Lego enthusiast Paul Janssen, PhD, professor of Physiology and Cell Biology, has channeled his passion for the toy building bricks into a fundraising campaign for The Ohio State University Heart and Vascular Center.

As a proud Buckeye fan, Paul created a miniature replica of the university’s beloved icon – Ohio Stadium. This replica has earned him much acclaim for its scale (measuring 8 feet by 6 feet, with more than 1 million Lego pieces) and intricate details. His Lego stadium was even included in a Lego exhibition at the Columbus Museum of Art.


Facing stagnant funding from the National Institutes of Health, Paul thought of an idea to combine his love of Legos with his passion for heart research.

Paul decided to sell “seats” in his Lego stadium for a $20 donation to his research. With the capacity for up to 12,000 miniature Lego people in the stands and on the field, Paul is hoping raise nearly $250,000 by filling the stadium.

Paul’s laboratory amasses the hearts of patients who have received a new heart by transplant, which would otherwise be discarded. In doing so, Paul is able to conduct research on live heart tissue, and to share tissue from these hearts to 14 other research laboratories at The Ohio State University. This unique system allows researchers to conduct medical experiments on “living” hearts without impacting an actual human life. This provides for more promising and expeditious treatment options for heart patients at Ohio State Ross Heart Hospital.

Research team 2_1

Funds raised from the Lego stadium campaign will help expand the resources needed to keep his lab in operation – from supporting technician salaries to providing professional development opportunities to upgrading equipment.

Founded in 2009, Paul’s laboratory and research is the only program of its kind in the country. Paul receives approximately 30 hearts a year. Studies on these hearts lead to medical breakthroughs in the areas of Duchenne muscular dystrophy, arrhythmia, cardiovascular disease and heart failure.

Through the funding received through the Lego stadium campaign, Paul’s goal is to make his heart laboratory a national resource for other medical and research institutions, which will allow more patients with heart problems to reap the benefits of the research being conducted at Ohio State.

Learn more about raising money for Ohio State Wexner Medical Center. 

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The Office of Wexner Medical Center Development
P.O. Box 183112
660 Ackerman Road
Columbus, OH 43218-3112