Our Team

David Hinton, MD
Director of MD-PhD Program

David R. Hinton MD, FARVO is a board certified Pathologist (Neuropathology) with over 20 yrs. experience evaluating the pathogenesis of blinding retinal disorders with a focus on age related macular degeneration (AMD). He is the Gavin S. Herbert Professor of Retinal Research, and Professor of Pathology and Ophthalmology, and Vice Chair of Pathology at the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California. He has been designated a “Master Teacher” by the Keck School of Medicine. He received his MD and completed his residency and fellowship in Pathology/Neuropathology at the University of Toronto and followed this with a 3-year Postdoctoral Research Fellowship at Caltech. He is widely known for his expertise in the basic biology of the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE), in the evaluation of retinal disease models in vitro and in vivo, and in the development of novel therapeutic approaches to retinal disease. As co-PI of the “California Project to Cure Blindness”, he is part of a multi-institutional team developing a stem cell-derived cellular therapy for atrophic AMD. He is a founder of Regenerative Patch Technologies Inc. (RPT) which is conducting a Phase 1/2a Clinical Trial of this stem cell-derived product for patients with AMD. He has given well over 100 invited lectures at national/international meetings and universities. Dr Hinton has published over 325 peer reviewed papers. He is an Editor of Ryan’s RETINA which was published in its 6th Edition in 2017.

Photo of the back of the eye showing Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD)

AMD is the leading cause of irreversible vision loss in the elderly in the USA. There is currently no effective therapy for the late “dry” form of the disease (pictured here). Dr. Hinton performs basic studies of AMD pathogenesis as well as translational studies to find potential therapeutic interventions. He is Co-PI of a project utilizing stem cell-derived retinal pigment epithelial cells grown as a monolayer on a substrate that is currently in Phase 1/11a clinical trial.

David Hinton snowmobiling on a glacier in Iceland.

David Hinton enjoys spending time with his family, friends and colleagues. He travels extensively and especially enjoys adventurous cuisines and outdoor activities. Recent adventures included climbing the Sydney Harbour Bridge and descending to the interior of a volcano in Iceland.

Mark E. Davis, PhD
Caltech Director of MD-PhD Program

Mark E. Davis is the Warren and Katharine Schlinger Professor of Chemical Engineering at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech). He has over 450 scientific publications, two textbooks and over 90 US patents. Professor Davis was the first engineer to win the NSF Alan T. Waterman Award. He was elected in the National Academy of Engineering in 1997, the National Academy of Sciences in 2006 and the National Academy of Medicine in 2011. In 2014, he received the Prince of Asturias Award for Technical and Scientific Research from the King of Spain, and in 2015, he was elected into the National Academy of Inventors. Professor Davis’ research efforts involve new materials for the delivery of a broad range of therapeutics, and several of his polymer-based nanoparticles have been translated into cancer clinic trials. He is the founder of Insert Therapeutics Inc., Calando Pharmaceuticals, Inc. a company that created the first RNAi therapeutic to reach the clinic for treating cancer, and Avidity Biosciences. He is/has been a member of the scientific advisory boards of Symyx (Nasdaq: SMMX), Alnylam (Nasdaq: ALNY) and Intellia Therapeutics (Nasdaq: NTLA).
RNAi is a method to silence genes, and A. Fire and C. Mello were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology in Medicine in 2006 for their discovery of how double stranded RNA can elicit RNAi in worms. In 2010, Davis and his colleagues were the first to show that RNA interference could be achieved in a living human being by delivering small inhibiting RNAs (siRNAs) to cancer patients via designed nanoparticles.
Professor Davis has achieved All American Status for Masters Track and Field in the 400, 200 and 100 Meter Dashes. In 2011, he won the 400 Meter Dash for men of age 55-59 at the Masters World Championship (Photo by Darren Hall).





Mitchell Gross, MD, PhD
Associate Director
MD-PhD Program
Email: mitchell.gross@usc.edu

Roland V. Rapanot
Program Manager
MD-PhD Program

Elizabeth Ayala
Caltech, Biology Graduate Option Administrator
MD-PhD Program

Raina Beaven
Caltech, Staff Support Associate
MD-PhD Program