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The best and brightest: inspiring the next generation of cardiovascular researchers

Today is the culmination of 10 weeks of intensive research and learning for a group of select scholars on the University of Minnesota campus.

Twelve students from both high school and college programs are completing their work in the Lillehei Heart Institute (LHI) Summer Research Scholars Program.

This highly competitive program is designed to inspire the brightest students to choose a career in cardiovascular science and medicine.

“The University of Minnesota has led the world in cardiovascular medicine. With this program, we intend to build the future leaders in cardiovascular medicine and science,” said Mary Garry, Ph.D., LHI Summer Scholars program director.

“My interest in cardiovascular medicine stems from a public health standpoint, as heart disease has consistently been cited as the number one cause of death in the world. I was curious as to the progress being made in the cardiovascular field,  the LHI SRSP seemed like the perfect research opportunity,” said Gabriela Ruiz Colon, one of the students participating in this year’s program.

The students selected for the program spend 10 weeks in working laboratories, learning research skills and conducting their own projects under the mentorship of LHI faculty.

This year’s topics are everything from ways to regenerate heart and skeletal muscle to exercise physiology, muscular dystrophy, and heart failure. The projects will be presented as part of the fourth annual Cardio Palooza event, which takes place this afternoon at the McNamara Alumni Center.

“I have gained an excellent understanding of the actual science that goes into producing the information I learn about in my lecture classes.,” says Matthew Schreier, a student in the 2012 class of scholars.

“This program has provided with hands-on opportunities and valuable insight into the world of research,” says Alexandra Peterson. “I plan to pursue a medical degree, and this experience has definitely confirmed my interest in cardiovascular science and medicine.”

The Lillehei Heart Institute is a basic science research institute at the University of Minnesota dedicated to finding a cure for heart disease. It was founded in 1999 by an endowment from Kaye Lillehei, wife of the late C. Walton Lillehei, M.D., Ph.D., a University of Minnesota trained surgeon known as “The Father of Open-Heart Surgery.”

To apply for the 2013 Summer Scholars program, click here.

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