University of Minnesota
University of Minnesota Foundation
Giving to medicine and health at the University of Minnesota

October 2012 Archives


Minnesota Viking John Sullivan and many of his Vikings teammates visited with patients, families, and staff at University of Minnesota Amplatz Children's Hospital for the Sullivan Halloween Huddle on October 30.


John A. Sullivan, center for the Minnesota Vikings, is donating $150,000 to make a new University of Minnesota Amplatz Children’s Hospital playground possible. To support the project, Vikings linebacker Chad Greenway has donated $25,000 through his Lead the Way Foundation, and the Minnesota Vikings have contributed the remaining $25,000 necessary for the $200,000 project. Sullivan announced his support at a dedication ceremony on October 30.

University graduate student Mark Ditmer holds a black bear cub in northwest Minnesota. (Photo: Ann Arbor Miller)

In the mid-1990s, Paul Iaizzo, Ph.D., was studying muscle loss in intensive care unit patients when he received an intriguing phone call.

“How would you like to study a population of individuals who do not get weak even though they’re immobilized for four to six months?” the caller asked.

(Image courtesy of Apostolos Georgopoulos, M.D., Ph.D.)

Two friends, raised in the same place, both survive to 93 in good physical health, but one lives alone and thrives while the other needs full-time care. Why?

Miriam Manfred, age 95, learned to play the piano by ear. She and fourth-year medical student Erin Morcomb have bonded over a shared interest in music. (Photo: Scott Streble)

When a bunch of 20-somethings move into an apartment for senior citizens, someone is inevitably going to worry about disruption and noise.

That’s why 95-year-old Augustana Apartments resident Miriam Manfred is careful about when she plays her piano. “I’m very sensitive that my piano playing won’t disturb the students,” says Manfred, referring to her neighbors in the apartment below hers. “But they say they enjoy it; they’re very affirming. It’s no fun playing the piano if you can’t increase the volume.”

Images and videos taken in the Visible Heart Lab give biomedical engineers around the world imprtant insights into the heart's fundtional anatomy. (Photo: Brady Willette)

Paul Iaizzo, Ph.D., Director of the University of Minnesota’s Visible Heart Laboratory, has given the medical world a unique, never-before-seen view inside the beating heart. Part of the Medical School’s Experimental Surgical Services, the lab has reanimated hundreds of hearts, including about 50 human hearts, using a clear, artificial blood that lets tiny camera-equipped catheters record every movement from the inside.

Tim MEade, M.D., and volunteer Molly Pederson screen young patients for HIV in the village of Lechwe near Lusaka, Zambia (Photo courtesy of Tim Meade, M.D.)

When Tim Meade, M.D. (Class of 1986), chose internal medicine as his specialty, he had no way of knowing that it would lead him, nearly 20 years later, to establish a charity in Zambia dedicated to combatting the spread of HIV/AIDS in children. But it turned out to be the perfect choice.

(Photo courtesy of Richard Stennes, M.D., M.B.A.)

Richard Stennes, M.D., M.B.A., isn’t sure just how many passports he has gone through in his life. When you’ve visited 176 countries as well as the North Pole and Antarctica, that can happen.


Starting in 2015, would-be medical students will take a substantially different, longer, and more wide-ranging Medical College Admission Test that’s aimed at identifying aspiring physicians who understand people as well as science.

The son of a nurse, Elliot Twiggs learned at an early age that magic helped him connect with patients. (Photo: Jim Bovin)

In the summer of 2007, before he applied to medical school, Elliot Twiggs spent two months as a volunteer in Nairobi, Kenya. He taught biology to high school freshmen and tutored many young boys in the orphanage where he was staying. But it wasn’t all about academics: Twiggs also wowed his pupils with magic tricks—leaving them surprised, delighted, and clamoring for more.

Oral historian Dominique Tobbell, Ph.D., has interviewed dozens of longtime Academic Health Center faculty members. (Photo: Richard Anderson)

University of Minnesota McKnight Land- Grant professor Dominique Tobbell, Ph.D., studies the social, political, and economic history of the American health care industry. Her current project examines the relationship of academic health centers in the United States with the communities they serve and their impact on health care policy.

William Johnson was inspired to become a doctor after a tour of duty in Iraq with the Marine Corps. He's now a medical student at the University and a medical officer in the Minnesota Air National Guard. (Photo courtesy of William Johnson)

William Johnson thought he’d serve in the Marines his entire life. Then, while he was on duty in Iraq, one of his troops was critically wounded. “I watched the medical team save his life and save his limbs,” says Johnson. “It was the most amazing thing I’d ever seen."

Becoming a Doctor: Reflections by Therese Zink, M.D., M.P.H.

U medical students and alumni tell their stories in this updated compilation.


The annual White Coat Ceremony marked the start of an exciting new year — and builds on good news. The Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME), the accreditation body for U.S. Medical Schools, reaccredited the Medical School through 2019-2020.

Lillian Repesh, Ph.D.

During her lifetime, University of Minnesota, Duluth alumna Lillian Repesh, Ph.D., contributed immensely to the University and community where she got her start. The beloved associate dean for student affairs and admissions at the Medical School, Duluth campus died of pancreatic cancer on August 20.

Peter Agre, M.D.

Peter Agre, M.D., winner of the 2003 Nobel Prize in chemistry, will join the University of Minnesota as a biomedical research adviser to President Eric Kaler, Ph.D., while retaining his full-time appointment as head of the Johns Hopkins University Malaria Research Institute.


The University of Minnesota’s Academic Health Center has launched a blog called Health Talk to share health-related news and stories tied to the center’s schools and colleges. The blog features timely stories, videos, and other multimedia elements highlighting medical advances, research breakthroughs, and news tips.

Thumbnail image for Rita Perlingeiro, Ph.D.

The Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) in August awarded three University of Minnesota scientists national grants for their innovative research on new treatments to combat muscular dystrophy.

Thumbnail image for Bruce Blazar, M.D.

Volunteers who want to participate in medical research studies at the University will have a better chance of matching up with a study, thanks to a national research registry.


Following the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark decision in late June upholding the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act, University of Minnesota health policy experts weighed in on the issue.

A preliminary drawing of the expanded Medical Devices Center. (Image courtesy of BWBR Architects.)

The College of Science and Engineering received a $1.08 million grant from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) to convert 8,000 square feet of unfinished space into a larger, new facility for the Medical Devices Center.


The University of Minnesota School of Public Health and the Minnesota Department of Health have been selected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to create a Food Safety Center of Excellence that will help prevent and respond to foodborne illnesses. The center will provide resources for state and local officials to improve food safety through better detection and investigation of foodborne illness outbreaks.

The new University of Minnesota Amplatz Children's Hospital was ranked one of the nation's top 50 children's hospitals in eight medical specialties.

University of Minnesota Medical Center, Fairview is the highest-ranking hospital in the Twin Cities metro area, according to this year’s U.S. News & World Report “Best Hospitals” list. It ranked nationally in 11 adult specialties.


Eight University of Minnesota Medical School alumni were honored for their work in the service of the medical profession at the Medical School Alumni Awards Banquet on Thursday, October 4, at the University Hotel Minneapolis.

CIDRAP director Michael Osterholm, Ph.D., M.P.H. (Photo: Tim Rummelhoff)

A $1.5 million gift to the University of Minnesota’s Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP) from the Bentson Foundation will advance the center’s efforts as a globally recognized leader in the dissemination of timely information about infectious disease threats.

Barbara BRandt, Ph.D., the Academic Health Center's associate vice president for education.

The University’s Academic Health Center (AHC) has been awarded $12.6 million to find the best ways to prepare health professional students to work in the nation’s fast-changing health care environment.

Bettina Dordoni-Willson joins her husband, Richard Willson, M.D., and his 1962 classmate Bruce Bayley, M.D., as they celebrate their 50-year reunion at the McNamara Alumni Center. (Photo: Tim Rummelhoff)

More than 450 Medical School alumni and guests returned to the University of Minnesota for the Medical School Alumni Celebration, October 4 and 5. Medical School alumni from all classes were invited to take part in the festivities.


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

Steven’s weight management team includes, from left: Jessica Graumann, pediatric clinical dietitian; Claudia Fox, M.D., director of University of Minnesota Amplatz Children's Hospital Weight Management Program; Mary Deering, R.N., weight management nurs

At 16 and more than 300 pounds, Steven was in a desperate situation. His weight was taking a toll on him physically and emotionally. He suffered from sleep apnea, “excruciating” headaches, showed signs of type 2 diabetes and was depressed.

Just a few minutes of light activity left him out of breath. He became housebound, spending much of his day in his room and in bed, taking classes through a home program.

Erik van Kuijk, M.D., Ph.D., marks his first anniversary as head of the newly named Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Neurosciences. (Photo: Scott Streble)

Consider the mind-bending truth about the human eye: with an estimated 2 million working parts that allow us to absorb images of the world around us in fractions of a second, the intricate mechanism is second only to the brain itself in complexity.

When things go wrong, however, the impact on a human life can range from annoying to devastating, with total blindness the ultimate insult. But scientists in the University of Minnesota’s recently renamed Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Neurosciences (OVNS) take up the fight daily, battling their way from questions and problems to answers and treatments.

Minnesota Medical Foundation board member Liz Hawn and her husband, Van, recently followed up their initial gift with another $25,000 donation. (Photo: Shawn Sullivan)

A famous reporter was once advised to “follow the money.” Here at the University of Minnesota, tracing the journey of a $25,000 gift from Liz Hawn and her husband, Van, on its path through the Department of Neuroscience is a perfect case in point for how private donations can reignite critical research—and, ultimately, become the gift that keeps on giving.

Jacob Fox, a 6-year-old who has Duchenne muscular dystrophy, demonstrates his "walking" skills with a sprint for University physical therapist Jamie Marsh, D.P.T. (Photo: Jim Bovin)

Sometimes, it’s the quietest voice that speaks most resoundingly. So it is with many of the University of Minnesota’s donors, who, without fanfare, step up to support small research projects bent on delivering big results.

Many of these projects aren’t of the headline-yielding variety, but rather they’re studies focused on one specific aspect of a disease. The Frank and Eleanor Maslowski Charitable Trust’s recent $140,000 gift to the University’s Paul and Sheila Wellstone Muscular Dystrophy Center to fund a small study on bone health in boys with Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) is a perfect case in point.

Brian Kraft with his wife, Annemarie, and daughters (from left), 6-year-old Gabby, 4-year-old Evelyn, and 8-year-old Lauren. (Photo: Jim Bovin)

A former college baseball player, Brian Kraft just wasn’t seeing the ball quite like he used to. While playing recreational softball five years post-college, he felt too clumsy—like his skills were diminishing faster than they should.

“I was just thinking there was something not right with me,” he says.


Exciting. Promising. Leading-edge. These are a few of the ways to describe the four University of Minnesota research projects that recently received funding from the Bob Allison Ataxia Research Center. The organization’s board of directors granted more than $240,000 total to four scientists.

Emcee Dick Bremer congratulates minor league pitcher of the year award-winner Liam Hendriks at the 2012 Diamond Awards. (Photo: Stephanie Dunn)

You’re invited to be a part of Minnesota’s premier baseball charity event. Mark your calendars for the eighth annual Diamond Awards on Thursday, January 24, at Target Field.

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