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<p>A national leader in adult stem cell research, Mervin C. Yoder, M.D., has been appointed to lead the Herman B Wells Center for Pediatric Research at the Indiana University School of Medicine and Riley Hospital for Children.</p>

Stem Cell Researcher Named Director of Wells Center for Pediatric Research

Dr. Yoder is the Richard and Pauline Klingler Professor of Pediatrics at the IU School of Medicine and a member of the Indiana University Melvin and Bren Simon Cancer Center.

Dr. Yoder said he intends to build on the research strengths of the Wells Center and to introduce several new programs in translational medicine, neurodevelopment and molecular medicine. He also intends to work closely with Riley Children’s Foundation to build an endowment for pediatric research at the Wells Center.

A accomplished scientist and entrepreneur, Dr. Yoder and his IU colleague David Ingram, M.D., associate professor of pediatrics, were the first to isolate, cryopreserve and undertake assay development to prove the existence of endothelial blood-vessel-forming cells from umbilical cord blood in 2004. Using these cells, they hope to create cell therapy products to treat people with circulation problems in their arms and legs, those who have heart disease, or those with other health issues involving blood vessels and circulation. Drs. Yoder and Ingram have created EndGenitor Technologies, Inc. to pursue this application.

Dr. Yoder serves on editorial boards of four professional journals: Leukemia, Stem Cells, Blood, and Haematologica. He is the chairman of the Investigator Initiated Research Review Committee for the State of Maryland Stem Cell Initiative, and serves as a member of Study Section A of the March of Dimes Foundation. He is a medical director for The Genesis Bank, a private umbilical cord blood banking service and is president of The International Society for Experimental Hematology.

Dr. Yoder succeeds Mary C. Dinauer, M.D., Ph.D., who served as the Wells Center director since 2000. Dr. Dinauer oversaw a period of robust growth and expansion that included an increase in principal investigators, research personnel, graduate students, postdoctoral and clinical subspecialty fellows and administrative staff. Dr. Dinauer will continue her own groundbreaking research in the area of gene therapy as the Nora Letzter Professor of Pediatrics and professor of microbiology and immunology and of medical and molecular genetics.

The Herman B Wells Center for Pediatric Research, founded in 1991, is housed at Riley Hospital for Children, part of the Clarian Health system, and the IU Cancer Research Institute at the IU Medical Center. The goals of the center are to increase knowledge of the causes and mechanisms of serious pediatric diseases, to develop innovative approaches to the diagnosis and treatment of these diseases, and to create a collaborative, supportive environment for training and research.