It was standing room only at the Second Annual Marzolf Graduate Student Symposium. Held at the Paul and Sheila Wellstone MD Center on Friday, Sept. 25, 2009 at the Nils Hasselmo Hall on the University of Minnesota Campus. This half-day program gave approximately 100 medical graduate and post-doctoral students the opportunity to share their research findings and updates of diagnostic testing done in lab settings by experts in the fields of neuro-muscular and cardiac medicine.
Dr. John Day, Director of the Wellstone Muscular Dystrophy Center and Professor of Neurology, welcomed the attendees enthusiastically, saying “All of these studies are inter-related and build on one another. These graduate level students are focused on muscular studies that will lead to treatment regimens that will result in improved length and quality of life for MD patients.”
There is considerable progress being made. Dr. Day explained that people with Duchenne muscular dystrophy have one protein lacking in their bodies.
“We’ve isolated that one protein and are now working to determine methods to insert that missing protein into the body and direct it where it’s needed.” He added that as muscular dystrophy patients are living longer, they are experiencing greater cardiac complications because of the absence of this protein. This area of concern will increase in future lab studies.
In 2009, the Greg Marzolf Jr. Foundation donated $20,000 to the MD Center for the specific support of medical research by graduate students from around the country.
At the close of the education session, Pat Marzolf, president of the board of the GMJ Foundation, shared her perspective and excitement with the physicians and students.
“It’s so encouraging to hear about these studies and trials and to know that the money raised by GMJF activities and donors is being put to such good use. The impact from these studies is far-reaching and we hope and pray that many patients and families will benefit sooner rather than later from these efforts.”