DoctorsDavid Cobrinik, MD, PhD

David Cobrinik, MD, PhD

David Cobrinik, MD, PhD

Title: Associate Professor of Research Ophthalmology

Department: Ophthalmology

Clinical Specialty: Ocular Oncology, Retinoblastoma  

Research Topics:

Ocular Oncology
Retinal Development
Secondary Cancers
Targeted Therapeutics

Biography and Education

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

Other WEB Profiles:



  • 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


  1. Berry JL, Cobrinik D, Hicks J. Potential of Aqueous Humor as a Surrogate Tumor Biopsy for Retinoblastoma-Reply. JAMA Ophthalmol. 2018 Mar 22. [Epub ahead of print]
  2. Berry JL, Xu L, Murphree AL, Krishnan S, Stachelek K, Zolfaghari E, McGovern K, Lee TC, Carlsson A, Kuhn P, Kim JW, Cobrinik D, Hicks J. Potential of Aqueous Humor as a Surrogate Tumor Biopsy for Retinoblastoma. JAMA Ophthalmol. 2017 Nov;135(11):1221-30.
  3. Browne AW, Arnesano C, Harutyunyan N, Khuu T, Martinez JC, Pollack HA, Koos DS, Lee TC, Fraser SE, Moats RA, Aparicio JG, Cobrinik D. Structural and Functional Characterization of Human Stem-Cell-Derived Retinal Organoids by Live Imaging. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2017 Jul;58(9):3311-8.
  4. Xu XL, Li Z, Liu A, Fan X, Hu DN, Qi DL, Chitty DW, Jia R, Qui J, Wang JQ, Sharaf JM, Zou J, Weiss R, Huang H, Joseph WJJ, Ng L, Rosen RB, Shen B, Reid M, Forrest D, Abramson DH, Singer S, Cobrinik D, Jhanwar SC. Skp2 Activation by Thyroid Hormone Receptor Beta2 Bypasses Rb-Dependent Proliferation in Rb-Deficient Cells. Cancer Res. 2017 Sep. [Epub ahead of print]
  5. Qi DL, Cobrinik D. Mdm2 but Not Mdm4 Promotes Retinoblastoma Cell Proliferation through P53-Independent Regulation of Mycn Translation. Oncogene. 2017 Mar;36(13):1760-9.
  6. Li WL, Buckley J, Sanchez-Lara PA, Maglinte DT, Viduetsky L, Tatarinova TV, Aparicio JG, Kim JW, Au M, Ostrow D, Lee TC, O’Gorman M, Judkins A, Cobrinik D, Triche TJ. A Rapid and Sensitive Next-Generation Sequencing Method to Detect Rb1 Mutations Improves Care for Retinoblastoma Patients and Their Families. J Mol Diagn. 2016 Jul;18(4):480-93.
  7. Berry JL, Cobrinik D, Kim JW. Detection and Intraretinal Localization of an ‘Invisible’ Retinoblastoma Using Optical Coherence Tomography. Ocul Oncol Pathol. 2016 Apr;2(3):148-52.