MnDRIVE advances the University of Minnesota’s research strengths through state investment to solve Minnesota’s greatest challenges.
During the current legislative session, the University will request funding from the state Legislature to expand MnDRIVE — or Minnesota’s Discovery, Research and InnoVation Economy — into four new research areas: fighting cancer, strengthening communities, cleaning water and advancing data.
Check out the video below to learn about highlights from current MnDRIVE research and to find out more about the program’s proposed expansion.
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:
The Visible Heart Lab features a living pig heart hooked up to equipment that allows it to keep beating.
Paul Iaizzo, Ph.D., principal investigator with the Visible Heart Laboratory, explains to Vice President for Research Brian Herman how the pig heart beats. Meanwhile, doctoral student Alex Mattson uses an ultrasound device to produce a sonogram image of the heart.
Standing in the room where he and his team print 3D models of hearts and other organs, Iaizzo explains how plastic models can guide medical students in their education. The lab can also custom-print models to match current patients’ hearts, allowing U surgeons prepare ahead of time for difficult cardiac surgeries.
Iaizzo discusses specialized equipment that can keep lungs “breathing” for a significant period of time while they await transplantation or use in research. The same equipment can also be used to keep certain other organs alive.
Over the years, the Tate Laboratory of Physics has been remodeled and improved to meet the University of Minnesota’s research and education needs. Left: Construction workers add a new addition to Tate in 1951. Right: Today, Tate is being remodeled to improve lab space, lecture halls and interior accessibility.
A new Plant Growth Research Facility. A Chemistry and Advanced Materials Science Building. Renovations for research and learning spaces in iconic Pillsbury Hall. These are a few of the building projects highlighted in the University of Minnesota’s recent capital request to the Minnesota Legislature.
If funded, these projects will be the latest additions to a long history of cutting-edge research infrastructure at the U of M. In the course of the University’s 165-year history, researchers have used a wide range of laboratories and research equipment in fields ranging from aerospace engineering to disease prevention to advance knowledge and make discoveries that improve our health and quality of life.
In the gallery below, Inquiry takes a walk back through the research spaces of yore to highlight a small slice of the specialized equipment and laboratories that helped University researchers push forward in their fields of study. Continue reading →
Brian Herman, University of Minnesota vice president for research, cites chronic underfunding of biomedical research as the root cause of a disturbing new trend. Many new graduates are turning to industry jobs rather than pursuing careers in research, largely due to decreased federal support and a increasingly competitive finding environment, especially for younger scientists.
Many new graduates hoping for a career in bioimedical research are finding that the wait for a lab of their own at a university is longer than ever – if it happens at all. It’s a situation leading many to opt for a career in industry instead, where advanced degrees are welcome and well-paid.
From new technology to better medical practices, university research contributes to nearly every aspect of society.
In June, Inquiry set out to explore just how important research is by posing the question, Why university research? The Twitter community responded with hundreds of examples demonstrating how universities’ scientific and technological advances have addressed global challenges and improved the well-being of society.
The word cloud above pulled the most talked-about research subjects from those tweets to show a small sample of the multitude of subjects that benefit from university research. Continue reading →
The U of M is dedicated to broadening our understanding of the world as well as discovering solutions to its greatest challenges. The U is the ninth most active public research university in the United States, with $849 million in annual research expenditures, and our renowned researchers are not only conducting their work in the U.S. but across the globe as well. The map below shows just how much of the world they covered in 2013—84 nations (not including the U.S.) on all seven continents.
The Scout robot has come a long way from early prototype shown here. Under continued development by U of M startup ReconRobotics, Scout is now assisting more than soldiers. Since its launch in 2006, the company has applied the technology to safeguard law enforcement and security officers. Of the 4,800 robots deployed around the world, a growing portion are employed by SWAT and counter-terrorism teams. “We take valuable technologies out of the lab and apply them to better the human condition,” says Andrew Borene, director of business development for ReconRobotics. “The greatest ideas in the world are of little use if we can’t use them to benefit the lives of regular people.” More: http://wp.me/p4wAsQ-3g
The Biotechnology Resource Center offers state-of-the-art lab space and equipment to biotechnology companies of all kinds, from small startups to global corporations, working on biotech endeavors that run the gamut. The BRC has been home to a handful of startups getting their technology in shape for commercialization. For some startups, had they not come across the BRC, the team would have to work out of their garage. “We work with industry to provide them with services to get an idea off the ground, or to do work they wouldn’t want to do or couldn’t do at their main lab,” says Tim Tripp, director of BRC. More: http://wp.me/p4wAsQ-gw
It was clear early on that Shawn Wilhelm’s design for a new, highly efficient hydraulic pump had a lot of market potential (the original prototype shown here with the back plate removed). Hydraulic pumps are machines widely used in industrial settings to move liquids from one place to another. The only problem for Wilhelm, a mechanical engineering PhD student in the U of M’s College of Science and Engineering, was that business wasn’t his forte. That all changed with Minnesota Innovation Corps’ STARTUP course. The U of M program aims to take the mystery out of commercializing technology and encouraging students to pursue opportunities in innovation. “It’s really important to step out of your engineering shoes and just start listening to customers’ needs,” said Wilhelm. More: http://wp.me/p4wAsQ-21
Startups are not smaller versions of large companies. They do not unfold in accordance with master plans. The ones that ultimately succeed go quickly from failure to failure, all the while adapting, iterating on, and improving their initial ideas as they continually learn from customers. — Steve Blank, entrepreneur and founder of the Lean Startup movement
University research drives scientific and technological advances that address critical global challenges and improve the health and well-being of society. Listen to three University of Minnesota researchers tell us what inspires them to do research and how their work is making a difference on our campuses and around the world.
University research cuts across all disciplines and areas of scholarship and has broad impact on our communities and our world. We’d like to hear what you think is the greatest benefit of university research. (Please note: all responses are anonymous.)
In 2013, Google announced a contest asking tech enthusiasts to summarize, in 50 words, what they would do with Google Glass, a hands-free, smartphone-like device worn like a set of glasses. The company offered the opportunity to try a pre-release version of Glass as a prize for the best responses.