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

Up Front

From left, Michelle Feige, M.S.W., Executive Vice President, and Elyse I. Summers, J.D., President and CEO, both at AAHRPP; Dushyantha Jayaweera, M.D., Thomas J. LeBlanc, Ph.D., and Pascal J. Goldschmidt, M.D.

From left, Michelle Feige, M.S.W., Executive Vice President, and Elyse I. Summers, J.D., President and CEO, both at AAHRPP; Dushyantha Jayaweera, M.D., Thomas J. LeBlanc, Ph.D., and Pascal J. Goldschmidt, M.D.

University of Miami’s Human Research Protection Program Receives Full Accreditation

The University of Miami’s Human Research Protection Program (HRPP) has been awarded full accreditation by the Association for the Accreditation of Human Research Protection Programs.

“AAHRPP accreditation is a ‘gold seal’ that offers assurances — to research participants, researchers, sponsors, government regulators and the general public — that an HRPP is focused first and foremost on excellence,” said Dushyantha T. Jayaweera, M.D., professor of medicine and Associate Vice Provost for Human Subject Research, who directs the Miller School of Medicine’s Human Subject Research Office.

Read more about the accreditation »

More News

From left, Teresia Carreon, Giovanni Gregori, Ph.D., Sanjoy Bhattacharya, Ph.D., M.Tech., Jianhua (Jay) Wang, M.D., Ph.D., M.S., and Ayman Aljohani, M.D.

From left, Teresia Carreon, Giovanni Gregori, Ph.D., Sanjoy Bhattacharya, Ph.D., M.Tech., Jianhua (Jay) Wang, M.D., Ph.D., M.S., and Ayman Aljohani, M.D.

Bascom Palmer Researchers Discover Protein that Leads to Glaucoma

A team of Bascom Palmer Eye Institute researchers has discovered that the protein cochlin, most recognized in concentrated levels within the inner ear, is present in the eye and has an effect on glaucoma. The interdisciplinary team at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine found that levels of cochlin, a protein product of the COCH gene, rise just prior to the elevation of intraocular pressure in the eye. An increase in intraocular pressure is a common precursor to glaucoma, an eye disease that affects more than three million Americans.

Sanjoy K. Bhattacharya, Ph.D., M.Tech., professor of ophthalmology; Jianhua (Jay) Wang, M.D., Ph.D., M.S., associate professor of ophthalmology; and Giovanni Gregori, Ph.D., research associate professor of ophthalmology, measured cochlin in experimental models and found peak levels of the protein precede clinical glaucoma symptoms

Read more on the finding »

Ricardo Komotar, M.D.

Ricardo Komotar, M.D.

UHealth Neurosurgeon Using New Technology to Remove Brain Tumors

Neurological surgeons at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center have added another novel technique to their expertise in precisely removing brain tumors. Ricardo J. Komotar, M.D., Director of Surgical Neuro-oncology at UHealth – University of Miami Health System, is one of the first neurosurgeons in Miami-Dade and Broward counties to remove a brain tumor using the NICO BrainPath system. The approach makes it possible to remove deeply embedded tumors through an opening as small as a dime, without damaging delicate brain tissue.

Susan Jackson was referred to Komotar, who is also assistant professor of neurological surgery at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, when she began losing her balance. Her oncologist sent the 70-year-old Sunrise resident, who was fighting metastatic lung cancer, to Komotar because of his expertise in the field of brain tumors. Jackson, an avid equestrian, said, “I knew something else was wrong.”

Read more on Dr. Komotar's use of the NICO BrainPath »

Thomas R. Malek, Ph.D., left, and Alberto Pugliese, M.D.

Thomas R. Malek, Ph.D., left, and Alberto Pugliese, M.D.

Researchers Establish Therapeutic Window of Interleukin-2 Treatment for Autoimmune Diseases

Researchers at the Miller School of Medicine have provided critical data supporting treatments using a low dose of the protein Interleukin-2 (IL-2) as a new therapeutic approach for patients with type 1 diabetes and other autoimmune diseases.

An article reporting their findings, “Selective IL-2 Responsiveness of Regulatory T Cells through Multiple Intrinsic Mechanisms Supports the Use of Low-Dose IL-2 Therapy in Type 1 Diabetes,” has been published in the journal Diabetes. The journal’s editors judged the article important enough that it was accompanied by a two-page commentary and highlighted in the “In This Issue” section.

Read more about the research study »

Tan A. Ince, M.D., Ph.D.

Tan A. Ince, M.D., Ph.D.

Sylvester Researchers Develop Technique for Growing Ovarian Cancer Cell Lines in Long-Term Culture

A team of researchers at the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine has developed a technique for growing ovarian cancer cell lines that mimic the original tumor in long-term cultures. The technique offers hope for quickly advancing precision medicine applications for a variety of cancers by enabling clinicians to test therapies on cells from a patient’s own tumor in the laboratory, thus identifying the most targeted therapy for that patient.

The results of the research, which was led by Tan A. Ince, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor of pathology, Scientific Director of Sylvester’s Live Tumor Culture Core and Tissue Bank Core Facility, and Director of the Tumor Stem Cell Division at the Interdisciplinary Stem Cell Institute, are being published online June 17 in the journal Nature Communications in an article entitled “Characterization of Twenty-Five Ovarian Tumour Cell Lines that Phenocopy Primary Tumours.”

Read more about Dr. Ince's research »

Erin N. Kobetz, Ph.D., M.P.H.

Erin N. Kobetz, Ph.D., M.P.H.

Dr. Erin N. Kobetz Named Senior Associate Dean for Health Disparity

Erin N. Kobetz, Ph.D., M.P.H., has been named Senior Associate Dean for Health Disparity at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. In this role Kobetz will be responsible for elevating the awareness of current regional health disparities while developing a culture in which UHealth – University of Miami Health System and the Miller School can achieve health equity for patients through research, clinical and educational endeavors.

“The Miller School has a unique opportunity to advance the science of health disparity. Our multicultural context and geographic location give our school an unparalleled advantage for examining the etiology of disparity and generating interdisciplinary solutions to address it,” said Kobetz, who is an associate professor of medicine, public health sciences and obstetrics/gynecology.

Read more about Dr. Kobetz »

Charles M. Lynne, M.D., stands next to his award display at the American Urology Association’s 2015 annual meeting.

Charles M. Lynne, M.D., stands next to his award display at the American Urology Association’s 2015 annual meeting.

Dr. Charles Lynne Receives American Urology Association’s Prestigious Teaching Award

For more than 40 years, Charles M. Lynne, M.D., emeritus professor of urology, has been a dedicated teacher of residents and fellows who train in the Miller School of Medicine’s Department of Urology.

His passion and steadfast advocacy recently earned him the American Urology Association’s 2015 Residents Committee Teaching Award, which he received at the association’s annual meeting in New Orleans.

Read more about Dr. Lynne's teaching award »

Brendaly Rodriguez, M.A.

Brendaly Rodriguez, M.A.

UM’s Brendaly Rodriguez Joins HHS Speakers for Meeting on Community Health Workers

You are invited to join a conference call to learn about a new e-learning program for promotores de salud (community health workers) hosted by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Minority Health on Tuesday, June 23, at 2 p.m.

Brendaly Rodriguez, M.A., manager of the Community Engagement and Cultural Diversity Program at the University of Miami Clinical and Translational Science Institute, will be among the speakers. In addition to her role at UM, Rodriguez serves as Co-chair of the Florida Community Health Worker Coalition and is a member of the HHS Promotores de Salud Initiative Steering Committee.

Read more about the meeting »

From left, neurosurgery resident Ian Cajias, M.D., Jean Cine and Eric Peterson, M.D.

From left, neurosurgery resident Ian Cajias, M.D., Jean Cine and Eric Peterson, M.D.

UHealth Neurosurgeon Saves 19-Year-Old with New Aneurysm Stents

UHealth neurological surgeon Eric C. Peterson, M.D., became one of the first in the United States this spring to use a newly FDA approved stent for aneurysm repair. The patient, 19-year-old patient Jean Cine, who was experiencing headaches, nausea and deteriorating vision, was referred to Peterson, with a suspected brain tumor. Instead Cine would learn that he was actually suffering from two large brain aneurysms.

“I looked it up and found out what it was and, I said, ‘Oh no; I might die,’” Cine explained at a press conference last week at Jackson Memorial Hospital.

Read more about Dr. Peterson's procedure »

Medical Campus Weather Station Brings the Latest Forecast to Your Screen

If you want to know what the weather is doing on the medical campus, you no longer have to look out the window. The University of Miami, in partnership with Ucompass, a software and services company that helps educational institutions create weather-based lessons, activities and assessments, has installed WeatherSTEM — a platform that delivers real time hyperlocal weather information to computer, tablet or smart phone, and across social media — on all three campuses.

“WeatherSTEM is based on state-of-the-art technology, including a user-friendly web interface and a sky-view webcam, that will provide the medical campus community with highly accurate location-specific weather information in an easily accessible format,” said Matthew Shpiner, M.S.C.J., Emergency Manager for the Miller School of Medicine and UHealth. “The weather can be very compartmentalized here in South Florida, and severe weather can have a negative impact on critical medical operations. The information WeatherSTEM gathers can also be stored and mined in a variety of ways for both research and operational purposes.”

Read more about WeatherSTEM »

From left, Steven F. Falcone, M.D., M.B.A.; Scott Levin, Executive Director of UHealth and Gables Wellness Centers; Nerissa E. Morris, Vice President for Human Resources; Mindie Clark, Director of UHealthAware; and Ralph L. Sacco, M.D., M.S.

View Photo Gallery »

From left, Steven F. Falcone, M.D., M.B.A.; Scott Levin, Executive Director of UHealth and Gables Wellness Centers; Nerissa E. Morris, Vice President for Human Resources; Mindie Clark, Director of UHealthAware; and Ralph L. Sacco, M.D., M.S.

UHealth Hosts American Heart Association Fit Friendly Symposium

For the third straight year, UHealth – University of Miami Health System teamed up with the American Heart Association (AHA) to host the Miami-Dade and Broward Fit Friendly symposium. This year’s theme was “Creating a Culture of Health.” The event was held Thursday, June 18, at the UHealth Fitness and Wellness Center to recognize South Florida employers that create “fit friendly” workplaces.

The event was hosted by Steven F. Falcone, M.D., M.B.A., Executive Dean for Clinical Affairs and CEO of the UHealth Clinical Practice, and Ralph L. Sacco, M.D., M.S., Professor and Olemberg Family Chair of Neurology and Past National President of the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association.

Read more about the Fit Friendly symposium »

Yue Pan, M.S., left, and Daniel J. Feaster, Ph.D.

Yue Pan, M.S., left, and Daniel J. Feaster, Ph.D.

Public Health Doctoral Student Recognized, Presents Research at Conference

Yue Pan, M.S., an epidemiology doctoral student in the Miller School of Medicine’s Department of Public Health Sciences, was recently awarded a $1,000 travel scholarship and the opportunity to present his research at the College on Problems of Drug Dependence 77th annual conference, held June 13-18 in Phoenix.

Pan won the award for his research paper titled “A New Repeated Measures Approach for Sexual and Substance Use Risk Behaviors among Patients in Transmitted Disease Clinics,” which highlights clinical research data showing links between sexually transmitted infections and substance abuse and risky sexual behaviors. His findings were displayed as part of the conference’s poster presentations.

Read more about the Yue Pan's award and presentation »