The MD Center was founded in 1995 as the Center for Muscle and Muscle Disorder. In 2001, it was officially integrated into the University of Minnesota’s Academic Health Center. In 2003, it was renamed the Paul and Sheila Wellstone Muscular Dystrophy Center in honor of the late couple who fought for muscular dystrophy patients locally and in the Senate, the latter most notably through support for the Muscular Dystrophy Community Assistance, Research, and Education (MD CARE) Act enacted in 2001.

My little friend Jacob told me his only wish in the universe is a cure for his muscular dystrophy. It's not a question of whether, but when it will be conquered. Let it be for this generation.

Paul Wellstone

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What we do

  • Basic and Translational Research: Faculty scientists, physician scientists, and their team members contribute to the development of potential treatments and technologies to understand and remedy various neuromuscular conditions.
  • Clinical Research: Faculty physicians lead natural history studies and interventional studies (clinical trials) that are open to eligible volunteer patients. A repository has been established to collect, organize, and store data and tissue samples to advance research studies at the MD Center.
  • Education: A range of programs are offered to undergraduate, graduate, and post-doctoral learners, as well as medical students, residents, and clinical fellows to provide advanced instruction regarding muscle structure, function, and disease. Programs include an MD Center Seminar Series, The Greg Marzolf Jr. Symposium, Department of Neurology Grand Rounds, and presentations at various internal and external conferences.
  • Clinical Care: The MD Center helps support multidisciplinary clinics at the University of Minnesota that provide coordinated care for pediatric and adult patients with muscular dystrophy and other neuromuscular disorders.
  • Community Outreach: Public events are held to support patients and community members, providing them with opportunities for recreational activities and information on the progress of the MD Center’s pursuits, including the latest research developments. Programs include the Annual MD Center Lab Day, now in its 13th year, the MD Center Family Camp, now in its 11 year, a Community Picnic, SMA Day, and various other partner-supported events for the neuromuscular community.