e-Update: News for University of Miami Miller School of Medicine Faculty and Staff

Up Front

Led by Haitian surgeons Marlon Bitar, M.D., in white scrubs and mask, and his twin Jerry Bitar, M.D., across from his brother, a surgical team operates on a patient at Hospital Bernard Mevs Project Medishare.

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Led by Haitian surgeons Marlon Bitar, M.D., in white scrubs and mask, and his twin Jerry Bitar, M.D., across from his brother, a surgical team operates on a patient at Hospital Bernard Mevs Project Medishare.

Two Years Later, UM’s Hospital in Haiti Nurtures a Small But Mighty Seed

Medical volunteers from the U.S. still fly in weekly, but Haiti’s only trauma, critical care and rehabilitation hospital is staffed by Haitian doctors and nurses. A new education center to train hundreds of health professionals is under construction. The pathology lab boasts state-of-the art instruments. Out-patient clinics for wound care, prosthetics, physical therapy and other unique services see 150 patients a day. And the nation’s first professional EMTs are responding to rescue calls.

Two years after Haiti’s catastrophic January 12, 2010, earthquake killed or maimed hundreds of thousands of people, there are growing signs that Barth Green, M.D., the professor and chair of neurosurgery and co-founder of Project Medishare who initiated the University’s unprecedented medical emergency response, is inching toward his long-held vision of creating a self-sufficient critical care and trauma network in the impoverished nation that didn’t even have an ambulance service before the disaster.

Read more and view a gallery about the Miller School's continued relief efforts in Haiti »

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Richard L. Rotundo, Ph.D.

Richard L. Rotundo, Ph.D.

NIH Renews Grant for Study of Neurodegenerative Diseases

Crucial Miller School research on the mechanisms of protein folding and stabilization, important factors in understanding the underlying causes of diseases such as cystic fibrosis, amyloidoses and some forms of autism, was given another funding green light by the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute of Neurological Diseases and Stroke.

The grant for the research, which is part of the decades-long scientific undertaking by Richard L. Rotundo, Ph.D., professor of cell biology, physiology and biophysics and neuroscience, was renewed for $2.75 million over five years. The previous award was for $1.29 million over four years.

Read more about what Dr. Rotundo is doing to combat neurodegenerative diseases »

The GEAR Games Challenge winners and GEAR staff, from left, are Richard Belton, Marvin Katz, Jonathan Weislow, Luis Espinoza, M.D., Amanda Mageean, Walter Lambert, M.D., and Orontes Talavera.

The GEAR Games Challenge winners and GEAR staff, from left, are Richard Belton, Marvin Katz, Jonathan Weislow, Luis Espinoza, M.D., Amanda Mageean, Walter Lambert, M.D., and Orontes Talavera.

GEARed Up Participants Exceed Expectations at GEAR Games Challenge

Ten participants enrolled in GEARFit, an extension of the original Genetics, Exercise and Research (GEAR) program, have been recognized for their exercise achievements in the GEAR Games Challenge.

GEAR has enrolled more than 600 participants in the exercise program designed to identify genetic and lifestyle factors that influence how people respond to physical activity. The study, led by Miller School Dean Pascal J. Goldschmidt, M.D., and co-principal investigator Evadnie Rampersaud, Ph.D., M.S.P.H., follows a strict exercise protocol over a three-month period. Participants receive pre- and post-fitness assessments, blood tests and cholesterol screenings, a month of supervised training and a tailor-made exercise program.

Read more about the Gear Games Challenge »

Top row, from left, Ana Campo, M.D., Sander Dubovy, M.D., and Offiong Francis Ikpatt, M.D., Ph.D. Bottom row, from left, Efren Manjarrez, M.D., Evadnie Rampersaud, Ph.D., M.S.P.H., and Donald Weed, M.D.

Top row, from left, Ana Campo, M.D., Sander Dubovy, M.D., and Offiong Francis Ikpatt, M.D., Ph.D. Bottom row, from left, Efren Manjarrez, M.D., Evadnie Rampersaud, Ph.D., M.S.P.H., and Donald Weed, M.D.

Miller School Announces Faculty Citizenship Award Winners

Six faculty members who have given selflessly of their time, talent and energy to help fulfill our goals in clinical care, research, education and community service, have been selected as the 2011 winners of the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine Faculty Citizenship Awards. The awards recognize faculty members who exemplify the highest standard of service and display good citizenship, integrity and positive attitudes that inspire others to contribute to the collective success of the Miller School and UHealth. The awards are given yearly to those who go above and beyond in their service.

The following members were selected from approximately 1,500 faculty members in 26 departments as role models who embody the highest standards among their peers: Ana Campo, M.D.; Sander Dubovy, M.D.; Offiong Francis Ikpatt, M.D., Ph.D.; Efren Manjarrez, M.D.; Evadnie Rampersaud, Ph.D., M.S.P.H.; and Donald Weed, M.D.

Read more about the winners »

Nathalie McKenzie, M.D., left, and Fiona Simpkins, M.D.

Nathalie McKenzie, M.D., left, and Fiona Simpkins, M.D.

OBGYN Leads Clinical Trial for Cervical Cancer

Nathalie McKenzie, M.D., gynecologic oncology fellow, and Fiona Simpkins, M.D., assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology and leader of Phase I Clinical Trials for Gynecologic Cancers at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, are leading a Phase I Clinical Trial for the drug Nelfinavir, for women currently being treated for locally advanced cervical cancer.

An FDA-approved drug used to treat patients with HIV, Nelfinavir has more than a decade of safety data. Now there is compelling evidence that Nelfinavir affects cervical cancer cells and makes radiation therapy more effective (it is a radiosensitizer). This suggests that the drug may be helpful to cervical cancer patients who do not have HIV.

Read more about the clinical trials »

Coffee Beanery staff member Barry Prophete serves customer Shawn Noy, a technical sales consultant.

Coffee Beanery staff member Barry Prophete serves customer Shawn Noy, a technical sales consultant.

Coffee Beanery Supports UM’s Minority Health Professions Program

On Fridays the staff of the Coffee Beanery, one of the newest additions to the food and beverage outposts on the Miller School campus, don their khakis and aprons, but instead of the usual black polos, they opt for white T-shirts emblazoned with the ubiquitous “U” and information about the Miami Model for Health Professions Education.

As customers come in for sandwiches, pastries and a wide assortment of specialty coffees and other beverages, the workers tell them about the health professions program and encourage them to donate to the initiative that seeks to prepare high school and college students from disadvantaged backgrounds to successfully pursue a broad array of health care professions, including that of physician.

Read more about the Miami Model for Health Professions Education program »

Miller School Offers New Master’s Degree in Clinical and Translational Investigation

The Miller School is now offering a master’s degree in clinical and translational investigation. The new discipline of translational science is rapidly emerging as a pivotal structure to expedite the translation of important discoveries that improve health care. Although the scientific community has made significant strides in pursuing widespread adoption of translational practices, the progress is not enough. Science produced at the basic level still is not reflected adequately in clinical practices.

Read more about the new degree program »

Funding and Research

View more Funding and Research Announcements »