A laboratory personnel examining in the laboratory and writing notes.

The Founding Fathers of Cord Blood Banking: Dr. Hal Broxmeyer, Dr. Robert A. Dracker and Martin Smithmyer

In Cord Blood We Trust

In 1985, Dr. Hal Broxmeyer discovered the presence of hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells in human cord blood. Today, 31 years later, cord blood can be used to treat more than 80 diseases including sickle cell, leukemia, and lymphoma. Cord blood banking has had a long, groundbreaking journey and it would not be where is today without the help of a few extraordinary people. These are the so-called founding fathers of cord blood banking that helped revolutionize regenerative medicine.

Meet the founding fathers of cord blood banking:

An image of Dr. Hal Broxmeyer.

Dr. Hal Broxmeyer

Dr. Hal Broxmeyer serves as the Mary Margaret Walther Professor of Microbiology & Immunology, at the University of Indiana School of Medicine. He is known for his studies on the positive and negative regulation of blood cell production and his research on umbilical cord blood has resulted in over 600 publications since 1980. In 1985, Dr. Broxmeyer discovered HSCs in human umbilical cord blood, giving rise to umbilical cord blood to be used to treat a number of different conditions. His discoveries helped lead to the first 5 cord blood transplants. Broxmeyer has won numerous awards, including the prestigious E. Donnall Thomas Award from ASH.

A headshot of Pablo Rubinstein.

Pablo Rubinstein

Pablo Rubinstein originated the concept of public cord banking in 1989. With sponsorship from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health he opened the first public cord blood bank in the world at New York Blood Center. This program received the first FDA IND for cord blood banking in 1996. Dr. Rubinstein helped pioneer the methods of cord blood collection and storage that have become industry standards. Since, the 1990s, Dr. Rubinstein has been working with many public blood banks and developing new technology to improve public cord blood banking. Dr. Rubinstein has received the Shirley Nolan Award of the World Marrow Donor Association, in 2012, and the Prix Galien USA, for HEMACORD®, named Best Biotechnology Product of 2014.

Headshot of Dr. Robert Dracker with white background.

Dr. Robert A. Dracker

Dr. Robert A. Dracker is a Graduate of New York University, where he earned his B.A. in Biology and Doctorate of Medicine from SUNY Health Science Center at Syracuse. He received his M.S. in Health Services Management from New School for Social Research and his M.B.A. from Columbia College. Currently, Dracker is the Executive Medical Director of Americord Registry. He is responsible for all laboratory, collection, and transport procedures. However, in the 1990s Dracker was a part of the Working Group on Cord Blood Stem Cell Guidelines for New York State and helped establish the New York cord blood banking licensing requirements. He helped found the original private cord blood banking company, Viacord or Viacell. He continues to work at Americord Registry, a leader the cord blood banking where he continues to innovate the cord blood banking industry.

A headshot of Martin Smithmyer.

Martin Smithmyer

Martin Smithmyer founded Americord Registry in 2008. He serves as Chief Executive Officer. Americord is a leader in cord blood banking and in the advancement of umbilical cord blood, cord tissue, and placental tissue banking. It is currently the fastest-growing private cord blood bank in the country. With the help of Dr. Robert Dracker, Smithmyer has worked to revolutionize cord blood banking, including being one of the only private cord blood banks currently storing placental tissue. Smithmyer worked in the medical field for a long time before Americord was established. He worked for a Healthcare Investment Banking Group at BMO Capital Markets. He also served as Vice President and Head of Healthcare IT Investment Banking. Mr. Smithmyer received an MBA from American University and graduated from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County with a BS in Biology.


“Hal Broxmeyer Ph.D.: Executive Profile & Biography.” Bloomberg.com. Bloomberg, n.d. Web. 30 June 2016.

“Martin Smithmyer MBA: Executive Profile & Biography.” Bloomberg.com. Bloomberg, n.d. Web. 30 June 2016.

“Milestones.” Parent’s Guide to Cord Blood Banking. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 June 2016.

“Pablo Rubinstein, MD.”New York Blood Center. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 June 2016.

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