Frances VerterBS, PhD
Frances Verter founded the Parent's Guide to Cord Blood in 1998 in memory of her daughter Shai. She started her career as a research scientist, earning a B.S. in physics from Brooklyn College and a Ph.D. in astrophysics from Princeton University. Her life changed course unexpectedly when her daughter Shai was diagnosed with cancer (see Shai's Story). The photo to the left shows Frances with Shai in Sept. 1994. As Shai's mother, Frances learned to be a patient advocate in order to take better care of her child. She found that her training as a scientist enabled her to review medical research on Shai's diagnosis and seek out treatment from the best doctors and the best hospitals. After Shai passed away, Frances went on to have more children and decided to bank their cord blood privately.
The effort of investigating the cord blood banks available at that time led to the formation of the Parent's Guide to Cord Blood website in 1998. For many years the website was a community service that Frances did on the side of her day job at NASA. But gradually, that side began swallowing the rest of her life. She decided in 2006 to try to make a career out the project, and in 2007 incorporated as a non-profit foundation. Since then, she has thrown herself even deeper into following everything about cord blood, from education for expectant parents to the use of cord blood in clinical trials. She regularly attends conferences, gives talks, and publishes articles.