The Scientific/Medical Advisory Panel is comprised of a distinguished group of specialists with expertise in the fields of stem cell biology, transplantation medicine, pediatrics, and maternity medicine. The panel was established to review policies and procedures for the New Jersey Cord Blood Bank and the Elie Katz Umbilical Cord Blood Program and submit reports and recommendations to the management and Board of Trustees at Community Blood Services.
Ronald Saldarini, Ph.D. Chairman
Subsequent to his retirement in 1999 as president of the global vaccine business of Wyeth Pharmaceuticals (1986-1999), Dr. Saldarini founded Biological Initiatives, a private consulting firm providing service to the vaccine/pharmaceutical industry. Dr. Saldarini has consulted for several vaccine and investment companies.
He presently serves as chairman of the board for Medavante, a Princeton, NJ healthcare company, and is a member of the boards of Medarex, Inc., also of Princeton, and Community Blood Services of Oradell, NJ. He was chairman of Idun Pharmaceuticals until its sale to Pfizer, Inc. in 2005, Therion Biologics until 2006 and Alphavax (2006). He is an associate at Naimark & Associates, consultants to the health care industry. Dr. Saldarini has served as a consultant to the Institute of Medicine, the Malaria Vaccine Initiative, and has been a member of the National Vaccine Advisory Committee, the Blue Ribbon Search Committee for the Selection of the Food and Drug Administration Commissioner, the Board of Trustees for the National Foundation of Infectious Disease, the Immunization Advisory Council of the New York Department of Health and the Corporate Council for the Children’s Health Fund. Dr. Saldarini has a B.A. degree from Drew University and a PhD in biochemistry and physiology from the University of Kansas.
Maria Teresa Bitar, M.D.
Dr. Bitar is an attending physician in the departments of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Family Practice of St. Joseph’s Regional Medical Center in Paterson, NJ. In addition, she heads the medical center’s Breast, Cervical and Colorectal Cancer Screening Program, and has a private practice in Totowa, NJ.
She is also a member of the obstetrics and gynecology staff at St. Michael’s Medical Center in Newark, NJ.
Dr. Bitar is a certified diplomate of the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology and an EduCare breast health educator. She is a junior fellow of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and a member of the American Association of GYN Laparoscopists.
Dr. Bitar received her medical degree from Pontificia Universidad Javeriana in Colombia and did her residency at St. Joseph’s Regional Medical Center, Paterson, NJ.
Margaret A. Keller, Ph.D.
Dr. Keller is one of the nation’s leading stem cell researchers and an assistant professor at the Coriell Institute for Medical Research in Camden, NJ. She is associate director of the Cell Culture Laboratories at Coriell and principal investigator of the New Jersey Stem Cell Resource, which provides stem cells derived from umbilical cord blood to researchers worldwide. In addition, Dr. Keller collaborates with researchers at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia on stem cell research aimed at investigating regulation of red blood cell generation from stem cells derived from both peripheral blood and umbilical cord blood. Her research focuses on discovering the molecular, genetic and epigenetic factors associated with various inherited hematologic disorders. Recently, her laboratory obtained funding from the New Jersey Commission on Science and Technology, in collaboration with researchers at Coriell and UMDNJ-School of Osteopathic Medicine, to study the properties of umbilical cord blood stem cells relevant to the use of these cells as cell-based therapeutics for the treatment of a variety of disorders. She obtained her doctoral degree in molecular genetics from the University of Pennsylvania and completed a post-doctoral fellowship at DuPont Merck Pharmaceutical Company, previously of Wilmington, Delaware.
Michael Lamacchia, M.D.
Dr. Lamacchia is Chairman of Pediatrics at St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital in Paterson, NJ. He is also chairman of the Clinical Resource Utilization Committee and Infection Control.
Dr. Lamacchia received his medical degree from the Universita Degli Studi Di Pisa, Italy. He did his residency in general pediatrics at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York and trained in pediatric infectious diseases at the University of California, Los Angeles.
For the past three years, Dr. Lamacchia is involved in clinical research in Pediatric HIV and Viral Illnesses. As Medical Director of the “Norman S. Weir’s Nutritional Program” weight reduction program, his program was recently awarded grants on childhood obesity from the Agents for Children’s Health Foundation, the Kraft Foundation, and the American Academy of Pediatrics.
In addition to his board membership at Community Blood Services in Paramus, he is a board member of the Northern New Jersey Maternal Child Consortium.
Arnold Rubin, M.D.
A world-renowned cancer researcher, Dr. Rubin is professor of medicine at the Cancer Institute of NJ in New Brunswick NJ. Previously, he was chief of oncology at St. Joseph’s Regional Medical Center in Paterson, NJ.
He is the author of more that 50 articles, has edited three books and written more than 30 abstracts related to his cancer research, focusing on leukemia, lymphoma, immunology and bone marrow transplantation.
Dr. Rubin has received numerous grants and awards from such prestigious organizations as the Leukemia Society of America, the National Cancer Institute, and The Atomic Energy Commission.
He has been affiliated with numerous hospitals in northern NJ, as well as teaching institutions, including Seton Hall University School of Graduate Medical Education, West Orange, NJ; the College of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey; Mt. Sinai School of Medicine, NY; Tufts New England School of Medicine, Mass.; National Institutes of Health, MD; Yale-New Haven Medical Center, Conn.; and New York University, Department of Pathology.
Dr. Rubin is chairman of the Board of Trustees at Community Blood Services and also of the HLA Registry Foundation, Inc. He is a member of the ISHAGE, the American Society for Blood and Marrow Transplantation, the American Society of Hematology and the American Society for Clinical Investigation.
Dr. Rubin received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Harvard University and his medical degree from New York University School of Medicine. He is board certified in Internal Medicine, Hematology and Diagnostic Laboratory Immunology.
Frances Verter, Ph.D.
Dr. Verter is one of the country’s leading experts on umbilical cord blood banking and the president of the Parent's Guide to Cord Blood Foundation, Inc. The foundation website, ParentsGuideCordBlood.org, provides comprehensive, unbiased information to help parents make an informed choice about cord blood banking. An astrophysicist by training, Dr. Verter learned about medicine as the mother of a child with cancer. Dr. Verter received her B.S. degree from Brooklyn College of the City University of New York and her doctorate from Princeton University. She spent most of her career at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center and is currently a senior support scientist for Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC). She is a member of the American Association of Physicists in Medicine.