School of Medicine
Dr. Ildstad is the Jewish Hospital Distinguished Professor of Transplantation Research, Director of the Institute for Cellular Therapeutics, and Professor in the Department of Surgery. She has associate appointments in the Departments of Physiology & Biophysics and Microbiology & Immunology.
Her research to induce tolerance to organ transplants and treat nonmalignant diseases such as diabetes and sickle cell disease receives ongoing funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Jewish Hospital Foundation, the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and the Department of Defense Office of Army Research and Office of Navy Research. She has received a highly competitive training grant from the NIH and has been awarded several peer reviewed grants from NIH and JDRF.
Ildstad's research is being translated into the clinical arena with FDA approval to enroll more than 200 patients in six different research protocols to treat autoimmune disease (multiple sclerosis) and red blood cell disorders (sickle cell anemia and thalassemia), and to induce tolerance to organ transplants (kidney, heart).
She has published more than 157 peer-reviewed articles in prestigious journals such as Nature, Journal of Experimental Medicine, Journal of Immunology, Transplantation and Diabetes. Her research has been continuously funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and other organizations since 1989. She recently received a prestigious and highly competitive grant from the W.M. Keck Foundation to purchase state of the art cell imaging equipment which allows Institute scientists to observe cell behavior in real time.
Among her many research-related national honors, Ildstad was the first woman ever to receive a Mayo Clinic Distinguished Alumnus Award, and she was selected as the Mayo Medical School Alumnus of the Decade in 2001. Dr. Ildstad has served on nine National Institute of Medicine (IOM) committees since her election to that body in 1997. She additionally serves on numerous review panels for the National Institutes of Health.Ildstad has several patents related to her research and is the founding scientist of Regenerex, LLC, a biotechnology company.
Ildstad graduated from Mayo Medical School in Rochester, Minnesota and trained in Harvard’s general surgery program at Massachusetts General Hospital. As a staff fellow at the NIH, she worked with David Sachs to establish the model for mixed hematopoietic stem cell chimerism. Following a fellowship in Cincinnati, she joined the University of Pittsburgh’s faculty transplant division at a time when 700 liver transplants were being performed annually.She later moved to Allegheny University of the Health Sciences, where she established the Institute for Cellular Therapeutics before being recruited to U of L in 1998.