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October 2007 Archives

March 1961, C. Walton Lillehei, M.D., Ph.D., listens to his patient’s heart, which was beating regularly again, thanks to the recently invented pacemaker

December 1957. As snow swirls around a garage-turned workshop in northeast Minneapolis, the young man inside hunches over a collection of wires, resistors, switches, and other electrical bits and pieces. History is being made: The man is Earl Bakken, and the device taking shape in his hands is the world's first wearable transistorized pacemaker. By summer, his invention will be keeping young children alive after open-heart surgery. By 2007, the device and others based on it will have given millions of individuals around the world a new chance to lead healthy lives.

Sarah Nunneley, M.D., M.S., the first woman to complete a residency in aerospace medicine, stands in front of a historic hyperbaric chamber, which was used to treat cases of decompression sickness resulting from altitude experiments

As a young doctor in aerospace medicine, Sarah Nunneley, M.D., M.S., didn't want merely to observe her study participants spinning in a human centrifuge. She wanted in.

For one study, Nunneley sat across from her study subjects in the centrifuge while drawing arterial blood samples. They spun at 3 Gs—or three times the normal gravitational pull—for six to eight minutes at a time. "By the way, I get motion sick fairly easily," Nunneley adds.

Homicide: A Psychiatric Perspective

Psychiatrist Carl P. Malmquist, M.D., has received the prestigious Manfred S. Guttmacher Award for his book Homicide: A Psychiatric Perspective, now in its second edition.

Malmquist, who describes murder as "an indelible part of our behavior as humans," is a nationally recognized expert in juvenile and adult psychiatry and forensic psychiatry. He also is a professor of social psychiatry in the University of Minnesota's Department of Sociology, teaching in the areas of law, criminology, and deviance. His class "Killing" is consistently one of the most popular courses at the University.

Medical student Adrienne Schwartz and her mentor, Gregory Filice, M.D.

Less than a year after meeting her mentor through the Connections Physician-Student Mentoring Program, medical student Adrienne Schwartz, M.P.H., found herself working as part of his research team at the Minneapolis Veterans Affairs Medical Center for a summer.

Her mentor,Gregory Filice, M.D., an infectious disease specialist and professor in the Medical School's Department of Medicine, now plans to publish the research paper Schwartz helped draft that summer—listing Schwartz as a coauthor—and to present it at a national meeting.

Deborah Powell, M.D.

Deborah Powell, M.D., dean of the Medical School and assistant vice president for clinical sciences, in July received the Association of Pathology Chairs' Distinguished Service Award—the group's highest honor.

Powell is the first woman to receive the award, which has been presented annually since 1986 to an individual who has made substantial contributions to academic pathology in research, in education, or in advancing the discipline of pathology in the medical community and to the public.


University of Minnesota Medical School professor Michael Garwood, Ph.D., received the 2007 Gold Medal Award at the Joint Annual Meeting of the International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine and the European Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine and Biology this summer.

Garwood, associate director of the Center for Magnetic Resonance Research (CMRR) at the Medical School and a member of the Cancer Center's Breast Cancer Research Program, is internationally recognized for incorporating magnetic resonance imaging with magnetic resonance spectroscopy technology to noninvasively diagnose cancer and monitor response to cancer therapies.

Eli Coleman, Ph.D.

Eli Coleman, Ph.D., director since 1991 of the Medical School's Program in Human Sexuality, was elected president of the International Academy of Sex Research at the academy's annual meeting in August.

Coleman's election to the position followed his recent appointment as inaugural holder of the University's endowed chair in sexual health--the first of its kind in the world--and his receipt in April of the Gold Medal Award 2007 at the XVIII World Congress of the World Association for Sexual Health.

Apostolos Georgopoulos, M.D., Ph.D., with the machine that creates MEG images

Researches from the Medical School and the Brain Sciences Center at the Minneapolis Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Center have discovered a simple, painless way to detect Alzheimer's disease, schizophrenia, and other complex brain disorders using a device that tracks magnetic signals in the brain.

The research, which appeared in the August 27 issue of the Journal of Neural Engineering, may allow physicians to diagnose brain disorders earlier, monitor their progress, and track the effectiveness of different treatments for these diseases.

Mark Eustis

University of Minnesota alumnus Mark A. Eustis started August 1 in his new role as Fairview Health Services' president and CEO.

Eustis was most recently president of Regional Ministry Operations for Ascension Health in St. Louis—the nation's largest nonprofit health system. A Minnesota native, he earned a bachelor's degree in business and a master's degree in hospital and healthcare administration from the University.

Bevan Yeuh, M.D., M.P.H.

The Medical School's Department of Otolaryngology has selected Bevan Yueh, M.D., M.P.H., as its new head following a national search.

An accomplished researcher and author of more than 50 journal articles, Yueh also is an award-winning teacher lauded for his ability to mentor students and take an active role in training residents.


The University launched a new Medical Devices Center this summer to advance medical device-related research by fostering collaboration among Medical School and engineering faculty and the Twin Cities' medical device industry.

The Medical Devices Center is part of the Institute for Engineering in Medicine (IEM), a new initiative jointly sponsored by the Medical School and the Institute of Technology that replaces the University's Biomedical Engineering Institute.

Thumbnail image for Daniel Mulrooney, M.D., M.S., listens to the lungs of leukemia survivor Rosie Peterson at the Long-Term Follow-Up Clinic. Lung function can sometimes be diminished by childhood cancer and its treatment. (Photo: Richard Anderson)

After analyzing clinical data from transplant centers around the country, University researchers reported in June that umbilical cord blood transplants may offer blood cancer patients better outcomes than bone marrow transplants, previously considered the gold standard.

The study, which appeared in the June 9, 2007, issue of The Lancet, compared outcomes of pediatric leukemia patients who received bone marrow transplants from unrelated donors with those who received umbilical cord transplants. While all bone marrow donors were matched, nearly all cord blood donors were mismatched.

Thumbnail image for A new children’s care facility on the University’s Riverside campus will enhance pediatric services and foster a family-centered environment.

University of Minnesota Medical Center, Fairview, and University of Minnesota Children's Hospital, Fairview, have joined an elite group of health-care organizations nationwide selected as Magnet facilities for their high-quality patient care, nursing excellence, and innovations in professional nursing practice.

Just 4 percent of the country's hospitals have received the American Nurses Credentialing Center's Magnet designation for excellence in nursing services—one of the highest levels of recognition a hospital can achieve.

Thumbnail image for An event in October honoring Gerald Hill, M.D., one of the Center of American Indian and Minority Health's first leaders, drew a grateful crowd of colleagues and former students. View a slideshow of event highlights.

A two-year, $150,000 grant from the Medtronic Foundation will help the University's Center of American Indian and Minority Health (CAIMH) continue to encourage Native American students to enter careers in medicine.

"We truly appreciate the Medtronic Foundation's gift and leadership," says CAIMH director Joy Dorscher, M.D. "With Medtronic's help, we can continue to educate Native American students and encourage them to return to their communities to deliver culturally sensitive medicine."

Gary Davis, Ph.D.

Medical School Dean Deborah Powell, M.D., has named longtime faculty member Gary L. Davis, Ph.D., senior associate dean of the University of Minnesota Medical School-Duluth Campus.

Davis, a licensed clinical psychologist, joined the Medical School's Duluth campus in 1974 and has chaired the Behavioral Sciences Department since 1984.

John Kersey, M.D., performed the first blood and marrow transplant for treating lymphoma in 1975.

For many years, John Kersey, M.D., has been the face of the University of Minnesota Cancer Center. Both as a groundbreaking researcher and as the center's founding director, he played a key role in bringing together researchers and clinicians from across the University to transform cancer research and patient care.

So when Kersey stepped down as director in March, his colleagues thought they knew why.

Daniel Mulrooney, M.D., M.S., examines two-time cancer survivor Nichole Wilson. Mulrooney is studying the “late effects” of chemotherapy and radiation therapy on people who have been treated for cancer as children.

For Daniel Mulrooney, M.D., M.S., assistant professor of pediatric oncology, it's the classic Catch-22. To do biomedical research, you need time, funding, and know-how. To get time, funding, and know-how... you need research experience.

Mulrooney spends much of his time at the University of Minnesota Children's Hospital, Fairview, caring for young patients who have cancer. He's also very interested in studying the "late effects" —those that show up after years or even decades—of chemotherapy and radiation therapy on children, and learning what he and others can do to minimize them. But when he applied for federal funding to conduct research on the topic, Mulrooney discovered he lacked the track record needed to land a major grant.

Minnesota’s Future Doctors program participants Fatuma Omer and Shukri Guled watch as Anna Shakil, M.D., examines patient Carol Lovejoy at the University of Minnesota Medical Center, Fairview. As part of their program experience, students shadowed docto

"I can't think of anything I'd rather do than help people," says college sophomore Georgette McCauley with a bright smile that belies a childhood spent in the turmoil of civil war.

McCauley says her family, which fled Liberia for the United States in 2001, was often on the move because of the war, making it difficult for her to attend school. Frequently, she says, the family had to lie on the floor of their home to avoid getting shot.

Thumbnail image for Known to many as “Sully,” longtime educator W. Albert Sullivan, M.D., believed that future physicians should be not only intelligent but also well-rounded individuals.

Former students and colleagues of W. Albert Sullivan Jr., M.D., heeded the call when they learned that an anonymous Medical School alumnus had agreed to match up to $106,500 in contributions to the Albert Sullivan Scholarship Fund. Within a year, 535 supporters had made gifts and pledges totaling more than $127,000 to the fund honoring the popular associate dean of student affairs, who died in 1990.

John Ohlfest, Ph.D., used a grant from the Shaver fund to test a vaccine on a currently untreatable type of brain tumor.

Many families have been affected by cancer in some way. But in 1997 and 1998, it hit the family of KARE 11 sports anchor Randy Shaver especially hard. Within 11 months, Roseann Giovanatto-Shaver, Randy's wife, was diagnosed with melanoma, Roseann's mother was diagnosed with uterine cancer, and Randy was diagnosed with stage 4 Hodgkin's lymphoma.

Dr. Harvey and Evelyn Stone felt compelled to give back to the Medical School for preparing Dr. Stone for “a great future” in radiology.

The field of radiology looked a little different when Harvey Stone, M.D., studied at the University of Minnesota Medical School in the 1940s. No one taught ultrasound, computed tomography, magnetic resonance imaging, or positron emission tomography—standard subjects for today's students.

"We more or less just had X-ray studies," says Stone.


For a limited time, special income tax incentives make charitable giving more appealing than ever for donors who are 701/2 or older. These donors now can make charitable contributions from their individual retirement accounts (IRAs) without adverse tax implications.

The Pension Protection Act of 2006 allows some donors to make charitable contributions using funds from IRAs—without undesirable tax effects.

John Day, M.D., Ph.D. and Laura Ranum, Ph.D.

When it comes to finding a cure for ataxia, most researchers would agree it takes a village—a community of dedicated investigators from various disciplines and specialties who together can take findings from Petri dishes and turn them into valuable treatments for patients.

At the University of Minnesota, interdisciplinary research teams are continually working toward that goal. Now, the newly formed Institute for Translational Neuroscience (ITN) is providing a venue to make a good thing even better.


Don't miss the annual Diamond Awards, Minnesota's premier charity baseball event, on Thursday, January 24, 2008, at the historic Depot in downtown Minneapolis. Attendees will have the opportunity to mingle with current members of the Minnesota Twins and other baseball greats, bid on rare baseball memorabilia and other unique items at a silent auction, and attend the televised awards ceremony. For the first time, proceeds from Diamond Awards will benefit not only University of Minnesota research and care focused on ataxia, but also on muscular dystrophy, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease), and Parkinson's disease—devastating illnesses that affect thousands of families in Minnesota alone. Since its inception two years ago, Diamond Awards has raised nearly $1.2 million for medical research at the University.

Thumbnail image for Brian Simmons enjoys a day on the links at the Karen’s Hope Ataxia Benefit.

Two summer golf events benefiting the Bob Allison Ataxia Research Cente (BAARC) raised more than $78,000 for ataxia research and care at the University of Minnesota.

Daniel Duprez, M.D., Ph.D. (right), holds the endowed chair in preventive cardiology that Don Garofalo (left) and his wife, Pat, established in their son’s memory.

It was a Monday morning in 1998 when Donald and Patricia Garofalo got the phone call that turned their lives upside down. Their son Tony had had a heart attack at work. They rushed to the hospital, only to return to their home less than two hours later. Tony—just 28 years old—had passed away.

"It was very traumatic for our family," Don says. "We were in a state of shock and disbelief. This was a kid who ran track, was a near-vegetarian, and was not overweight."

Alfred and Ingrid Lenz Harrison

Generous donors have established a $1 million challenge fund in support of the University of Minnesota's Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) Initiative.

Through the challenge‚ Alfred and Ingrid Lenz Harrison have agreed to match every dollar raised for the initiative‚ up to $1 million‚ by December 31.

Scott Selleck, M.D., Ph.D., is spearheading the ASD Initiative’s basic science research component.

Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders suffer from a myriad of health issues. Now the University of Minnesota is taking first steps on an initiative to consolidate and streamline care while searching for causes of the disorders.

Jack Sullivan had just turned 2 when his parents‚ Caryn and Ted‚ began to worry. Jack's language development stopped after he had learned about 20 words; then it seemed that he was always moving. But when they voiced their concerns‚ they were simply told that children acquire skills at different rates.

Mark Schleiss, M.D., has worked for the past 15 years to create an effective CMV vaccine.

A vaccine developed by a University of Minnesota researcher and tested in animals offers promise for preventing a common cause of mental retardation and deafness in humans.

Mark Schleiss, M.D., director of the Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases‚ led a research team that found that the experimental vaccine protected the offspring of guinea pigs infected with cytomegalovirus (CMV). They hope to conduct clinical trials in the next year to test whether the vaccine will have the same protective effect in humans.

Vikings guard Jimmy Martin holds 3-month-old Faith Johnson, who was being treated at the University of Minnesota Children’s Hostpital. Vikings players bring smiles to children’s faces on their regular visits to the hospital.

A cheering crowd. The thud of an opposing team's player hitting the field. These are sounds the Minnesota Vikings love to hear.

So too is the sound of children's laughter. Through the football team's official charity‚ the Viking Children's Fund (VCF)‚ the organization has been helping to keep kids happy and healthy for nearly three decades by supporting innovative research in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Minnesota.

Raymond Christensen, M.D.

Raymond Christensen, M.D., assistant dean for rural health at the University of Minnesota Medical School-Duluth Campus, was recently named Minnesota’s “rural health hero” at the Minnesota rural health Conference in Duluth for advocating on behalf of today’s health-care consumers and educating tomorrow’s rural health providers.


How to protect children from the toxic agents that permeate our environment was the topic of the latest SPH Roundtable. The event featured a keynote address from Philip Landrigan, of the Mount Sinai School of Medicine. Landrigan is known for his work in protecting children from environmental threats to health, most notably lead and pesticides. He has been a leader in developing the National Children's Study, the largest study of children's health and the environment ever launched in the United States.


The School of Public Health has been awarded $14 million over five years to lead a landmark study on child health. It will be largest and most comprehensive child health study ever conducted in the United States. The SPH will become one of 22 research centers to join the National Children's Study, a federal project that will follow 100,000 children from before birth to age 21. The project sets out to answer how genes and the environment attribute to pressing health problems such as asthma, autism, diabetes, obesity, heart disease, and birth defects. This is the first time a study will document exposures prior to and during pregnancy and into childhood and adolescence.


Neighborhood ads extolling alcohol may make adolescents more likely to want to try drinking, according to a new study. In their research, a team from the School of Public Health and the University of Florida analyzed 931 alcohol ads—including billboards, bus stop signs, and logo displays—that were within a 1,500-foot radius of 63 Chicago elementary schools. They also surveyed sixth-graders about their attitudes toward alcohol and followed up with them again two years later.


With the push to think globally, it can be easy to forget that public health starts at home. The University of Minnesota School of Public Health has a long history of partnering with local agencies and organizations to improve the health of Minnesotans. This commitment to community partnerships offers unique insight into the health of our state. It has resulted in a powerful public health workforce. And it keeps the school connected to community needs while forging new ways to serve the state's most vulnerable populations.


We remember Medical School alumni who have recently passed away and honor their contributions to improving health and advancing medicine.

Thumbnail image for University of Minnesota Amplatz Children’s Hospital is one of three buildings in the country to use these distinctive metal panels that reflect blue, green, purple, maroon, or gold, depending on how the sunlight hits them.

University of Minnesota Medical Center made impressive gains in this year's U.S. News & World Report "Best Hospitals" edition.

Image of the Eye

The 90 percent to 95 percent success rate for corneal transplantation in the United States might sound impressive, but Stephen Kaufman, M.D., Ph.D., isn't satisfied.

Certain high-risk patients still face transplant rejection and related problems, and Kaufman hopes his research can help these patients.

Linda McLoon, Ph.D., and Michael Lee, M.D., are experimenting with intranasal delivery of medication directly to an injured optic nerve.

When they're not seeing patients or teaching tomorrow's ophthalmologists, our faculty members are involved in research aimed at reducing the impact eye diseases and disorders will have on future generations. Here are a few highlights of their current research.

Thumbnail image for Daniel Mulrooney, M.D., M.S., examines two-time cancer survivor Nichole Wilson. Mulrooney is studying the “late effects” of chemotherapy and radiation therapy on people who have been treated for cancer as children.

These researchers made up the first CAPS cohort and began their work in summer 2006.


Ever since his medical school days at the University of Minnesota in the 1940s, John R. Pfrommer has believed that public health just makes sense. Pfrommer remembers listening to Hubert Humphrey, then mayor of Minneapolis, talk on the radio about President Harry Truman's ideas for a national health program. "It seemed eminently sensible," Pfrommer says. So a few years after he finished his medical training—he specialized in preventive medicine—Pfrommer also decided to get a master of public health (M.P.H.) degree.

Jill Paulus (left), here with research nurse Sue Mitchell, R.N., has taken part in clinical studies to help advance knowledge about ovarian cancer.

The moment Jill Paulus, of Lino Lakes, Minnesota, learned last December that she had ovarian cancer, she told her oncologist that she'd do whatever it took to get leading-edge care.

"I said, 'I want to go to the best hospital to have this done. I'll go anywhere; I'll travel out of the state. I want the best chance possible: I have three children at home," 38-year-old Paulus says. "And he suggested Dr. [Patricia] Judson."

Thumbnail image for Psychologist Sue Petzel, Ph.D., helps women who have a higher risk of developing ovarian cancer decide whether to undergo genetic testing.

After Mary Wiser was diagnosed with ovarian cancer, she sat in the office of a prominent male doctor and asked a pointed question.

"She asked, 'If men had ovaries, do you think we'd know more about ovarian cancer?'" recalls her widower, Charles Wiser Jr. "She was no shrinking violet."

"My mother was very bright and charming, but she also had the most incredible sense of humor," says her daughter, Nancy Wiser. "She is probably the only person I know who could say those kinds of things to a well-respected doctor and get away with it!"

Patricia Judson, M.D.

When she was a medical student, Patricia Judson, M.D., was leaning toward a career in perinatal genetics and maternal-fetal medicine. Then in 1992—the year she graduated from the University of Minnesota—her father was diagnosed with lung cancer.

"It made me realize how important oncologists are," says Judson, now a gynecologic oncologist and an assistant professor in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Women's Health. "Despite the fact that my father's oncologist couldn't do much for him clinically, what he did for my father and our family emotionally was huge."

June LaValleur, M.D., explains how menopause can affect a woman’s bone density.

When one of her young cancer patients wants to have a baby, gynecologic oncologist Rahel Ghebre, M.D., will send her to colleague Kirk Ramin, M.D., who specializes in high-risk pregnancy.

June LaValleur, M.D., who specializes in mature women's health, has steered patients with new cancer diagnoses to Ghebre. And cancer specialists with midlife and older patients experiencing sexual function concerns have referred those patients to LaValleur.


Oral cancer is the sixth most common cancer worldwide, and with a long-term 50 percent survival rate, it's also one of the more deadly cancers. To make matters worse, survival rates haven't improved in the past 30 years. A University of Minnesota research team is working to change oral cancer statistics by studying the proteins found in saliva. The goal is to identify the proteins that lead to oral cancer—and, in doing so, create a method to diagnose the disease in its earliest stages. The National Institutes of Health is funding the four-year study.


With the push to think globally, it can be easy to forget that public health starts at home. The University of Minnesota School of Public Health has a long history of partnering with local agencies and organizations to improve the health of Minnesotans. This commitment to community partnerships offers unique insight into the health of our state. It has resulted in a powerful public health workforce. And it keeps the school connected to community needs while forging new ways to serve the state's most vulnerable populations.

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