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

Up Front

The Don Soffer Clinical Research Center.

The Don Soffer Clinical Research Center.

Interdisciplinary Stem Cell Institute at the University of Miami Receives $25 Million Donation

The Interdisciplinary Stem Cell Institute (ISCI) at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine has received a $25 million donation from the Soffer Family Foundation. The generous donation marks the largest gift ISCI has received to date. The funding will allow the institute to continue its groundbreaking stem cell research in several areas, supporting the exploration of new cell-based therapies in the fields of cardiology, sports medicine, and aging-related conditions. In honor of this act of generosity, the University of Miami is dedicating the Clinical Research Building to the Soffer family and renaming it “The Don Soffer Clinical Research Center.”

“I am honored that the University of Miami has made the decision to name a building after me,” said Donald Soffer. “We are thrilled to have our name tied to such a great institution.”

Read more about the Soffer Family Foundation gift »

More News

Allan D. Levi, M.D., Ph.D.

Allan D. Levi, M.D., Ph.D.

Motor Improvement Seen in Patients with Cervical Spinal Cord Injury After Stem Cell Implantation

After six months, the patients in the StemCells, Inc. trial being conducted at University of Miami Hospital are demonstrating improvements in both strength and function. They are the first cohort in the Phase II pathway study, led by Allan D. Levi, M.D., Ph.D., professor and Chair of the Department of Neurological Surgery and The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis, which is measuring the effects of implanting stem cells in patients with cervical spinal cord injury (SCI). The assessment of motor function involved using tests of dexterity and grip.

Levi, who is also Chief of Neurosurgery at Jackson Memorial Hospital, was the first investigator to perform a stem cell transplant into the chronically injured cervical spinal cord of a patient. This first cohort of the study was designed to assess the safety and preliminary signs of efficacy of cell administration into the cervical spinal cord and help determine the dose level for the 40-patient second cohort — a randomized, controlled and single-blinded arm of the trial, which is already underway.

Read more about the six-month clinical trial results »

Clockwise from front, Christian Faul, Ph.D., Karla Schramm, Alexander Grabner, M.D., Saurav Singh and Christopher Yanucil.

Clockwise from front, Christian Faul, Ph.D., Karla Schramm, Alexander Grabner, M.D., Saurav Singh and Christopher Yanucil.

Miller School Researchers Receive NIH Grant to Study Cardiac Complications in Kidney Disease

A cardiorenal research team from the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine has received a $1.9 million five-year grant from the National Institutes of Health to study life-threatening complications for the heart in chronic kidney disease.

Principal investigator Christian Faul, Ph.D., will examine the role of a cell surface protein called fibroblast growth factor receptor 4 (FGFR4) in the development of left ventricular hypertrophy (LVH). LVH is abnormal enlargement of the heart and is found in most patients with late kidney disease. Importantly, LVH is a significant risk factor for the development of heart failure, contributing to high patient mortality.

Read more about the research grant »

Camillo Ricordi, M.D.

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Camillo Ricordi, M.D.

Italian Surgical Team Transplants Islet Cells Using Diabetes Research Institute Technique

A surgical team in Milan, Italy, has transplanted insulin-producing islet cells in a patient with diabetes, using an innovative technique developed at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine’s Diabetes Research Institute (DRI).

On November 17, Dr. Federico Bertuzzi, who heads the Islet Transplant Program at Ospedale Niguarda Ca’ Granda, a public hospital in Milan, successfully completed the first such transplant in the world outside Miami.

Read more about the islet cell transplantation in Milan »

Kimberly Reynolds, M.D., left, with Liz Bayes Santos, M.D., M.S.

Kimberly Reynolds, M.D., left, with Liz Bayes Santos, M.D., M.S.

Two Miller School Pediatricians Named APA Educational Scholars

Two members of the University of Miller School of Medicine’s Department of Pediatrics have been accepted into the Educational Scholars Program of the Academic Pediatric Association (APA).

Kimberly Reynolds, M.D., and Liz Bayes Santos, M.D., M.S., both of whom are hospitalists, board-certified pediatricians and assistant professors of pediatrics, were among 24 physicians nationwide chosen for this prestigious academic program, which supports innovative, evidence-based strategies in physician education.

Read more about the APA Educational Scholars »

Stephen D. Nimer, M.D., left, and Ronan T. Swords, M.D., Ph.D.

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Stephen D. Nimer, M.D., left, and Ronan T. Swords, M.D., Ph.D.

Sylvester Physician-Scientists Have Large Presence at 2015 ASH Conference

Nearly a one dozen physician-researchers and postdocs from Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center attended the annual meeting of the American Society of Hematology (ASH), held in Orlando, December 5-8, with many making oral and poster presentations. They were among the more than 20,000 hematology-oncologists and blood disorder specialists from around the world who presented the latest research findings.

In two oral sessions, Ronan T. Swords, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor of medicine, holder of the Pap Corps Endowed Professorship in Leukemia and Co-Leader of the Leukemia/Lymphoma/Myeloma Site Disease Group, discussed a new approach to treating acute myeloid leukemia (AML), and Izidore Lossos, M.D., professor of medicine and Head of the Lymphoma Program, presented his research into a protein that plays a significant role in certain lymphomas. Sylvester’s poster presentations focused on other basic and translational advances for AML and other leukemias, as well as lymphomas. The complete list of presentations can be found here.

Read more about the ASH conference »

From left, José Szapocznik, Ph.D., Katherine Chon and Julie Cummings.

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From left, José Szapocznik, Ph.D., Katherine Chon and Julie Cummings.

Forum Focuses on Making Human Trafficking a Public Health Priority

Human trafficking for sex and labor is a serious, chronic problem in South Florida and throughout the U.S. But rather than treat victims and punish the criminals, a comprehensive preventative strategy is needed to address the root causes of modern-day slavery, according to José Szapocznik, Ph.D., professor and Chair of the Department of Public Health Sciences, Director of the Center for Family Studies and Director of the Miami Clinical and Translational Science Institute.

“We need to frame human trafficking as a public health priority,” said Szapocznik, who is also professor of architecture, psychology, and educational research and counseling psychology. He was the keynote speaker at a December 8 public forum at the University of Miami’s Newman Alumni Center hosted by the Department of Public Health Sciences and organized in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Trafficking in Persons and Office on Women’s Health, the Lovelight Foundation and the Florida Institute for Health Innovation.

Read more about the forum on human trafficking »

More than 600 ophthalmologists from Latin America and the Caribbean attended Bascom Palmer Eye Institute’s 37th Annual Inter-American Course in Clinical Ophthalmology.

More than 600 ophthalmologists from Latin America and the Caribbean attended Bascom Palmer Eye Institute’s 37th Annual Inter-American Course in Clinical Ophthalmology.

International Ophthalmologists Gather in Miami for Bascom Palmer’s Annual CURSO

Bascom Palmer Eye Institute held its 37th Annual Inter-American Course in Clinical Ophthalmology (CURSO) at the InterContinental Hotel in Miami on November 22-25. The four-day course attracted 633 ophthalmologists from 33 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean.

CURSO is the largest meeting in the United States held for Spanish-speaking ophthalmologists. The course is presented with simultaneous English-Spanish translation. CURSO is designed to provide maximum emphasis on practical approaches to clinical problems. The course is held every year in Miami immediately following the American Academy of Ophthalmology annual meeting. The topics chosen for CURSO span the entire specialty of ophthalmology, with particular attention given to the latest developments in cataracts, LASIK, glaucoma, macular degeneration, eye cancers and oculoplastics.

Read more about CURSO »

Andria Hanley.

Andria Hanley.

Cancer Survivor Invites Runners and Cyclists to ‘DCC with Me!’

Andria Hanley was pregnant with her second child when she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1999.

“I was going in for my first prenatal checkup, when the doctor felt a lump,” said Hanley. “Before my daughter Kelly was born, I had a lumpectomy and mastectomy, while also taking care of my 2-year-old daughter Katie. It was a very scary time for me.”

Sixteen years later, Hanley is cancer-free and getting ready to help support Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine by running in her first Dolphins Cancer Challenge (DCC) on Saturday, February 20, at Sun Life Stadium, home of the Miami Dolphins and the Miami Hurricanes. While she enjoys competing in marathons, she considers it a privilege to raise funds for Sylvester by participating in the 5K run. Other DCC options include cycling various distances, including a 72-mile “Perfect Century” ride in honor of the Dolphins’ undefeated season, and becoming a virtual participant.

Read more about Andria Hanley »

Knaus Berry Farm's famous cinnamon rolls.

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Knaus Berry Farm's famous cinnamon rolls.

Holiday Food Gift Sales Raise Funds for DCC

With the holidays around the corner, a delicious jar of goodies or a tray of cinnamon rolls from Knaus Berry Farm is a great gift for family, friends and colleagues. Best of all, the proceeds will benefit leading-edge research at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. But act quickly, as the deadlines are fast approaching!

After holding several sell-out pizza and cinnamon roll fundraisers to support the Dolphins Cancer Challenge (DCC), the team at the Jay Weiss Institute for Health Equity at Sylvester is giving you one last chance to purchase Knaus Berry Farm’s famous cinnamon buns before the holidays. The sale will be Thursday, December 17, at the Clinical Research Building (CRB), in room 1004. Individual rolls are $3, or you can purchase a dozen for $25. If you wish to preorder your rolls, email Carmen Linarte, research associate, at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Read more about holiday food gift sales »

From left, Marc Szasz, CC Schieffelin and Samantha Burd.

From left, Marc Szasz, CC Schieffelin and Samantha Burd.

Benefitting Sylvester, UM Undergraduates Hold DCC Fundraiser

On December 8, undergraduate students CC Schieffelin, Samantha Burd and Marc Szasz organized an “All You Can Eat” fundraiser on the Coral Gables campus for the Dolphins Cancer Challenge (DCC) which benefits cancer research at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center. The purpose was to raise awareness and funds for Team Hurricanes – Coral Gables Campus, the undergraduate team for the DCC, and to encourage University of Miami undergraduates to sign up for one of the bike rides or the 5K walk/run.

For CC, Samantha and Marc, the goal was to raise funds that can be used to meet the fundraising minimum for each DCC participant, which can be a financial challenge for undergraduate students.

Read more about the "All You Can Eat" fundraiser »

Give to the United Way and Win Free Miami Heat Tickets

The Heat is still on!

The three-time NBA champion Miami Heat are once again partnering with the University of Miami to offer a limited number of tickets to upcoming regular season games in January, February, March and April. University of Miami faculty and staff who make their 2015 United Way contributions online through Workday by December 31, 2015 will have the opportunity to win two complimentary tickets to see the Miami Heat in action.

Please remember that your contributions do not automatically renew and must be re-entered each year by logging into Workday.

Read more about the UM/Miami Heat partnership for United Way »

Get Updates about Funding, Training and Service Opportunities by Joining the CTSI Mailing List

Want to learn about important opportunities that can help advance your research? Join the University of Miami Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI) mailing list to find out more about the types of funding offered through the Miami CTSI and its partners. Free consultations with experts in areas like biostatistics, biomedical informatics and research participant recruitment, and training on topics such as database programming and grant writing are available. Sign up here.

Sebastian cheers on Essentials of Leadership graduates.

Sebastian cheers on Essentials of Leadership graduates.

Registration Now Open for Essentials of Leadership January 2016 Series

Managers at the University of Miami have the opportunity to develop their leadership skills with Essentials of Leadership (EOL), a customized leadership program aligned with the UM Common Purpose and Values, and leadership traits and behaviors. EOL is composed of interactive modules, leadership discussions, individual assessments, experiential learning activities and coaching. Enrollment for the EOL January 2016 Series (5) runs through January 3. To learn more, visit Essentials of Leadership Program, or contact Workforce Engagement and Development at 305-243-3090.

Read more about Essentials of Leadership »

InsideUM Fall 2015 Edition Now Available

Get up-close and personal with our sixth president, Dr. Julio Frenk, learn how to transform your workspace, and meet some of our proud employee veterans in the Fall 2015 edition of InsideUM.

A Holiday Safety Reminder

As the holidays approach, the Office of Environmental Health and Safety wants to remind the University community of some decorating “dos and don’ts”:

Do use UL-listed decorative lights, decorations and ornaments. Do use artificial holiday trees that are fire-resistant and place indoor trees away from traffic; do not block doorways. Do unplug all holiday lights when you leave the office for the day. Do remove all decorations, displays, lights and/or ornaments after the holiday event.

Read more about holiday decorating safety tips »

Winter Break Energy Conservation Initiative

This winter break, Green U, Facilities Management and the Student ECO Agency are inviting all faculty, staff and students to support UM’s Energy Conservation Initiative, which runs from December 21 through January 3. With your participation, the University can reduce its carbon footprint.

Post your funny energy saving in action photo on Facebook and get a chance to win Whole Foods and Starbucks gift cards! Just Like us on Facebook, and tag your photo on @Green U University of Miami.

Read more about the Energy Conservation Initiative »

Sexual Assault Resource Team Seeks Volunteers

The UM Counseling Center’s Sexual Assault Resource Team (SART) is seeking dedicated, warm and empathic faculty, staff and graduate student volunteers from the medical campus to serve as advocates during the 2016 calendar year.

SART is often the first line of response for UM students who have been sexually assaulted, molested or battered, and has supported sexual assault survivors and concerned others since 1992. As an advocate, you will provide hotline callers with much-needed emotional support, information, and referrals, in addition to help accessing resources when appropriate. You will receive comprehensive training in taking calls from students in a variety of sexual assault-related situations, orientation to UM’s varied resources for those who have been sexually victimized, and ongoing support from licensed mental health professionals at the Counseling Center.

Read more about the SART volunteer opportunities »

The Executive MBA for Health Care Professionals Program Starts January 8

There’s still time to apply to the Executive MBA for Health Care Professionals program offered by the School of Business Administration. Designed for working professionals in the health care industry, the program starts January 8 and meets once a month on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Applications are still being accepted and UM employees may be eligible for scholarships based on merit. To apply, please contact Priscilla Ferreira at 305-284-3981 or at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). More information is available here.

2016 Winter Symposium, January 24-27

The University of Miami’s 2016 Miami Winter Symposium will be held January 24-27 at the Hyatt Regency Miami. This year’s theme is “Inflammation: Causes, Prevention and Cures.” The annual event highlights advances in science discovery and brings together hundreds of scientists from the academic and industrial worlds.

Renowned scientists from institutions across the U.S., U.K., Switzerland, Israel and other countries will be featured. While registration fee waivers have been exhausted, discounts are available for Miller School of Medicine faculty, staff, postdoctoral fellows and graduate students. A limited number of session passes are available for purchase.

Read more about the Miami Winter Symposium »