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Frances Verter, Ph.D.

Parent's Guide to Cord Blood Foundation, Founder & Director

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. She is LinkedIn to professionals around the world. Frances Verter supports both public donation and family banking of cord blood, depending on the circumstances of the family.

Pedro Silva Couto

Parent's Guide to Cord Blood Foundation, Consultant

Pedro Silva Couto joined the Foundation to support the development of our first He received his masters degree in biological engineering from Instituto Superior Técnico (IST) in Lisboa, Portugal. For his Master thesis he worked at Crioestaminal S.A., the largest stem cell bank in Portugal. His thesis examined the laboratory procedures for isolating and storing mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) from the human umbilical cord - which procedures are better for cell counts, for cost control, or for quality control? He has contributed an article to our newsletter on this topic. Data analysis about cord blood banking is a personal passion for Pedro. He is a huge fan of the stem cells and regenerative medicine field - including trends, laboratory research, policies and regulatory affairs.  Pedro's interests also include piano and choir singing, judo and soccer.

Kim Petrella, R.N.

Parent's Guide to Cord Blood Foundation, Parent Educator

Kim Petrella is a Labor & Delivery Nurse in the Dept. of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Christiana Hospital in Newark, Delaware, and is a member of the Association of Women's Health, Obstetric, and Neonatal Nurses (AWHONN).  She gave a presentation at the 2007 annual AWHONN convention in Orlando, FL in 2007 on the implementation of a cord blood donation program at Christiana Hospital.  Mrs. Petrella specializes in educating medical professionals about the importance of saving cord blood.  Mrs. Petrella has had numerous speaking engagements about the about the power and future of cord blood stem cells.  In addition to medical professionals, she has spoken to medical students, nursing students, and high school students.   Most of all, she focuses her energies on empowering parents to save their baby's cord blood versus throwing it away.  Her efforts were recognized in Oct. 2007 by an award from Delaware Health and Social Services as one of the Governor’s Outstanding Volunteer Award winners in the state of Delaware.

Dr. Anushia

Parent's Guide to Cord Blood Foundation, Parent Educator

Parent Educator Dr. Anushia is a medical doctor who is experienced as a clinical coordinator at a public cord blood bank. Dr. Anushia is familiar with medical history considerations in cord blood banking and is currently pursuing a Masters degree in epidemiology. Dr. Anushia has knowledge of both private cord blood banking for the family, cord blood donation for the public, and donor advocacy. Language Fluency: English, Malay, Tamil