Leadership

Mark A. McNiven, Ph.D.

Center Director

How does team science promote broader and deeper insight into disease?

Our understanding of basic human biology and disease is expanding at an extremely rapid rate. By the middle of the 20th Century our general knowledge doubled every 25 years; now it doubles every 1-2 years and even faster for biotechnology. Because of this breathtaking pace, and the need for specialization, scientists are required to work together in teams to tackle complex problems. Our center takes advantage of the exceptionally wide breadth of faculty expertise to combine cell biologists, biochemists, bioengineers and clinicians to define the mechanism of human diseases.  

Virginia M. Shapiro, Ph.D.

Platform Co-Leader
Immunity and Fibrosis

How does the center move its findings into everyday patient care?

While recent advances are identifying genes that may be altered in disease, the rate-limiting step to using this information to design new therapies lies in understanding how these genes function at the molecular and cellular levels in both healthy individuals and in disease. The Center for Biomedical Discovery is focused on determining how the products of these genes regulate cell-cell communications, biochemical signaling pathways, and epigenetics/transcription in normal cells, to design better targeted therapies in diseased cells.

Daniel D. Billadeau, Ph.D.

Platform Co-Leader
Cancer and Cell Aging

On which specific diseases does the center focus?

The Center for Biomedical Discovery is focused on unraveling the basic fundamental cellular processes that go awry, resulting in the development of diseases such as cancer, diabetes, and arthritis. Through understanding the intricacies of the cell, we hope to provide insight and develop new and innovative treatment for human diseases.

Jan van Deursen, Ph.D.

Platform Co-Leader
Cancer and Cell Aging

How are Mayo scientists and physicians working together in the center?

Close interaction and collaboration between basic and physician scientists generates deep and meaningful understanding of the molecular and cellular mechanisms of disease, which may lead to transformative new therapies that can dramatically change the practice and patients’ lives. The Center for Biomedical Discovery provides the network and resources to foster the establishment of highly creative and productive teams.  

Eduardo N. Chini, M.D., Ph.D.

Platform Co-Leader
Metabolism and Diabetes

How are Mayo scientists and physicians working together in the center?

The Center for Biomedical Discovery provides exciting and unique opportunities to develop strong team science at Mayo Clinic. Solving the biological, molecular and clinical questions of biomedical problems such as obesity, diabetes, and cancer is an effort of Herculean proportions that can only be achieved by a united team with a common goal. Collaboration between world-class clinicians and researchers is fundamental for advancing clinically relevant discovery science at Mayo, helping us achieve our vision of providing the best possible care for our patients.

Cheryl Conover, Ph.D.

Platform Co-Leader
Metabolism and Diabetes

What research gaps is the center addressing?

Most research is funded based on accomplishing specific aims for a specific project, more often than not led by a single investigator. This creates a relatively inflexible funding situation that can work against the formation of multi-investigator, multi-disciplinary teams to develop a broader team-based approach to a problem. The Center for Biomedical Discovery is providing investigators with the ability to form such problem-based teams.

Edward B. Leof, Ph.D.

Platform Co-Leader
Immunity and Fibrosis

Why is it important to study the molecular basis of disease?

An understanding of disease and the disease process provides the foundation for effective treatments. As history teaches, the biomedical advances that revolutionize medical care come primarily from curiosity-directed discovery related to fundamental problems. This is most clearly articulated by the following quote from Dr. Elias Zerhouni, former NIH director: "It is impossible to translate that which you do not understand." The Mayo Clinic Center for Biomedical Discovery recognizes these realities and is committed to this undertaking.

Mark E. Zobitz

Center Administrator

Why establish a Center for Biomedical Discovery at Mayo Clinic?

The creation of the Center for Biomedical Discovery emphasizes the important role that mechanistic based discovery research plays in the Mayo Clinic mission. In order to truly understand disease, we need to have a strong contingent of scientists from a variety of disciplines who study fundamental cellular and physiological processes. The center will facilitate team-based approaches to furthering our understanding of complex biological systems.