Executive Team

David Wellis, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer

David is a cell biologist with over 25 years experience in the life science industry and currently serves as the CEO of the San Diego Blood Bank (SDBB).  SDBB provides San Diego, Orange and Los Angeles County hospitals with a wide range of blood products and testing services, including cord blood banking.  David joined SDBB following his tenure at a variety of companies that developed tools for biomedical research, diagnostic and applied markets, including Illumina, GenVault and Axon Instruments.

David received his B.S. from UC Irvine, an M.S. and Ph.D. from Emory University, postdoctoral training at Tufts University and UC Berkeley, and business training at Leavey Business School of Santa Clara University and Haas Business School at UC Berkeley.  David is on the Executive Committee of the Clinical and Translational Research Institute at UC San Diego, and holds board and committee roles in several national blood bank organizations and local biotechnology companies. David is also a Board Trustee at Francis Parker School.

Mark Edmunds, MD, Chief Medical Officer

Dr. Edmunds received his Chemical Engineering and Medical Doctorate degrees from the University of New Mexico. Following medical school, he underwent a surgical internship at UCLA and completed residency in Clinical Pathology/Laboratory Medicine and fellowship in Blood Banking/Blood Transfusion Medicine at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. He previously served as Associate Medical Director for Blood Centers of the Pacific (now Vitalant) in San Francisco and as North American Medical Director for Grifols Transfusion Medicine. Furthermore, he brings substantial experience in private practice, telemedicine, and health technology.  

As Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Edmunds is embracing his passion for blood banking and applying his industry knowledge in new ways to support San Diego Blood Bank (SDBB), our altruistic donor population, hospital providers, and all the communities we serve throughout Southern California. He is responsible for the medical and clinical activities of SDBB, providing medical oversight, expertise and leadership to ensure delivery, safety, and excellence of blood products and services, including those provided by our immunohematology reference laboratory.

His responsibilities include the strategy, development, and implementation of innovative blood collection and research programs that include collaboration with operational and strategic business partners. Current research projects include serving as principal investigator for a clinical trial to develop a non-invasive blood donor hemoglobin test and using next generation genetic sequencing for prediction of red blood cell antigens in donors and recipients to prevent transfusion complications and improve availability of rare blood for patients. He oversees SDBB’s source plasma collection program to develop a vaccine against currently untreatable blood-borne viral infections and seeks partnerships with industry leaders to further develop SDBB’s umbilical cord stem cell laboratory and new cellular therapies.

Doug Morton, Chief Operating Officer, Chief Information Officer

Doug Morton is an information system professional with over 25 years of experience in a variety of industries. Doug has been with the San Diego Blood Bank since 2000 in roles ranging from Director of IT to Chief Operating Officer. Doug received a B.A. from Point Loma Nazarene University majoring in Computer Science. Prior to joining the blood bank Doug held Information Technology positions with the US District Court, Hanson Aggregates and Real Property Services. Volunteer activities include coaching youth sports and raising service dogs for the blind and disabled.

Crane Harris, Chief Business Officer

Crane Harris is a business development professional with over 25 years of experience on both the “buy” and “sell” side, working with public and private, large and small, for profit and nonprofit enterprises. He currently serves as the Chief Business Officer for the San Diego Blood Bank, with responsibility for identifying and leveraging alternative revenue streams to support the SDBB’s core mission.

Crane spent the 13 years prior to joining SDBB as Director of Business Development for Illumina, closing many strategic business collaborations, negotiating supply contracts, and supporting the development and launch of new products. He’s received the Values Award, the Pillar Award and the President’s Club awards from Illumina.

Prior to Illumina, Crane held leadership positions at La Jolla Pharmaceuticals, Pharmacia/Monsanto Co., and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Crane received his B.A. in Psychology from Vanderbilt University and his M.B.A. at the Darden Business School at the University of Virginia.

David Neal, Chief Financial Officer

David Neal brings over 25 years of Chief Financial Officer experience, with a recent 14-year focus in non-profit biobanking and life-science research. He is a licensed CPA. More than just a numbers person, David offers insights on operational and strategic issues to help drive the mission of San Diego Blood Bank.

In addition to his life-science background, David has held senior financial leadership positions in higher education, software development and semi-conductor equipment manufacturing. Born and raised in the Midwest, David earned his B.S., Accountancy from the University of Illinois, Urbana, and has resided in the Phoenix, AZ area the majority of his career.


Michele Corbett, Vice President, Marketing

Michele Corbett began her career on the 10th floor at City Hall meeting the needs of constituents in San Diego’s District 2. She went on to a 20-year stint in higher education, serving at San Diego State University and Point Loma Nazarene University. Prior to joining the San Diego Blood Bank, she most recently served in the senior marketing role for PLNU, where she was responsible for strategic priorities related to recruitment, fundraising, community relations, and alumni relations. She has launched brand platforms, enterprise website solutions, and new programs to new markets. She is most passionate about organizational storytelling and bringing brands to life.

Along the way, Michele has trained Marine Corps recruiters in communication skills; conducted research for two books written by Kevin and Jackie Freiberg, Nuts!: Southwest Airlines' Crazy Recipe for Business and Personal Success and Guts!: Companies that Blow the Doors Off Business-As-Usual; and taught college courses in public speaking, business communication, advertising, and interpersonal communication.

Michele earned her B.A. in communication from PLNU and her M.A. in communication from SDSU. During graduate school, she focused her studies on organizational theory.

Michele joined the San Diego Blood Bank in February 2017.

Helen Bixenman, Chief Quality, Regulatory Affairs and Risk Officer/Chief Compliance and Privacy Officer

Helen A. Bixenman, MBA/HCM, CHC, CG(ASCP)CMDLMCM, QLCCM is Chief Quality, Regulatory Affairs and Risk Officer/Chief Compliance and Privacy Officer, with responsibility for quality and regulatory performance, oversight of quality systems and sustaining a culture of quality.  

Helen Bixenman has over 30 years of significant contribution within the biotech/healthcare arena. Through key strategic roles, Helen has acquired broad-based general management experience encompassing clinical operations for multi-site, multi-million dollar operations. Areas of professional expertise encompass compliance and regulatory affairs, quality assurance and quality control, clinical research, technical administration and operations and strategic planning and business development.

Before joining San Diego Blood Bank, she held positions of increasing responsibility with several clinical laboratories and healthcare systems including Phoenix Children’s Hospital, Banner Health, Sun Health, Genzyme Genetics/Genetrix and the Genetics Center of the Southwest Biomedical Research Institute.  Helen currently serves as President of the Association of Genetic Technologists and as a member of the American Society for Clinical Laboratory Science Government Affairs Committee.

Helen earned an MBA with an emphasis in healthcare management from University of Phoenix and a B.S. in Biology from Georgian Court University, Lakewood, N.J. Helen’s professional credentials include: Certification in Healthcare Compliance (Compliance Certification Board) and Technologist in Cytogenetics, Diplomate in Laboratory Management and Qualification in Laboratory Compliance (American Society for Clinical Pathology Board of Certification).

Rick Dickson, Vice President, Logistics
Logistics & Hospital Services

Rick has a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Business Administration from Sacramento State University and has over 23 years of experience in the logistics field. He began his logistics career with Federal Express (FedEx) Corporation in 1993 coordinating the Containerized Transport Vehicle (CTV) fleet from the FedEx hub at Los Angeles International Airport to stations throughout Southern California. Rick worked his way up through the ranks to become the PM Operations Manager at the FedEx station in Santa Barbara, California. While there he coordinated the activities of the couriers, handlers, ramp agents, CTV vehicles and cargo aircraft.

Rick joined the San Diego Blood Bank management team in 1999 as the Manager of Hospital Services then was promoted to Director of Hospital Services (and Document Control) and is currently the Vice President of Logistics responsible for coordinating the activities the Hospital Services, Materials Management and Plant Operations Departments.

While at the Blood Bank Rick has helped launch the Commercial Motor Vehicle program, the Training and Document Control Department and works with California Blood Bank (CBBS) to perform the duties of the Southern California Area Emergency Operations Center (AEOC) to help coordinate the flow of blood products through California in the event of local, state or national emergencies.

Rob Tressler, Ph.D., Vice President, Laboratories
Cell Therapy

Dr. Tressler is Vice President of Laboratories for the San Diego Blood Bank where he oversees the Public Cord Blood Bank and Cell Therapy research program. Previously he held leadership roles in Biotechnology companies, serving as head of Preclinical Oncology Research at Geron, Inc, overseeing their oncology and anti-aging research programs. He also was VP of Research and Development at Cellerant Therapeutics, heading up research and development efforts for stem cell and oncology programs. He has authored over 30 peer reviewed scientific articles, book chapters and reviews as well as being inventor on several patents. Dr. Tressler has been invited to give numerous talks and lectures at Scientific and professional meetings and served as a chairperson and panelist at scientific symposia and meetings. His scientific focus is in stem cell biology, oncology and anti-aging research and he has served as a scientific advisor to various companies. He received his Ph.D. in Cancer Biology from the University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Science and his Master and Bachelor of Science degrees in Microbiology from McNeese State University. He is a member of the American Association of Blood Banks, The International Society of Cell Therapy and The American Society of Hematology.

Sherry Serio, Vice President of Development,

Sherry collaborates with philanthropic partners, corporations, individual donors, volunteers and the Board of Directors to advance the San Diego Blood Bank’s mission in the community by raising funds in support of the SDBB’s Core Blood Services, Cell Therapy, Genotyping and the Clia Lab programs.

Prior to joining SDBB, Sherry has worked as a development professional in the non-profit healthcare industry for organizations including Scripps Health, Baylor College of Medicine, CHI St. Luke’s Health, Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, Hematology & Oncology Specialists Foundation and the University of Houston.

A native of New Orleans, Sherry brings over 20 years of healthcare fundraising, marketing, communications, and sales experience in the healthcare non-profit industry. Sherry’s passion and vision for philanthropy led her to launch an Integrative Medicine program that empowered cancer patients to personalize their care. This was Sherry’s first philanthropy project that set the vision for her career.  Since, she has raised funds to support life-saving programs such a transitional medicine clinic for special needs patients, translational research in support of ovarian cancer prevention, cutting-edge medical technology like the da Vinci Surgical System, STEM scholarships, patient navigation programs, preventative screenings for indigent patients and a state-of-the-art cancer center. 

Sherry graduated from Loyola University New Orleans with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications and a concentration in Broadcast journalism and a Masters of Business from the University of Phoenix. She also holds an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach Certificate from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. 

Sherry’s core belief is that your greatest gift is your health. Everyone deserves to live a long and healthy life.  This philosophy is her #1 motivation to be the best healthcare fundraiser and philanthropy change-maker by providing resources for people to live a long and prosperous life.