Manuel was born in Guadalajara, Mexico. Since a young age he was intrigued by history and science, greatly influenced by his dad, who is a neurosurgeon, and his mother, who holds a PhD in psychology. As a teenager, he practiced Tae Kwan Do, where he held a second-degree black belt, won national and Pan-American tournaments, and was part of the Mexican national team. He graduated Magna Cum Laude from the Autonomous University of Guadalajara School of Medicine, Mexico. He then did his ophthalmology residency at Guadalajara’s Civil Hospital, followed by a combined research/clinical fellowship in ocular oncology at the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute in Miami, Florida. During his residency, he managed to successfully pass the challenging International Council of Ophthalmology basic science, clinical science and advanced examinations, which entitled him the use of the post-nominal acronym FICO. Following medical school, ophthalmology residency and fellowship, he completed a year of residency training in general surgery at UT Southwestern Medical Center.