Photo of Mark Pennesi, M.D., Ph.D.

Mark Pennesi M.D., Ph.D.

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.

Dr. Pennesi joined the faculty of Casey Eye Institute and is now an Associate Professor in Ophthalmic Genetics and as the chief of the Ophthalmic Genetics Division.

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.

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  • B.S., University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia Pennsylvania 1997
  • Ph.D., Baylor College of Medicine, Houston Texas 2003
  • M.D., Baylor College of Medicine, Houston Texas 2004
  • Residency:

    • Transitional year, Scripps Mercy Hospital, San Diego, California, 2005
  • Fellowship:

    • Ophthalmic genetics fellowship, Casey Eye Institute, Oregon Health & Science University, 2009
  • Certifications:

    • American Board of Ophthalmology, 2010


  • "Jalili Syndrome : Cross-sectional and Longitudinal Features of Seven Patients With Cone-Rod Dystrophy and Amelogenesis Imperfecta." American Journal of Ophthalmology  In: , Vol. 188, 01.04.2018, p. 123-130.
  • "The role of ERK1/2 activation in sarpogrelate-mediated neuroprotection." Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science In: , Vol. 59, No. 1, 01.01.2018, p. 462-471.
  • "Automated detection of preserved photoreceptor on optical coherence tomography in choroideremia based on machine learning." Journal of Biophotonics  In: , 01.01.2018.
  • "Measurement and Reproducibility of Preserved Ellipsoid Zone Area and Preserved Retinal Pigment Epithelium Area in Eyes With Choroideremia." American Journal of Ophthalmology  In: , Vol. 179, 01.07.2017, p. 110-117.
  • "Detailed clinical phenotype and molecular genetic findings in CLN3-associated isolated retinal degeneration." JAMA Ophthalmology In: , Vol. 135, No. 7, 01.07.2017, p. 749-760.
  • "Specific alleles of CLN7/MFSD8, a protein that localizes to photoreceptor synaptic terminals, cause a spectrum of nonsyndromic retinal dystrophy." Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science  In: , Vol. 58, No. 7, 01.06.2017, p. 2906-2914.
  • "A Novel Dominant Mutation in SAG, the Arrestin-1 Gene, Is a Common Cause of Retinitis Pigmentosa in Hispanic Families in the Southwestern United States." Investigative ophthalmology & visual science In: , Vol. 58, No. 5, 01.05.2017, p. 2774-2784.
  • "Long-term characterization of retinal degeneration in royal college of surgeons rats using spectral-domain optical coherence tomography." Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science In: , Vol. 58, No. 3, 01.03.2017, p. 1378-1386.
  • "Choriocapillaris evaluation in choroideremia using optical coherence tomography angiography." Biomedical Optics Express  In: , Vol. 8, No. 1, #276323, 01.01.2017, p. 48-56.
  • "C2orf71 mutations as a frequent cause of autosomal-recessive retinitis pigmentosa : Clinical analysis and presentation of 8 novel mutations." Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science  In: , Vol. 58, No. 10, 2017, p. 3840-3850.
  • "Interpretation of flood-illuminated adaptive optics images in subjects with Retinitis Pigmentosa."  Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology. Vol. 854 Springer New York LLC, 2016. p. 291-297 (Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology; Vol. 854).
  • "Long-term Follow-up of Patients With Retinitis Pigmentosa Receiving Intraocular Ciliary Neurotrophic Factor Implants." American Journal of Ophthalmology In: , Vol. 170, 01.10.2016, p. 10-14.
  • "Characterization of Chorioretinopathy Associated with Mitochondrial Trifunctional Protein Disorders : Long-Term Follow-up of 21 Cases." Ophthalmology In: , Vol. 123, No. 10, 01.10.2016, p. 2183-2195.
  • "Test-retest variability of functional and structural parameters in patients with stargardt disease participating in the SAR422459 gene therapy trial." Translational Vision Science and Technology In: , Vol. 5, No. 5, 10, 01.09.2016.
  • "Residual foveal cone structure in CNGB3-associated achromatopsia." Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science  In: , Vol. 57, No. 10, 01.08.2016, p. 3984-3995.
  • "Molecular and clinical findings in patients with knobloch syndrome." JAMA Ophthalmology In: , Vol. 134, No. 7, 01.07.2016, p. 753-762.
  • "Retinal neuroprotective effects of flibanserin, an FDA-Approved dual serotonin receptor agonist-antagonist." PLoS One In: , Vol. 11, No. 7, e0159776, 01.07.2016.
  • "Quantification of ellipsoid zone changes in retinitis pigmentosa using en face spectral domain-optical coherence tomography." JAMA Ophthalmology In: , Vol. 134, No. 6, 01.06.2016, p. 628-635.
  • "Optical coherence tomography angiography in choroideremia : Correlating choriocapillaris loss with overlying degeneration." JAMA Ophthalmology In: , Vol. 134, No. 6, 01.06.2016, p. 697-702.
  • "Multimodal imaging in Wagner syndrome." Ophthalmic Surgery Lasers and Imaging Retina In: , Vol. 47, No. 6, 01.06.2016, p. 574-579.
  • "Assessing photoreceptor structure in retinitis pigmentosa and usher syndrome." Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science  In: , Vol. 57, No. 6, 01.05.2016, p. 2428-2442.
  • "A possible neural mechanism for photosensitivity in chronic pain." Pain In: , Vol. 157, No. 4, 01.04.2016, p. 868-878.
  • "Parafoveal cone abnormalities and recovery on adaptive optics in posterior uveitis." American Journal of Ophthalmology Case Reports  In: , Vol. 1, 01.04.2016, p. 16-22.
  • "Spectrum of ocular manifestations in cobalamin C and cobalamin A types of methylmalonic acidemia." Ophthalmic Genetics In: , 16.03.2016, p. 1-11.
  • "Management of plateau iris syndrome with cataract extraction and endoscopic cyclophotocoagulation." Experimental Eye Research In: , 12.02.2016.
  • "Structure-Function Modeling of Optical Coherence Tomography and Standard Automated Perimetry in the Retina of Patients with Autosomal Dominant Retinitis Pigmentosa." PLoS One  In: , Vol. 11, No. 2, e0148022, 01.02.2016.
  • "Structure/psychophysical relationships in X-linked retinoschisis." Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science In: , Vol. 57, No. 2, 01.02.2016, p. 332-337.

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