Visscher Symposium

Honoring UMN legend Maurice B. Visscher -  exemplar citizen-scientist

Started in 2010, the annual Visscher symposium has become one of the marquee events in the medical school each year. Maurice Visscher was an eminent physiologist at the University of Minnesota Medical School. His tenure for 41 years as chair of physiology has to be some sort of a record! In 1956, he was elected to the National Academy of Sciences - becoming the first in the history of the UMN Medical School selected for this distinguished honor.  Dr. Visscher is highly regarded for two important contributions to science: his work demonstrated that heart muscle becomes less efficient as it fails and that cardiotonic drugs restore efficiency. Later, his pioneering use of isotopes to define and measure the absorption of electrolytes by the small intestine was considered even more important as it played a major role in the atmospheric nuclear test ban. Dr. Visscher was uncompromising in the pursuit of new knowledge. His trademark line that struck fear into students and faculty alike was: “Let’s see your data.”  In 2008, Dr. Joseph Metzger was named the Maurice B. Visscher Endowed Chair in Physiology, and beginning in 2010, the Department of Integrative Biology and Physiology initiated the annual Visscher Symposium. The symposium is highlighted by a keynote address from a prominent scientist and includes a vibrant “Young Investigator Competition” for Post Docs and Graduate students, followed by a reception dinner to celebrate achievements, including highlighting the top GPA senior undergraduate students in Physiology each year.



Keynote Speaker: Gregg Semenza, MD, PhD, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. “Hypoxia-Inducible Factors in Physiology and Medicine”
Young Investigator Competition Awardees: Graduate Students: Michael Patterson, first place, Zahra Moazzami, finalist.  Postdoctoral Scholars: Haiguang Wang, first place, Marco Kuenzli, finalist.
Undergraduate Physiology Society (UPS) Co-Presidents: Anna Clarin, Josie Friedman, and Selena Ong
Top Physiology Undergrad Scholar: Aarohi Shah, Casey Hokanson, Duc Thong Nguyen, Alisha Zhu, and Emily Zhi 

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Keynote Speaker: Brian Kobilka, MD, Standford University. "Structural Insights Into G Protein Coupled Receptor Signaling"
Young Investigator Competition Awardees: Graduate Students: Nicole Zarate, first place, Sridhar Selvaraj, finalist. Postdoctoral Scholars: Katherine Murphy, first place, Gyeoung-Jin Kang, finalist.
Undergraduate Physiology Society (UPS) Presidents: Emma Hintz
Top Physiology Undergrad Scholar: Adam Chen

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Past Symposiums


Keynote Speaker: Barbara Kahn, MD, Harvard Medical School. “Novel Signaling Lipids that Regulate Glucose Homeostasis and Inflammation”
Young Investigator Competition Awardees: Graduate Students: Lee Meier, first place, Ajeetha Joseph Rajan, finalist.  Postdoctoral Scholars: Patrycja Puchalska, first place, Bing Liu, finalist.
Undergraduate Physiology Society (UPS) Co-Presidents: Jordan Keeler and Michael Wurzer
Top Physiology Undergrad Scholar: Sabrene Garrison

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Keynote Speaker: Jeffrey Friedman, MD, PhD, Rockefeller University. “Leptin Physiology, Pathophysiology and the Neural Circuit Regulating Body Weight”
Young Investigator Competition Awardees: Graduate Students: Amber Lockridge, first place, Erika Dahl, finalist
Postdoctoral Scholars: Tania Incitti, first place, Patricia Bunney, finalist.
Undergraduate Physiology Society (UPS) President: Hamdi Sheiksaid 
Top Physiology Undergrad Scholar: Caleb Ayers

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Keynote Speaker: Eric N. Olson, PhD, UT Southwestern Medical Center. “Molecular Control of Heart Development, Disease and Regeneration”
Young Investigator Competition Awardees: Ph.D. Candidate, John Olthoff, first place and Ph.D. Candidate, Amritha Yellamilli, second place
Undergraduate Physiology Society (UPS) President: Kseniya Zvereva
Top Physiology Undergrad Scholar: Peter Kassis-Akal

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Keynote Speaker: Dr. Bruce Spiegelman, Harvard.  "Brown and Beige Fat: Basic Biology and a Novel Pathway of Thermogenesis"
Young Investigator Competition Awardees: Graduate Students: Mallory Franklin, first place, Hongliang Xu, finalist
Postdoctoral Scholars: Nelio Oliveira, first place, Ninitha Asirvatham-Jeyaraj, finalist
Undergraduate Physiology Society (UPS) President: Kseniya Zvereva
Top Physiology Undergrad Scholar: Brittney Thomson

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Keynote Speaker: Dr. Helen Hobbs, UT Southwestern - "Genetics of Disorders of Dietary Excess: Getting to the Heart of the Matter"
Young Investigator Competition Awardees: Graduate Students: Mayank Verma, first place, Cheryl Cero, finalist
Postdoctoral Scholars: Arpan Ghosh, first place, Brian Thompson, finalist
Undergraduate Physiology Society (UPS) President: Ben Pilkey
Top Physiology Undergrad Scholar: Christina Macenski

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Keynote Speaker: Dr. Joseph Takahashi, UT Southwestern- "The Architecture of the Circadian Clock System in Mammals"
Young Investigator Competition Awardees: Graduate Students: Forum Kamdar, first place, Jason Foss, finalist
Postdoctoral Scholars: Maria Razolli, first place, Joshua Martindale, finalist
Undergraduate Physiology Society (UPS) President: Hannah Dotterman
Highest GPA: Allison Spicher

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Keynote Speaker: Dr. C. Ronald Kahn, Harvard - "Diabetes, Insulin, and Brain Metabolism"
Young Investigator Competition awardees: Graduate Students: Kristin Hellberg, first place, Frazer Heinis, finalist
Postdoctoral Scholars: Antonio Filareto, first place, Zeeshan Syedain, finalist
UPS President: Matthew Hedlund
Highest GPA: Patrick McGarrah

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Keynote Speaker: Dr. Louis Ignarro, UCLA - "The Road to Stockholm: A Nobel Mission"
Young Investigator Competition Awardees: Graduate Student: Jason Foss, first place, Xiong Qiang, finalist
Postdoctoral Scholar: Brian Thompson, first place, Ruijun Han, finalist
UPS President: Thu Doan

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2010 - Inaugural

Keynote Speaker: Dr. Christine Seidman, Yale - "Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy: Mutations to Mechanisms"
Young Investigator's Competition awardees: First place -Marcos Kuroki, Ph.D. Candidate; Second - Fikru Bedada, postdoc; 3rd - Elizabeth Lockamy, Ph.D. Candidate
UPS President: Amanda Delaney

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pic of ana maria cuervo

The 12th Maurice Visscher Symposium, May 21, 2024

IBP welcomes this year's Keynote Speaker, Ana Maria Cuervo, MD, PhD

"Selective Autophagy:  Fighting Aging One Protein at a Time"