Renowned child-health researcher named Fred M. Saigh Distinguished Chair in Pediatric Research

Mary C. Dinauer, MD, PhD, has been named the first Fred M. Saigh Distinguished Chair in Pediatric Research at St. Louis Children’s Hospital and professor of pediatrics at Washington University School of Medicine.

In addition, Dinauer will serve as scientific director of the Children’s Discovery Institute. The Institute is a partnership between St. Louis Children’s Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine created in 2006 to speed discoveries in children’s medicine. Since its inception, the Children’s Discovery Institute has awarded more than $18 million in total grants for child health research.

Dinauer’s appointments are the culmination of a two-year nationwide search to further strengthen leadership in children’s health at both institutions. She is considered one of the world’s foremost experts on how children’s blood cells fight infection.

“I’m thrilled to be a part of one of the world’s leading hubs of pediatric medicine and research, as well as to lead the efforts of the Children’s Discovery Institute in understanding the genetic basis of children’s diseases,” Dinauer says. “Receiving this new research chair from the Saigh Foundation is extremely gratifying, and a reflection of their visionary support for leading-edge medical research, medical training and community outreach on behalf of children.”

Mary C. Dinauer, MD, PhD, is one of the world’s leading experts in Chronic Granulomatous Disease, a life-threatening inherited immune deficiency that weakens the body’s white blood cell defenses against bacteria and fungi.

Robert Boston

In her new positions, Dinauer will help foster collaborative research partnerships across a multitude of scientific departments at Washington University.

“Extensive biomedical research is the only way we can develop new approaches to the most serious diseases of children,” Dinauer says. “These include pediatric diseases that still await better diagnosis, treatment, or prevention, such as cancer, diabetes, congenital heart defects, muscular dystrophy and asthma.”

“Mary Dinauer is an outstanding pediatrician, scholar, educator and mentor,” says Alan L. Schwartz, PhD, MD, the Harriet B. Spoehrer Professor and head of Pediatrics at the School of Medicine. “She is a physician-scientist par excellence. We are truly delighted that she has joined us as we accelerate our advances in child health research.”

“Dinauer brings an international reputation that will not only enhance the prestige of St. Louis’ research community, it will help draw funding and additional medical expertise to the region,” says Lee Fetter, St. Louis Children’s Hospital president. “Having her as a mentor to up-and-coming innovators will shape the future of children’s health not just in St. Louis, but around the world.”

Dinauer is a specialist in blood disorders and is one of the world’s leading experts in Chronic Granulomatous Disease, a life-threatening inherited immune deficiency that weakens the body’s white blood cell defenses against bacteria and fungi. She has had her work published in more than 130 peer-reviewed journal articles.

Dinauer has trained and worked at the most respected children’s health centers in the United States. She earned medical and doctoral degrees from the University of Chicago, and completed a residency in pediatrics at the University of California, San Francisco, where she also served as chief resident in pediatrics.

Dinauer was a fellow in pediatric hematology/oncology at Harvard Medical School, Children’s Hospital Boston and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Her immediate past appointment was as Nora Letzter Professor of Pediatrics (Hematology/Oncology) and professor of microbiology/immunology and medical and molecular genetics at Indiana University School of Medicine.

This wealth of experience translates into powerful insights for pediatric research at St. Louis Children’s Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine.

“My vision is to build on what is truly unique about the Washington University research community — a spirit of collaboration among scientists that naturally fosters the very best ideas,” Dinauer says. “I want to help these scientists reach out across the university, across the country, and internationally, so that more and more of the finest discovery research happens right here and benefits children in St. Louis.”

About Washington University School of Medicine: The School of Medicine’s 2,100 employed and volunteer faculty physicians also are the medical staff of Barnes-Jewish and St. Louis Children’s Hospitals. The School of Medicine is one of the leading medical research, teaching and patient care institutions in the nation, currently ranked fourth in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. Through its affiliations with Barnes-Jewish and St. Louis Children’s Hospitals, the School of Medicine is linked to BJC HealthCare. For more information visit

About the Children’s Discovery Institute: The Children’s Discovery Institute is a world-class center for pediatric research and innovation. The Institute funds the collaborative, multi-disciplinary work of creative scientists aimed at some of the most devastating childhood diseases and disorders. For more information about St. Louis Children’s Hospital, visit For more information about the Children’s Discovery Institute, visit

About St. Louis Children’s Hospital: St. Louis Children’s Hospital has provided specialized care for children for more than 125 years. The hospital is affiliated with Washington University School of Medicine, ranked the number four medical school in the country by US News & World Report. In 2010, St. Louis Children’s Hospital again made the elite US News & World Report Honor Roll of the nation’s Best Pediatric Hospitals, in additional to receiving Magnet re-designation from the American Nurses Credentialing Center, the nation’s highest honor for nursing excellence. In 2009, Parents magazine ranked St. Louis Children’s Hospital number five in the nation. St. Louis Children’s Hospital is a member of BJC HealthCare. For more information visit; or visit us @STLChildrens on Facebook and Twitter.

About Fred M. Saigh and the Saigh Foundation: The Saigh Foundation was created by Fred M. Saigh to serve as a legacy of the gifts he gave throughout his lifetime to the community of St. Louis. Fred Saigh was known as an extraordinarily generous man. He touched the lives of many people he barely knew by sensing their need for assistance and offering help at critical times in their lives. He often gave anonymously, without a thought of seeking anything in return. The Saigh Foundation continues the work begun by Fred Saigh. The Foundation enhances the quality of life in the St. Louis metropolitan region through support for charitable projects and initiatives, which primarily benefit children and youth through education and health care. Over the past 10 years, The Saigh Foundation has been an outstanding partner in the efforts of St. Louis Children’s Hospital to provide leading-edge medical research, medical training, and community outreach, with gifts totaling close to $5 million dollars. The Saigh Foundation exemplifies Mr. Saigh’s visionary nature and stimulates the development of new ventures and innovative programs. The Saigh Foundation was an early supporter of the Children’s Discovery Institute, the Healthy Kids Express mobile outreach program, and the hospital’s Pediatric Simulation Center.