• By Jon Holten

Mayo debuts doctoral research training in regenerative medicine

October 11, 2017

The first students in Mayo Clinic's Regenerative Sciences Training Program are, from left, Emma Goddery, Paige Arneson and Christopher Paradise.

ROCHESTER, Minn. — Seeking to spur development of innovative medical breakthroughs, Mayo Clinic Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences has started one of the nation’s first doctoral (Ph.D.) research training programs in regenerative sciences.

The Regenerative Sciences Training Program will prepare the next generation of scientists to accelerate the discovery, translation and application of cutting-edge regenerative diagnostics and therapeutics.

“This program will push forward the medical treatments of tomorrow,” says Karen Hedin, Ph.D., director of the Regenerative Sciences Training Program. “We’re trying to give our students all the tools they’ll need to speed up the translation and application of novel therapies.”

Mayo Clinic Center for Regenerative Medicine, which is pioneering new approaches to rejuvenation and regeneration to transform medicine and surgery, is funding up to 16 five-year fellowships. These fellowships pay students a stipend plus benefits and cover all tuition costs. In the coming years, the program will pursue funding from additional sources, including the National Institutes of Health, says Dr. Hedin, who also is director of the graduate school’s immunology track and associate director of education for the Center for Regenerative Medicine.

Development of the Regenerative Sciences Training Program has been a priority of Fredric Meyer, M.D., executive dean of education, Mayo Clinic. Leaders in the Center for Regenerative Medicine and the graduate school collaborated on organizing the program. Dr. Meyer is the Juanita Kious Waugh Executive Dean for Education.

“The training program will identify talented students who are committed to careers in discovering, developing and applying regenerative science to advance medical progress,” says Richard Hayden, M.D., an otolaryngologist and director of education for the Center for Regenerative Medicine. “Graduates of the program will be integral to building the multidisciplinary workforce needed to drive the future of health care at Mayo Clinic and around the world.”

Students in the program will specialize in one of seven Ph.D. tracks:

  1. Biochemistry and molecular biology
  2. Biomedical engineering
  3. Clinical and translational sciences
  4. Immunology
  5. Molecular pharmacology and experimental therapeutics
  6. Neurobiology of disease
  7. Virology and gene therapy

In addition, students will receive interdisciplinary training in regenerative sciences research, including regenerative technology in all seven tracks; skills for translating regenerative medical solutions into clinical applications; ethical use of regenerative medical solutions; communication with scientific, medical, business and government professionals; and biobusiness development and federal regulations.

Students will gain experience in multiple labs on projects that involve regenerative sciences. Some courses will be taught in collaboration with the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm.

“We have a number of labs and faculty already doing research in regenerative science,” says Dr. Hedin, who heads a Mayo lab studying molecular mechanisms of signal transduction in cancer and immune disorders.

The program will spread knowledge about regenerative sciences throughout Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science. Students in all five Mayo schools will soon have the ability to attend the program’s classes in person or via teleconference. Dr. Hedin says the Center for Regenerative Medicine also is working with the college to develop a master’s degree program in regenerative sciences, organize a symposium on regenerative medicine to share discoveries with the world through continuing medical education, and add a regenerative medicine component to the surgical residency programs.

The Regenerative Sciences Training Program will compete for outstanding doctoral candidates from around the world, Dr. Hedin says.

“There was a lot of competition for these first slots,” Dr. Hedin says. “And we expect more competition in coming years. Students want to know their work will improve the lives of patients.”

The program will accept three or four students per year and, eventually, will have students on all three graduate school campuses in Arizona, Florida and Rochester. Students in the program will graduate with a doctorate in biomedical sciences with an emphasis in regenerative sciences and their track of choice. The first class of students includes:

  • Paige Arneson
    Arneson is specializing in biochemistry and molecular biology. Her research focuses on the loss of muscle mass from disease and aging and metabolic regulation of muscle stem cells. A graduate of Spring Valley High School in Spring Valley, Wisconsin, she went on to earn bachelor’s degrees in biology and chemistry from the University of Wisconsin–Superior in Superior, Wisconsin.
  • Emma Goddery
    Goddery is specializing in neuroimmunology. Her research focuses on improving stem cell treatments for neurodegenerative conditions caused or accompanied by abnormal inflammation in the central nervous system. A graduate of Dakota Ridge High School in Littleton, Colorado, she went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in engineering from Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona.
  • Christopher Paradise
    Paradise is specializing in molecular biology and experimental therapeutics. His research focuses on regeneration of bone and cartilage tissues for treatment of musculoskeletal diseases and injuries. A graduate of Kasson-Mantorville High School in Kasson, Minnesota, he went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in biology from St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota, and worked two years as a Mayo Clinic researcher before pursuing his doctorate.

“These are the brightest, most committed, most energetic individuals I’ve ever met,” Dr. Hedin says. “They are the leaders of tomorrow. I think they’re going to make a huge impact.”

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About Mayo Clinic
Mayo Clinic is a nonprofit organization committed to medical research and education, and providing expert, comprehensive care to everyone who needs healing. For more information, visit mayoclinic.org/about-mayo-clinic or newsnetwork.mayoclinic.org.

MEDIA CONTACT
Jon Holten, Mayo Clinic Public Affairs, 507-284-5005,
newsbureau@mayo.edu

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