About the Expedition
Dr. Paul Magelli wanted to become one of the oldest people to summit Mount Kilimanjaro. He had a very personal interest in heart health and in advancing medical knowledge related to cardiac disease and aging.
He teamed up with Dr. Bruce Johnson and the Extreme Physiology Program at Mayo Clinic to create an ongoing study of human adaptation to oxygen deprivation (hypoxia), lung fluid regulation, and cardiac changes at altitude. Conrad Anker, the captain of The North Face athlete team, helped lead the first expedition in August 2016. Thirty climbers reached the summit.
At his final check-up prior to the August 2016 expedition, Paul’s doctors at Mayo diagnosed a heart condition that required surgery. After a successful surgery, an adverse drug reaction damaged Paul’s lungs. He passed away on December 4th, 2016.
Dr. Johnson will be publishing his research. He and major medical research firms and The North Face are committed to continuing the study. Paul wanted everyone who contributed to his vision to know that their contributions resulted in the world’s first complete research laboratory at 15,000 feet on Mt. Kilimanjaro. He felt deeply indebted and grateful for all the personal and financial support that helped him and the climb team make such a significant contribution to medical research.
Dr. Paul Magelli
Senior Director, Illinois Business Consulting, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Dr. Magelli has many degrees and accomplishments. But it truly is his heart that makes him such an inspiration to so many.
“Dr Magelli has written and lectured on how modern leadership depends for success on the ability to build bonds of common purpose between different cultures. This is not just about acting upon a strong social conscience, though that is an integral part of his own style of leadership. It is also based on the premise that the problems facing a global community are interconnected in many different ways. For Dr. Magelli, therefore, a university’s pursuit of excellence in teaching and research cannot be separated from the levels of poverty and deprivation in the community in which it exists, or from the success of business and entrepreneurialism in that community.”
University of Bristol Public and Ceremonial Events Office
The above is just a small excerpt–the entire letter is well worth the read for more on Paul’s life.
Paul feels better at the age of 84 than he did when he was 47. He attributes this to dietary discipline, daily exercise, daily meditation, and exemplary care by physicians at Mayo Clinic. He credits his wife, Karolyn and his physician, Dr. Alfredo Clavell, for helping him maintain his health and his healthy lifestyle.
Dr. Bruce Johnson
Professor of Medicine and Physiology at the Mayo Clinic
Dr. Bruce Johnson’s research interests center around heart and lung interactions under various conditions (e.g., hypoxia, high altitude, exercise) and in various populations (e.g., heart failure, health, lung disease, aging). More specifically, he is interested in how cardiovascular function influences breathing and how breathing may in turn influence cardiovascular function.
In 2012, he led the science team from Mayo Clinic on their Everest expedition. The team spent six weeks at base camp, elevation 17,500 feet. By studying the climbers, six of whom reached the summit, the researchers gained insight into heart failure, lung disease and sleep apnea—all conditions related to a low-oxygen, or hypoxic, state. A better understanding of such changes could eventually lead to drugs that could artificially induce acclimatization and help with heart and lung diseases that limit oxygen levels in the body.
He has a B.A. in biology from Pacific Lutheran University, an M.S. in exercise/cardiopulmonary physiology from St. Cloud State University, and a Ph.D. in respiratory physiology and biodynamics from the University of Wisconsin, Madison.
Conrad Anker is a climber’s climber, at home on a faraway alpine wall or the sparkling ice of his home canyon, Hyalite, located in the Gallatin Range of southwestern Montana. Over decades in the mountains, he has come to value the rarified air of Antarctica, the Himalaya and Montana equally; inspired by the value of immersion in other ecosystems and cultures, he’s become more fully enmeshed in both the physical and communal landscape of his hometown of Bozeman. Conrad came to climbing by way of his family, learning a deep appreciation for the outdoors from his California childhood, an appreciation and respect that has deepened as climbing took him around the world.
That journey has taken him from the northern realms of Alaska and Baffin Island to the farthest southern reaches of Patagonia and Antarctica. In May 2012, Conrad summited Everest for the third time, leading an educational and research-based expedition to the Southeast Ridge with The North Face, National Geographic, The Mayo Clinic and Montana State University. That summit came without supplemental oxygen, a distinction claimed only by the world’s top climbers.