Newswise — Stephen Gottschalk, M.D., has been named chair of the Department of Bone Marrow Transplantation and Cellular Therapy at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee.

In his new position, Gottschalk will be responsible for management of the department’s clinical, research and educational activities. He will join St. Jude in August.

“Bone marrow transplantation and cellular therapy represent some of the most innovative treatments in our fight against cancer and other life-threatening diseases,” said James R. Downing, M.D., St. Jude president and chief executive officer. “With Dr. Gottschalk at the department’s helm, St. Jude will expand this program and its efforts in cancer immunotherapy to offer children in Memphis and beyond the best hope for the future.”

A distinguished clinician and scientist in the areas of bone marrow transplantation and cancer immunotherapy, Gottschalk comes to St. Jude from the Center of Cell and Gene Therapy and Texas Children’s Cancer Center, which he joined in 2001. He has served as director of Texas Children’s Cancer Center Basic and Translational Research Division since 2012. He is also a professor in the Pediatrics and Immunology departments at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston.

“Cell-based immunotherapies hold the promise to improve outcomes for children with cancer who currently cannot be cured,” Gottschalk said. “Because cell therapies are also highly cancer specific, they might ultimately reduce the incidence of long-term, treatment-related complications endured by all cancer survivors. St. Jude is in a unique position to build a highly innovative pediatric cell therapy program; I am honored and delighted to lead this effort.”

Gottschalk has developed innovative strategies to treat different types of cancer. He also holds numerous memberships in nationally recognized professional societies, including the American Society of Pediatric Hematology and Oncology, the American Society of Bone Marrow Transplantation, and the American Society of Hematology.

Gottschalk attended medical school at Georg August University in Gottingen, Germany, and the University of Birmingham in the United Kingdom, earning his German medical license in 1992. He completed pediatric residency training and a hematology-oncology fellowship at Baylor College of Medicine.

St. Jude is home to one of the largest pediatric bone marrow transplantation programs in the world and has pioneered bone marrow transplantation for leukemia patients who do not have matched donors or who have a chemotherapy-resistant form of this cancer. A bone marrow transplant replaces damaged or destroyed bone marrow stem cells with healthy ones from a donor. In a bone marrow transplant, the donated healthy cells grow and produce normal blood cells. The St. Jude department is responsible for more than 2,900 such transplants since 1982.