Carmel researcher recognized for work leading to Nobel Prize


A Carmel resident is being lauded for his research and close ties to a recent Nobel Prize in Medicine winner, Dr. William G. Kaelin.

Dr. Mircea Ivan, a researcher and associate professor at Indiana University, was a post-doctoral fellow and instructor in Kaelin’s lab at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard Medical School between 1998 and 2002. He was the first author of original papers describing how animal cells sense changes in oxygen availability.

“The answer to the question, ‘How do cells sense O2?’ had been sought for many decades,” Ivan said. “In Dr. Kaelin’s laboratory, I identified the mechanism utilized by all animal cells to monitor O2 abundance in their surroundings. Given the central role of O2 for life, it is hardly surprising that our studies had a broad impact in biomedical research and have become textbook material.

“From a clinical standpoint, this discovery was instrumental for the development of new drugs which promise to transform the treatment of anemia associated with chronic kidney disease.”

A Carmel resident since 2008, Ivan teaches and researches at the IU School of Medicine and the IU Melvin and Bren Simon Cancer Center in Indianapolis. He leads his own research group within the school’s Hematology and Oncology Division, where he focuses on characterizing novel cell responses to changes in oxygen availability.

The Nobel recoginition of his work has garnered a significant amount of attention from the IU community, Ivan said, but he was happy to also be flooded with messages from friends and colleagues.

Ivan and his wife, Simona, recently returned to the U.S. from Stockholm after last month’s Nobel lectures, awards ceremony and Nobel banquet.

“The experience was beyond words,” Ivan said. “The pictures do not even begin to capture the atmosphere.”

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