Episode 25

Career Lessons He’s Learned Along His Career Path

by Ophthalmology Business Academy | May 10, 2023

In this episode, Dr. Lazar and Dr. Hemmati engage in an insightful conversation that will be invaluable to all ophthalmology professionals. Dr. Houman Hemmati shares his inspiring journey from a solo ophthalmologist to a successful pharmaceutical entrepreneur. He discusses the pivotal moments in his life that led to his transformation and the lessons he learned.

One of the key takeaways from Dr. Hemmati’s story is the importance of having a strong LinkedIn presence for ophthalmologists. He shares how networking and connecting with strangers on LinkedIn has helped him develop an innovative entrepreneurial mindset and build his professional brand.


  • 00:01:20 – Dr. Hemmati’s educational and career journey: A walk-through
  • 00:09:50 – From a solo doctor to a pharmaceutical entrepreneur: Lessons, successes, and failures during the transition
  • 00:13:28 – Developing a drug: Key concerns and considerations in the face of drug failures
  • 00:18:56 – The future of eye medicine: Dr. Hemmati’s vision for the next 50 years of advancements
  • 00:23:44 – Takeaways and achievements: Lessons learned and the biggest success


Houman David Hemmati

Board Certified Ophthalmologist
Ophthalmology Biotech & Pharmaceutical Entrepreneur & Executive
Chief Medical Officer of Vyluma, Inc

Houman David Hemmati, M.D., PhD. is a highly accomplished medical professional who holds several leadership positions in the biotech industry. He currently serves as the Chief Medical Officer of Vyluma, Inc., a company that focuses on developing pharmacologic treatments for nearsightedness and other refractive indications of the eye. He is also the Co-Founder and Chief Scientific Officer of Levation Pharma, an aesthetic medicine company, and Optigo Biotherapeutics, a retina therapeutics company that develops long-acting intravitreal drugs for wet macular degeneration and diabetic eye disease. Houman is also a board member of Trailhead Biosystems and MediPrint Ophthalmics, both involved in the development of ophthalmology drug delivery.

Houman has a wealth of experience in clinical development, having previously served as Vice President of Medical and Clinical Development for New Therapies at Capricor Therapeutics. During his tenure there, he helped drive promising new therapies such as the exosome platform toward clinical development. Before that, he held the position of Director of Clinical Development at Allergan, where he worked as a Clinical Scientist in the Ophthalmology Therapeutic Area on several Phase 1, 2, and 3 studies.

In addition to his industry experience, Houman is a board-certified ophthalmologist and presently serves as Adjunct Assistant Clinical Professor of Ophthalmology at USC Keck School of Medicine, where he is also an attending physician at LA County USC Medical Center. He has also served as an Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology at the University of Vermont School of Medicine. In his scientific career, he has co-discovered fetal blood-forming stem cells with Dr. Irv Weissman at Stanford, discovered cancer stem cells in the brain at Caltech, and invented a hydrogel for sustained-release topical drug delivery to the eye with Dr. Robert Langer at MIT.

Houman earned his B.S. in Biological Sciences at Stanford, an M.D. from UCLA, and a Ph.D. in Biology from Caltech. He completed an Internal Medicine internship at Stanford Hospital, an ophthalmology residency at the Wilmer Eye Institute at Johns Hopkins Hospital, a postdoctoral fellowship in Chemical Engineering and Drug Delivery at MIT, and a clinical fellowship in Cornea and Refractive Surgery at the Massachusetts Eye & Ear Infirmary, Harvard Medical School. Throughout his career, Houman has received numerous awards and honors, including The Alcon Research Scholar Award and the Everhart Presidential Distinguished Lectureship from Caltech.

Connect with Dr. Hemmati: linkedin.com/in/houman-david-hemmati-md-phd-aa0486


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