Sanford Research president leads global rare disease group

Jan. 20, 2022


Jon Berg
Sanford Health Media Relations
605-366-2432 /

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. David A. Pearce, PhD, president of Innovation, Research and World Clinics at Sanford Health, was recently named Chair of the International Rare Diseases Research Consortium (IRDiRC). Dr. Pearce brings decades of experience in children’s health research to the consortium assembly, including focused research of rare diseases in children.

“I am thrilled to have the opportunity to Chair this international consortium during such a pivotal time in the advancement of medicine,” said David A. Pearce, PhD. “Great promise lies ahead for new diagnostics and treatments for rare diseases. I am deeply dedicated to this work and look forward to collaborating with my international colleagues in the field of rare disease research as well as partnering with industry groups and patients to make better connections and increase access to life-saving clinical trials.”

The IRDiRC is the largest rare disease research consortium in the world. The global initiative was formed to fund rare disease research and promote collaboration. Comprised of 60 members from organizations across the world, the initiative aims to accomplish the vision that everyone living with a rare disease should receive a precise analysis and care plan within one year of diagnosis of a rare disease.

Dr. Pearce graduated from the University of Wolverhampton in Wolverhampton England and received his PhD from the University of Bath in Bath England. He continued his education doing his Postdoctoral Fellowship from the University of Rochester in Rochester, N.Y.

At Sanford Health, Dr. Pearce and a talented team of researchers, who have a passion for children’s research, created an international rare disease registry, CoRDS (Coordination of Rare Diseases at Sanford), which monitors the advancement of research into more than 7,000 unique disorders to help clinicians make diagnoses more quickly, connect people living with rare disease to clinical trials and find better treatments.

Dr. Pearce has written more than 100 publications on Batten disease, used yeast and animal models to elucidate the basis of the disease and developed a number of reagents that lend themselves to further study the pathophysiology of Batten disease.

For more information on research at Sanford Health, visit

About Sanford Health

Sanford Health, one of the largest health systems in the United States, is dedicated to the integrated delivery of health care, genomic medicine, senior care and services, global clinics, research and affordable insurance. Headquartered in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, the organization includes 46 hospitals, 1,500 physicians and more than 200 Good Samaritan Society senior care locations in 26 states and 10 countries. Learn more about Sanford Health’s transformative work to improve the human condition at or Sanford Health News.