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Chancellor's Blog: Remarkable Blugold researcher

| Chancellor James Schmidt

I always welcome the opportunity to brag about Blugolds, and today I have the pleasure of writing about an alumnus you will be hearing a lot more about in the very near future.

Dr. Timothy Nelson graduated summa cum laude from UW-Eau Claire in 1998 with a degree in biochemistry/molecular biology. It should be noted that a key Blugold experience for Nelson was working on undergraduate research with now professor emeritus Dr. Leo Ochrymowycz.

Like so many Blugolds, when Nelson earned his bachelor’s degree, it was not the end of his pursuit of knowledge but rather an important stepping stone on the way to an amazing career as an internationally recognized physician-scientist at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.

Today it was announced that Dr. Nelson is the new director of research and innovation for Mayo Clinic Health System in northwest Wisconsin. His new position was created to support collaboration between Mayo Clinic Health System and Mayo Clinic in Rochester, and to foster greater research opportunities for UW-Eau Claire faculty, staff and students through our master collaborative research agreement with Mayo Clinic Health System. Dr. Nelson’s appointment is wonderful news for Mayo Clinic Health System, UW-Eau Claire and the entire Chippewa Valley community.

Vicki Lord Larson

Vicki Lord Larson

In addition to Dr. Nelson’s appointment, I am excited to announce the creation of the Vicki Lord Larson Collaborative Research Fund, which will directly support research between UW-Eau Claire and Mayo Clinic Health System. The fund was established by UW-Eau Claire Chancellor Emerita Vicki Lord Larson, whose generous support of several additional UW-Eau Claire Foundation funds has been invaluable over the years. Her commitment will open opportunities for Blugolds for years to come. Learn more about Vicki Lord Larson’s commitment to this new fund.

I am passionate about providing world-class educational opportunities for our students, and when we signed our master collaborative research agreement with Mayo Clinic Health System last summer, I knew great things were ahead. I can’t say I knew then that a Blugold would be helping lead the research charge for the Mayo Clinic Health System team, but at the same time I am not surprised. Blugolds are all about audacious accomplishments, and Dr. Nelson is truly an all-star.

He is known as a pioneer in the research of bioengineered stem cells and cardiovascular regeneration. Dr. Nelson’s innovative work with the Mayo Clinic team — many of whom are Blugolds, I might add — has been well received around the world. Here at home, he was awarded the UW-Eau Claire Alumni Association President’s Award in 2013 for outstanding professional and personal achievements and service to UW-Eau Claire.

If you would like to congratulate Dr. Nelson on his appointment, or if you would like to share a great idea for a future research project, you can email him at with a copy to You can also follow Dr. Nelson on Twitter @tjnelson01.

Faculty-student collaborative research has been part of the fabric of UW-Eau Claire for decades. Thirty years ago we were named the UW System’s Center of Excellence for Faculty and Undergraduate Student Research Collaboration. In 2017 the Council on Undergraduate Research named UW-Eau Claire the top master’s-level university in the country in providing excellent undergraduate research programs, yet we are not resting on our laurels. Our master collaborative research agreement with Mayo Clinic Health System will create new opportunities for students, faculty and staff. When you add an outstanding leader like Dr. Nelson to the collaborative research team, and you support that team with commitments like the Vicki Lord Larson Collaborative Research Fund, the sky is the limit!

Read more Chancellor's Blog posts.