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

Up Front

From left, Stephan Schürer, Ph.D., Vance Lemmon, Ph.D., Ubbo Visser, Ph.D., and John L. Bixby, Ph.D.

From left, Stephan Schürer, Ph.D., Vance Lemmon, Ph.D., Ubbo Visser, Ph.D., and John L. Bixby, Ph.D.

Miller School Researchers to Create World Database for Nervous System Repair

With the ultimate goal of accelerating the discovery of drugs to regenerate or protect nerves after spinal cord injury, Miller School researchers have received a $2.5 million grant to develop a novel database to enable neuroscientists to search the voluminous and growing number of studies related to nervous system repair, and link relevant data from those studies to other resources.

“Right now there is no simple way, short of spending years reading papers, to find genes that have been linked to nerve regeneration, which is the goal of spinal cord and nervous system research,” said the NIH grant’s principal investigator, Vance Lemmon, Ph.D., professor of neurological surgery, the Walter G. Ross Distinguished Chair in Developmental Neuroscience and member of The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis research faculty.

Read more about the database »

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David Watkins, Ph.D.

David Watkins, Ph.D.

Dr. David Watkins Awarded $10 Million Grant to Develop HIV Vaccine

David Watkins, Ph.D., professor and vice chair of research in the Department of Pathology, has been awarded a $9.9 million grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases to develop an HIV vaccine.

With approximately 30 million people living with HIV, an effective vaccine against the virus is among the world’s top public health priorities, and Watkins already has played a key role in uncovering how some rare HIV-infected humans control replication of HIV, a finding which could lead to novel vaccine strategies.

Read more about the grant »

Xue Zhong Liu, M.D., Ph.D.

Xue Zhong Liu, M.D., Ph.D.

Researcher Wins New Grant to Explore Molecular Mechanisms of Genetic Hearing Loss

Five months after receiving a five-year, $3 million grant renewal from the National Institutes of Health to continue his decades-long search for genetic causes for human hearing loss, the Miller School’s Xue Zhong Liu, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor and Director of Research at the Department of Otolaryngology, has received a five-year, $1.8 million grant to initiate function and therapeutic studies on the genes his lab identifies.

“We’re excited that the NIH has validated the importance of our approach after we identify novel genes for deafness,” Liu said, noting that hearing loss is the most common sensory disorder, affecting more than 28 million Americans. “The identification of new genes for hearing loss marks only the beginning of our understanding of the molecular pathology of hereditary deafness.”

Read more about the grant »

Antonia P. “Toni” Eyssallenne, M.D., Ph.D.

Antonia P. “Toni” Eyssallenne, M.D., Ph.D.

Physician Working in Haiti Publishes Moving Commentary in New England Journal of Medicine

In a powerful commentary published recently in The New England Journal of Medicine, Antonia P. “Toni” Eyssallenne, M.D., Ph.D., medical director of the UM-affiliated Hospital Bernard Mevs Project Medishare in Haiti, discusses the necessity, and rewards, of making end-of-life decisions in one of the few ICUs in the Western Hemisphere’s poorest nation.

In her article, “How Far Do You Go? Intensive Care in a Resource-Poor Setting,” Eyssallenne, assistant professor of clinical medicine, chronicles how she helped the family of a12-year-old patient diagnosed with a large stage IV pontine glioma tumor bring her back to her remote village to die.

Read more about the commentary »

Lee Kaplan, M.D.

Lee Kaplan, M.D.

UHealth’s Lee Kaplan, M.D., Named Medical Director and Head Team Physician for UM Athletics

Lee Kaplan, M.D., associate professor of orthopaedics and chief of UHealth Sports Medicine in the Miller School’s Department of Orthopaedics, has been named Medical Director and Head Team Physician for UM Athletics.

A renowned specialist in sports medicine and arthroscopic surgery, Kaplan has filled those roles since joining the University in 2008, when he helped launch UHealth Sports Medicine, building it into one of the nation’s finest, academic-based, multidisciplinary programs for both elite athletes and active individuals sidelined by injury or other medical conditions. The appointment, jointly announced by Miller School of Medicine Dean Pascal J. Goldschmidt, M.D., and Shawn Eichorst, Director of Athletics, makes those roles official.

Read more about Dr. Kaplan »

Antoni Barrientos, Ph.D.

Antoni Barrientos, Ph.D.

Role of Mitochondrial Function in Aging Process Discovered

In a discovery that could lead to new ways to extend healthy aging, scientists at the Miller School of Medicine have uncovered a critical mechanism of mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation and its effects on the aging process. The researchers, led by senior author Antoni Barrientos, Ph.D., associate professor of neurology and biochemistry and molecular biology, discovered that cellular respiration controls chronological life span and its extension by caloric restriction in yeast models of aging of non-dividing cells.

The study, “Mitochondrial Respiratory Thresholds Regulate Yeast Chronological Lifespan and its Extension by Caloric Restriction,” is published in the July issue of Cell Metabolism.

Read more about the findings »

Sara J. Czaja, Ph.D.

Sara J. Czaja, Ph.D.

Dr. Sara J. Czaja to Present Collegetown Lecture: “Aging Gracefully”

Sara J. Czaja, Ph.D., Leonard M. Miller Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and scientific director of the Center on Aging, will present a special lecture, “Aging Gracefully,” on Thursday, July 26, as part of the Collegetown initiative to enrich the local community with intellectual discourse and presentations by faculty experts.

The lecture will take place from 6 to 7:30 p.m. on the Coral Gables campus, at the Whitten Learning Center, room 120. Self-parking is available. For more information, including a map, visit the e-vite online. A question-and-answer session and refreshments will follow the lecture. To attend, please RSVP to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) by July 19.

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