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St. Kate’s team present recommendations to Mayo Clinic

L to R: Students Sarah Showalter, Alex Pederson, Brianne Hintsala and Megan Lentsch, and Professor John Pellegrini.
L to R: Students Sarah Showalter, Alex Pederson, Brianne Hintsala and Megan Lentsch, and Professor John Pellegrini.

So, what’s the next big medical breakthrough? Will it be a device or a drug? Or, perhaps, a new way for doctors to interact with patients? A St. Catherine University team that’s participating in this year’s Mayo Innovation Scholars Program might have some insight, but it can’t tell.

The program, in its 10th year, offers undergraduate science and business students the opportunity to study a Mayo Clinic invention and determine its potential marketability. The teams, bound by privacy agreements and lead by a graduate student, must then present their recommendations to the inventors and intellectual property officers at the clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.

St. Kate’s business majors Alex Pederson ’17 and Meghan Lentsch ’16, along with biology majors Brianne Hintsala ’16 and Sarah Showalter ’16, and University of St. Thomas graduate student Any Montenegro ’13 — who holds a bachelor’s degree in financial management from St. Kate’s — presented this March 10 morning.

They researched a proposed Mayo innovation in heart auscultation (listening to heart sounds), said Kurt Olson, associate professor of biology and physical therapy.

Olson guided the undergraduate students through the months-long project with John Pellegrini, professor of biology, and Sarah Rand, assistant professor of business administration.

“They worked hard,” Rand noted, “and did a great job today!” 

Rebecca Hawthorne, director of St. Kate’s Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership (MAOL) program, served as graduate advisor. 

MAOL student Tamara Larsen is leading the St. Thomas undergraduate team. They will present at Mayo Clinic on March 11. Hawthorne said the team’s project focuses on a computer-based medical technology.

Retired Medtronic executive John Meslow founded the Mayo Innovation Scholars Program, in conjunction with Mayo’s Office of Intellectual Property and the Minnesota Private College Council. St. Catherine University has participated in the program since 2009.

March 10, 2016 by Pauline Oo

See also: Alumnae/i, Business, Faculty, Leadership, Liberal Arts, Students