Genomics Program :: Nationwide Children's Hospital

The Genomics Program

Renowned Genomics Scientists Elaine Mardis and Richard Wilson to Join Nationwide Children’s Hospital

Elaine MardisRichard Wilson














Beginning this fall, internationally renowned genomic medicine scientists Elaine R. Mardis, PhD, (left) and Richard K. Wilson, PhD, (right) will lead a new genomics institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital.

Dr. Elaine Mardis and Dr. Richard Wilson are among the most respected and prolific teams in science today. Collectively, they have played key roles in many of the most notable federally funded genomics research initiatives, including the Human Genome Project, The Cancer Genome Atlas, the Human Microbiome Project and the 1,000 Genomes Project. Drs. Mardis and Wilson currently serve as co-directors of the prestigious McDonnell Genome Institute at Washington University, one of only four genomics centers funded by the National Human Genome Research Institute.

In 2008, their team became the first to use new DNA sequencing technology to compare the tumor DNA of a cancer patient with that same patient’s normal tissue DNA, demonstrating that genetic differences between tumor and normal gene sequences could identify mutations driving cancer growth.  This foundational work has resulted in an international effort to decode cancer genomes and unlock their secrets to improve treatments and outcomes.

Their team also was involved with the Pediatric Cancer Genome Project, sequencing the genomes of more than 750 children with some of the most devastating cancers. Their work has already led to a number of key findings, including changing the course of therapy for a deadly form of leukemia, uncovering a drug target in a form of eye cancer, and performing the first clinical trial of personalized vaccines for melanoma patients.

Dr. Wilson was named the world’s most cited researcher in 2013 by Thomson Reuters’ ScienceWatch with 15 significantly cited papers. Among numerous honors, awards and notable positions, he is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), a member of the International Cancer Genomics Consortium, and recently co-chaired the executive committee for The Cancer Genome Atlas of the National Cancer Institute, where he remains a member of the Steering Committee.

An Ohio native, Dr. Wilson is currently the Alan A. and Edith L. Wolff Distinguished Professor of Medicine at the Washington University School of Medicine, where he is also a Professor of Genetics and Molecular Microbiology. He received a BA in Microbiology from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio and a PhD in Chemistry, from the University of Oklahoma. He co-founded Orion Genomics, a St. Louis-based biotechnology company, and serves on the Board of Directors.

Dr. Elaine Mardis currently is the Robert E. and Louise F. Dunn Distinguished Professor of Medicine at the Washington University School of Medicine.  She received a BS in Zoology from the University of Oklahoma, where she also received her PhD in Chemistry.

Dr. Mardis is an internationally recognized expert in cancer genomics who will receive the 2016 Morton K. Schwartz award from the American Association for Clinical Chemistry.  She also was included on the 2013 Thomson Reuters’ list of most cited researchers, one of only two women listed. Among her several prominent roles, Dr. Mardis is a member of the Board of Directors for the American Association for Cancer Research, and a member of the Supervisory Board of Qiagen N.V. She is editor-in-chief of Molecular Case Studies and as an associate editor of Molecular Cancer Research, Disease Models and Mechanisms and Annals of Oncology.  In 2013 she was featured in Discover magazine’s “The Year in Science.”

Nationwide Foundation and their Pediatric Innovation Fund provided significant funding in support of this recruitment and the genomics program at Nationwide Children’s Hospital.

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