David and Molly Pyott
February 1, 2022

New Fellowships and New Perspectives for Medical Engineering

Caltech trustee David Pyott and his wife, Molly Pyott, have established a fellowship program to help bring diverse talents, new perspectives, and fresh insights to medical engineering.

As a pharmaceutical and medical device executive for more than 30 years, David Pyott is acutely aware of how research and development in medical devices drive growth and innovation. He had always considered Caltech a top-tier research institution for science and technology, but it was only after joining the Caltech Board of Trustees in 2019 that he fully appreciated how the Institute’s unrelenting focus on excellence, small size, highly collaborative culture, and drive to create innovative instrumentation combine to create a distinctive and powerful environment for advancing basic scientific discovery as well as breakthroughs in medicine.

“This is no place for silos,” he explains. “I am inspired by the confluence of different technologies being deployed together, and the brilliance and uniform excellence of fellows working alongside faculty across disciplines.”

A Clear Vision

David Pyott, who led the transformation of Allergan from a small eyecare business to an international pharmaceutical and medical device company, has dedicated more than 25 years toward research and education to end treatable blindness. He is president of the Ophthalmology Foundation, president of the Advisory Board of the American Academy of Ophthalmology Foundation, and sits on the Board of the Pan-American Ophthalmological Foundation.

He and Molly Pyott are impressed with the variety of interdisciplinary projects at Caltech that are aimed at the betterment of human health. With their particular focus on eye care, they are excited about the progress researchers in the Andrew and Peggy Cherng Department of Medical Engineering are making in the areas of integrated implants for cortical and retinal applications and eye health-monitoring and drug-delivery systems, as well as other discoveries under way and inventions yet to be imagined.

“When you get people from around the world who come from different education systems and backgrounds working together to approach problems and address challenges, that’s when the magic starts to happen.”
- David Pyott

Diverse Perspectives

The couple established the David and Molly Pyott Fellowships in Medical Engineering to help make sure that Caltech can continue to attract promising young researchers who have a passion for advancing medical technologies. The fund will support at least eight Pyott Fellows, providing two-year fellowships for four students every other year over a four-year period.

Among the best and brightest fellowship candidates, the Pyotts have expressed a particular interest in supporting women and other scholars who traditionally have been underrepresented in STEM fields. “Diversity is a strength,” Molly Pyott explains. “We wanted to design the fellowship program to provide opportunities for individual students while also helping make Caltech even stronger.”

Through their family foundation, the couple previously created scholarships for the University of Edinburgh’s online Master of Surgery program in clinical ophthalmology to attract students from Africa, Central and South Asia, the Caribbean Islands, the Pacific Islands, and Central and Latin America. Their investment in Caltech is intended to remove barriers for even more talented scholars who can work in concert across disciplines and technologies to improve lives. “When you get people from around the world who come from different education systems and backgrounds working together to approach problems and address challenges, that’s when the magic starts to happen,” David Pyott says.

“In creating this fellowship program, we give of ourselves as well as our resources,” Molly Pyott says. “We view philanthropy as the infusion of financial resources and energy and knowledge.”


If you would like to bolster endeavors in medical engineering, please contact Robin Gibbin, Senior Director of Development, Division of Engineering and Applied Science, at (626) 395-6215 or rgibbin@caltech.edu.

For information about how you can support graduate education at Caltech, email give@caltech.edu or call (626) 395-4863.