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

Up Front

Stephan Züchner, M.D.

Stephan Züchner, M.D.

Miller School Researchers Identify a Genetic Variant Linked to Rare Form of Paraplegia

University of Miami researchers have identified a genetic variant linked to a rare form of paraplegia in a paper published online January 10 in The Journal of Clinical Investigation. The article, titled “Mutations in the ER-shaping protein reticulon 2 cause the axon-degenerative disorder hereditary spastic paraplegia type 2,” also received recognition through a special editorial in the journal. It will be published in the print edition of the journal February 1.

Stephan Züchner, M.D., associate professor of human genetics and neurology and director of the Center for Human Molecular Genetics at the John P. Hussman Institute for Human Genomics, is a co-senior author on the paper. Participating collaborators include scientists from the U.S., Italy, the United Kingdom, Germany, and Japan.

Read more about the research »

More News

Keyvan Nouri, M.D., accepts the Louis C. Skinner, Jr., M.D., Endowed Chair in Dermatology, surrounded by, from left, Dean Pascal J. Goldschmidt, M.D., Lawrence Schachner, M.D., and his parents  Zohreh Khajavinoori and Dr. Ali Nouri.

Keyvan Nouri, M.D., accepts the Louis C. Skinner, Jr., M.D., Endowed Chair in Dermatology, surrounded by, from left, Dean Pascal J. Goldschmidt, M.D., Lawrence Schachner, M.D., and his parents Zohreh Khajavinoori and Dr. Ali Nouri.

Keyvan Nouri, M.D., Named Louis C. Skinner, Jr., M.D., Endowed Chair in Dermatology

With the support of his family, colleagues, students, and Miller School leadership, Keyvan Nouri, M.D., the Richard Helfman Professor of Dermatologic Surgery, director of Mohs Micrographic Surgery, Dermatology, and Laser Surgery, and chief of Dermatology Services, Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, accepted the first Louis C. Skinner, Jr., M.D., Endowed Chair in Dermatology at a January 18 ceremony on the Miller School campus.

“Dr. Nouri is an exemplary physician and researcher and a shining example of the caliber of talent that endowments such as this one support,” said Miller School Dean Pascal J. Goldschmidt, M.D., who is also Senior Vice President for Medical Affairs and CEO of UHealth-University of Miami Health System. “I am honored to call him a colleague, and I am so proud to have him as a member of the UHealth family.”

Read more about Dr. Nouri »

Construction continues in the courtyard of Sylvester/UMHC, where the Cornfeld Neuroimaging Research Program, left, and Alex’s Place at Sylvester are being built.

Construction continues in the courtyard of Sylvester/UMHC, where the Cornfeld Neuroimaging Research Program, left, and Alex’s Place at Sylvester are being built.

Miller School Donors Help Build Enhanced Services for Sylvester/UMHC Patients

This spring the Miller School of Medicine will welcome two exciting expansions to Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center/University of Miami Hospital and Clinics (UMHC). While the two projects, one supporting pediatric oncology and the other neurology, are as different as the donors who made them possible, they both strengthen the Miller School’s commitment to investing in leading-edge facilities and equipment that enhance our position as a premier academic medical center.

Thanks to a $2 million gift from businessman, philanthropist, and UM alumnus Alexander “Alex” Daly, UHealth-University of Miami Health System’s youngest cancer patients soon will receive outpatient care in a brand new, state-of-the-art facility that caters to the unique needs of children. Alex’s Place—a 3,200-plus-square-foot pediatric hematology-oncology clinic—is set to open at Sylvester this spring.

Read more about the expansions taking place at Sylvester/UMHC »

William O’Neill, M.D., far left, reads a scan to guide him through the catheterization.

View Photo Gallery »

William O’Neill, M.D., far left, reads a scan to guide him through the catheterization.

Heart Recovery Center Launched at Miller School of Medicine

The Miller School of Medicine has launched the first-in-the-nation Heart Recovery Center, further underscoring its expertise in treating cardiovascular disease. This new focus on recovering heart muscle was on display last week as the Miller School hosted a regional hemodynamics course, complete with a live case presentation to more than 100 of the country’s leading interventional cardiologists.

Alan Heldman, M.D., interventional cardiologist and professor of medicine in the Cardiovascular Division, has been appointed director of the Heart Recovery Center at University of Miami Hospital, the first in the United States. Centers are being established by device maker Abiomed to enable research, treatment and clinical education around the practice of heart recovery in several different areas, including interventional cardiology, cardiac surgery, electrophysiology, heart failure, cardiac rehabilitation and stem cell therapy.

Read more about the live demonstration »

Hansel E. Tookes

Hansel E. Tookes

Miller Study Finds High Rate of Used Syringes on Miami Streets

Comparative research led by a Miller School student found that in Miami, a city without needle and syringe programs — initiatives that allow injection drug users to dispose of contaminated syringes and receive sterile ones — residents are eight times as likely to encounter improperly disposed needles in public as are residents of San Francisco.

In comparing the two cities, Hansel E. Tookes, a second-year medical student, replicated the methods of a previous study done in San Francisco in 2008. For the 2009 Miami study, Tookes and fellow students and staff members conducted visual inspections in the top quartile of Miami neighborhoods with the highest concentration of drug use, as designated by city data.

The researchers walked the streets of each city looking for syringes and found that there were close to 400 dirty syringes in Miami, more than eight times as many as on the streets of San Francisco, the city with needle and syringe programs.

Read more about this study »

Judith Horvath, M.A., director of The Barton G. Kids Hear Now Cochlear Implant Family Resource Center at the UM Ear Institute, left, with 18-month-old Edmund Polinski and his mother Janet de las Cuevas.

Judith Horvath, M.A., director of The Barton G. Kids Hear Now Cochlear Implant Family Resource Center at the UM Ear Institute, left, with 18-month-old Edmund Polinski and his mother Janet de las Cuevas.

New Episode of Breakthrough Medicine Airs This Weekend

In the newest episode of Breakthrough Medicine, “Hearing is Believing: Treating a Child’s Deafness,” you’ll witness a modern-day miracle as physicians attempt to give a young deaf boy the ability to hear. Watch as they prepare the 18-month–old and his family for the life-changing experience and observe as they perform a cochlear implant procedure to open the child’s world to sound.

The episode will premiere on WPLG-TV (Local Channel 10) this Saturday, January 28, at 7 p.m. and will rebroadcast at 2 p.m. on Sunday, January 29.

For more information or to watch previews, visit the Breakthrough Medicine website. Please share this with your family and friends, and be sure to watch the exciting new episode.

Claes Wahlestedt, M.D., Ph.D.

Claes Wahlestedt, M.D., Ph.D.

Dr. Claes Wahlestedt to Lead Discussions on Drug Discovery at Collaborative Research Exchange Forum

The Miller Office of Research will host the seventh Collaborative Research Exchange Forum (CREF) on drug discovery from 1:30 to 6 p.m. on Friday, February 17, at the Lois Pope LIFE Center, seventh-floor auditorium. Following the third annual Shared Resources Fair, the drug discovery forum will be led by Claes Wahlestedt, M.D., Ph.D., professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences and associate dean for therapeutic innovation, and organized by Norma Sue Kenyon, Ph.D., senior associate dean for translational science, and Andrew Vinard, manager of biotechnology resources.

The forum will feature presentations and panel discussions with Miller School researchers, including: Stephan Schürer, Ph.D., research assistant professor of molecular and cellular pharmacology, who will discuss chemoinformatics and drug discovery; Anthony Capobianco, Ph.D., professor of surgery and director of the Molecular Oncology Research Program in the Division of Surgical Oncology, who will discuss molecular oncology and drug discovery; and Glen Barber, Ph.D., chair of cell biology and anatomy, professor of medicine, and associate director of basic research at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, who will discuss cell biology and drug discovery.

Read more about the CREF and this year's Shared Resources Fair »

Medical Psychiatric Unit at UMH Brings Specialized Care to Patients

The Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and the Department of Medicine have integrated services, opening the Medical Psychiatric Unit at University of Miami Hospital — the only medical psychiatry unit in South Florida.

The 10-bed specialty unit offers highly specialized inpatient care for patients with acute dual medical and psychiatric diagnoses and is dedicated to treating patients who cannot be admitted to a general psychiatric unit because of complex medical needs, such as telemetry, intravenous fluids, or oxygen supplementation, and likewise cannot receive optimal care on a standard medicine unit because of psychiatric symptoms, such as suicide risk, psychosis, cognitive dysfunction or delirium.
Located on the 6 North floor at UMH, the unit is staffed by an interdisciplinary team of experts, including Joel Danisi, M.D., associate professor of medicine (pending rank), and Clara L. Alvarez Villalba, M.D., assistant professor of clinical psychiatry and behavioral sciences in the Division of Consultation-Liaison Psychiatry.

Read more about the Medical Psychiatric Unit at University of Miami Hospital »

Funding and Research

View more Funding and Research Announcements »