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

Up Front

Joshua M. Hare, M.D., and Claudia A. Martinez, M.D.

Joshua M. Hare, M.D., and Claudia A. Martinez, M.D.

UM Adds Gene Therapy for Heart Failure to Regenerative Medicine

In a major step forward for the University of Miami’s growing regenerative medicine program, the Miller School of Medicine/UHealth is taking part in an international clinical trial to determine the effectiveness of genetically targeted enzyme replacement therapy for advanced heart failure.

“This is leading-edge 21st century medicine,” said Joshua M. Hare, M.D., Director of the Interdisciplinary Stem Cell Institute. “After decades of basic science research, we are close to proving that a painless single-time genetic treatment can reverse the course of cardiac disease in some patients.”

The gene therapy is designed to restore levels of an important enzyme called SERCA2a, which regulates the production of calcium ions needed for the contraction and relaxation of cardiac muscle cells. Numerous human studies have established a clear association between depleted SERCA2a enzyme in cardiac cells and the progression of end-stage heart failure.

Read more about the clinical trial »

More News

Surrounding the Retinal Functional Imager, which produced the human retinal capillary perfusion map displayed on the screen, are, from left, Delia Cabrera DeBuc, Ph.D., Hong Jiang, M.D., Ph.D., Jianhua (Jay) Wang, M.D., Ph.D., and Aizhu Tao, M.D., M.Sc.

Surrounding the Retinal Functional Imager, which produced the human retinal capillary perfusion map displayed on the screen, are, from left, Delia Cabrera DeBuc, Ph.D., Hong Jiang, M.D., Ph.D., Jianhua (Jay) Wang, M.D., Ph.D., and Aizhu Tao, M.D., M.Sc.

New Approach to Mapping Retinal Blood Vessels Advances Understanding of Vascular Diseases

A breakthrough Miller School study on mapping the network of small blood vessels in the retina may lead to improved clinical management of central nervous system, systemic and ocular vascular diseases. The study was led by Hong Jiang, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor of ophthalmology at Bascom Palmer Eye Institute.

“The retina provides a window to study ocular, neurological and systemic conditions,” said study co-author Jianhua (Jay) Wang, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor of ophthalmology at Bascom Palmer. “Our work on the retina may open up a new era for examining and monitoring microvascular changes associated with diseases, such as stroke, hypertension and diabetes.

Read more about the study »

Melanie S. Helfman, M.D., Medical Director of UHealth at Kendall, consults with a patient to develop a self-care plan.

Melanie S. Helfman, M.D., Medical Director of UHealth at Kendall, consults with a patient to develop a self-care plan.

3 UM Practices Recognized for Excellence as Medical Homes

Three UHealth practice sites – UHealth at Kendall, UHealth at Palm Beach Gardens and UHealth at Coral Gables – have been recognized by the National Committee for Quality Assurance Patient-Centered Medical Home program for excellence in evidence-based, patient-centered approaches that focus on continuity of care and long-term relationships.

The Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH), a model for transforming the organization and delivery of primary care, underlines communication and care coordination to enhance the patient-clinician partnership and improve the quality, safety, efficiency and effectiveness of healthcare in the U.S. Under the model, care is delivered by clinician-led teams that meet the large majority of each patient’s physical and mental healthcare needs by coordinating treatments across the healthcare system. Medical home clinicians and practices demonstrate the benchmark of patient-focused care, including open scheduling, extended hours and appropriate use of proven health information systems.

Read more about the UHealth recognition »

The study co-authors include, from left, Robert W. Keane, Ph.D., Andrew Sawaya, Olivera Stojadinovic, M.D., Marjana Tomic-Canic, Ph.D., Juan Pablo de Rivero Vaccari, Ph.D., and W. Dalton Dietrich, Ph.D.

The study co-authors include, from left, Robert W. Keane, Ph.D., Andrew Sawaya, Olivera Stojadinovic, M.D., Marjana Tomic-Canic, Ph.D., Juan Pablo de Rivero Vaccari, Ph.D., and W. Dalton Dietrich, Ph.D.

Wound Researchers Find Greater Risk for Pressure Ulcers in the Elderly

One of the most common causes of death in elderly, wheelchair- and bed-bound individuals, pressure ulcers are the bane of hospitals and nursing homes, generating thousands of lawsuits alleging poor care every year. But a Miller School study shows that the bed sores that annually affect 2.5 million people in the U.S. may not be entirely preventable, especially in aging patients whose skin has lost the innate ability to protect against the continuous pressure of body weight on skin.

Published August 14 in the international peer-reviewed journal PLOS ONE, the study by Marjana Tomic-Canic, Ph.D., and a multidisciplinary team of researchers who developed a unique model to observe early changes in human skin that lead to pressure ulcers, found that, even with inadequate blood supply, young skin has a baseline level of protective inflammasome proteins that increase when skin is subjected to pressure. In contrast, the researchers found, aged skin has lower levels of inflammasome, which though critical to the tissue-repair process, do not increase under pressure. Instead, the tissue begins breaking down rapidly under load.

Read more about the study »

Kartik Telukuntla, center, receives the Chairman’s Recognition Award from Florida Board of Medicine members Onelia G. Lage, M.D., and Enrique Ginzburg, M.D.

Kartik Telukuntla, center, receives the Chairman’s Recognition Award from Florida Board of Medicine members Onelia G. Lage, M.D., and Enrique Ginzburg, M.D.

Medical Student Honored as Future Leader

Adding to a burgeoning list of accomplishments, fourth-year medical student Kartik Telukuntla has received the prestigious Chairman’s Recognition Award from the Florida Board of Medicine.

Presented August 2 by Chairman Zachariah P. Zachariah, M.D., the award recognizes Telukuntla for embodying the characteristics essential to becoming a leader in the medical profession.

“Kartik is a great student who truly exemplifies the values that the award honors – compassion, professionalism, moral character and intellect,” said Ana E. Campo, M.D., Associate Dean for Student Affairs.

A 2009 Rhodes Scholar finalist, Telukuntla has participated in the Miller School’s esteemed stem cell and conjunctival lymphoma research and countless public service initiatives. He also served as Student Trustee of the University of Miami Board of Trustees, and is the immediate past President of the Medical School Student Government, and a member of the Jay Weiss Pathway for Health Equity and the Iron Arrow Honor Society, the highest honor attained at the University of Miami.

Read more about Kartik Telukuntla »

UM Faculty and Students Awarded Arsht Research on Ethics and Community Grants

The University of Miami Ethics Programs have awarded four of this year’s seven Arsht Research on Ethics and Community grants to Miller School faculty and UM students who will explore contemporary moral issues arising from hunger strikes, trauma care and the differences between the response to child abuse and other violent crimes.

Two of the four grants were awarded to three students from the Miller School’s Class of 2014 — Hamilton Hicks, Elizabeth Patberg, and Hansel Tookes — for two different trauma-related research proposals. For their first project, “PTSD Among Trauma Care Physicians: Coping Strategies and the Culture of Silence,” the students will team up with Gabriel Ruiz, M.D., assistant professor of surgery, to establish the prevalence of post-traumatic stress disorder among trauma care physicians.

Read more about the recipients and projects »

Dean Pascal J. Goldschmidt, M.D., and UM Trustee Stuart Miller cross the finish line at the 2012 Dolphins Cycling Challenge.

Dean Pascal J. Goldschmidt, M.D., and UM Trustee Stuart Miller cross the finish line at the 2012 Dolphins Cycling Challenge.

Get Half Off Dolphins Cycling Challenge Registration by Joining Team UM Sylvester

The University of Miami will pay half of the $150 registration fee for faculty and staff who sign up to ride in the fourth annual Dolphins Cycling Challenge as part of Team UM Sylvester. The offer does not apply if you register with another team.

To take advantage of this special offer, send an email to ridedcc@miami.edu with your name, department, and telephone number.

The 2013 Dolphins Cycling Challenge, a two-day tri-county cycling event that benefits the lifesaving research and treatment programs at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, is scheduled for November 2 and 3, with routes ranging from 13 to 170 miles.

More than 1,400 cyclists participated in last year’s ride, raising $2.2 million. Shira Kastan, assistant vice president of government and community relations, and Bill Kingston, executive director of development at Sylvester, are spearheading UM’s efforts for this year’s DCC.

Funding and Research

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