CSB and SJU students participate in Mayo Innovation Scholars Program

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April 8, 2010

(l-r) Breanna Peterson, Nicholas Sweere, Halyce Jackson, Elizabeth Jaqua, Patrick Curran

Four seniors at the College of Saint Benedict, St. Joseph, and Saint John's University, Collegeville, recently concluded their participation in the Mayo Innovation Scholars Program, an experiential learning program offered by Mayo Clinic's Office of Intellectual Property. The program is a collaborative effort between Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn., and Minnesota's private colleges and universities, with financial support from the Medtronic Foundation, the Minnesota Private College Council and Mayo Clinic.

Patrick Curran (SJU management major with a business administration concentration, La Crescent, Minn.); Halyce Jackson (CSB economics major, Plymouth, Minn.); Elizabeth Jaqua (CSB biology major and pre-medicine, Mankato, Minn.); and Breanna Peterson (CSB biology major and pre-medicine, Oakdale, Minn.) worked on this year's research project. Barb May, assistant professor of biology at CSB and SJU, and Lisa Lindgren, associate professor of management at CSB and SJU, served as project advisors.

Students research inventions that have been developed by Mayo staff to determine whether they should become commercialized products. The CSB/SJU team was responsible for researching the scientific and market potential for a new treatment of some pulmonary diseases, including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD; smoker's bronchitis), chronic bronchitis, cystic fibrosis, pulmonary emphysema, adult respiratory distress syndrome and idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.

The CSB and SJU students were required to develop an understanding the science behind the proposal in order to evaluate the commercial potential of the diagnostic and therapeutic methods. The students determined the project is not commercially viable at this time and recommended to close the file. Their efforts were recognized as exceptional by the founder of the program, retired Medtronic executive John Meslow, and the Mayo licensing manager. The team presented information in a way that assisted the licensing manager to come to a decision regarding potential commercialization, which is a major goal of the Mayo Innovation Scholars Program.

The research was done at CSB and SJU throughout the academic year, with their findings presented at the Mayo Clinic in March.