Mayo Clinic Undergraduate Outreach IMPACT Program
Grant Project Details:
Regenerative medicine is a growing field that has made significant recent advances in technology and research, but many undergraduate students are not aware of regenerative medicine and its potential to develop cures for many medical problems. Therefore, students are not very likely to pursue graduate studies that would poise them for careers in regenerative medicine. This leaves gaps in the workforce in Minnesota, a state with many high-tech research laboratories which specialize in using regenerative medicine to develop cures.
The IMPACT program (Innovative Minds Partnering to Advance Curative Therapies) challenges undergraduate students to form interdisciplinary teams and propose innovative hypotheses to unanswered clinical questions. They get to choose from three research questions that address the causes of hypoplastic left heart syndrome, bipolar disorder, and ovarian cancer.
All of the undergraduate students who participate in the IMPACT program will delve deep into new developments in regenerative medicine and apply their new awareness to the real life context of solving critical clinical questions. This year's IMPACT program has reached out to the 65 colleges and universities across Minnesota that have biology faculty members.
As part of their proposal, students must outline how advances in regenerative medicine tools and techniques could support the feasibility of testing their hypothesis. All teams who submit a proposal are invited to bring a poster to the IMPACT symposium, and the top 10 teams give oral presentations. The winning team for each of the three research questions will get hands-on experience in the research lab at Mayo Clinic as they complete a summer internship testing their hypothesis using regenerative medicine tools and techniques.
Before, during, and after the IMPACT program, the researcher will gather information about each participant's scientific motivation, scientific identity, and interest in pursuing scientific research in the future. The hope is that participation in IMPACT will awaken an increased interest in scientific careers with an emphasis on regenerative medicine.
As the IMPACT program continues to expand, the pool of undergraduate students who are interested in regenerative medicine will grow, and many may pursue graduate degrees in fields related to regenerative medicine so they can join the workforce of researchers in Minnesota.
Grant Awardee Biography
Dr. Katie Campbell is the director of the IMPACT program at Mayo Clinic. Campbell has, in the first two years of the pilot program, engaged 124 students from across the state of Minnesota in developing innovative hypotheses to critical clinical questions.