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Indiana University School of Medicine is promoting one of its own to serve as the next leader of the Department of Medical and Molecular Genetics.

IU School of Medicine names new chair to lead Department of Medical and Molecular Genetics

portrait of Stephanie Ware, MD, PhD

Stephanie Ware, MD, PhD

INDIANAPOLIS—Indiana University School of Medicine is promoting one of its own to serve as the next leader of the Department of Medical and Molecular Genetics.

Stephanie M. Ware, MD, PhD, has been named the new chair, after serving as interim chair of the department since January 2023. The department is currently ranked sixth in NIH funding among genetics departments in the United States.

A highly respected physician-scientist in the field of genetics, Ware is currently a professor of pediatrics and medical and molecular genetics at IU School of Medicine. She also serves as vice chair of clinical affairs with the Department of Medical and Molecular Genetics and is director of the cardiovascular genetics program in the Herman B Wells Center for Pediatric Research. 

“Dr. Ware’s extensive clinical and research experience, and her demonstrated skills in creating strong interdisciplinary programs, have uniquely prepared her to lead and transform our Department of Medical and Molecular Genetics,” said Jay L. Hess, MD, PhD, MHSA, dean of IU School of Medicine and Executive Vice President of University Clinical Affairs for IU. “Throughout her tenure at the school, Dr. Ware has shown a commitment to medical education, research and patient care. I am eager for her to continue that leadership as our new chair for medical and molecular genetics.”

Ware has been with IU School of Medicine since 2014, when she was recruited from Cincinnati Children’s Hospital to build a cardiovascular genetics program to include both clinical and research focuses. Since her arrival, she has established a basic research cardiovascular genetics program within the Herman B Wells Center for Pediatric Research. As part of her strategic vision for translational research, she led the development of multidisciplinary subspecialty clinics that facilitate robust phenotyping, patient sample collection, and clinical registries in addition to providing outstanding clinical care. The program’s clinical program now consists of eight new multidisciplinary clinics, which had more than 1,500 patient encounters in 2022.

In 2017, she was named Vice Chair of Clinical Affairs for the Department of Medical and Molecular Genetics. Under her direction, the program has restructured its clinical services and has nearly tripled in size, including adding seven new faculty medical geneticists and nearly 40 additional genetic counselors and nurse practitioners. Additionally, it has added multidisciplinary clinics with nine departments and expanded its core patient care—becoming one of 31 sites nationally recognized as part of the National Organization of Rare Disorders Center of Excellence Network and one of 6 new sites for the NIH’s Undiagnosed Disease Network.

Ware’s research focuses on understanding the developmental and genetic basis of pediatric heart disease and implementing multidisciplinary approaches to improve care. Her basic lab research seeks to understand abnormal cardiac development underlying congenital heart defects using mouse and Xenopus as model organisms. The lab’s translational research focuses on identifying novel genetic causes or modifiers of congenital heart defects and cardiomyopathy.

Clinically, she evaluates and manages patients with genetic disorders and has specific expertise in cardiomyopathy and syndromes with cardiovascular disease.

“My career has given me a unique perspective on the opportunities and challenges of basic and translational research, and a commitment to research to improve the lives of patients,” said Ware. “I am eager to have the opportunity as chair to uphold the excellence of our dynamic department and foster its growth as genomics continues to evolve and impact health care.”

Ware is a graduate of Butler University, with a Bachelor of Science in zoology. She earned her PhD from the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, followed by her MD. She completed a residency in pediatrics at the Baylor College of Medicine, and a fellowship in medical genetics from Baylor.

She will assume the role effective immediately and will have oversight and responsibility for the program’s clinical, educational and research programs.

About IU School of Medicine

IU School of Medicine is the largest medical school in the U.S. and is annually ranked among the top medical schools in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. The school offers high-quality medical education, access to leading medical research and rich campus life in nine Indiana cities, including rural and urban locations consistently recognized for livability.