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A look at 22,000 hearts

Jesse E. Edwards, M.D., a former Medical School pathology professor who created a world-renowned heart registry in the early 1960s, died in May at age 96. Those he taught say his legacy as a devoted educator will live on through the registry. Now located at United Hospital in St. Paul, it contains a collection of more than 22,000 preserved hearts used to study heart defects and how to correct them.

Lyle Joyce, M.D., Ph.D., a professor of cardiothoracic surgery in the Medical School, trained with Edwards during his residency in the late 1970s. “I was most impressed with his thorough understanding of the impact that various diseases have on the heart,” Joyce says. “He could take a specimen and piece together most of the details about the patient just by studying the parts of the heart.”

Professor of pediatric cardiology James Moller, M.D., worked with Edwards for several years early in his career, and they developed a decades-long friendship.

“Jesse Edwards had much knowledge to teach but also displayed attitudes that we should model in our lives,” Moller says. “The kindness and generosity he exhibited toward us provided a valuable lesson about how we should treat our younger colleagues.”

By Nicole Endres

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