The Wells Center is named for Dr. Herman B Wells (1902-2000), chancellor of Indiana University and a member of the Riley Memorial Association for over 50 years. The Riley Memorial Association created the center in 1991 on the grounds of the James Whitcomb Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis.
The center provides a unique environment that allows innovative research and day-to-day clinical practice - two disciplines often divided - to interact and benefit from each other. Since 1991 the Center has grown considerably. Under the leadership of Dr. David A. Williams, its four original researchers have become a faculty of 34, and its expansion in 1997 doubled the Center's size, making it a 27,550 square foot research facility. In May 2000, the Wells Center named Dr. Mary Dinauer director and served from 2000-2008, Dr. Mervin C. Yoder seved as director from April 2008 - July 2017. Dr. Raghu Mirmira was named director in August 2017.
The Center has published world-class research in areas including the molecular biology of hematopoiesis; DNA repair; chemotherapy; gene therapy, immune system disorders and congenital heart and cardiovascular diseases. Wells Center research is at the forefront of molecular biology and genetics - fields that show great promise in offering new ways to improve the quality of life for many who suffer from diseases and disorders.
As scientists complete a map of the human genome and unravel the mysteries of what makes us human, Wells Center researchers are in step, incorporating these radical advances into realistic medical treatments. Wells Center researchers receive more than $9 million annually in federal research funds, along with grants from the American Cancer Society, the American Heart Association, the March of Dimes and many other private foundations.
The center has been named a Center of Excellence in Molecular Hematology by the National Institutes of Health, one of only three such centers in the country. The NIH has also awarded three different Program Project Grants to researchers at the Wells Center.
The Center is named aptly for a man who devoted his long life to improving the lives of young people. As Chancellor of Indiana University, he stood at the helm of the school's development from a small state school to a world class research institution and center for the arts. Wells often came to the defense of new and controversial scientific research, including Dr. Alfred Kinsey's investigation of human sexuality in the 1950s.
Wells' passions for knowledge and educational freedom were matched only by his love for children. Through the Wells Center for Pediatric Research, Herman B Wells' legacy will continue to improve the lives of young people, in ways Wells himself may never have imagined.