< BackResearch FacultyDavid Cobrinik, MD, PhD

David Cobrinik, MD, PhD


Associate Professor of Ophthalmology

Research Topics:

Ocular Oncology
Retinal Development
Secondary Cancers
Targeted Therapeutics

Clinical Interests:

Ocular Oncology



Research Interests:

David Cobrinik, MD, PhD’s research seeks to better understand retinal development and its relationship to retinal disease. This goal stemmed from a long-standing interest in retinoblastoma, a childhood retinal tumor that forms in response to inactivating RB1 mutations. Dr. Cobrinik’s group recently reported that human cone precursors are uniquely sensitive to the oncogenic effects of RB loss, in part because they express high levels of the MDM2 and MYCN oncoproteins as well as cone-specific factors that have oncogenic effects. Their findings indicated that cone precursors are the retinoblastoma cell-of-origin and that cone-related signaling pathways may be targeted to suppress retinoblastoma development. Dr. Cobrinik’s team aims to define a step-by-step process through which RB loss transforms normal cone precursors into retinoblastoma cells, and to identify regulators of this process that could be therapeutically targeted. Dr. Cobrinik also collaborates with another member of our faculty, Dr. Mark Borchert, to model optic nerve hypoplasia with patient induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC)-derived retinal tissue.


  • Amherst College, BA (Biology), 1982
  • Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, PhD (Biochemistry), 1988
  • Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, MD, 1989
  • Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research, MIT, Post-Doctoral


  • Amherst College, Magna Cum Laude, 1982
  • Amherst College, Oscar E. Schotté Award for Biological Research, 1982
  • American Cancer Society Joseph S. Silber Fellow, 1983
  • American Cancer Society Post-Doctoral Fellow, 1989-1992
  • Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation Fellow, 1992-1995
  • Michael Cohen Scholar in Breast Cancer Research, 1995-1998
  • James S. McDonnell Foundation Scholar, 1996-1999

Other web profiles: