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Show-and-tell at Mayo Clinic

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Historic video of a 5-foot-7 high jumper clearing a bar set at 7-foot-7 prompted audible gasps from a crowd of 230 teenagers.

Others marveled at the different body types of swimming legends Mark Spitz and Michael Phelps, while wondering at the genetic changes that have caused the average height in Japan to increase by nearly a foot since World War II.

In other words, the extreme examples worked as expected for Mayo Clinic's Michael Joyner.

Dr. Joyner was the keynote speaker at Tuesday's 17th Biennial Celebration of Research, where his address of "Faster, Higher, Stronger: Science of Human Performance" enthralled students from 37 schools across Southeast Minnesota. The decorated director of Mayo's Human and Integrated Physiology Laboratory used words, pictures and video to show how much sports science has changed over the last century due to ongoing research.

After that display, the students were released to examine Mayo's world-class labs, which occupy the same amount of space — 850,000 square feet — as one floor at the Mall of America. Previous attendees of Mayo's show-and-tell experience are now among those who routinely occupy that space.

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"Over these last 34 years, I would imagine there are thousands of students who have been given a glimpse into the wonders and miracles that happen here every day," said Sen. Carla Nelson, R-Rochester, who chairs the Education Finance Committee. "Today is especially important because (Mayo) is reaching out to you, high school and middle school students, who may have not yet considered a future in medical science and research.

"This is a very exciting time in research, particularly because we have seen too much cancer that debilitates our loved ones and families. It's research that holds the key to the future cures of these (issues)."

Attendees arrived at 9 a.m. from as far west as Owatonna and as far east as Caledonia. Rochester was represented by students from all six high schools and middle schools.

The students took part in lab sessions across Mayo's Rochester campus with tours held at 10 a.m., 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Mayo announced that 24 of its 174 research labs would be opened up to students to examine and, in some cases, get their hands dirty.

Mayo employs nearly 600 physicians and medical scientists that are assisted by more than 3,000 allied health staff members. It received $946 million for educational and research funding in 2015 while conducting more than 11,000 human research studies.

The Celebration of Research event is meant to be a day that encourages students to consider a career in the medical field by highlighting work that's done locally by the nation's top-ranked hospital.

"Mayo Clinic is deeply committed to preparing the next generation of physicians and scientists," said Dr. Jim Maher, event co-chair and dean of Mayo Clinic Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences. "This is a wonderful opportunity to interact with students at a time when they are exploring different career options, before they had to college, and introduce them to the role that research plays in transforming the practice of medicine."

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02-07 mayo research 03.jpg
Led by research technologist Fatimah Al Khazal, middle right, and GREP student Robin Heider, right, Lewiston-Altura seniors Macy Jensen, left, and Drake Hemker use ethanol in an ethanol precipitation technique that makes salmon DNA visible in a DNA structure lab at Mayo Clinic on Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2017, during the 17th Biennial Celebration of Research.

Related Topics: EDUCATION
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