• By Heather Carlson Kehren

Students swap backpacks for lab coats at upcoming ‘Celebration of Research’

February 21, 2019

Students taking part and viewing demonstrations at a previous Celebration of Research day

ROCHESTER, Minn. — Area high school students will meet Mayo Clinic researchers and tour their laboratories at the upcoming 18th biennial Celebration of Research. The daylong conference on Tuesday, Feb. 26, enables students in grades 10–12 to learn about biomedical science and research careers.

“We are excited to welcome students from our Minnesota communities, so they have an opportunity to learn more about career paths in research and how research is the future of medicine,” says conference co-chair, Jim Maher III, Ph.D., dean of Mayo Clinic Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences. Dr. Maher is the Bernard Pollack Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.

This year's theme will be “Fishing for Cures” — a nod to the important role of zebra fish in researching human conditions. Keynote speaker Lisa Schimmenti, M.D., chair of the Department of Clinical Genomics, will explain how she uses zebra fish to research new treatments for hearing loss and other human genetic conditions.

Throughout the day, students will meet with scientists, physicians and lab technicians as they participate in observational and hands-on tours during this research laboratory open house. Nearly 30 laboratories across Mayo Clinic will host interactive demonstrations and experiments. Lunch activities will include face-to-face meetings with dozens of Mayo Clinic graduate student researchers.

Nearly 185 students are expected to attend the conference. They will come from 31 schools in Minnesota, representing the communities of Adams, Altura, Austin, Blooming Prairie, Byron, Caledonia, Chatfield, Dodge Center, Dover, Elgin, Elysian, Eyota, Faribault, Goodhue, Grand Meadow, Houston, Kasson, Kenyon, Lanesboro, LeRoy, Lewiston, Lyle, Mantorville, Mazeppa, Millville, Morristown, Northfield, Ostrander, Owatonna, Pine Island, Plainview, Red Wing, Rochester, Stewartville, Waterville and Zumbrota.

Journalists interested in covering the Celebration of Research are invited to arrive on Feb. 26 at 9:30 a.m. in Phillips Hall, which is on the first floor of the Siebens Building in Rochester. Researchers and students will be available for interviews. If planning to cover, please send email RSVPing to newsbureau@mayo.edu by noon on Monday, Feb. 25.

Celebration of Research organizers hope to inspire students to continue pursuing science, engineering and mathematics in their academic training to prepare for careers in science and medicine.

“Mayo Clinic's team-based research environment brings together scientists, physicians, trainees and staff to understand the underpinnings of diseases with the hope of addressing unmet patient needs,” says Liewei Wang, M.D., Ph.D., conference co-chair. “We hope that a hands-on experience of this exciting and meaningful work will inspire students to pursue careers in biomedical research.”

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