Studying the heart, hands-on

Usually, saying a heart is beating out of its chest is just an expression.

For researchers at the University of Minnesota’s Visible Heart Laboratory, however, that phrase has become more literal. One of the lab’s main features is a living, beating pig heart that has been removed from its original body for researchers to better study how it functions. The lab is led by Paul Iaizzo, Ph.D., professor of surgery with the U’s Medical School, and supported by Medtronic Inc. Its research ranges from cellular and tissue studies to those involving whole bodily organs.

Brian Herman, Ph.D., the U’s vice president for research, recently visited the lab to learn more about the work of Iaizzo and his team. Here is a glimpse into the visit: