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

Up Front

Krishna V. Komanduri, M.D.

Krishna V. Komanduri, M.D.

Research Uncovers Approach That May Decrease Complications of Stem Cell Transplants for Cancer

The preferred treatment of many high-risk or relapsed hematologic malignancies remains an allogeneic stem cell transplant. However, patients and physicians often face graft-versus-host disease (GVHD), a frequent and life-threatening complication. Miller School and Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center researchers have developed a method to decrease GVHD, while maintaining the benefits of T-cell virus-specific immunity.

The finding, led by senior author Krishna V. Komanduri, M.D., Kalish Family Chair, professor of medicine and Director of the Stem Cell Transplant Program at Sylvester, and co-first authors, post-doctoral fellows Takero Shindo, M.D., Ph.D., and Tae Kon Kim, M.D., Ph.D., is published as a Plenary Paper, indicating its scientific importance, in the journal Blood, the highest impact journal in the field of hematology.

Read more about the study »

More News

Enrique Ginzburg, M.D., left, and emergency responders load a patient onto a truck headed to UM’s field hospital in Haiti, after the devastating 2010 earthquake.

Enrique Ginzburg, M.D., left, and emergency responders load a patient onto a truck headed to UM’s field hospital in Haiti, after the devastating 2010 earthquake.

Enrique Ginzburg, M.D., Appointed to the Florida Board of Medicine

Enrique Ginzburg, M.D., professor of surgery, has been appointed by Governor Rick Scott to serve as a member of the Florida Board of Medicine. Joining another UM faculty member on the board, he will serve a three-year term on the quasi-judicial panel responsible for disciplining physicians.

“It is a great privilege and opportunity as a member of the University of Miami faculty to serve on the Florida Board of Medicine as one of the few university-based academic physicians,” Ginzburg said.

A veteran trauma surgeon with more than two decades of international expertise and service, Ginzburg also serves as Chief of Surgery at University of Miami Hospital, Chief Medical Officer of the Global Institute/Project Medishare, and has secondary appointments in the Departments of Anesthesiology, Neurological Surgery and Family Medicine and Community Health.

Read more about Dr. Ginzburg »

Robert Myerburg, M.D., left, hopes the new clinic will help more recreational athletes like avid cyclist Michael Gale, right, avoid sudden cardiac death.

Robert Myerburg, M.D., left, hopes the new clinic will help more recreational athletes like avid cyclist Michael Gale, right, avoid sudden cardiac death.

UHealth Launches Clinic to Reduce Sudden Cardiac Deaths in Athletes

A serious road biker, Michael Gale was in a Broward County cafe discussing his upcoming 100-mile ride in hilly Mount Dora when his head abruptly slumped to his chest. Fortunately, a nurse who was dining nearby realized the 58-year-old fitness industry executive was in sudden cardiac arrest and administered CPR, triggering the emergency response that initially saved his life.

“I had no trauma, no pain, no warning. My head just dropped,” Gale recalls of that Thursday in September 2010. “But I had good timing on my side — and a lot of luck.”

Today, UHealth cardiologists are hoping to put more than luck on the side of high-intensity recreational athletes like Gale, as well as competitive athletes and others embarking on new exercise programs, by establishing a monthly clinic at University of Miami Hospital focused on hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and other inherited and acquired causes of life-threatening heart rhythm disturbances.

Read more about the clinic »

From left are Jae Lee, Ph.D., Kevin Park, Ph.D., John Bixby, Ph.D., Vance Lemmon, Ph.D., Helen Bramlett, Ph.D., Dan Liebl, Ph.D., and W. Dalton Dietrich, Ph.D.

From left are Jae Lee, Ph.D., Kevin Park, Ph.D., John Bixby, Ph.D., Vance Lemmon, Ph.D., Helen Bramlett, Ph.D., Dan Liebl, Ph.D., and W. Dalton Dietrich, Ph.D.

Miami Project Receives Funding for Axon Regeneration and Spinal Cord Injury Research

A consortium of discovery science researchers within The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis has received a $2.5 million, 18-month grant from the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command. Titled “U.S. Army Battlefield Exercise & Combat Related SCI,” the award will enable the investigation of new treatments for spinal cord injury.

Participating in the Department of Defense program will be a multidisciplinary team of researchers including Jae Lee, Ph.D., assistant professor of neurological surgery, Kevin Park, Ph.D., assistant professor of neurological surgery, John Bixby, Ph.D., professor of molecular and cellular pharmacology and neurological surgery, Vance Lemmon, Ph.D., professor of neurological surgery, Helen Bramlett, Ph.D., associate professor of neurological surgery, Dan Liebl, Ph.D., professor of neurological surgery, Pantelis Tsoulfas, Ph.D., associate professor of neurological surgery and cell biology, and W. Dalton Dietrich, Ph.D., Scientific Director of The Miami Project and the overall PI of the program. Their research projects include determining the role of dependence receptors in regulating cell survival, testing a combination of protein kinase inhibitors to promote axonal regeneration, and enhancing neuron-intrinsic growth capacity to support axon regrowth.

Read more about the research »

From left are Rafael F. Acosta, Michael A. Gonzalez, Stephan Züchner, M.D., Ph.D., and Fiorella Speziani.

From left are Rafael F. Acosta, Michael A. Gonzalez, Stephan Züchner, M.D., Ph.D., and Fiorella Speziani.

Miller School Expertise Plays Pivotal Role in International Whole Exome Study

Miller School researchers co-led an international study that identifies a new genetic syndrome associated with complex hereditary spastic paraplegia (HSP), a condition characterized by slowly progressing spasticity in the legs that can lead to severe disability. Led by Stephan Züchner, M.D., Ph.D., professor and Interim Chair of the Dr. John T. Macdonald Foundation Department of Human Genetics, researchers at the Miller School made the discovery possible by lending their widely recognized expertise in computing and interpreting whole exome data.

Published online first in the June 6 issue of the American Journal of Human Genetics, the study, “Alteration of Ganglioside Biosynthesis Responsible for Complex Hereditary Spastic Paraplegia,” also solidifies the alteration of lipid metabolism as the cause of HSP.

Read more about the study »

Bascom Palmer Eye Institute Receives Florida Choice Award in Naples

Bascom Palmer Eye Institute in Naples was named a winner of the 11th Annual Southwest Florida Choice Awards presented by the Naples Daily News. The award is given to businesses that are chosen by readers of the paper and its website, naplesnews.com. The winners were acknowledged at a reception held Thursday, June 13, at Artis-Naples, formerly the Naples Philharmonic.

Stephen G. Schwartz, M.D., M.B.A., Medical Director of Bascom Palmer in Naples and associate professor of clinical ophthalmology, said winning the award “is an honor for the whole Naples team. It’s very gratifying to be recognized by our patients and neighbors in Southwest Florida.” The team includes George Corrent, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor of clinical ophthalmology, and Jaclyn Kovach, M.D., assistant professor of clinical ophthalmology, who are full-time faculty at the Naples location.

In February, Bascom Palmer broke ground on a new and expanded location, a 1.5-acre site on the northeast corner of U.S. 41 and Cypress Woods Drive, to better serve its growing patient population.

Sarah Eidelson, left, and Stephanie Adamczak review case scenarios before entering an OSCE station, as Ara Darakjian, second from right, and Steve Engel await their turn.

Sarah Eidelson, left, and Stephanie Adamczak review case scenarios before entering an OSCE station, as Ara Darakjian, second from right, and Steve Engel await their turn.

Medical Students Celebrate ‘Important Benchmark’ at 18th Annual OSCE Exercises

The talents of all 155 third-year Miller School students were put to the test this month at the University of Miami Hospital and Clinics, where they participated in the 18th annual Objective Structured Clinical Examinations (OSCEs), a medical school rite of passage that tests students’ clinical skills.

Nearly 80 faculty members from the Departments of Medicine, Surgery, Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Pediatrics, Obstetrics and Gynecology, and Family Medicine and Community Health served as faculty evaluators for the assessment.

Read more about the 2013 OSCEs »

Research Librarian Kimberly A. Loper presents the new class at the Miami-Dade County Emergency Operations Center.

Research Librarian Kimberly A. Loper presents the new class at the Miami-Dade County Emergency Operations Center.

Calder Library’s New Class Equips Emergency Responders with Vital Information Tools

When the University mounted its unprecedented emergency medical response to Haiti’s catastrophic 2010 earthquake, volunteers staffing UM’s tent hospital in Port-au-Prince had many questions about diseases and conditions they had never encountered before. Next time, they could have the answers, or at least the means to find them, literally at their fingertips.

Determined to quickly and easily fill the information gaps that are inevitable in disasters, Calder Library Executive Director Mary Moore, Ph.D., and Research Librarian Kimberly A. Loper, M.L.I.S., have created a class to teach disaster and emergency responders how to navigate authoritative disaster health information resources. The class, Becoming a Disaster Health Information Power User, is now available online for free, with free CME credits for the first 30 applicants to sign up.

Read more about the class »

String Quartet to Perform at Bascom Palmer for “The Musicians Will See You Now” Concert Series

UHealth will present the third in a series of musical performances by students at UM’s Frost School of Music on Tuesday, June 18. A string quartet – composed of Abigail Young, Amanda Diaz, Zach Piper, and Joy Adams – will perform from noon to 1 p.m. in the Bascom Palm Eye Institute lobby.

Launched April 22, “The Musicians Will See You Now” series is a unique addition to the University’s widespread wellness initiatives, which not only enhance the work environment of faculty and staff, but in this case also help lift the spirits of patients, families and others who visit the medical campus.

Future concerts will be announced in e-Update as they are scheduled.

Dean Pascal J. Goldschmidt, M.D., and UM Trustee Stuart Miller cross the finish line at the 2011 Dolphins Cycling Challenge.

Dean Pascal J. Goldschmidt, M.D., and UM Trustee Stuart Miller cross the finish line at the 2011 Dolphins Cycling Challenge.

Registration Fee Waived for Riders Who Sign Up for Dolphins Cycling Challenge by June 21

For the first time, the University of Miami will pay the full $150 registration fee for faculty and staff who sign up to ride in the fourth annual Dolphins Cycling Challenge by Friday, June 21, as part of Team UM Sylvester. To take advantage of this special offer, which does not apply to riders who register with another team, send an email to ridedcc@miami.edu with your name, department, and telephone number.

Participants in the tri-county cycling event, which will take place on Saturday, November 2, and Sunday, November 3, and includes various ride options, can register and meet fellow Team UM Sylvester members at one of the remaining kickoff events:

• Sylvester at Deerfield Beach on Wednesday, June 19, from 7:30 to 9 a.m., 1192 East Newport Center Drive, second-floor conference room

• UHealth at Plantation on Thursday, June 20, from noon to 1:30 p.m., 8100 S.W. 10th Street, first-floor conference room

Read more about this year's Dolphins Cycling Challenge »