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Tara Sander

Tara Sander

Tara Sander is an Assistant Professor of Pathology at the Medical College of Wisconsin and Scientific Director of Molecular Diagnostics in Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at Children's Hospital of Wisconsin. She received her Bachelor's Degree in Biochemistry from Beloit College in 1994, obtained a Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the Medical College of Wisconsin in 2000, and completed postdoctoral training in Molecular and Cell Biology in the Departments of Surgery and Pathology at Harvard Medical School and Children's Hospital Boston. Dr. Sander joined the faculty at the Medical College of Wisconsin in 2003, where she directed a vascular research laboratory in the Department of Surgery (Pediatric Surgery) for five years before assuming her current position as director of a clinical laboratory.

Dr. Sander is involved in the clinical and research aspects of molecular pathology and laboratory medicine. As Scientific Director, Dr. Sander directs the development, operation, and expansion of the new Molecular Diagnostics Laboratory at Children's Hospital of Wisconsin. This clinical laboratory provides state-of-the-art molecular tests for the diagnosis and treatment of children with disease. Currently, the clinical laboratory offers pharmacogenetic testing for patients evaluated in the Neurology Clinic as a way to better guide anticonvulsant medication therapy. The laboratory is in the process of developing additional genetic tests for other diseases and conditions including mitochrondrial disorders, Cystic Fibrosis, Fragile X, and vascular anomalies.

Dr. Sander's research interests include studying molecular mechanisms that regulate vascular endothelial cell function. Her goal is to understand how disruptions in these mechanisms contribute to the pathogenesis of congenital and acquired vascular diseases including valvular heart disease, acute lung injury, and cancer. She also participates in translational research activities, bridging the areas of vascular biology and clinical molecular diagnostics. Her aim is to work with investigators to identify genetic variations that cause congenital disorders and translate these discoveries to the clinic for the development of diagnostic tests for the pediatric population.

Dr. Sander has held several ASIP leadership positions including member of the ASIP Long Range Planning committee, member of the ASIP Program Planning committee, and Chair of the ASIP Committee for Career Development, Women and Minorities, and member of the ASIP Council. She has organized various career development programs at the Experimental Biology annual meetings that promote the advancement of trainees, women, and minorities in science. She is also the current Chair of the Women's Faculty Council at the Medical College of Wisconsin.