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

Up Front

The POSEIDON study, conducted by a team of Miller School researchers, is the cover story of the April 11 edition of <em>Circulation Research</em>.

The POSEIDON study, conducted by a team of Miller School researchers, is the cover story of the April 11 edition of Circulation Research.

Two New Miller School Studies Show How Stem Cell Injections Improve Heart Structure

Two Miller School of Medicine studies led by a team from the Interdisciplinary Stem Cell Institute use highly advanced cardiac imaging techniques to establish for the first time how stem cell injections are able to improve the structure of the heart — an important finding for the evolving field of regenerative medicine. The “Poseidon” and “Prometheus” studies were published in a recent issue of Circulation Research, which featured the Poseidon work on the cover and included an independent editorial on the significance of the results.

“We designed a protocol that enabled us to measure precisely what was happening in the heart following the stem cell injections,” said Joshua M. Hare, M.D., the Louis Lemberg Professor of Medicine and Director of the Miller School’s Interdisciplinary Stem Cell Institute (ISCI). “Our findings have important therapeutic implications for cardiac patients.”

Read more about the studies »

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Alexandra Young

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Alexandra Young

Second Look Day Dazzles Class of 2018 Prospects

“You never get a second chance to make a good first impression” goes the old saying, but that isn’t always true.

For Alexandra Young, who joined 137 other physicians-to-be in the Lois Pope LIFE Center’s Apex Auditorium on April 11 for the Miller School’s fourth annual Second Look Day, getting an up-close look at the campus was a first-time thrill. Already a graduate of The Ohio State University, where she dual-majored in biology and anthropology, Young has spent the past two years as a Peace Corps volunteer in Madagascar. Her interview for one of the slots in the class of 2018 was conducted via Skype.

Read more about Second Look Day »

Marjana Tomic-Canic, Ph.D.

Marjana Tomic-Canic, Ph.D.

Researchers Begin to Unlock Mystery of Non-Healing Leg Wounds

A team of Miller School researchers has taken the first step toward discovering an answer to one of the human body’s elusive mysteries — why wounds, especially those that occur in the lower legs, heal in some people and not in others.

“The skin is a very interesting, exciting and complex organ,” said Marjana Tomic-Canic, Ph.D., professor of dermatology and cutaneous surgery. “Its main function is to maintain a barrier between the organism and the environment. It comes equipped with the ability to quickly repair any barrier breach. That repair happens over and over again — every time a wound occurs — throughout our lifetime. What is puzzling is that an increasing number of people, particularly those who are elderly or diabetic, are suffering from wounds that do not heal.”

Read more about the research »

Ramiro E. Verdun, Ph.D., and Elena M. Cortizas.

Ramiro E. Verdun, Ph.D., and Elena M. Cortizas.

Research Published in PNAS Helps Explain Causes of Rare Genetic Disorder

An international collaboration co-led by Ramiro E. Verdun, Ph.D., assistant professor of medicine in the Division of Gerontology and Geriatric Medicine, illuminates the underlying origins of a rare genetic disorder that causes an immunodeficiency syndrome known as hyper-IgM syndrome type 2 (HIGM2).

The study, “Activation-induced deaminase C-terminal domain links DNA breaks to end protection and repair during class switch recombination,” was published March 18 in the prestigious scientific journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

Read more about the study »

Tongyu Cao Wikramanayake, Ph.D.

Tongyu Cao Wikramanayake, Ph.D.

Study Reveals Complex Role of Largely Unknown Mpzl3 Gene

A multidisciplinary study led by Tongyu Cao Wikramanayake, Ph.D., research assistant professor of dermatology and cutaneous surgery, has pinpointed multiple roles of the little-known protein-coding gene Mpzl3 (myelin protein zero-like 3).

Published online ahead of print in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology, a leading journal in dermatology and skin biology, the study, “Loss of Mpzl3 Function Causes Various Skin Abnormalities and Greatly Reduced Adipose Depots,” reveals a complex role of Mpzl3 in the control of skin development, hair growth and adipose cell functions.

“To our knowledge, this is the first published comprehensive study to understand the functions of the Mpzl3 protein in the skin,” said Wikramanayake, who was senior author of the study. “This protein clearly has an important role in multiple organ systems.”

Read more about the study »

Business Plan Competition winners are, from left, Cristina Del Toro, Joseph Petri, Sabrina Taldone and Mathew Varghese.

Business Plan Competition winners are, from left, Cristina Del Toro, Joseph Petri, Sabrina Taldone and Mathew Varghese.

M.D./M.B.A. Students Win Business Plan Competition

Four of the Miller School’s M.D./M.B.A. students, in partnership with an M.B.A. student from the School of Business Administration, won the Grand Prize and a check for $10,000 in the Graduate Student Category of the University of Miami’s 2014 Business Plan Competition. Their company, Valens L.L.C., is developing software that will use big data-type analytics to help hospitals lower readmission rates for patients with congestive heart failure.

The four students — Mathew Varghese, Sabrina Taldone, Cristina Del Toro and Joshua Cameron — are all in the class of 2015. They are completing the M.B.A. portion of their studies and are about to return for the fourth year of the M.D. program.

Read more about the Business Plan Competition winners »

Magazine showcases student research.

Magazine showcases student research.

Student-Published Magazine Highlights Research Projects

Miller School students have published the second issue of an annual magazine highlighting their research. The Medical I.B.I.S. (Investigation of Basic and Integrative Science) contains 17 articles about laboratory or clinical projects.

“The breakthrough research presented in this issue is truly impressive,” wrote Pascal J. Goldschmidt, M.D., Senior Vice President for Medical Affairs and Dean of the Miller School and CEO of UHealth, in his introduction to the magazine. “It spans a wide range of interests, including stem cell treatments, spinal cord injuries, retinal diseases, genetic markers, and much more. Our students are just entering the field of medicine, yet they are already making significant contributions to medical knowledge. We know there will be more great work to come.”

A digital version of the magazine can be found here.

At the Miami CTSI’s Boot Camp, participants learn about the foundations of translational research from UM’s top investigators.

At the Miami CTSI’s Boot Camp, participants learn about the foundations of translational research from UM’s top investigators.

Clinical and Translational Investigation Master’s Program Prepares Future Leaders in Research

At the heart of its mission, the Miami Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI) helps researchers through all phases of translating research into meaningful health advances. A critical component of the mission’s success is training future team leaders in the principles of translational science and clinical research.

That’s why the CTSI has developed a Master’s of Science in Clinical and Translational Investigation program designed to provide formal graduate training to new and early stage investigators who will be prepared to deal with the challenges facing translational research — institutional culture and practice, scientific complexity of translational research design and methodology, and regulatory and ethical processes.

Read more about the Master's program »

Vence L. Bonham, J.D.

Vence L. Bonham, J.D.

Distinguished NIH Officer to Present First Human Genetics Grand Rounds

The Miller School is proud to welcome Vence L. Bonham, J.D., Senior Advisor to the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) Director on Genomics and Health Disparities and Chief of the Education and Community Involvement Branch, for its inaugural Human Genetics Grand Rounds on Thursday, April 17, at noon at Bascom Palmer Eye Institute, Jose Berrocal Auditorium.

Organized by the John P. Hussman Institute for Human Genomics’ Center for Genomic Education and Outreach and the Dr. John T. Macdonald Foundation Department of Human Genetics, Bonham’s talk, “Genomic Medicine: Coming into Focus” is open to all faculty, staff and students.

Read more about Bonham's lecture »

14th Street Road Construction Will Close Lanes, Change CRB Garage Traffic Flow

Beginning this Thursday, April 17, three lanes will be closed for road construction work in the 1100 block of NW 14th Street directly in front of the Professional Arts Center (PAC) and the Clinical Research Building (CRB) as part of the larger 14th Street reconstruction project. In that block, the center turn lane, one eastbound lane and one westbound lane will be closed for several days to allow for construction of a median island buffering the pedestrian crosswalk in front of the PAC. This is the first of several such landscaped traffic calming devices planned for NW 14th Street. One lane eastbound and one lane westbound will remain open during construction. Motorists planning to drive through this area will need to schedule additional time and, when possible, seek an alternate route.

Read more about road construction »

Miami Voice Team and Frost School to Mark World Voice Day

The Miller School of Medicine and Frost School of Music will converge on Wednesday, April 16, World Voice Day, a day to encourage people of all ages to assess their vocal health and take steps to preserve it.

To mark World Voice Day 2014, the Miami Voice Team, made up of physicians, speech pathologists and singing voice specialists from UHealth and the Frost School of Music faculty, along with students from the Frost School and Department of Theater Arts, will host and take part in a variety of interactive events on the Coral Gables campus to encourage people to improve their vocal wellness.

Read more and see a schedule of events »

Registration Closed for Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day

Registration for the May 15 Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day at the Miller School is closed.

The information published in this morning’s e-Update was incorrect. The deadline for registration was April 18.

Read more about Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day »