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Results tagged “Innovators at Heart”


The latest issue of Innovators at Heart is now available in print and online.

With advice from the Cardio-Oncology Clinic, Jack Reher found a routine that made his heart strong enough to withstand a stem-cell transplant to treat his lymphona. (Photo: Scott Streble)

Early-stage cancer patients have become one of medicine's biggest success stories, as the almost 14 million survivors in the United States would be happy to attest. But for many of them, another threat lurks in the background: heart disease. Through its integrated cardio-oncology program, the University of Minnesota has taken aim at this problem with a full-bore range of research and treatment facilities geared toward the prevention and early detection of heart disease in cancer patients, and its physicians are helping patients already diagnosed with cardiovascular problems withstand cancer treatment.

Tom Busch's gift to aortic valve disease research honors his mother and hero, Dorothy Busch.

When Dorothy Busch died in 2011 at age 92, her son, Tom Busch, told his cousin that his mom was his hero. The cousin, he recalls, replied, "You know, Tom, she was a hero to many, many people." It was that sentiment that prompted Tom to set up the Dorothy M. Busch Memorial Endowed Fund to support aortic valve disease and related research at the University of Minnesota.

Cindy Martin, M.D. (Photo: Scott Streble)

At the Adult Congenital and Cardiovascular Genetics Center at the University of Minnesota, Cindy Martin, M.D., works with people who were born with heart defects or inherited heart diseases and finds ways to alleviate their symptoms. But in the laboratory, she conducts research that delves deeper into what exactly in the patients' genetic makeup caused their disease. And many of her patients jump at the chance to be a part of it.

View a photo slideshow of the opening. (Photo: Scott Streble)

The University of Minnesota revealed another 280,000 square feet of state-of-the-art space on June 14 at a grand opening celebration for its Cancer and Cardiovascular Research Building.

Kay Lillehei

Kaye Lillehei knew she was making a good investment in 2000 when she committed $13 million to the University of Minnesota to create the Lillehei Heart Institute. So when the longtime University advocate and volunteer died in November at age 91, her family felt it was only right to make a gift to the University in her honor.

Rita Perlingeiro, Ph.D. (Photo: Brady Willette)

The company made a multiyear gift commitment to help kick-start a University research project focused on finding a new therapy for limb-girdle muscular dystrophy type 2A.

Photo: Brady Willette

By midsummer, University of Minnesota scientists engaged in cancer and cardiovascular research will be settling into their new building across from TCF Bank Stadium. Conceived as the gateway to the University's burgeoning Biomedical Discovery District (BDD), the Cancer and Cardiovascular Research Building will not only house researchers, it will also welcome passersby inside to see firsthand the impact of the research being done throughout the BDD.

Joseph Metzger, Ph.D., and his lab team are giving dysfunctional hearts new instructions. (Photo: Brady Willette)

A University team has created a novel 'calcium sponge' to help erase one of the country's leading causes of heart failure.

Patti Taylor (Photo: Richard Anderson)

A University of Minnesota surgeon and two interventional cardiologists put their heads together to find a better treatment option for grandmother Patti Taylor, who has faced a host of medical problems throughout her life and wasn't a good candidate for open-heart surgery.

Marie Guion Johnson, Ph.D., founder of AUM Cardiovascular, also works as an adjunct assistant professor of biomedical engineering at the University. (Photo: Scott Streble)

It’s taken personal tragedy, years of research, and a mysterious late-night epiphany for Marie Guion Johnson, Ph.D., to develop a promising new medical device that can detect coronary-artery blockage. Her invention, called the CADence™, is a noninvasive handheld tool that she hopes eventually will be used as a functional test for people at high risk of developing heart disease, the leading cause of death in the United States.

Paul Iaizzo, Ph.D., has directed cutting-edge research in the Visible Heart Laboratory since 1997, when it was created in collaboration with Medtronic, Inc. (Photo: Brady Willette)

You could call it a long-term, heartfelt commitment. In addition to its large, ongoing research contract, Medtronic recently committed another $350,000 to the University of Minnesota’s Visible Heart® Laboratory—the only place in the world where human hearts (donated, not suitable for transplantation) are reanimated so scientists can see exactly how they work from the inside.


On September 2, 1952, a sickly Jacqueline Johnson came to the University of Minnesota Hospitals for help. Jacqueline, the 5-year-old daughter of traveling carnival workers, had an atrial septal defect that needed repair—a repair that had never been done before. But pioneering University surgeon F. John Lewis, M.D., Ph.D., took the bold move of attempting the fix.

Demetris Yannopoulos, M.D., is part of an awareness effort focused on teaching more people how to respond when someone suffers sudden cardiac arrest. (Photo: Richard Anderson)

Though he's still early in his medical career, Demetris Yannopoulos, M.D., isn't waiting to make his mark on the field of cardiology. He is considered an authority in cardiorespiratory interactions and hypothermia during CPR, and his work in has already helped to improve CPR practices—thereby saving lives of people who need it.

Karen Miller, M.S.W., M.P.A., and Alan Hirsch, M.D., kicked off a statewide effort to prevent heart attacks and strokes in Hibbing earlier this year. (Photo: Jim Bovin)

Experts at the University of Minnesota's Lillehei Heart Institute and the School of Public Health have developed a program to spread the word about steps Minnesotans can take to prevent a first heart attack or stroke. To start, the program will highlight the benefits of taking low-dose aspirin daily. Called "Partners in Prevention," the pilot program rolled out in Hibbing earlier this year. "Why should any Minnesotan, or American, suffer a preventable heart attack or stroke?" asks Alan T. Hirsch, M.D., director of this new initiative and the University's vascular medicine program. "This campaign is all about prevention."

The surgeons who performed Jay Pearson's open-heart surgery in 1952 went on to establish the University as a world leader in the field. (Photo: Jim Bovin)

In 1952, Eisenhower became president, Hasbro introduced Mr. Potato Head, gas cost 20 cents a gallon, and, at the University of Minnesota, doctors performed the world's first successful open-heart surgery. Jay Pearson was just 4 years old when he was admitted to the University's Variety Club Children's Heart Hospital on March 28, 1952, for an early heart surgery that preceded the history-making procedure by mere months.

Robin Maturi and her baby, Avery, greet Kenneth Liao, M.D., Ph.D., the heart surgeon who helped to save both of their lives, at the Red Hot Soirée. (Photo: Sandhill Photography)

Music superstar Barry Manilow thrilled the nearly 800 guests of this year's Red Hot Soirée, a gala benefit for the Lillehei Heart Institute at the University of Minnesota. The event, held April 14 at the Depot in Minneapolis, raised almost $690,000 for heart health research and education at the University.


If you would like to support groundbreaking research at the University of Minnesota and also receive steady income for life, a charitable gift annuity may be right for you. Through a simple contract, you agree to make a donation of cash, stocks, or other assets to the Minnesota Medical Foundation. In return, we agree to pay you a fixed amount each year for the rest of your life.

Peter Eckman, M.D.

Meet Peter Eckman, M.D., part of the new generation of cardiovascular physician-scientists continuing to further the University of Minnesota's decades-long leadership in heart research and care.


Traditional heart imaging methods may not always provide enough information for physicians to understand the cause of a patient’s symptoms or plan the best treatment. The new frontier in advanced imaging includes cardiac MRI (magnetic resonance imaging), CT (computed tomography), and PET (positron emission tomography), which open up a whole new level of information for every area of cardiovascular medicine.

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