Dr. Wilkes is the Dr. Calvin H. English Professor of Medicine in the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine. He also is a professor of biochemistry and molecular biology and of microbiology and immunology. His research specialty is immune mechanisms that contribute to lung transplant rejection.
He succeeds Ora Hirsch Pescovitz, M.D., who held the position for nine years and also was the president and chief executive officer of Riley Hospital for Children.
Dr. Wilkes’ research has been continuously funded by the National Institutes of Health since 1994. He also has had funding from the American Lung Association, among other nonprofit and pharmaceutical companies.
With his focus on improved therapies and care for patients, Dr. Wilkes was selected in 2004 to direct the newly formed Center of Immunobiology at the IU School of Medicine. Immunobiology is an interdisciplinary science that studies the immune factors that affect growth, development and the health of the human body.
Based on his research discoveries, in 2006 Dr. Wilkes co-founded ImmuneWorks Inc., a locally based biotech company focused on developing therapies for immunologically mediated lung disease.
“My new role as executive associate dean for research affairs is a logical extension of my diverse background and prior duties at the interdisciplinary Center of Immunobiology,” said Dr. Wilkes. “With the complexity of medical research and patient care today, success requires that the boundaries of research and clinical care be transparent.”
Dr. Wilkes said his goal at the IU School of Medicine is to continue to elevate its stature in research. “The research program at the IU medical school is nationally recognized in many areas including pediatric and adult cancer, diabetes, infectious disease, neuroscience, imaging sciences and medical informatics. The research mission and the hospital system need to be closely aligned to capitalize on the synergies of the programs that enhance our academic pursuits and better serve our patients.”
In additional to his research accomplishments, Dr. Wilkes has been recognized nationally for mentoring. In 2007, one of the nation’s leading programs committed to increasing the number of minorities on medical school faculties relocated to Indianapolis after Dr. Wilkes had been named the principal investigator for the program, the Harold Amos Medical Faculty Development Program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. He was an Amos Scholar from 1992 to 1996 at Indiana University.
Other recognition for his influence on young professionals includes the 2007 Association of Professors of Medicine Diversity Award. He also has received the Dr. Joseph T. Taylor Award for Distinguished Contributions and the Alvin S. Bynum Mentoring Award, both at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis.
He was elected to the Association of American Physicians and is a member of the National Advisory Council for the National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Disease of the National Institutes of Health.
Dr. Wilkes is a graduate of Temple University School of Medicine. He completed post doctoral training at Temple University Hospital and the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.