pennesi on a blue background image. Text: Retina International World Congress. Dublin Royal Convention Centre, Dublin, Ireland. RIWC24. DUBLIN: Targeting the Cure. JUNE 5-8, 2024. PROF. MARK PENNESI, Professor of Ophthalmology, School of Medicine Kenneth C. Swan Endowed Professor of Ophthalmology Molecular and Medical Genetics, School of Medicine, Oregon Health & Science University. At the bottom of the image, there are the Fighting Blindness and Retina International logos.


Prof. Pennesi’s work aims to create new therapies for hereditary retinal disorders. He is currently investigating a novel class of medications that may be able to increase the levels of protective growth factors in the retina.

Dr. Pennesi was born in Mount Kisco, New York, and moved to Dallas, Texas at a young age. For college, he moved to the east coast and attended the University of Pennsylvania for his undergraduate studies. There he graduated summa cum laude with a BS 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. He worked under the supervision of Dr. David Birch and saw patients with retinal degenerations such as retinitis pigmentosa as well as studying animal models of this disease.

After college, Dr. Pennesi completed a combined M.D./Ph.D. at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas. He performed his graduate Ph.D. work in the Department of Neuroscience in the lab of Dr. Samuel Wu. His thesis work focused on identifying new animal models of retinal degeneration. 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.

For his residency training, Dr. Pennesi spent his internship year in San Diego at Scripps Mercy Hospital, followed by his ophthalmology residency at the University of California, San Francisco. During residency he was awarded the Hogan/Garcia award for the best resident research project. After residency he completed an ophthalmic genetics fellowship under the tutelage of Dr. Richard Weleber before joining the Casey Eye Institute faculty.

Both Research to Prevent Blindness and the Foundation Fighting Blindness have recognized Dr. Pennesi with career development awards to support his ambition to conduct transitional research that will bring treatments for diseases such as retinitis pigmentosa from the laboratory to the clinic. Additionally, he is the recipient of the 2011 ARVO/Alcon Early Clinician Scientist, the Alcon Young investigator Award in 2014, and the Casey Eye Institute Resident teach award. 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.

Stay tuned for more updates as we draw closer to this incredible gathering of the latest scientific research and innovation, set to take place in June 2024!

  • You can learn more about Prof. Mark Pennesi here.
  • For registrations please click here.