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Research Institute names new executive director

​​​​​​​​​Marshfield Clinic Research Institute has named Dr. Robert Steiner​, a genetics and pediatrics researcher, as its new executive director.​​​

Steiner, a Milwaukee native, comes to MCRI from Doernbecher Children's Hospital and the Institute for Developmental Disabilities at Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) in Portland. At OHSU, he served as Credit Union for Kids professor of pediatric research, and professor of pediatrics and molecular and medical genetics. He also was the vice chairman for pediatric research.

"Dr. Steiner is a great fit for the Research Institute. He has a passion and expertise for research based on improving patient care, a key component of the Clinic's mission," said Dr. Brian Ewert, Marshfield Clinic president. "We were immediately impressed with his vision for the Institute, his desire to collaborate with others and a leadership style that incorporates the views of others."

Steiner, who earned his bachelor's and medical degrees from University of Wisconsin-Madison, was attracted to MCRI for a number of reasons, including its long and distinguished history and reputation for innovation, including in the areas of genetics and genomics.

He also was impressed with the Research Institute's collaborative efforts, such as its partnership with the University of Wisconsin's Institute of Clinical and Translational Research.

"I really wanted work at the Clinic because it has an outstanding reputation we can build upon," Steiner said. "With the right mix of vision and strategic planning, partnerships and a lot of careful thought and hard work, there's no limit to what we can do. As exciting as the research going on in the Institute is, it was also the people who attracted me."

Steiner is an active clinician in medical genetics, with interests in inherited metabolic diseases, cholesterol disorders, metabolic bone diseases and newborn screening. His research has focused on rare diseases.

Steiner's vision for MCRI is robust. He plans to strengthen the foundation's regional, national and international reputation, while building a broad base of funding to support research. He also wants to build upon the strong connection between the Clinic and Research Institute​ to provide even better care and treatments.

Knowing collaboration is an integral part of research, Steiner wants to foster an open learning environment and support discoveries that lead to new treatments and cures for diseases and other health problems.

"Research is where innovation comes in, where new treatments are developed and tested," he said. "At my former institution, a determined researcher whose mentor at Harvard told him his research was going nowhere developed Gleevec, which has transformed a deadly form of leukemia to a curable condition. So, it's through research that we will improve upon patient care."

Steiner completed his residency at Children's Hospital Medical Center and University of Cincinnati and a fellowship in medical genetics from the University of Washington. 

​​The Marshfield Clinic system provides patient care, research and education in more than 50 locations in northern, central and western Wisconsin, making it one of the largest comprehensive medical systems in the United States.


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