The Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology at the University of Minnesota Medical School is committed to bringing leading-edge basic and applied research and innovation to patient care.
The research-intensive faculty within the department have several major focus areas including cancer, immunology, cardiovascular disease, renal disease, diabetes, and genetics. The faculty consist of tenured associate and full professors, several of which currently hold endowed chairs or professorships. They interface with University of Minnesota departments and centers such as the Center for Immunology, Masonic Cancer Center, and the Institute for Translational Neuroscience.
Downtown Minneapolis viewed from a basic research laboratory
Brenner tumor (IHC for E-cadherin)
Polychromatic crystalline keratopathy of the cornea
Pap smear with endocervical adenocarcinoma in situ
Macrophages (in red) surrounding a growing ductal structure in the mammary gland
Human melanoma cells in culture
A human melanoma cell. The arrows point to cell-surface receptors used for metastasis. These receptors are targets for drug therapy.
Bone marrow touch imprint, Wright-Giemsa stained, from a patient with smoldering plasma cell myeloma
Mouse brain neurons (red) and associated tau neurofibrillary tangles (green). Tau tangles are implicated in Alzheimer's disease.
New Medical Directors named
Congratulations are in order to the following faculty for their recent appointments as medical directors:
Sophia Yohe is Medical Director of the Molecular Diagnostics laboratory.
Elizabeth Courville is Medical Director of Flow Cytometry.
Pawel Mroz is Medical Director of Core Hematology Labs (UMMC East, West, and CSC).
Sarah Williams is Medical Director of Clinical Labs, MHealth, Maple Grove Clinic.
Online pathology course for allied health students
LAMP 4177 (3 credits, Spring/Summer)
The Nature of Disease: Pathology for Allied Health Students
The course is a study of the mechanisms of human disease. Students receive a substantial foundation in the pathobiology of human disease and medical terminology. The course covers general pathology followed by organ system pathology.
Spring registration for LAMP 4177 spring semester starts November 14th.
LAMP 4177 is a good foundation course for a degree in the Health Sciences including:
- Medical Laboratory Science
- Health & Wellness ICP
- Spring semester online
- Summer semester online
- Grading: A/F or S/N
Non University of Minnesota students are welcome and can register through the College of Continuing and Professional Studies (CCAPS), University of Minnesota.
For more information contact:
Mary Ramey, Teaching Specialist, Laboratory Medicine & Pathology
Li targets plasma lipids and proteins as potential biomarkers for Alzheimer’s disease
Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a research and public health priority worldwide. In the United States alone, there are an estimated five million people with AD. The annual cost of treating them is more than $230 billion, a figure projected to increase to more than $500 billion by 2040 unless effective therapies are developed to prevent, slow or arrest this devastating disease. Drug trials over two decades targeting amyloid plaques, long thought to be key proteins in AD pathobiology and progression, have failed.
LMP assistant professor Danni Li and her research colleagues are taking a different approach, focusing instead on plasma lipoproteins and metabolites that could serve as biomarkers for dementias and age-related cognitive and physical function decline. Li is also exploring how exercise and fatty acids may work together to improve cognition.
The NIH’s National Institute on Aging (NIA) has awarded Li a four-year $2 million R01 grant to study “Blood biomarkers as surrogate endpoints of treatment responses to aerobic exercise and/or cognitive training in amnestic mild cognitive impairment.” NIA has also awarded her a two-year $253,000 R21 grant to identify specific plasma lipids as biomarkers of demyelination and neurodegeneration responsible for physical function decline in older adults.
"I have been very lucky and grateful to work with mentors and collaborators who have provided me with invaluable feedback," Li said.
A key resource for Li’s metabolomics and proteomic studies is NIH’s Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) study. ARDL’s involvement in the study enabled her to established important collaborations, particularly with LMP professor emeritus John Eckfeldt. Preliminary analysis of plasma lipids from the ARIC study revealed that lower levels of specific lipids, which may be involved nerve cell demyelination and degeneration, are associated with comparatively poor physical function. The specific aims of Li and her fellow investigators are to determine the association of the target lipid with physical function in older adults.
For her research on blood biomarkers, aerobic exercise, cognitive training and improving cognition, Li will build on the ACT Trial, a study directed by School of Nursing professor Fang Yu. In the ACT Trial, aerobic exercise and cognitive training are combined in subjects with amnesic mild cognitive impairment, which often precedes AD. Li and colleagues have found preliminary evidence that certain plasma lipids have unique mechanistic associations with cerebral amyloidosis and neurodegeneration, both characteristic of AD.
Li’s hypothesis is that these protein levels change in response to aerobic exercise and cognitive training, which would potentially make them predictive biomarkers, paving the way for early therapeutic interventions.