Award Honorees

Dr. Brett Cornell

Dr. Brett Cornell ‘07 set a department record at Drexel University by earning his PhD in 3.5 years. He currently works at Inari Medical in California, where he develops devices that may help prevent venous disease, deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolisms.

After graduating from Minnetonka High School, Dr. Cornell went to Gustavus Adolphus College, initially planning to major in Economics. Towards the end of his sophomore year, however, he discovered his love for biology, ultimately earning his degree in it. Dr. Cornell then worked as an assistant laboratory technician at Metropolitan Council Environment Services, before moving on to a position at DaVita Clinical Research. It was there where he got his first taste of research, and was inspired to continue growing. Dr. Cornell next went to Drexel University’s College of Medicine, where he earned his PhD and began teaching.

Next, Dr. Cornell went to work for Boston Scientific as a clinical writer. He specialized in clinical trials and research, interpreting the data into a readable format that could then be published. After working there for four years, he moved to California to work for Inari Medical. His position there is similar to his position at Boston Medical, but in a smaller and rapidly growing setting.

The current focus of his work is currently not neuroscience based, but focused around venous disease, deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolisms. This research centers on developing devices to help prevent pulmonary embolisms, the current leading cause of preventable hospital death.

“I always thought that being the scientist and changing the world and being in the position to save a patient's life was what was going to be the biggest impact,” said Dr. Cornell, “but something that I have come to realize is that you don't have to limit yourself to one of those roles in order to make a difference. I am so fortunate that I can see the effect that my work has.”

To the current students at Minnetonka, Dr. Cornell would like to share a quote from William Shakespeare that he memorized in his high school English class. "This above all: to thine own self be true, And it must follow, as the night the day, Thou canst not then be false to any man." He added that, “You get in what you put out, take advantage of experiences and opportunities, and you will get more out of it. Minnetonka has a lot of chances to jump in if you put in the effort.”


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