Leadership

Mark A. McNiven, Ph.D.

Center Director

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

Understanding of basic human biology and disease is expanding at an extremely rapid rate. At the middle of the 20th century, general knowledge doubled every 25 years; now it doubles every one to two 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. The Center for Biomedical Discovery takes advantage of Mayo Clinic's exceptionally wide breadth of faculty expertise to bring together cell biologists, biochemists, bioengineers and clinicians to define the mechanism of human diseases.

Panagiotis Z. Anastasiadis, Ph.D.

Executive Leadership Team Member

What research gaps is the center addressing?

The Center for Biomedical Discovery addresses the biological processes that underlie human disease at the molecular and cellular level. Its goal is to act as an engine for discovery that addresses unmet clinical needs by fostering multidisciplinary team science focusing on the roles of immunity, fibrosis, metabolism, nutrition, cancer and cellular aging in human disease.

Daniel D. Billadeau, Ph.D.

Executive Leadership Team Member

On which specific diseases does the center focus?

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

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

Executive Leadership Team Member

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 achieve the vision of providing the best possible care for patients.

Aleksey Matveyenko, Ph.D.

Executive Leadership Team Member

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

Research into the molecular basis of diseases provides a hypothetical road map for efforts to discover novel preventive and therapeutic strategies. In the absence of comprehensive basic science research into the molecular basis of diseases, future efforts aimed toward discovery of novel therapeutics can be equated to "driving on a dark road without a map." For example, in the past two decades increased investment into basic molecular research of type 2 diabetes mellitus resulted in an exponential increase in therapeutic options available for patients with this common metabolic disease.

Tamas Ordog, M.D.

Executive Leadership Team Member

How does the center's research drive advances in patient care?

Clinical medicine is evolving at an unprecedented pace, absorbing advances from diverse areas of natural and social sciences and transforming these influences into new disciplines such as genomic, regenerative and social medicine. Fundamental research in molecular and cellular biology, chemistry, and physics has always been the basis of these advances, breaking down barriers to applied biomedical research and, ultimately, clinical applications.

Recently, the emergence of high-throughput discovery platforms, epitomized by genomic sequencing, has opened up new avenues of discovery that start directly in patients' samples and data. However, these approaches typically assess association rather than causality. The Center for Biomedical Discovery aims to turn key findings from patient-based discovery tools into medically actionable results by supporting mechanistic, model-based research.

Virginia M. Shapiro, Ph.D.

Executive Leadership Team Member

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 and transcription in normal cells, to design better targeted therapies in diseased cells.

Vijay P. Singh, M.B.B.S.

Executive Leadership Team Member

What research gaps is the center addressing?

The center provides a scientific milieu to explore the mechanistic basis of novel approaches that can potentially curb diverse pathological processes. Examples include obesity, which is common yet poorly understood, and universal processes such as aging, for which there are no targeted approaches. Highly relevant unmet needs include the several cancers that escape immune surveillance and chronic inflammatory diseases that affect various organ systems and take a toll due to their indolent course.

Wolfdieter Springer, Ph.D.

Executive Leadership Team Member

What makes the Center for Biomedical Discovery unique?

The Center for Biomedical Discovery focuses on the molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying complex human diseases. Understanding the normal biological processes that are critical under physiological conditions — but are derailed during pathology — is necessary to discriminate the causes from the consequences of disease. These functional insights further bridge the gaps between vast genetic findings and diverse clinical and pathological presentations. The center's multidisciplinary approach will ultimately translate into the development of novel biomarkers and disease-modifying therapies that can be delivered back to the patient.

Jan van Deursen, Ph.D.

Executive Leadership Team Member

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.

Hilary E. Blair, M.S.

Center Administrator

How does the Center for Biomedical Discovery advance Mayo Clinic's mission?

Mayo Clinic's model of research is discovery, translation and application to meet unmet patient needs. The Center for Biomedical Discovery advances Mayo Clinic's mission by accelerating the discovery phase through innovative basic science research involving the biological processes impacting disease. The center's goals are to inspire hope and to contribute to the health, well-being and best care of every patient.

Kari A. Hafner, M.B.A.

Center Operations Manager

Why maintain a Center for Biomedical Discovery at Mayo Clinic?

The center provides a mechanism for advancing basic, or discovery, science. This allows for exploration of new and innovative research that spans most organ systems and brings together teams of experts to understand disease. Over time, a focus on discovery research in the lab fosters, expands and enhances scientific advances that eventually lead to the transformation of the practice of medicine.