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University of Minnesota
Giving to medicine and health at the University of Minnesota

Discover what’s possible

Heart and Lung Health

The University of Minnesota is home to some of the 20th century’s greatest advances in cardiovascular and respiratory health, including the world’s first successful open-heart surgery using hypothermia, the invention of the battery-operated pacemaker, and development of a chest-thumping vest used to clear the lungs of people with cystic fibrosis.

Our researchers also were the first to systematically examine the relationship between lifestyle and diet and rates of heart attack and stroke.

Today we are still creating revolutionary therapies—using stem cells, a molecular Band-Aid, and a guardian angel protein delivered via gene therapy—to mend damaged hearts. Additionally, the University made worldwide news when our scientists proved the concept of bioartificial organ generation by creating a beating heart in the laboratory.

We are also combating heart disease, the leading cause of death in the United States, from several angles, using cell-based therapies, genomics, and the body’s own signaling mechanisms to detect disease earlier and treat it more effectively.

This groundbreaking research is under way in the University’s Lillehei Heart Institute, which fosters interdisciplinary cardiovascular research, and at the Rasmussen Center for Cardiovascular Disease Prevention, which developed the country’s most comprehensive screening for early signs of heart disease.

At the Center for Lung Science and Health, our scientists investigate new treatments and prevention strategies for conditions affecting the lungs and airways, and our clinic physicians use the latest discoveries—including the creation of breathing lungs in the lab—to improve patient care. Long recognized as one of the world’s largest and most experienced lung transplant centers, the University is discovering innovative ways to prevent the need for such procedures altogether.

Through philanthropy we turn novel laboratory research into successful clinical trials and, ultimately, into more effective treatments for people with heart and lung diseases.


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Important information about giving
to the University of Minnesota

The Minnesota Medical Foundation has merged with the University of Minnesota Foundation.

The combination of two great foundations, operating as the University of Minnesota Foundation, will enhance support of excellence at the University of Minnesota, provide even greater efficiencies, and better serve University donors.

For more information, contact the University of Minnesota Foundation at 612-624-3333.

Find out more

If you would like to speak with someone about supporting heart and lung health, contact:

Catherine McGlinch, Director of Development, Neurosciences, Heart & Lung
612-626-5456 |

Amanda Storm Schuster, Senior Development Officer, Heart & Lung
612-626-2475 |