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Research and Innovation

A strong commitment to advance medicine and treatments

If you said yes – or are considering donation for research – thank you. While transplant is life-saving for one individual, donating a loved one’s organs and tissues for research impacts an exponential number of lives. LifeSource is proud to offer chances for our communities to advance medicine and treatments through research, and ultimately improving and healing lives. 

A Liquid Nitrogen bank containing suspension of stem cells. Cell culture for the biomedical diagnostic

“My Dad, ‘Big Papa’ to his grandchildren, passed away at the age of 80, ten years after his second heart transplant. We are so excited and proud to have given his heart back to research so others can continue to learn from it.”

Chris, son of research donor

Frequently asked questions

Research partnerships

LifeSource is dedicated to working in close partnership with researchers in academic medical centers, hospitals, universities, and biotechnology centers to advance the field of research through organ and tissue donation. Our research partners include:

  • University of Minnesota research includes:

    • Innovating pancreatic surgical techniques to improve patient outcomes and research in pancreatic islet cells for transplant. 
    • Cryopreservation of skin leading to the improvement of skin and wound healing for burn patients and others.
    • Spleen and pancreas cellular study to improve organ function and longevity of transplanted pancreatic islet cells in diabetics.
    • Visible Heart Lab: Reanimate hearts and lungs to take detailed images of anatomical structures for teaching of medical students and physicians.
    • Several types of tissue and organs are collected to understand the function of the human resident memory T cells. Because of this, researchers can investigate the response of the human body and its immune system to infections and vaccinations. Information learned from this study may help scientists in the development of new drugs or strategies to fight against infections.
  • LifeNet Health research includes liver cell testing to develop better safety and toxicology studies of new drugs and disease treatments. 

  • Network for Pancreatic Donor with Diabetes (nPOD)

    Gifts from autoantibody positive donors will help scientists study the autoimmune process at the very earliest stages of beta cell destruction. Many of our scientists believe that understanding what is making the body attack its own pancreatic cells will be the key to finding a cure. 

  • International Institute For The Advancement of Medicine (IIAM) research areas include: Cardiovascular disease; Gastrointestinal diseases; Chronic Kidney Disease; Acute and Chronic Liver Failure; End Stage Lung Disease, Asthma and COPD, and RSV; and Diabetes.

  • Mayo Clinic research includes:

    • Defining human organ molecular biology and mechanisms of tissue preservation. After a heart transplant, the new heart may not work well at first, maybe because it undergoes stress and inflammation. This study evaluates and characterizes the biological and molecular events that occur during heart preservation.​

Become a research partner

LifeSource collaborates with a variety of local and national research organizations (research institutes and universities) that require donated organs and tissues for their studies. All research partners must complete a project application. All new applications will be reviewed and examined by the Research Committee Members who are transplant surgeons and scientists.


News and stories related to research

View all updates for research and innovation.

  • June 30, 2021 in Industry & Innovation

    Unique Partnership Could Save Lives

    In May of 2021, LifeSource partnered with Mercy Hospital and MissionGO, a transportation logistics company to create an innovative solution to some of the challenges in organ transportation.

    Read More
  • June 21, 2021 in About Donation, Industry & Innovation

    New Research Aims to Stop Biological Time, More Help for Those Waiting

    Every single day is a battle with the clock to recover and transplant an organ. The time from donation to transplant per organ is very limited (ranging from 4 hours to 24 hours). Due to ground-breaking research, this timeline is about to change.

    Read More
  • January 07, 2021 in Industry & Innovation, Our Partners

    19-Year-Old Donates Heart Using Revolutionary Technology

    Wyatt had the unique opportunity to be the first person in the upper midwest to donate a heart as part of a U.S trial of the TransMedics Organ Care System.

    Read More
  • February 17, 2017 in Industry & Innovation, News

    A Perfect Match: Minnesota’s First Face Transplant

    In June 2016, Calen “Rudy” Ross gave the gifts of organ, eye and tissue donation after his death, including a very special gift – the gift of his face. This is his story, as told by his wife Lillian.

    Read More

Have questions?

Please reach out to LifeSource’s Research Coordinator for more information on research and innovation.