Mayo Foundation Sigma Xi Community

About the Mayo Chapter of Sigma XI

Sigma Xi Mayo Foundation Chapter 
10 Plummer Building
200 First Street SW
Rochester, MN 55905

What is Sigma Xi?
Sigma Xi is the premiere international honor society of scientific research. One of the first and most widely recognized scientific societies; its mission is to foster a creative and symbiotic relationship between science, technology and society. In addition, Sigma Xi encourages appreciation and support of original investigation in science and technology, by participating in programs and activities whose primary focus is research for the purpose of education.

Sigma Xi, with a membership in excess of 60,000 scientists and engineers, has more than 500 chapters throughout the world. Chapters can be found within colleges and universities, government laboratories as well as industry research centers. Since its creation in 1886 on the campus of Cornell University, more than 180 Sigma Xi members have received the Nobel Prize in the areas of science, economics and the prestigious peace award.

Mayo Foundation Chapter
Sigma Xi maintains its strength by working at the grass roots level. The Mayo Foundation Chapter of Sigma Xi was chartered in 1919 and currently has an active membership of about 250 people. These individuals have varied scientific backgrounds including, but not limited to: physicians, clinicians, clinician-scientists and researchers.

By coordinating public lectures by renowned scientists, awarding prizes and grants to individuals who show exceptional science merit, and participating in the regional science fair, the Mayo Foundation Chapter of Sigma Xi works to educate and inspire the local and regional community to appreciate scientific research, both pure and applied.

Public Lectures
The Mayo Foundation Chapter of Sigma Xi coordinates lectures by some of the world's foremost authorities in science and technology. This gives the community a chance to learn about the latest scientific advancements.

Lecture subjects can range from anthropology to zoology, mathematics to chemistry or medicine to space exploration. Some recent topics have included: The Cow that Stole Christmas (BSE in America); Global Climate Change: A view from the ice; Using a multilevel approach to study sexually selected traits; Earthquake research; Limits of Human Endurance: Lessons from the Human Genome Project, and History of Native Americans in Minnesota. Lectures are free of charge and open to the public. Times and dates can be found by selecting the "Events" link on this page in the upper left side.

Prizes and Awards
Annually, the Mayo Foundation Chapter honors a local science teacher for his or her outstanding work in the field of science education. Teachers are nominated by peers within their own science department and are chosen based on their ability to generate an excitement for science in the minds of their students. Public schools and local colleges are invited to participate.

In 1997, the Mayo Foundation Chapter of Sigma Xi initiated a grant-in-aid program to encourage students in middle school and high school to participate in science programs at their school. The program began providing initial funds or "seed money" for such things as travel awards for students to attend national science competitions.

Since that time, grants have been awarded for other science related projects such as the beehive exhibit for the Quarry Hill Research Program, Aquarium for marine biology, and development of a radio telescope at Mayo High School.

Applications for the grants are taken on an ongoing basis and are competitive. For information regarding the application process, phone the Mayo Foundation Chapter secretary at 507-284-2161 or see the Sigma Xi web site at

Regional Science Fair
Every year students from Rochester and surrounding communities participate in a regional science fair. The winners at the regional level then go on to compete against other regional science fair winners in a statewide competition.

The members of the Mayo Foundation Chapter of Sigma Xi participate in the regional science fair on several levels. Using their experiences in the fields of science and technology, Sigma Xi members volunteer their services to be judges of the competition.

The chapter provides several sources of funding for the science fair. There is an unrestricted educational grant that is provided to the science fair coordinators to assist with the costs of staging the event. These awards are given to those students who need assistance deferring their individual costs. Finally, there are awards, funded by the Mayo Foundation Chapter of Sigma Xi, which are bestowed upon those students who have shown excellence in the writing of their accompanying research papers. Awards are selected on the basis of originality, composition/presentation and their development of a central theme or hypothesis.

Sigma Xi Mayo Foundation Chapter 

Executive Committee 2019-2020
Michelle Clarke, MD, President, (2019-2020) 
Grant Hamilton, MD, President Elect, (2020)
Yvette Martin McGrew, MD, Secretary/Treasurer, (2022)
Steve Evans, Administrator
Mike Fallenstein, IT/Social Media Relations

Electoral Committee 

John O’Horo, MD, PhD, (2020)
Kalyan Pasupathy, PhD, (2022)
Michael Yaszemski, MD, PhD, (2020) Program Director
Tuhin K. Roy, MD, PhD, (2020)
Ashok Patel, MD, Liaison
Vikas Verma, PhD, (2022)
Jonathan Tomshine, PhD, (2022)
Sydney C. Larkin, Medical student, (2022)

Sigma Xi International Office

3106 East NC Highway 54
P.O. Box 13975
Research Triangle Park, NC 27709

Upcoming Events

  • It Takes Two to Tango: Cancer Epidemiology, Molecular Biology and Public Policy

    Oct 15, 7:30 PM - 8:30 PM (CT)

    Speaker Sam Zakhari, PhD, is senior vice president for science for DISCUS. He has more than 40 years of research experience in the fields of pharmacology, toxicology, biochemistry, pharmaceutical chemistry, physiology, genetics, and molecular biology.  His areas of interest are the effects of moderate alcohol consumption on the cardiovascular system and the liver, and he has extensive expertise in biological factors in cancer development.

    Cancer Epidemiology and Molecular Biology.

    Knowledge of cancer causation is important epidemiologically for creating cancer-prevention strategies to reduce exposure to risk factors.  However, in the field of observational cancer epidemiology, many studies have had methodologic problems, such as measurement error and confounding factors.  In alcohol research measurement errors arise from self-reporting of alcohol consumption, which leads to underestimates.  Confounding factors can distort exposure-outcome associations and yield misleading results.

    In classical epidemiology, when patients have the same diagnosis, the disease is assumed to have similar causes and progression despite variations in molecular pathology.  However, because each tumor has unique characteristics, such as molecular makeup, microenvironment, and communications within and between cancer and host cells, knowledge from genomic medicine and biomedical sciences must be incorporated.  The evolving fields of molecular pathologic epidemiology and genome-wide causation studies integrate information about exposure, patient characteristics such as immunity, and the consequent dysfunction of physiologic events that lead to cancer.  As large-scale molecular information becomes available, causal inferences can be based on knowledge rather than on only observational epidemiologic studies, which generally cannot be used to establish causality.  Indeed, the determination of causality requires both epidemiologic studies and molecular biology, as illustrated in alcohol and breast cancer research.

    Speaker David Ozgo has been a senior vice president and chief economist at the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States (DISCUS) for the past 18 years.  He analyzes market trends, and he is responsible for tax and regulatory impact analysis.  He frequently testifies before legislative bodies on tax, regulatory, and market access issues.

    Science and Policy

    Many who make public policy decisions believe that a causal link has been identified between alcohol

    consumption and breast cancer, and public health practitioners give policy advice based on such a link to legislators and regulators.  A major problem in the field of alcohol policy, however, is that the research used to make policies is often of dubious worth because much of it is based on self-reported consumption surveys, which are known to be inaccurate.  In addition, poor policy advice does little to reduce abusive drinking and detracts from treatments that do work.

    Geffen Auditorium, Gonda Building, Mayo Clinic
    200 1st Street SW
    Rochester, MN 55902 
    Rochester, MN, United States

  • Developing Combinatorial Treatment Options for Spinal Muscular Atrophy

    Nov 19, 7:30 PM - 8:30 PM (CT)
    Rochester, MN, United States

  • TBD

    Jan 21, 7:30 PM - 8:30 PM (CT)
    Rochester, MN, United States