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

Up Front

From left, 200th transplant patient George Schwartz, 500th patient Keith Oliver, Miami-Dade Deputy Mayor Russell Benford, and Transplant Program Director Krishna V. Komanduri, M.D., with proclamations from the state and the county.

From left, 200th transplant patient George Schwartz, 500th patient Keith Oliver, Miami-Dade Deputy Mayor Russell Benford, and Transplant Program Director Krishna V. Komanduri, M.D., with proclamations from the state and the county.

Sylvester Celebrates 500th Stem Cell Transplant

On January 14, more than 150 patients, their families, doctors, nurses and caretakers came to Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center to celebrate a tremendous milestone in the cancer center’s recent history — the 500th stem cell transplant conducted at Sylvester to treat blood disorders such as leukemia and lymphoma.

University of Miami Miller School of Medicine Dean Pascal J. Goldschmidt, M.D., kicked off the event, thanking the stem cell transplant program’s leadership and staff for their work.

“The work done by our stem cell transplant doctors and nurses is so important in the quest to treat and cure blood disorders,” he said. “What they do every day is truly remarkable.”

Read more about stem cell transplantation »

More News

David S. Kushner, M.D.

David S. Kushner, M.D.

Rehabilitation Services Provide Significant Benefits to Patients with Brain Tumors

When neurosurgeons at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center or University of Miami Hospital refer patients with a primary brain tumor to him, David S. Kushner, M.D., Medical Director for the UM rehabilitation program at HealthSouth Rehab Hospital, finds that rehabilitation can play a key role in helping them recover their functions and enjoy a higher quality of life. His work, and the findings he has derived from it, are the focus of two recently published papers in the journal Neuro-Oncology Practice.

“Referral for rehabilitation services should be considered an integral part of care, even for patients with malignant primary brain tumors,” said Kushner, a clinical associate professor in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, and at the School of Nursing and Health Studies. “Increasing patient survival rates highlights the importance of interventions to regain motor skills, address cognitive impairments, assist in seizure control and reduce other medical complications.”

Read more about rehabilitation's benefits for brain tumor patients »

Stephen D. Nimer, M.D.

Stephen D. Nimer, M.D.

Sylvester Researchers Identify Genetic Abnormalities Driving Development of Acute Myeloid Leukemia

Researchers at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, in close collaboration with Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC), published a study in The Journal of Experimental Medicine on January 11, mapping the interaction of various genetic abnormalities in the development of acute myeloid leukemia (AML).

The project, conducted by first author Megan A. Hatlen, Ph.D., postdoctoral research fellow at MSKCC, was initiated by Stephen D. Nimer, M.D., Director of Sylvester (and formerly of MSKCC), but later joined and co-led by Ross Levine, M.D., Laurence Joseph Dineen Chair in Leukemia Research at MSKCC. Using disease models with AML1-ETO, a gene mutation commonly found in AML, the team of researchers identified two additional mutations, in the genes TET2 and PTPN11, that co-contribute to the development of the disease.

Read more about Dr. Nimer's research »

Viviana Horigian, M.D., left, and Tatiana Perrino, Psy.D.

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Viviana Horigian, M.D., left, and Tatiana Perrino, Psy.D.

Leadership Transition in Educational Leadership for the Master of Public Health

Julie Kornfeld, Ph.D., M.P.H., Director of Public Health Programs in the Department of Public Health Sciences, and Assistant Dean for Public Health at the Miller School of Medicine, has been named Vice Dean for Education at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health. After close to 25 years at UM in several key positions, Kornfeld began her term at Columbia this month. A national search will be conducted for a Director of the Master in Public Health Programs. Several part-time interim appointments were made effective January 1:

Read more about interim leadership in Public Health Sciences »

Michael Hoffer, M.D.

Michael Hoffer, M.D.

Researchers Identify Questions that Improve Concussion Diagnosis

A team of Miller School of Medicine researchers, working with collaborators at other institutions, has published a study regarding symptom identification for mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI), also known as concussion. The research indicates that five symptom clusters — post-traumatic headache/migraine, nausea, emotion/affective, fatigue/malaise and dizziness/mild cognitive impairment — were more prevalent in those who sustained mTBI. In addition, sleep disorders and emotional issues were more common in mTBI patients than in healthy control subjects.

“These findings should allow a simple set of questions about dizziness, headache and cognitive issues to be developed to provide improved diagnostic accuracy,” said Michael Hoffer, M.D., professor and Director of the Vestibular and Balance Program in the Department of Otolaryngology, and co-principal author of the study with Carey Balaban, Ph.D., of the University of Pittsburgh. The study, “Neurosensory Symptom Complexes after Acute Mild Traumatic Brain Injury,” was published this month in PLOS One.

Read more about the research »

Juan Dominguez-Bendala, Ph.D.

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Juan Dominguez-Bendala, Ph.D.

Diabetes Research Institute Pioneers Safer Approach for Creating Insulin-Producing Cells

Scientists at the Diabetes Research Institute at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine have successfully converted non-insulin-producing cells of the pancreas into insulin-producing cells using a single agent, bone morphogenetic protein-7 (BMP-7), which is already approved by the Food and Drug Administration for clinical use.

Their findings, published in the December issue of Diabetes, demonstrate for the first time that non-endocrine pancreatic tissue (NEPT) can be reprogrammed to respond to blood glucose without the use of any genetic manipulation, representing a safer and more efficient method to increase the limited supply of insulin-producing islet cells for transplant into people with type 1 diabetes.

Read more about the research »

Sarah Greenblatt, Ph.D.

Sarah Greenblatt, Ph.D.

Researcher Has a Passion for Leukemia — and Running in the DCC

Sarah Greenblatt, Ph.D., declares her passion uniquely: “I fell in love with leukemia!” A postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center Director Stephen D. Nimer, M.D., she will participate in this year’s Dolphins Cancer Challenge (DCC) 5K run on Saturday, February 20.

“Cancer has always had a big impact on my family,” she said. “I became interested in leukemia when I worked on my Ph.D. at Johns Hopkins Medical Institute and rotated through a lab that studied small-molecule inhibitors for the treatment of pediatric leukemia.”

Read more about Sarah Greenblatt »

Celebration of Women’s Athletics Kicks Off Inauguration Week

A week of events marking the inauguration of Julio Frenk as the sixth president of the University of Miami kicks off at the BankUnited Center on Sunday, January 24, with a lunch honoring women’s athletics, followed by the women’s basketball game against state rival FSU, and culminates on Friday, January 29, when the former Harvard Dean and Health Minister of Mexico charts the course to the U’s next century.

Read more about Inauguration Week activities »

David J. Lee, Ph.D., left, with Diane Zheng, MS

David J. Lee, Ph.D., left, with Diane Zheng, MS

Doctoral Student Receives Rare Perfect Score in NIH Training Grant Application

Diane (Dandan) Zheng, M.S., a second-year Ph.D. student pursuing epidemiology in the Department of Public Health Sciences, has received an extremely rare perfect score in a National Institutes of Health F-31 training grant application.

Zheng plans to spend the remaining three years of her doctoral program researching health disparities among visually impaired populations, because many of those affected also experience chronic medical conditions, such as diabetes and hypertension, as well as lifestyle challenges, such as living in poor neighborhoods and lacking adequate social support. Her three-year grant, from the National Eye Institute, will cover tuition, stipend, health insurance and travel to conferences, and totals nearly $130,000.

Read more about Zheng's perfect score »

Part of the newly refurbished CTU.

Part of the newly refurbished CTU.

Refurbished Comprehensive Treatment Unit Opens at Sylvester at Hollywood

Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center at Hollywood has seen impressive growth in patient volume over the past few years. Patients frequently praise the satellite facility’s easy access and intimate setting. Located between I-95 and Florida’s Turnpike, Sylvester at Hollywood is in a prime location for patients from south Broward and north Miami-Dade counties.

In December, Sylvester at Hollywood opened its newly refurbished Comprehensive Treatment Unit (CTU), which now includes 10 chairs with privacy curtains. The facility also has social and private rooms, VIP areas, a nourishment station and an on-site pharmacy. Everything has been totally renovated — from the chairs to the flooring to the equipment.

Read more about the new CTU »

Multidisciplinary Authors Publish Teaching Atlas of the Pancreas

A group of Miller School of Medicine faculty members, some of whom have worked together for as much as 25 years, have authored the Multidisciplinary Teaching Atlas of the Pancreas: Radiological, Surgical, and Pathological Correlations.

The 1,045-page book, published by Springer, provides the reader with a practical approach to the diagnosis and management of the common and uncommon diseases that may involve the pancreatic gland. Its perspective is multidisciplinary, as its authors include radiologists, surgeons, pathologists and gastroenterologists.

Read more about the book »

Miller School Launches Cultural Awareness Week

The Miller School of Medicine has launched its inaugural Cultural Awareness Week — a lunchtime lecture series sponsored by the Executive Student Government, hosted by the Hispanic American Medical Student Association and organized by second-year M.D./M.P.H. student Armando Alvarez. The purpose is to enrich the understanding of diversity, inclusion and cultural competence in medicine. All times are noon to 1 p.m., and all events take place in Rosenstiel Auditorium on the 5th floor unless otherwise noted. Each event lists the organization that arranged for the speaker. Lunch is provided at all talks. Here is the lineup of events:

Read more about Cultural Awareness Week »

The Business of Health Care: Going Global Conference, March 21

UM President Julio Frenk will headline a trio of keynote speakers at The Business of Health Care: Going Global, the fifth in a series of health industry impact conferences hosted by the Center for Health Sector Management and Policy and the University of Miami School of Business Administration, on Monday, March 21.

Health care is an increasingly global commodity. Multinational health care service providers, biomedical and biotechnology industries, multi-country joint ventures, medical tourism and the promise of advances in technology, are but a sample of the globalization of the business of health care. This conference promises to offer an unparalleled opportunity for the exchange of ideas on the importance of thinking globally about the business of health care and the impact on the business community in general.

Read more about the conference »

Mind and Matter, FSAP’s Spring Edition eNewsletter, Now Available

The spring edition of Mind and Matter, the Faculty and Staff Assistance Program’s quarterly newsletter, is now available. It features articles on health and well-being, helpful tips on maintaining work-life balance, and other valuable resources, such as free wellness seminars for faculty and staff. If you are interested in receiving the newsletter, or seminar announcements via email, please visit the Faculty and Staff Assistance Program website or contact Caliope Bootle at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Pitbull will perform at Destination Fashion 2016.

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Pitbull will perform at Destination Fashion 2016.

Destination Fashion 2016 to Benefit The Buoniconti Fund to Cure Paralysis, March 5

Destination Fashion 2016 to benefit The Buoniconti Fund to Cure Paralysis, the fundraising arm of The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis, will be held on Saturday, March 5, at Bal Harbour Shops. Global music icon Pitbull, Mr. Worldwide, will perform in concert and Neiman Marcus Bal Harbour has selected Italian luxury brand Brunello Cucinelli as the featured designer to showcase their Spring 2016 Collection at the event. Co-Anchor of NBC’s Today Show Savannah Guthrie, will serve as emcee for the progressive party and dinner hosted by Honorary Co-Chairs Grammy Award Winners Gloria and Emilio Estefan, Academy Award Winner Tommy Lee Jones and wife Dawn Jones, Golden Globe Winner Christian Slater and wife Brittany Slater, who will join a who’s who of celebrities, philanthropic icons, business leaders, fashionistas and other South Florida notables at the main event. For sponsorships, tables or more information visit thebuonicontifund.com/destinationfashion or call 305-243-4656.

Read more about Destination Fashion 2016 »

Neurology Update & Stroke Intensive 2016, January 28-30

The University of Miami Division of Continuing Medical Education and the Miller School of Medicine Department of Neurology will host the Neurology Update & Stroke Intensive 2016 conference, January 28-30 at the Alexander Hotel on Miami Beach.

The course is designed to provide clinicians with the most recent developments in the diagnosis and management of neurologic disorders, including stroke. It will cover the latest advances in the different fields of neurology and neuroscience, including epilepsy, sleep disorders, multiple sclerosis, movement disorders and neuromuscular diseases, all of which are critical in solving clinical problems, diagnosing and treating patients and improving the quality of patient care.

Read more about the conference »

Upcoming SBIR/STTR Workshops Can Steer You Toward Millions in Research and Development Funding

Each year, the federal Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs award billions in non-dilutive grant funding to advance and commercialize game-changing technologies. The process of getting funded by these highly competitive federal programs is complex and requires strategic proposals. The impact, however, of receiving millions in high-risk research and development funding is worth the effort.

On February 9 and 10, SBIR/STTR expert Lisa Kurek of BBC Entrepreneurial Training & Consulting will lead two workshops at the University of Miami focusing on program eligibility, selecting the right agency and key components of a competitive proposal. She will also be available for individual consultations, offering tailored guidance to interested attendees.

Read more about the funding workshops »

End-of-Life Conversations: The Essentials, February 27

The University of Miami Division of Continuing Medical Education, Dade County Medical Association, Florida International University, and Geriatric Research Education and Clinical Centers will be hosting the first End-of-Life Conversations: The Essentials 2016 event on Saturday, February 27, at the University of Miami Hospital, Seminar Center A & B.

The conversation about advance care planning presents one of the most difficult challenges a physician encounters when caring for a chronically ill, frail elderly, or dying patient. Getting it right can be difficult, especially if this conversation is to be performed skillfully and empathetically. Being a better communicator about death and dying should be seen as a necessary challenge, one that bedevils even the most capable of physicians. Yet it is a challenge caring physicians will want to meet.

Read more about the conference »

Sign Up Now for Holistic Holiday at Sea 2016

Sign up now for Holistic Holiday at Sea 2016 and earn CMEs/CEUs while you enjoy the world’s largest, most comprehensive health and wellness program ever held on a ship at sea. Produced by the University of Miami’s Integrative and Complementary Academic Medicine Programs (iCamp), Holistic Holiday at Sea takes place from February 27 to March 5, 2016, aboard the MSC Divina.

The CME/CEU program features renowned speakers who will cover evidence-based research and its applications in modern clinical medicine. Topics will include cardiovascular disease, cancer prevention, diabetes, the function of the retina, what current research says about GMO foods and our health, nutritional supplementation, the gut-brain axis, and much more. Of the 135 classes offered, up to 40.75 CEU hours and 37.75 CME hours are obtainable.

For more information on the Holistic Holiday at Sea CME/CEU Program, click here or call 305-243-4751. For more information on first booking your cruise, click here.

Therapeutic Hypothermia and Temperature Management: Current and Future, March 3-4

Register now for the 6th Annual Therapeutic Hypothermia and Temperature Management: Current and Future conference, to be held March 3-4 at the Miami Marriott Biscayne Bay by the University of Miami Division of Continuing Medical Education.

The importance of temperature management and therapeutic hypothermia has been a subject of ongoing experimental and clinical investigations in different fields of patient care. While mild to moderate levels of hypothermia protect and promote functional outcome in experimental and clinical studies, mild levels of hyperthermia may worsen outcome in some patient populations. Although there has been some success in translating positive results from the bench to the bedside, there is a need to continue to discuss with leading thought leaders when therapeutic hypothermia may be most appropriate to utilize in a patient population and under what conditions temperature management would be recommended.

Read more about the conference »

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 »

Get Greener, Healthier and Richer by Walking (to the Trash Bin) More

Green U and HR Benefits have teamed up to provide a healthier, greener way to start the new year and earn 50 points in the Well ’Canes Incentive Program. To qualify, office teams need to sign up for the Green Office Certification Program and give up their desk trash cans, throwing their non-recyclable garbage in a communal trash bin. As research shows, employees who keep only recycle bins at their workstations not only walk more, but also significantly increase single-stream recycling in the workplace. To apply, visit the Green Office program or contact .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).