Dr. D. Wade Clapp earned his B.A. from Hanover College in 1977 and his M.D. from the Indiana University School of Medicine (IUSM) in 1982. Clapp remained at the IUSM for his residency in pediatrics before completing a fellowship and serving on the faculty at Case Western Reserve University. Clapp returned to the IUSM in 1991 as assistant professor of pediatrics and microbiology and immunology, was promoted to associate professor in 1997, and held the Freida and Albrecht Kipp Professorship of Pediatrics from 2004 to 2009. In 2009, Clapp was named the Richard L. Schreiner Professor and Chairman of the Department of Pediatrics at the IUSM. During his tenure, Clapp has served as director of the M.D./Ph.D. program at the IUSM, director of Developmental Hematology-Immunology in the Wells Center for Pediatric Research, and as director of the Tumor Microenvironment Program at the IU Simon Cancer Center.
Clapp’s research focuses on a category of pediatric cancers known as “orphan” cancers, which affect fewer than 100,000 children in the U.S. and are often neglected in medical research. His laboratory has focused on understanding the molecular pathogenesis of two genetic diseases that result in both hematopoietic malignancies as well as solid tumors. Clapp is currently interested in understanding the molecular and cellular targets in the microenvironment of neurofibromas that promote tumor progression. Together with his collaborators at IU and UT Southwestern (David Ingram, Feng-Chun Yang, Kent Robertson, and Luis Parada), one phase 2 trial is currently in progress and others are currently being planned. Clapp's lab has also been working on developing strategies to treat Fanconi Anemia, a genetic disorder with a high predisposition to bone marrow failure, myelodysplasia, and solid tumors. Current studies focus on developing gene transfer and transplantation methodologies to correct autologous stem cells. Other genetic studies underway are designed to understand the mechanisms underlying the clonal evolution to leukemia that occurs frequently in Fanconi Anemia patients.
Clapp has published over 140 peer-reviewed articles and has authored or co-authored 7 chapters and over 125 abstracts. His research has been cited over 7,000 times with an h-index of 45. Clapp was elected to the Perinatal Research Society in 1997, the American Society for Clinical Investigation in 2001, received the Basil O’Connor Award from the National March of Dimes Foundation in 1992, the Frederick Von Recklinghausen Award in 2020, and was elected to the National Academy of Medicine in 2020. He is also a recipient of the Sagamore of the Wabash, the IU Trustees Teaching Award, and the IU President’s Medal for Excellence. He serves as a reviewer on 27 medical journals and most notably was selected to co-chair the Plexiform Neurofibroma Committee for the Department of Defense Multicenter Consortium, to chair the Biology Committee of the Department of Defense Clinical Consortium, and to lead the research advisory board of the Children’s Tumor Foundation. His work has received more than $17 million in external funding from the Department of Defense, the National Cancer Institutes, the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, HealX, Riley Children’s Foundation, National Institute of General Medical Sciences. He and his collaborators hold four U.S. Patents.