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

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Dale Hedges, Ph.D., left, and Margaret A. Pericak-Vance, Ph.D.

Dale Hedges, Ph.D., left, and Margaret A. Pericak-Vance, Ph.D.

New Study Supports Importance of Structural Variation in Autism Spectrum Disorders

Research from the John P. Hussman Institute for Human Genomics at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine again supports the importance of structural variation in autism spectrum disorders. Led by Margaret A. Pericak-Vance, Ph.D., associate dean for human genomic programs, Dr. John T. Macdonald Foundation professor of human genomics, and director of the John P. Hussman Institute for Human Genomics; John R. Gilbert, Ph.D., professor of human genetics; and Dale Hedges, Ph.D., assistant professor of human genetics, this unique study using high-resolution arrays to detect changes in DNA structure as small as 1,000 base pairs (the total human genome is estimated to be 3.2 billion base pairs) further strengthens the case that rare structural variants at multiple genes contribute to autism spectrum disorders.

Read more about the findings »

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Mary Bartlett Bunge, Ph.D.

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Mary Bartlett Bunge, Ph.D.

Dr. Mary Bunge Among Faculty Recognized for Service, Teaching and Scholarship

Mary Bartlett Bunge, Ph.D., the Christine E. Lynn Distinguished Professor of Neuroscience and professor of cell biology, neurological surgery, and neurology, and an internationally recognized authority in central nervous system regeneration, was honored with the Distinguished Faculty Scholar Award on April 5. The award, established by the Faculty Senate in 1987, recognizes either a single outstanding achievement or sustained contributions to an area of research or creative activity throughout an individual’s career.

W. Dalton Dietrich, Ph.D., professor of neurological surgery and scientific director of The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis, accepted the award for Bunge, who was not able to attend the ceremony because she is currently on a cruise along the west coast of Africa as part of a long-planned trip. On Bunge’s behalf, Dietrich presented “Spinal Cord Injury: Will Schwann Cells Fix It?” at the ceremony, which also honored Stephen Sapp, Ph.D., with the James W. McLamore Outstanding Service Award, and David L. Wilson, Ph.D., professor of biology, and John Paul Russo, Ph.D., professor of English and classics, with the Outstanding Teaching Award.

Read more about the Faculty Senate awards »

R. Rodney Howell, M.D.

R. Rodney Howell, M.D.

Dr. R. Rodney Howell’s Lifetime Achievements Honored by the American College of Medical Genetics

The Miller School’s R. Rodney Howell, M.D., professor and chairman emeritus of pediatrics who was instrumental in establishing and expanding newborn screening programs across the nation, is the recipient of the 2012 American College of Medical Genetics (ACMG) Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award.

Howell, who is president of the ACMG’s foundation and served as ACMG president from 1999-2000, was honored for his lifelong commitment and work in the field of pediatrics and genetic research and for his leadership role in developing and advancing newborn screening.

Read more about Dr. Howell »

Jochen Reiser, M.D., Ph.D., right, receives the 2012 Provost's Award for Scholarly Activity from Provost Thomas J. LeBlanc.

Jochen Reiser, M.D., Ph.D., right, receives the 2012 Provost's Award for Scholarly Activity from Provost Thomas J. LeBlanc.

Physician-Researcher Jochen Reiser, M.D., Ph.D., Recognized for Scholarly Activity

Jochen Reiser, M.D., Ph.D., the Peggy and Harold Katz Professor and vice chair for research in the Department of Medicine, chief of the Division of Nephrology and Hypertension and a pioneering physician-scientist whose translational research is redefining our understanding of chronic kidney diseases, is the recipient of the 2012 Provost’s Award for Scholarly Activity.

Reiser, who is also director of the Peggy and Harold Katz Family Miami Drug Discovery Institute, is a leader in the field of proteinuric kidney disease, studying cells called podocytes, which are critical elements of the kidney filter.

“His scientific breadth, spirit and work are changing how we practice medicine,” said Pascal J. Goldschmidt, M.D., Senior Vice President for Medical Affairs and Dean of the Miller School, in his nomination letter.

Read more about the awards »

Roberto C. Heros, M.D.

Roberto C. Heros, M.D.

Neurological Surgery Association Profiles Dr. Roberto C. Heros

The American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS) is holding its 80th Annual Scientific Meeting in Miami April 14-18, and, as a prelude, published a ‘Profile in Courage’ on the Miller School’s own Roberto C. Heros, M.D., professor and co-chair of neurological surgery and residency program director, who exemplifies the convention’s “We Are Neurosurgery” theme.

As the association notes, the life story of Heros, who fled Castro’s Cuba as a teenager, “reads more like a Hollywood movie script than the story of a neurosurgeon committed to excellence in technical surgery, patient care, resident education and research. But it is that unique and unusual path that has helped shape what truly is a profile in courage.”

Read more about Dr. Heros »

Second-year student Chad Parvus explains his poster about the Clinical Nutrition and Functional Medicine Education Program.

Second-year student Chad Parvus explains his poster about the Clinical Nutrition and Functional Medicine Education Program.

Miller School Students and Faculty Present at GSA Conference

The Miller School’s Office of Medical Education showcased the innovations and talents of both its faculty and students at the 2012 Association of American Medical Colleges Central and Southern Group on Student Affairs Joint Spring Conference, held March 29-April 1 in Clearwater, Florida.

The Miller School student delegation, which included officers from the campus branch of the AAMC Organization of Student Representatives and other student leaders, impressed student affairs deans and staff from other medical schools across the region with their innovative programs and ideas, as well as their poster and oral presentations. Miller School Organization of Student Representatives delegates included Rosanne Henry from the class of 2012, Rimsky Denis and Stefania Prendes-Alvarez from the Class of 2013, and Marissa Orenstein and Jametria Howard-Jones from the Class of 2014.

Read more about the annual conference »

The new UHealth Physical Therapy Clinic is open for business on the Promenade Level of Marlins Park.

The new UHealth Physical Therapy Clinic is open for business on the Promenade Level of Marlins Park.

UHealth Unveils PT Clinic and Partnership at Miami Marlins’ Opening Day

As thousands of fans arrived April 4 for the Opening Day game between the Miami Marlins and the St. Louis Cardinals, the new Marlins Park wasn’t the only thing creating a buzz. The Opening Day festivities also marked the beginning of a new partnership for UHealth-University of Miami Health System, the official and exclusive sports medicine provider for Miami’s rechristened baseball team

Entering the park, one can’t help but notice UHealth’s presence on digital signage, over the Marlins Radio Network and on a 450-gallon saltwater aquarium positioned right behind home plate.

At the heart of the Promenade Level is the new UHealth Physical Therapy Clinic, which, when the Marlins aren’t playing, is open to patients by appointment. The clinic is also home to the AlterG Anti-Gravity Treadmill that provides a system of unweighted excercise where movement can become pain-free, even for those who are recovering from surgery or injury.

During Marlins’ home games, UHealth faculty and staff will provide free health information and screenings to Marlins fans.

To make an appointment for physical therapy or for more information about the new clinic, please call 305-243-4000.

Miller School/UHealth Joins Forces with Life Alliance to Support Workplace Partnership

April is National Donate Life Month. In honor of all those who have given the gift of life, the Miller School/UHealth — University of Miami Health System is joining the national Workplace Partnership for Life campaign, coordinated by the Department of Surgery’s Life Alliance Organ Recovery Agency.

UHealth is excited to participate in this life-saving campaign, and as part of the initiative, has committed to help increase the Donate Life Florida registry by 1,000 registrants.

Help us meet our goal by joining us for “Donate Life Day” on Friday, April 20, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the Schoninger Research Quadrangle, where you can register as an organ and tissue donor.

Read more about becoming an organ and tissue donor »