Posts Tagged ‘nicotine addiction’

Medical Miracles Brewing at the U of M

March 30, 2009

I interviewed four trailblazing researchers at the University of Minnesota Medical School for Twin Cities Business magazine. I was stunned to find out that, over the next few years, Alzheimer’s disease and type 1 diabetes may be as scarce as polio, the severe organ donor shortage may be resolved and we might be much closer to being a tobacco-free nation.

All four of these ambitious, audacious initiatives are well under way at the U of M. Here are profiles of Doris TaylorKaren Hsiao Ashe, Meri Firpo and Dorothy Hatsukami.

Medtronic Bakken Professor of Medicine and Integrative Biology/Physiology,
Director of the
Center for Cardiovascular Repair


Doris Taylor

Doris Taylor’s favorite video is The Matrix, a stunning achievement which suggests the possibility of an alternate reality. No, not the film starring Keanu Reeves, but the short movie of a beating heart that was emailed to her at 3 AM by her then-colleague Harald Ott in the spring of 2005. “The sad but true fact was that it was three in the morning but I was in my office,” Taylor recalls. “Harald sent me the video and then called me. I watched the video, called him right back and said, ‘You’ve got to be kidding.’ It was a Eureka, fist-in-the-air, yes! moment.”

Why all the fuss? Because that beating rat heart may revolutionize organ transplants and save millions of lives. Through a process called whole-organ decellularization, all the cells were slowly drained from the heart, leaving only the extracellular matrix—the framework between the cells—intact. “You can think of it as a scaffold, a bare wooden frame for a house,” Taylor says.

The heart was repopulated with (more…)