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Leading Child Health Expert and NIH Official Dr. Diana Bianchi to Deliver Graduation Address to the University of Maryland School of Medicine's 210th Graduating Class

May 02, 2019

Diana W. Bianchi, MD

Dr. Bianchi, A Leader in Prenatal Genomics and Therapy, Directs the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.

University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSOM) Dean E. Albert Reece, MD, PhD, MBA, announced today that Diana W. Bianchi, MD, Director of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), will deliver the keynote address for this year’s graduating class. The UMSOM graduation ceremony will take place at the Hippodrome Theatre on May 16. Doors open at 12:30 pm, the procession begins at 1:30 pm and the ceremony begins at 2:00 pm.

Dr. Bianchi has served as Director of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development since 2016. She oversees the nation’s research on pediatric health and development, maternal health, medical rehabilitation, populations dynamics, reproductive health, and intellectual and developmental disabilities.

“It is an honor to have Dr. Diana W. Bianchi speak at this year’s graduation. She has been a pioneer in genetic therapies in prenatal care, helping to change the lives of newborn babies,” said Dean Reece, who is Vice President for Medical Affairs at the University of Maryland, and John Z. and Akiko K. Bowers Distinguished Professor and Dean of the University of Maryland School of Medicine. “Dr. Bianchi’s focus on both advanced medical research and clinical care serves as a tremendous example for our next generation of physician scientists.”

Dr. Bianchi's translational research focuses on two broad themes: prenatal genomics with the goal of advancing noninvasive prenatal DNA screening and diagnosis, and investigating the fetal transcriptome to develop new therapies for genetic disorders that can be given prenatally. Dr. Bianchi is recognized widely for her leadership roles as a medical geneticist. For example, she is the founding executive director of the Mother Infant Research Institute and the past President of the International Society for Prenatal Diagnosis and the Perinatal Research Society.

During her distinguished career, Dr. Bianchi has received three major lifetime achievement awards. In 2017, she was awarded the March of Dimes’ Colonel Harland D. Sanders Lifetime Achievement Award in Genetics for her pioneering work on maternal and fetal cellular communication. In 2016, she was awarded the Maureen Andrew Award for Mentoring by the Society for Pediatric Research, in recognition of her commitment to mentoring the next generation of clinician-scientists. In 2015, the American Academy of Pediatrics awarded her The Landmark Award in recognition of her research and contributions to genetics and newborn care.

Dr. Bianchi has published over 300 peer-reviewed articles, and she is one of four authors of Fetology: Diagnosis and Management of the Fetal Patient. This book won the Association of American Publishers award for best textbook in clinical medicine in 2000. The second edition was published in April 2010 and is in its third printing. It has been translated into Japanese, Mandarin and Spanish.

Dr. Bianchi received her B.A. magna cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania and her MD from Stanford University School of Medicine. She completed her residency training in pediatrics at the Children's Hospital, Boston, and her postdoctoral fellowship training in medical genetics and Peonatal-Perinatal Medicine, both at Harvard. Dr. Bianchi's translational research focuses on two broad themes: prenatal genomics with the goal of advancing noninvasive prenatal DNA screening and diagnosis, and investigating the fetal transcriptome to develop new therapies for genetic disorders that can be given prenatally.

About the University of Maryland School of Medicine

Now in its third century, the University of Maryland School of Medicine was chartered in 1807 as the first public medical school in the United States. It continues today as one of the fastest growing, top-tier biomedical research enterprises in the world -- with 43 academic departments, centers, institutes, and programs; and a faculty of more than 3,000 physicians, scientists, and allied health professionals, including members of the National Academy of Medicine and the National Academy of Sciences, and a distinguished recipient of the Albert E. Lasker Award in Medical Research.  With an operating budget of more than $1 billion, the School of Medicine works closely in partnership with the University of Maryland Medical Center and Medical System to provide research-intensive, academic and clinically based care for more than 1.2 million patients each year. The School has over 2,500 students, residents, and fellows, and more than $530 million in extramural funding, with most of its academic departments highly ranked among all medical schools in the nation in research funding. As one of the seven professional schools that make up the University of Maryland, Baltimore campus, the School of Medicine has a total workforce of nearly 7,000 individuals. The combined School and Medical System (“University of Maryland Medicine”) has an annual budget of nearly $6 billion and an economic impact more than $15 billion on the state and local community. The School of Medicine faculty, which ranks as the 8th highest among public medical schools in research productivity, is an innovator in translational medicine, with 600 active patents and 24 start-up companies. The School works locally, nationally, and globally, with research and treatment facilities in 36 countries around the world. Visit medschool.umaryland.edu

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