Center for Magnetic Resonance Research director receives Richard R. Ernst Medal

Kamil Ugurbil (left) receives award, photo courtesy of Kamil Ugurbil

Kamil Ugurbil, Ph.D., director of the Center for Magnetic Resonance Research and faculty member in the Department of Radiology, has been awarded the renowned Richard R. Ernst Medal by the Laboratory of Physical Chemistry.

Awarded annually at the Richard R. Ernst Lecture, in Zurich, Switzerland, this honor commemorates Swiss chemist Richard R. Ernst, Ph.D., who received a Nobel Prize in 1991 for his contributions to nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) research.

Center for Adolescent Substance Abuse Research awarded grant

A 1.54 million dollar grant has been awarded to the Department of Psychiatry’s Center for Adolescent Substance Abuse Research (CASAR) by the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation.

Department of Psychiatry faculty member and CASAR director Ken Winters, Ph.D., will lead the upcoming study as principal investigator.

Profile: Elizabeth Seaquist, M.D.

Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Seaquist

Time spent on these 'Profiles' features is often used making minor edits to the conversational transcript. Tightening grammar, clarifying sentences, and adding proper punctuation is required when converting a spoken interview into one that can be read smoothly from a page. Luckily for me, Elizabeth Seaquist, M.D., is practiced in giving succinct, eloquent responses to questions. Maybe this is due to her prominent leadership roles in the field of diabetes research, both locally at the University of Minnesota, and nationally with the American Diabetes Association. Adapting her answers to article-form was as easy as it gets.

Dr. Seaquist grew up in Minnesota and went to Vassar College in New York for her undergraduate education. She returned to the University of Minnesota for medical school and has been here ever since. During her time here she has grown from a promising medical student to a world-class physician-scientist. She is the Pennock Family Chair in Diabetes Research in the Department of Medicine, the President of Medicine & Science for the American Diabetes Association, and has been included on the Mpls/St. Paul Magazine’s list of best doctors eight times.

Three Minute Thesis competition engages biomedical graduate students

First Place winner Courtney Coombes

Hours of research, analyzing and re-analyzing, all condensed down to one slide, presented in under three minutes.

11 biomedical sciences graduate students participated in the first Three Minute Thesis competition at the University of Minnesota this past spring.

Designed to hone communication skills, the program was developed at the University of Queensland, Australia, and has spread worldwide - including national and international competitions.

Profile: Tucker LeBien, Ph.D.

Photo by Nate Juergens

On a beautiful sunny afternoon in early June I found myself excited to be inside. I was meeting with Tucker LeBien, Ph.D., the University of Minnesota’s Vice Dean for Research of the Medical School and the Associate Vice President for Research of the Academic Health Center. A native of our northern plains, Dr. LeBien is an approachable, friendly gentleman, which isn’t always the case when someone has had as much success as he has.

It is easy to forget that our institution’s enormous buildings and even larger legacy of innovation were built by real people, many of whom are still on staff. Talking with Dr. LeBien forcefully reminded me of this. He began at the University in 1977 in the Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology, and has been involved in biomedical research here ever since. He was the first at the University of Minnesota to work with Hybridoma technology, the inventors of which went on to win the 1984 Nobel Prize in Medicine and Physiology. He was an integral player in establishing the University’s Cancer Center and in achieving its designation as a Comprehensive Cancer Center by the National Cancer Institute, one of only 41 such institutions in the United States. He ran the Medical Scientist Training Program, mentoring the next generation of leaders in biomedical research. Et cetera.

New summer research program in Center for Immunology

A new full-time research experience in our Center for Immunology pairs first-year medical students with principal investigators to study topics in infection and immunity. The Medical Student Summer Research Program in Infection and Immunity is scheduled to begin on June 30, 2014, with five inaugural student participants from our Medical School.

Students will conduct laboratory research and have focused discussions with faculty on immunity and health. A final poster session will cap the experience and give students a chance to discuss their work later this year.

Frederic J. Kottke, a pioneer in the field of physical medicine and rehabilitation, has died

Frederic J. “Fritz” Kottke, M.D., Ph.D., a past chair in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PM&R) at the University of Minnesota passed away at the age of 96 on May 23, 2014.

Dr. Kottke helped establish PM&R at the University of Minnesota in 1952. He was the first chair of the department and remained so until his retirement in 1982.

A founder of pediatric nephrology, Robert L. Vernier, M.D., has died

Robert L. Vernier, M.D., a distinguished member of the Medical School faculty in the Department of Pediatrics for four decades, passed away on May 2, 2014. He died peacefully of heart failure at his daughter's home.

Dr. Vernier made historic clinical and scientific contributions to pediatric nephrology research and patient care. His collaboration in the 1950s and 1960s with Marilyn Farquhar and Robert Good established percutaneous kidney biopsy as a diagnostic tool in pediatric nephrology and created the foundation for our understanding of the ultrastructure of normal and diseased kidneys. His early leadership in national and international organizations played an important role in establishing a specialty position for pediatric nephrology. Working with Dr. Alfred Michael, Dr. Vernier established the Division of Pediatric Nephrology at the University of Minnesota and trained over 100 pediatric nephrologists, most of whom went on to full-time faculty positions.

Third-year medical student awarded Doris Duke International Clinical Research Fellowship

University of Minnesota medical student Casey Sautter is a recipient of the Doris Duke International Clinical Research Fellowship for the 2014-15 year. Sautter represents one of the three students selected for the Minnesota program, and one of the eighteen awarded in the country.

The University of Minnesota is one of only six U.S. schools that serve as administrative and research sites for this prestigious program. Our Medical School’s International Clinical Research Fellowships is led by ten mentors including Department of Pediatrics faculty member Chandy John, M.D. M.S.

Sautter previously worked for Dr. John’s research in international adoption through the University’s Summer Advanced Research Program. There Sautter was not only able to spark her interest in international research, but gain a mentor.