University of Minnesota Medical

The University of Minnesota consistently ranks among the top research universities in the nation, poised to become part of the top three research facilities in the nation. They're a national leader in new models of medical education, underscoring their ongoing commitment to implementation and innovation in the health field. The school is known for its top-notch primary care program and has the largest family practice residency in the U.S.

Medical breakthroughs launched at the University of Minnesota include:

University of Minnesota Amplatz Children's Hospital has one of the nation's top 15 pediatric research programs. Partnering with the University's Medical School and Department of Pediatrics, the hospital has been a part of numerous medical breakthroughs, including:

  • The first successful pediatric blood and marrow transplant to treat childhood cancer.
  • The first infant heart transplant in Minnesota.
  • The first cochlear ear implant surgery for a child.
  • The first pediatric kidney biopsy.
  • The first blood and marrow transplant to treat a lethal skin disease in children.
  • The first pediatric open-heart surgeries using hypothermia and cross-circulation.
  • The first successful pediatric bone marrow transplant.
  • The first pediatric kidney biopsy.
  • The first bone marrow transplant to treat a lethal skin disease in children, showing that stem cells contained in bone marrow can repair injured tissue.
  • Development of a trailblazing technique for transplanting kidneys in infants.
  • Development of the high-frequency chest compression system (the "vest") to treat cystic fibrosis.
  • Development of a vaccine for lyme disease.
  • Development of less invasive approaches to pediatric heart repair, including leading-edge trials of the pediatric Berlin Heart device, which helps keep kids' hearts strong until they can receive a transplant.
Photos courtesy Regents of the University of Minnesota, 2012.Photos courtesy Regents of the University of Minnesota, 2012.

For nearly a century, the exploration of pioneering ideas at the University of Minnesota has launched many medical firsts that have made a lasting difference for families in Minnesota and around the world.

  • Kurt Amplatz, M.D., a professor of radiology at the University of Minnesota for 42 years, pioneered the use of many noninvasive techniques, including the use of devices that have eliminated the need for open-heart surgery for thousands of children. University of Minnesota Amplatz Children's Hospital is named in honor of Dr. Amplatz, whose daughter Caroline Amplatz, J.D., committed $50 million to the hospital as a tribute to his life's work.
  • Robert Good, M.D., Ph.D., performed the world's first successful bone marrow transplant, on a 4-month-old boy with an inherited immune deficiency disorder, at the University of Minnesota, in 1968.
  • C. Walton Lillehei, M.D., Ph.D., often called the father of open-heart surgery, played a major role in many surgical firsts at the University of Minnesota. His 1950s advances included participating in the first successful open-heart surgery using cross-circulation and creation of the heart-lung machine, and developing the pacemaker and mechanical heart valve.
  • Warren Warwick, M.D., invented a vibrating vest at the University of Minnesota in the early 1980s. The therapy transformed care for children with cystic fibrosis and helped to make our patients' survival rates the best in the nation.

University of Minnesota Amplatz Children's Hospital has one of the nation's top 15 pediatric research programs. Partnering with the University's Medical School and Department of Pediatrics, the hospital has been a part of numerous medical breakthroughs, including:

  • The first successful pediatric blood and marrow transplant to treat childhood cancer.
  • The first infant heart transplant in Minnesota.
  • The first cochlear ear implant surgery for a child.
  • The first pediatric kidney biopsy.
  • The first blood and marrow transplant to treat a lethal skin disease in children.
Photos courtesy Regents of the University of Minnesota, 2012.


Photos courtesy Regents of the University of Minnesota, 2012.

University cardiovascular and oncology physician-researchers have a legacy of medical "firsts" that revolutionized medicine and changed medicine's standard of care.

The first open-heart procedure was performed at the U of M, as was the world's first bone marrow transplant. Other firsts include the first transplant to treat a patient with lymphoma, the first transplant to treat an inherited metabolic disease and the world's first umbilical cord blood transplant performed using pre-implantation genetic testing to ensure a perfect tissue match.

Photos courtesy Regents of the University of Minnesota, 2012.

One of the oldest and most successful liver transplant programs in the world

University of Minnesota Physicians have more than 1,200 liver transplants to their credit and have led the region and nation with many firsts. In 1981, the University of Minnesota was first in the Midwest to perform a combined liver-kidney transplant. A combined liver-pancreas transplant followed in 1990 and a combined liver-intestine transplant in 1996. In 1997, we began performing adult-to-child, living-related-donor segmental liver transplants. That practice expanded to include adult-to-adult segmental liver transplants in 1999.

Photos courtesy Regents of the University of Minnesota, 2012.

"Firsts" in CF research

The University of Minnesota developed the chest-vibrating vest that clears the lungs of people with CF. University researchers were the first to show that diabetes is associated with increased deaths among people with CF.


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