Advancing The Science

Mayo Clinic Medical Science Blog

Awards Archive

Dispatch from the Field (5-1-12)

Posted on May 1st, 2012 by Admin

It’s May day…  The first of the month, and now that Conrad, Sam, Emily, Hillaree and the other climbers in the group have rotated back down to base camp, it’s a day to run them through the field testing so that there are data points to compare with their baseline scores gathered in Rochester a couple of months ago.




Dr. Bruce Johnson and Team begins testing

Posted on April 28th, 2012 by Admin

Our first message from research team leader, Mayo investigator Bruce Johnson, Ph.D. 

All good, have the lab set up and looks really good.  Last night my O2 sats (saturation) were 74, which makes my PaO2 about in the 40's... much lower than you would ever allow a patient to get.  We are sleeping on a glacier very near the icefalls and thus you can hear the ice cracking during the night and avalanches around us with the occasional spray into base camp.   Day temps are in the 40's or a little higher and night temps close to 5 or 10 above. Everything freezes at night and usually there is a little snow in the late afternoon with sunny still mornings.  We are now linked with the Montana State crew and will add one or two of them to our study.   Our goal will be daily testing now and amazingly our cylinders made it up on the back of a porter even though it was a struggle getting them through customs and we left before they did. The porters got them up here in 3 days (large gas cylinders with our diffusion mix in them). The team seems pretty healthy and we will be doing some side one-hour treks for The North Face to test some of their prototype equipment to fill in any gaps.  However we estimate that the testing will take 6-7 hours a day, which does not include set up, analysis, and data storage.  The athletes are all gone at the present time, acclimatizing to higher camps, but will be back to go through testing 2 times and get instrumented hopefully for their summit attempt.

Dispatch from the Field 4-28-12

Posted on April 28th, 2012 by Admin

From Joel Streed, Mayo Clinic News Network

After more than a week of trekking, the Mayo Clinic team arrived at its destination of the Mount Everest base camp.  The arrival was a little tempered in that the team had decided to split into two groups prior to making the final push on to base camp.  With lingering illness, it was decided that the rest of the group would follow on Saturday.

For the group that did arrive early, Saturday was a day to get things set up.  Space was cleared and leveled on the glacier for the research tents and then the equipment was unpacked and put in order.

The previous night was somewhat un-restful for the group as they got accustomed to the noises of basecamp, such as rock falls and avalanches… none of which were of any threat, but still it took some time to get used to it.  Something else that took getting used to was the change in temperatures. While we had experienced chilly weather previously, things were taken to new heights, or rather new lows and some snow.  Everyone was bundled up with the sleeping bags pulled up tight for the night.  Anything liquid not tucked into the sleeping bag was frozen the next morning!

Tomorrow the routine begins as we begin our medical testing.

Raymond Iezzi, Jr., M.D. Receives Visionary Award from Foundation Fighting Blindness

Posted on March 16th, 2012 by Gina Chiri-Osmond

Congratulations to Raymond Iezzi, Jr., M.D.! Dr. Iezzi is being honored by the Foundation Fighting Blindness with the organization's 2012 Visionary Award. Dr. Iezzi is a consultant in the Department of Ophthalmology at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. He holds the academic rank of associate professor of ophthalmology at Mayo Clinic.  Dr. Iezzi is being recognized for his research in the treatment of retinal degenerative diseases using neuroprotectants, ocular applications of nanotechnology and retinal prosthesis for restoring vision to the blind.

The Foundation Fighting Blindness is a national nonprofit focused on sight-saving research. The Dining in the Dark dinner is a sensory-awareness experience where guests get a glimpse into the lives of the blind by wearing special light-blocking blindfolds as they enjoy their entrée using only their heightened senses of smell, sound, taste, and touch. The unique event benefits cutting‑edge research into preventions, treatments, and cures for vision‑robbing retinal degenerative diseases.

Dr. Iezzi will receive his award at the Foundation’s Dining in the Dark inaugural dinner in Minneapolis on Wednesday, May 23, 2012.

For more information about the awards dinner, please visit the Foundation Fighting Blindness website and click on “News & Events.”

Doctor Raymond Iezzi, Jr.

Raymond Iezzi, M.D., 2012 Foundation Fighting Blindness Visionary Award Recipient


Mayo Clinic Young Investigators’ Symposium: March 31 – April 1

Posted on February 24th, 2012 by Gina Chiri-Osmond

Register now for the 2012 Mayo Clinic Young Investigator Research Symposium (YIRS), From Bench to Bedside, which will take place Saturday, March 31, and Sunday, April 1, at Mayo Clinic’s campus in Rochester, Minnesota. View the complete YIRS program and registration information.

This two-day event for residents, fellows, postdoctoral fellows, students, junior faculty, and allied health professionals encourages communication between basic science and clinical researchers in related fields. It also provides an opportunity for the career and professional development of young investigators. Speakers will provide lectures and interactive sessions on topics such as recent techniques and innovation in basic research, bioinformatics, and research education. Panel discussions will focus on basic (bench), translational, and clinical (bedside) research.

In addition to nationally and internationally renowned Mayo Clinic faculty, external guest speakers include:

Aaron Fenster, Ph.D., FCCPM
Director and Scientist, Imaging Research Laboratories
Robarts Research Institute, London, Ontario, Canada

Michael L. Garcia, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Biological Sciences
University of Missouri-Columbia, Missouri

Claudia Neuhauser, Ph.D.
Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs
Director of Graduate Studies, Biomedical Informatics and Computational Biology
University of Minnesota-Rochester,Minnesota

Catherine Verfaillie, M.D.
Professor of Medicine, Division of Hematology, Oncology and Transplantation
University of Leuvenin Belgium, Leuven

There has been an outstanding response for abstract submissions. A total of 193 young investigators from 11 different institutions will present posters for judging. The top three in each of six categories will be honored at the awards luncheon on Sunday, April 1. Categories include medical student, resident, clinical fellow, graduate student, postdoctoral fellow, and senior researcher. 

Also participating in the poster session are the top award winners from the Rochester Regional Science Fair. Be sure to stop by and visit with these next-generation researchers.

Make plans to attend! Learn from and share with others as you explore diverse research efforts and how they translate to the clinical practice.

Register online for the YIRS event.

Rajiv Kumar, M.D. Receives 2012 John Phillips Memorial Award

Posted on January 6th, 2012 by Gina Chiri-Osmond

A huge congratulations goes out to Rajiv Kumar, M.D., a consultant in the Division of Nephrology and Hypertension Departments of Internal Medicine, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at Mayo Clinic’s campus in Rochester, Minn. Dr. Kumar is the 2012 recipient of the John Phillips Memorial Award for Outstanding Work in Clinical Medicine. This award is given by the American College of Physicians (ACP) and is one of the most prestigious awards in the field of internal medicine.

In case you were interested in knowing a little bit more about this highly esteemed award, it was established by the ACP Board of Regents in 1929, honoring the late Dr. John Phillips, a governor and regent of the ACP, who died in a fire at the Cleveland Clinic. The award is bestowed for outstanding work in clinical medicine, which includes all phases of clinical research or practice of medicine.

Dr. Kumar joins a list of amazing recipients, including three previous Mayo Clinic award winners: Nobel Prize recipient Edward C. Kendall, Ph.D. (1950), Jesse L. Bollman, M.D. (1964), and Earl Howard Wood, M.D., Ph.D. (1983).

If you'd like more information about the ACP and the John Phillips Memorial Award, visit

Congratulations, Dr. Kumar!

Doctor Rajiv Kumar

Rajiv Kumar, M.D., 2012 John Phillips Memorial Award Recipient

Rochester Healthy Community Partnership

Posted on January 6th, 2012 by jenniferschutz

Mayo Clinic, Rochester Public Schools’ Hawthorne Education Center, Winona State University and various community agencies are working together to identify opportunities to improve the health of immigrant and refugee families in  Rochester.

To support this partnership and research, the National Institutes of Health has awarded a grant to Rochester Healthy Community Partnership, a collaboration that includes community-based organizations, local health service organizations and academic institutions.  The partnership will develop exercise and nutrition programs with immigrant and refugee families. The project is called, “Healthy Immigrant Families: Working Together To Move More and To Eat Well."

View the report on KAAL TV:

Mayo Research Teams Highlighted in Science

Posted on December 22nd, 2011 by Admin

Science, the general research journal published by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) has highlighted three Mayo Clinic research teams in its year-end issue, out today online. The editors chose Mayo's recently published discovery on ridding the body of scenesent cells and its impact on aging - Baker et al. Nature 2011 -- as one of the top ten international scientific breakthroughs of the year. This is a list that covers all of science, worldwide, not just medicine or life sciences. That kudo goes to the team led by Mayo researcher Jan van Deursen, Ph.D., who has long been working on the mechanisms of aging in mouse models. This story reached a wide audience a few weeks ago, including the front page of the NY Times.

Another Mayo team highlighted in this issue of Science is one led by Mayo virologist Roberto Cattaneo, Ph.D., whose paper explaining why measles spreads so rapidly, appeared in the same issue of Nature as the van Deursen findings. It received wide play in the international media. The Catteneo study appears in a perspective section. The piece, An Exit Strategy for Measles Virus, is by Vincent Racaniello of the Microbiology and Immunology Department at Columbia University. The findings show how only one person with the measles virus can easily infect up to 20 people.

In both cases the narrative does not directly mention the Mayo researchers, but cites them as the source of the main point of the article. The citations are clickable.

In yet a third section, called Breakthroughs: Areas to Watch, the authors highlight topics expected to provide some news in the coming year. And there, under Stem Cell Metabolism, we find the reference to the team of Mayo's Clifford Folmes, Ph.D, Andre Terzic, M.D., Ph.D. and their paper in Cell Metabolism.

All in all, a pretty good showing for Mayo Clinic fundamental research in America's top Science journal. Congratulations all.

Mayo Research Participant Safeguards Recognized Nationally

Posted on March 30th, 2011 by Admin

I opened my research newsletter here today and saw this opening line:  Mayo Clinic has received Full Accreditation status from the Association for the Accreditation of Human Research Protection Programs (AAHRPP).

We are always encouraging people to participate in research. One of the ways to do that is to take part as a volunteer in a clinical trial, either as a patient or as a healthy individual in a control group. The news mentioned above should make anyone even more assured that their safety and privacy will be protected. It's not that Mayo wasn't doing a good job in the first place, but more entities - both patient advocacy groups and funding organizations - are turning to accreditation by AAHRPP as one of many reliable ways to make sure we're watching out for you when you choose to help our researchers. This was the first time we applied for accreditation (it's a long process and lots of paperwork, plus a site visit - so it's also thorough) and we were granted it in full on the first go round. That says something as well. Our research tells us that people trust Mayo Clinic. Here is one more reason why. Administrator Gary Cseko talks about the accreditation.


Mayo Researcher Wins Potamkin Prize

Posted on March 3rd, 2011 by Admin

It was just last week that I was reading a comment about the need for continued funding for basic research in dementia. That need for more foundational knowledge about the how and why behind Alzheimer's and related conditions was underscored for me when the American Academy of Neurology announced its Potamkin Prize winners this year. Mayo's Dennis Dickson, M.D., was tapped for the honor, which he shares with Eva Maria Mandelkow and Eckhard Mandelkow of the Max Planck Unit for Structural Molecular Biology. Not only is it good company to be in, but it's clear that AAN is well aware of the best investigatory efforts on a global scale.  Dr. Dickson is the Robert E. Jacoby Professor for Alzheimer's Disease Research at Mayo. Based at our Jacksonville, Florida campus, he has built one of the top brain banks in the country. He was chosen for the honor because of his research, particularly on the tau protein and its role in neurodegenerative diseases. Read more.