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

Up Front

From left, Adina Zeki Al Hazzouri, Ph.D., with Tali Elfassy, M.S.P.H.

From left, Adina Zeki Al Hazzouri, Ph.D., with Tali Elfassy, M.S.P.H.

Researchers’ Innovative Study Links Sustained Poverty to Worse Cognitive Function in Midlife

Sustained exposure to economic hardship over two decades was strongly associated with worse cognitive function in relatively young individuals, according to a recent study led by Adina Zeki Al Hazzouri, Ph.D., assistant professor of Epidemiology in the Department of Public Health Sciences at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.

Zeki Al Hazzouri, Ph.D., was lead author of the article, “Sustained Economic Hardship and Cognitive Function: The Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) Study,” published recently in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. Her Miller School co-author was Tali Elfassy, M.S.P.H., a Ph.D. candidate in Epidemiology. The study’s co-authors are Stephen Sidney, M.D., M.P.H., of Kaiser Permanente in Oakland, Calif.; David Jacobs, Ph.D., of the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis; Eliseo J. Perez Stable, M.D., of the National Institute of Minority Health and Health Disparities in Bethesda, and Kristine Yaffe, M.D., from the University of California San Francisco.

Read more about the research findings »

More News

Barry I. Hudson, Ph.D.

Barry I. Hudson, Ph.D.

Sylvester Researchers Identify Receptor to Slow Breast Cancer Metastasis

In a research study published in the journal Oncogene, scientists from Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine showed that by therapeutically targeting the receptor for advanced glycation end-products (RAGE) in breast cancer cells, they decreased tumor growth, reduced tumor angiogenesis and recruitment of inflammatory cells, and dramatically decreased metastasis to the lung and the liver.

“RAGE is highly expressed in various cancers and is correlated with poorer outcome in breast and other cancers,” said Barry I. Hudson, Ph.D., cancer researcher at Sylvester, assistant professor of medicine at the Miller School, and corresponding author of the study. “In this study, we tested the role of targeting RAGE by multiple approaches in the tumor and tumor microenvironment, to inhibit the metastatic process.”

Read more about the research findings »

Dipen J. Parekh, M.D.

Dipen J. Parekh, M.D.

Dr. Dipen Parekh Live Streams Three Robotic Cancer Surgeries on Two Continents in 24 Hours

Dipen J. Parekh, M.D., one of the world’s most experienced surgeons for robotic-assisted urologic oncology, and a physician at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, part of UHealth – the University of Miami Health System, recently demonstrated the benefits of these advanced procedures on two continents in 24 hours.

First, Parekh completed two procedures at University of Miami Hospital that were video streamed live to more than 200 physicians attending a two-day conference, “Controversies in Urological Surgical Oncology,” in Turin, Italy. Immediately afterwards, he flew to Italy to conduct a third live video streamed procedure at Aula Magna Molinette Hospital in Turin.

Read more about Dr. Parekh's surgical demonstrations »

Jaime R. Merchan, M.D.

Jaime R. Merchan, M.D.

First Patient in New Metastatic Cancer Clinical Trial Enrolled at Sylvester

Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, together with Tocagen Inc., a clinical-stage, cancer-selective immunotherapy company, recently enrolled the first patient in a new Phase 1 clinical trial for metastatic cancers. The study is enrolling patients with colorectal cancer that has spread to the liver; brain metastases from non-small cell lung cancer or breast cancers; metastatic renal cell carcinoma; locally advanced or metastatic pancreatic cancer: and locally advanced or recurrent melanoma.

“The Holy Grail for cancer treatment would be a universal therapy that could destroy tumor cells while leaving healthy cells unharmed,” said Jaime R. Merchan, M.D., oncologist at Sylvester, associate professor of medicine at the Miller School, and the principal investigator of the study.

Read more about the new clinical trial »

From left, Roy E. Weiss, M.D., Ph.D., with Romero Britto.

From left, Roy E. Weiss, M.D., Ph.D., with Romero Britto.

Romero Britto Unveils Colorful ‘Thyroid’ at Department of Medicine Reception

With the pull of a black drape, internationally renowned artist Romero Britto unveiled his gratitude to the Department of Medicine at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine with a colorful tribute to a vital part of the human body. The painting called “Thyroid” was introduced at a reception September 16 at Britto’s newest gallery on Lincoln Road in Miami Beach.

The artist’s vision of the thyroid was meant to educate and inspire others about one of the most important aspects of health.

Read more about Romero Britto's new painting »

Lina Shehadeh, Ph.D.

Lina Shehadeh, Ph.D.

Miller School Cardiology Researcher Receives Federal Grant to Study Signaling in Heart Failure

A cardiology researcher at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine has been awarded a $400,000 high-priority grant from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) of the National Institutes of Health to study cardiac signaling in heart failure.

“Heart failure is the common end-stage for cardiac disease,” said Lina Shehadeh, Ph.D., assistant professor of medicine, Division of Cardiology, and investigator in the Miller School’s Interdisciplinary Stem Cell Institute. “Despite longstanding research into the basic mechanisms involved in the weakening and remodeling of the heart’s muscular tissues, current therapies remain inadequate, with a five-year mortality rate at 50 percent.”

Read more about the research grant »

Employees of the first UHealth Jackson Urgent Care center attend the ribbon-cutting ceremony at the Country Walk location, led by Robert Schwartz, M.D., professor and chair of family medicine at the Miller School; Jackson CEO Carlos Migoya; Steven Falcone, M.D., M.B.A., CEO of UHealth Clinical Practice; Miami-Dade Commissioner Daniella Levine Cava; Thinh Tran, M.D., M.B.A., and Alberto Jacir, M.D., M.B.A.

Employees of the first UHealth Jackson Urgent Care center attend the ribbon-cutting ceremony at the Country Walk location, led by Robert Schwartz, M.D., professor and chair of family medicine at the Miller School; Jackson CEO Carlos Migoya; Steven Falcone, M.D., M.B.A., CEO of UHealth Clinical Practice; Miami-Dade Commissioner Daniella Levine Cava; Thinh Tran, M.D., M.B.A., and Alberto Jacir, M.D., M.B.A.

UHealth and Jackson Open Urgent Care Center

The University of Miami Health System and Jackson Health System ushered in a new chapter in their decades-long health care collaboration, opening the UHealth Jackson Urgent Care center, a new facility in Country Walk in southwest Miami-Dade. The center, located in a shopping center at 13707 S.W. 152nd Street, just west of Zoo Miami, is the first of what will be six UHealth Jackson Urgent Care centers conveniently located throughout Miami-Dade County.

At a ribbon-cutting ceremony opening the center September 19, UHealth Chief Clinical Officer and Chief Operating Officer Thinh Tran, M.D., M.B.A., said the opening heralds a new era in the UHealth Jackson partnership. “UHealth is proud and committed to working with Jackson to bring our excellence in health care to more people in our community.”

Read more about the new urgent care center »

Michael Weinstein, left, and Steven M. Altschuler, M.D.

View Photo Gallery »

Michael Weinstein, left, and Steven M. Altschuler, M.D.

UM Public Health Sciences and AIDS Healthcare Foundation to Launch Policy Research Initiative

To fulfill a critical need in global health policy research and advocacy, the University of Miami and the AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) have signed a memorandum of understanding to take the first steps toward establishing a policy research initiative. The special agreement will allow experts at UM’s Department of Public Health Sciences to further the scientific knowledge of global health policy in areas of HIV/AIDS, Zika and other hemispheric emerging public health threats.

The memorandum of understanding was signed at a special ceremony on Tuesday, September 27.

Read more about the policy research initiative »

A model for patient care in the future, The Lennar Foundation Medical Center has been carefully designed to meet the needs of patients, their families and staff.

A model for patient care in the future, The Lennar Foundation Medical Center has been carefully designed to meet the needs of patients, their families and staff.

Offering State-of-the-Art Cancer Care

Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, part of UHealth – the University of Miami Health System, is bringing its state-of-the-art multidisciplinary care to the Coral Gables campus. Its sixth satellite facility will be a core component of The Lennar Foundation Medical Center, which opens in December.

“We will offer the same exceptional level of multidisciplinary care that we provide at our main center,” said Stephen D. Nimer, M.D., Director of Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center. “As one of 11 members of the nationwide Alliance of Dedicated Cancer Centers, we are committed to delivering leading-edge diagnostic and treatment services, including clinical research, at our new location.”

Read more about Sylvester at the Lennar Foundation Medical Center »

Jamie S. Barkin, M.D.

Jamie S. Barkin, M.D.

National Pancreas Foundation Recognizes Excellence of Sylvester’s Pancreas Center

The National Pancreas Foundation (NPF) has designated the Pancreas Center at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine as one of 28 NPF centers nationwide for treatment and care for patients with pancreatic cancer.

“This prestigious designation reflects our commitment to delivering high-quality care, advanced research and community education and outreach,” said Jamie S. Barkin, M.D., a pancreatic cancer expert at Sylvester, professor of medicine and Medical Director of the Pancreas Center. This is the center’s second designation from the NPF, which has also recognized UHealth – the University of Miami Health System as a national center for treating patients with pancreatic disease.

Read more about the Pancreas Center's recognition »

Sara J. Czaja, Ph.D.

Sara J. Czaja, Ph.D.

Researcher Receives Two NIH Grants to Study Tablet-Based Intervention Programs for Older Adults

Sara J. Czaja, Ph.D., Leonard M. Miller Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, and Director of the Center on Aging at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, has been awarded two five-year grants totaling $6.5 million by the National Institutes of Health to study tablet-based intervention programs for seniors.

Czaja’s first new NIH grant, “A non-pharmacological intervention for patients with Alzheimer’s disease and family caregivers,” will provide $3.26 million to develop and test the feasibility of a dyadic-based intervention program, delivered through state-of-the art tablet technology, that examines the relationship between the caregiver and recipient.

Read more about Dr. Czaja's grants »

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

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

HDAC Inhibitors Show Promise against Cancer Stem Cells

A group of researchers, led by scientists at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, has shown that histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitors have the potential to eliminate stubborn reservoirs of breast and ovarian cancer stem cells (CSCs). These stem cells help tumors resist standard treatments and play a significant role in metastasis and relapse. The study, published in the journal Oncogene, also highlights a genetically engineered cell line that makes it easier to study CSCs and could help researchers make further breakthroughs.

“The best way to understand something is to build it,” said Tan A. Ince, M.D., Ph.D., scientific director of Sylvester’s Live Tumor Culture Core and Tissue Bank Core Facility, associate professor of pathology at the Miller School, and lead author on the paper. “We have created a cell line that mimics cancer stem cells, and by studying them we have identified two leukemia-targeting drugs that could be used to treat breast and ovarian cancers.”

Read more about the research findings »

UHealth Fitness & Wellness Center Kicks Off 10th Anniversary Celebration

The UHealth Fitness & Wellness Center is kicking off its 10th anniversary celebration this week, with a month-long series of giveaways, fitness challenges, workshops and seminars.

“Throughout the decade, we have collaborated with numerous researchers, physicians, and clinicians to weave the UHealth Fitness & Wellness Center into the fabric of the University of Miami Health System,” said Scott R. Levin, executive director of the Department of Wellness and Recreation. “Through our holistic approach to fitness and wellness, our facility is at the forefront of the ‘exercise as medicine’ movement taking hold across the country.”

Read more about the UHealth Fitness & Wellness Center »

Nancy Fawcett, M.D.

Nancy Fawcett, M.D.

Miller School of Medicine Icon Dr. Nancy Fawcett Dies

The University of Miami Miller School of Medicine lost a legend on September 16 when pediatrician Nancy Fawcett, M.D., died at the age of 85. Fawcett, who spent 52 years caring for children at Holtz Children’s Hospital and was one of the university’s longest tenured professors, was loved by all those she taught or treated. Despite retiring in 2012, she continued to volunteer as a professor emeritus, influencing the lives of those around her.

“Dr. Fawcett beamed light and learning for everyone who knew her. She was warm, inspiring and epitomized humility,” said Judy Schaechter, M.D., M.B.A., Chair of the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Miami Health System. “She was the definition of lifelong learner, forever both a teacher and a student. She role-modeled both. Dr. Fawcett was never one to tell you what you must know without also doing it herself. Even as a senior-level and most respected professor, she pulled out her notebook at every lecture, entering notes of what she heard, even if she knew all the facts. She listened with full attention and posed the smartest of questions, always with a smile.”

Read more about Dr. Fawcett's career »

Lunthita Duthely, Ed.D., M.S.

Lunthita Duthely, Ed.D., M.S.

Miller School Researcher Finds Peace Teaching Meditation

Meditation is not just a pastime for Lunthita Duthely, Ed.D., M.S., an assistant research professor at the Miller School of Medicine. Though the faculty member spends much of her time guiding medical student research and managing HIV/AIDS research databases within the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, her heart also lies with instructing free meditation classes at the UHealth Fitness & Wellness Center on the medical campus and the Patti and Allan Herbert Wellness Center on the Coral Gables campus.

Born in New York City of Haitian descent, Duthely began her undergraduate education at the University of Miami in 1981, studying computer science and chemistry. It was during these formative years that Duthely took her first meditation class at the U.

Read more about the meditation classes »

The Family Fest includes a kids’ bicycle ride.

The Family Fest includes a kids’ bicycle ride.

Kids Can #TackleCancer at Fall Family Fest

Kids and their families are invited to the Second Annual Fall Family Fest for family-friendly activities that are fun and help support cancer research at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.

Register to participate at one of two Family Fest Halloween-themed events — on the Coral Gables campus and at Holiday Park in Fort Lauderdale — on Saturday, October 29, for a day of fun to support the Dolphins Cancer Challenge (DCC). Proceeds go to the DCC, which has raised more than $16 million to advance lifesaving cancer research at Sylvester.

Read more about the Fall Family Fest »

Employees’ Retirement Plan Annual Funding Notice

The Pension Protection Act of 2006 requires the University of Miami to provide an Annual Funding Notice to all participants of the Employees’ Retirement Plan (ERP). The Annual Funding Notice reports the funded status of the ERP for plan years 2015 and 2016, describes how the plan assets are invested, and outlines the benefits that are guaranteed by an agency of the federal government called the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC). This notice is provided for informational purposes only and no action is required on your part.

If you have any questions, please refer to the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) and a Glossary of Terms or email the HR-Benefits team by completing this online form.

Sign Your High Schooler Up Now to Earn College Credit Next Summer

The University’s three-week Summer Scholars Program offers talented high school sophomores and juniors an opportunity to earn college credit in one of 16 academic specialties, learn from renowned UM professors, and experience college life — all before graduation. Students attend classes with their peers, learn time management skills, and explore South Florida on weekend excursions. Residential and commuter options are available.

The Summer Scholars Program runs July 1 through July 21, 2017. Students are encouraged to apply early to reserve space in their preferred program — the early action deadline is December 1. Applications will be accepted until April 25, 2017, or until the program has reached capacity.

Read more about the UM Summer Scholars Program »

Sylvester Introduces Educational Events and Seminars Calendar

Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center’s Office of Education and Training has launched the Educational Events and Seminars Calendar. The calendar is a valuable resource for grand rounds, seminars, lectures, CMEs and other educational events. It is available through the office’s web page and can only be accessed with Cane credentials.

If you would like your event to be posted on the calendar, contact James Nieves at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or 305-243-2287.

National Coming Out Day Activities Begin October 10

October 11 marks the 28th anniversary of the National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights, and is recognized as National Coming Out Day.

One out of every two Americans has someone close to them who is gay or lesbian. For transgender people, that number is one in 10.

In honor of National Coming Out Day, please join MedicOUT and The Office of Diversity & Inclusion as we support our LGBTQ identifying members. All events are free and open to the UM Community.

Read more about National Coming Out Day »

Open Enrollment Begins October 10

Open Enrollment, your annual opportunity to make changes to your ’Canes Total Rewards package, begins Monday, October 10, and will take place in Workday. Unless you make changes in Workday, your current benefits, with the exception of flexible spending account elections, will roll over to 2017. Visit miami.edu/benefits to learn more about new changes, your benefit options, and to download the 2017 ’Canes Total Rewards Guide.

Women’s Cancers in the Americas: Strategies for Synergy, October 5-6

On October 5 (full day) and October 6 (half day), Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center and the Miami Institute for the Americas will hold a conference, “Women’s Cancers in the Americas: Strategies for Synergy,” at the University of Miami’s Braman Miller Center for Jewish Student Life.

The conference will be held in collaboration with the Women and Health Initiative at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Tómatelo a Pecho, and the Unión Latinomericana Contra el Cáncer de la Mujer.

Read more about the conference »

Register Now for Miami Valves 2016, October 6-8

Miami Valves 2016 will be held October 6-8 at the Miami Marriott Biscayne Bay. The conference will showcase the latest systems, techniques and practices to ensure safe and effective transcatheter valve replacement, and is the natural progression of the University of Miami’s Masters in Repair of Structural Heart Disease Conference, which has a long history of professional educational excellence.

The faculty represents some of the foremost experts in the field of structural heart disease therapy. They will utilize interactive presentations, case presentations and symposia to appraise new and upcoming technologies in the management of valvular heart disease to determine their benefit for patients, evaluate the relative advantages and disadvantages of different strategies in complex cases involving valvular disease, and demonstrate how to start a transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) program.

Read more about Miami Valves 2016 »

On October 16, Walk with Team UHealth and Support Suicide Prevention

For the seventh consecutive year, the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine and the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences will support the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention at their annual Out of the Darkness Community Walk. Designed to raise awareness about suicide and suicide prevention while also raising funds for research, the event is an effort to reach people with mental illnesses and those impacted by suicide.

On Sunday, October 16, Team UHealth, led by Charles B. Nemeroff, M.D., Ph.D., Leonard M. Miller Professor and Chair of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, will gather at the University of Miami Coral Gables campus to walk. Nearly 250,000 people will walk in cities across the nation.

Read more about the Out of the Darkness Walk »

Register Now for 2017 Miami Winter Symposium Career Fair

A career fair for Miller School of Medicine graduate and postdoctoral students will take place during the 50th Miami 2017 Winter Symposium, “Diabetes: Today’s Research Tomorrow’s Therapies,” which will be held January 22-25, 2017, at the Hyatt Regency Miami.

The career fair, organized by the Office of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies, is a forum for introducing Ph.D., M.D./Ph.D. and postdoctoral students to representatives from life sciences academia, industry, consulting firms, clinical research, scientific journals, hospitals, and sales and regulatory agencies. It is scheduled for January 23 and 24, 2017, from noon to 3 p.m., also at the Hyatt Regency Miami.

Read more about the career fair »

Executive MBA for Health Care Professionals Class Begins January 6

The School of Business Administration’s next Executive MBA for Health Care Professionals class begins January 6, 2017. Contact Catherine Garrido at 305-284-3710 or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) for more information.

*** Reminder: Submission Deadline for the Next Issue ***

The next issue of e-Update will be published on Tuesday, January 24. The deadline for submissions will be the prior Wednesday, January 18, at noon.