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Marshfield Clinic foundation names new director

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Photo -   This undated photo provided by Marshfield Clinic shows Dr. Robert Steiner, a pediatric medical geneticist and University of Wisconsin medical graduate, who has been named the executive director of the Marshfield Clinic Research Foundation in Marshfield, Wis. (AP Photo/Courtesy Marshfield Clinic)
This undated photo provided by Marshfield Clinic shows Dr. Robert Steiner, a pediatric medical geneticist and University of Wisconsin medical graduate, who has been named the executive director of the Marshfield Clinic Research Foundation in Marshfield, Wis. (AP Photo/Courtesy Marshfield Clinic)
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MARSHFIELD, Wis. (AP) — The new executive director of the Marshfield Clinic Research Foundation said he hopes to continue the good work done there while expanding the scope of some of its centers.

Dr. Robert Steiner, a specialist in pediatric genetics, comes to the foundation from the Oregon Health and Science University in Portland, Ore. He is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and its medical school.

Steiner told the Marshfield News-Herald (http://mnhne.ws/18eswPH ) he would like to see the Epidemiology Research Center look more at the cellular and molecular aspects of infectious diseases, while continuing to study vaccines and the diseases. He also said he foresees broadening the scope of research at the foundation's National Farm Medicine Center, which focuses on injury prevention.

Dr. Matthew Keifer, director of the National Farm Medicine Center, said he hopes to continue its work on preventing farm injuries from such things as tractor rollovers but there are also opportunities for other types of research that come from being in a rural area.

"We don't understand the mechanism by which living around or with animals decreases the risk of developing allergies as a child or later in life, but we plan to research newborns of farm families and newborns of nonfarm families," Keifer said.

The Marshfield Clinic system provides patient care, research and education in more than 50 locations in Wisconsin.

Steiner said expanding the scope of its research would involve hiring more scientists and staff.

"The challenging part would be obtaining research funding," he said. "I don't think there has been a more challenging time for finding research funds than the present, so philanthropy is our hope for future growth."

Steiner also said he hopes to continue his own study of rare cholesterol disorders, working with universities in the U.S., Canada and the Netherlands. He also is interested in the study of rare metabolic diseases and genetic conditions in children and may work with the foundation's Center for Human Genetics on that.

"I'd like to expand into research of undiagnosed diseases," Steiner said.

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Information from: Marshfield News-Herald, http://www.marshfieldnewsherald.com

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