Carmen Puliafito, M.D., M.B.A.
An executive officer from a California University
Appointed by the Governor
Dr. Puliafito was recently reappointed to a second term as Dean of the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California, a position he has held since 2007. Prior to assuming the deanship, he served as director of the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute and chair of the Department of Ophthalmology of the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. Before joining Bascom Palmer, Dr. Puliafito served as founding director of the New England Eye Center and chair of the Department of Ophthalmology at Tufts University from 1991 to 2001.
Dr. Puliafito started his career at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary at Harvard Medical School, where he was founder of the Laser Research Laboratory, director of the Morse Laser Center, a member of the Retina Service, and associate professor of ophthalmology at Harvard Medical School. He is recognized as co-inventor of the technology of optical coherence tomography (OCT), and was the first ophthalmologist to use this technology to study the human macula in health and disease. For his work on OCT, Dr. Puliafito was awarded (along with James Fujimoto and Eric Swanson) the 2002 Rank Prize -- the world’s most prestigious award in optoelectronics. In 2012, he was awarded (along with James Fujimoto, Eric Swanson, David Huang and Joel Schuman) the Champalimaud Vision Award, often called the “Nobel Prize for Vision.”
Throughout his career, Dr. Puliafito has been an innovator, most recently participating in the introduction of bevacizumab (Avastin) for the treatment of retinal disorders. He was the first to describe the use of a semiconductor diode laser for retinal photocoagulation, and pioneered basic science research in excimer laser photoablation and optical breakdown and photodisruption.
Dr. Puliafito is cum laude graduate of Harvard College and a magna cum laude graduate of Harvard Medical School. He earned an M.B.A. from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania.
Elizabeth Fini, Ph.D.
Director of USC Institute for Genetic Medicine
University of Southern California
Dr. M. Elizabeth Fini serves as Director of the USC Institute for Genetic Medicine, a department reporting to the Dean of the Keck School of Medicine of USC. She is appointed as a tenured professor of cell & neurobiology and holds a secondary appointment in the department of ophthalmology.
A molecular cell biologist, Dr. Fini is known for her contributions to the fields of matrix metalloproteinases, repair and regeneration, and molecular & cellular biology of the eye. In 2002, she shared the Lewis Rudin Glaucoma Prize from the New York Academy of Medicine. She currently serves on the Independent Citizens Oversight Committee for the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, and on the scientific advisory committee for the annual Meira and Shaul G. Massry Prize.
Dr. Fini was recruited to USC in early 2008 to serve as Vice Dean for Research for the Keck School of Medicine of USC, a position she held for nearly five years. During this period, the research volume grew by 43%, the US News & World Report rank moved up 5 points in a single year, a $57 million NIH Clinical & Translational Science Award was won, and the Keck Foundation gift was renewed for $150 million.
A native of greater Boston, Dr. Fini began her faculty career at Harvard Medical School. After 6 years she moved to Tufts Medical Center as the Jules & Doris Stein Research to Prevent Blindness Professor. She founded the cross-university Tufts Center for Vision Research and won an NIH core grant to support the program. After 7 years, she moved to the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine as Scientific Director of the Evelyn F. & William L. McKnight Vision Research Center and the Walter G. Ross Endowed Chair at the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute. She led research faculty recruitment, won another NIH core grant, and successfully competed for a major center grant from the Department of Defense. During her tenure, Bascom Palmer's NIH rank rose dramatically, from 34th to 9th.