News

Surgical CTO Spotlight

Surgical Clinical Trials Office is in the Spotlight.   Read more on the team whose approach to the management side of clinical research ensures that researchers themselves do not have to handle administrative, compliance and financial tasks but can instead concentrate on research.

Recent news & media coverage

University of Minnesota research hopes to find cure for diabetes through pig cells

- The next great discovery in the fight against diabetes will likely come from an unexpected source: pigs. 

It's a line of research being overseen by Dr. Bernard Hering at the University of Minnesota, modifying cells from a pig's pancreas to match human ones that have long been used for cell transplants.

We are Pleased to Welcome R. James Valentine, MD

R. James Valentine, MD Joins the Division of Vascular Surgery

R. James Valentine

Congratulations to our 2018 Surgical Resident Graduates:

2018 Surgical Resident Graduates2018 Surgical Resident Graduates

Nkem Aziken, MD
Megan Berger, MD
Elliot Arsoniadis, MD
Sydne Muratore, MD 
Samantha Leonard, MD 
Ehren Rudolph, MD, PhD
Charles Ma, MD

Additional Stories

Remembering Earl Bakken

Remembering Earl Bakken Earl Bakken

The Pacemaker and the Birth of a Medical Device Industry

In 1958, a new device entered cardiac surgery’s medical arsenal that has become part and parcel of cardiac medicine—pacemakers connected directly to the heart.  Dr. C. Walton Lillehei at the time while conducting research on animal models, learned that the heart's electrical system can be prompted to perform correctly with artificial assistance, that is, by sending an electrical pulse delivered through electrodes in direct contact with cardiac tissue.   These findings led to the first rudimentary pacemaker. However, it relied on a physical connection to the hospital’s electrical system, leaving the patient vulnerable to power failures.  

Improvements came with a productive collaboration with Earl Bakken, an electrical engineer who maintained the electrical equipment used by the Department of Surgery. In 1958, the same year that Lillehei invented the pacemaker concept, he and Bakken developed a wearable pacemaker. It was so effective that it was quickly adapted to aid nonsurgical cardiac patients. Demand for the product became so high that Bakken and his brother-in-law, Palmer Hermundslie, incorporated a new business entity—Medtronic. Capitalizing on emerging technologies such as lithium ion batteries, Medtronic introduced implantable pacemakers in 1960. Today, Medtronic is a cornerstone of the medical device industry in Minnesota that became known as Medical Alley and then LifeScience Alley. Thus, the fruitful collaboration between cardiac surgery and electrical engineering at the University of Minnesota became the basis for the birth of a new global industry.

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