Mark Petrash, Ph.D., became Associate Director of the Gates Center as of July 1, 2017. As professor and vice chair of research in the Department of Ophthalmology since 2008, Petrash retains his current position while amplifying his involvement with the center, with which he has become quite familiar over the past few years. He was our 2015 internal self-study reviewer, a key collaborator in the center’s successful partnership with the Department of Ophthalmology to raise $10 million to establish an ocular stem cell and regeneration program and recruit Valeria Cantor-Soler, Ph.D., as its director. Further, Petrash is a longtime Gates Center member, a member of our Gates Grubstake Scientific Investment Advisory Committee (SIAC) and an enthusiastic mentor for our Gates Summer Internship Program since its creation in 2015.
A Texas native, Mark earned his B.S. in Zoology from the University of Texas, Austin, and his Ph.D. in Human Biological Chemistry and Genetics from the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston. Following a postdoctoral fellowship in the Department of Biochemistry at New York University, Mark became a research assistant professor of Ophthalmology at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta. In 1984, he and his family relocated to St. Louis, MO, where he joined the faculty of Washington University School of Medicine. Over the next 20 years at Washington University, Mark rose through the ranks to professor of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences and professor of Genetics, prior to his recruitment to the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus in 2008.
Mark is the recipient of numerous awards, including the 1988 Robert E. McCormick Research Scholar and 1997 Lew R. Wasserman Merit Awards from Research to Prevent Blindness, Inc., the 2000 Outstanding Faculty Mentor Award from Washington University’s Graduate Student Senate of Arts & Sciences and the 2012 Distinguished Service Award from the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology. In addition to his work as vice chair for research in the Department of Ophthalmology and new role at the Gates Center, he also serves the wider Anschutz Medical Campus on the Research Track Steering Committee and Strategic Infrastructure for Research Committee (SIRC).
Given Mark’s distinguished professional career, charismatic leadership and devotion to his colleagues and students,
and long list of inventions, intellectual property, patents and publications, the Gates Center considers itself extremely
fortunate to add Mark and his talents to its midst and future.
Mark and his wife Kelly have three grown children, two of whom have followed him into the world of medicine as a doctor and critical care nurse, respectively.