News & Events

Mar 02, 2023

NDRI Announces Appointment of Chief Scientific Officer and Senior Vice President of Operations

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PHILADELPHIA, March 2, 2023 — The National Disease Research Interchange (NDRI), a world leader in the procurement and distribution of biospecimens to advance research, announces the promotion of Thomas J. Bell, PhD, to the role of Chief Scientific Officer (CSO), and Melissa VonDran, PhD, to Senior Vice President, Operations.

“NDRI is proud to recognize the significant accomplishments, contributions and leadership of Dr. Tom Bell and Dr. Melissa VonDran,” said Bill Leinweber, President and CEO of NDRI. “Their commitment to the mission of NDRI, to our partners, and the scientific community has been a driving force in the expansion of our capabilities to contribute to the advancement of biomedical research.”

“It is an honor to become NDRI’s Chief Scientific Officer. I look forward to the exciting opportunity to foster the advancement of NDRI’s scientific endeavors with the biomedical research community,” said Dr. Bell. In the new role, Dr. Bell will be responsible for cultivating the development of innovative initiatives with the National Institutes of Health (NIH), corporate partners, and patient advocacy groups that support the advancement of NDRI’s mission.

Dr. Bell, a 12-year veteran at NDRI, has served in a variety of capacities at NDRI since joining in 2010. He has more than 20 years of experience in biomedical research and has published numerous articles, patents, abstracts, and book chapters in the fields of neurophysiology and molecular neuroscience. Dr. Bell completed a National Institutes of Health (NIH)-funded training postdoctoral fellowship in the Department of Systems Pharmacology and Translation Therapeutics at University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. He holds a doctoral degree in neuroscience from the Division of Biology and Medicine at Brown University.

“I am thrilled to have the opportunity to lead NDRI’s accomplished and dedicated Operations staff and support our mission. As NDRI continues to embark on new ground-breaking initiatives, I look forward to working with our partners to expand donation opportunities for research,” said Dr. VonDran. As the SVP of Operations, Dr. VonDran will be leading NDRI’s Operations team which includes the four functional components of Fulfillment, Scientific Services, Tissue Source Site Management, and Logistic Management.

Dr. VonDran, who has been with NDRI since 2015, earned her doctoral degree in neuroscience and cell biology from Robert Wood Johnson Medical School at Rutgers University and completed a post-doctoral fellowship in the Department of Medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College. In this new capacity, she draws upon her own 10-year experience as an academic research scientist to translate the research community’s needs to new researcher recruitment and programs for NDRI.  

About NDRI:

The National Disease Research Interchange (NDRI) is the nation’s leading source of human tissues, cells, and organs for scientific research. A not-for-profit 501 (c) (3) organization founded in 1980, NDRI is funded in part by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), public and private foundations and organizations, as well as, pharmaceutical and biotechnology. NDRI is a 24/7 operation that partners with a nationwide network of over 130 tissue source sites (TSS), including organ procurement organizations (OPOs), tissue banks, eye banks, and hospitals. The TSS, are distributed throughout the USA, in 45 states, with concentrations in major metropolitan areas on both the east and west coasts. Their wide geographic distribution allows NDRI to provide biospecimens from donor populations with diverse demographics and facilitates the timely and efficient provision of fresh tissues directly to researchers globally. By serving as the liaison between procurement sources and the research community, NDRI is uniquely positioned to support breakthrough advances and discoveries that can affect advances in the treatment and cure of human diseases. 

Media Inquiries:  

Matthew Reece
Director, Marketing & Communications
215-557-7361, ext. 239

NDRI is a Not-For-Profit (501c3) Corporation.