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

Up Front

Richard J. Cote, M.D.

Richard J. Cote, M.D.

Macdonald Foundation Gift Creates Collaborative Institute in Biomedical Nanotechnology

Propelled by a transformative gift from a longtime contributor, the University of Miami announced on March 27 the creation of the Dr. John T. Macdonald Foundation Biomedical Nanotechnology Institute, a collaboration of key scientific disciplines that will harness the field of nanotechnology for clinical applications.

The Dr. John T. Macdonald Foundation, a steadfast champion of varied initiatives at the Miller School, has expanded its remarkable support of the University with a Momentum2 leadership gift of $7.5 million to name the collaborative Biomedical Nanotechnology Institute at the University of Miami (BioNIUM).

Read more about the nanotechnology institute »

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John G. Clarkson, M.D.

John G. Clarkson, M.D.

John G. Clarkson, M.D., Receives National Physician of the Year Lifetime Achievement Award

The Miller School’s John G. Clarkson, M.D., dean emeritus and professor of ophthalmology, is the recipient of the 2012 National Physician of the Year Lifetime Achievement Award conferred by the publishers of America’s Top Doctors.

The award, presented at the seventh annual Castle Connolly Medical Ltd. National Physician of the Year Awards ceremony in New York City on March 26, recognizes Clarkson for his lifelong dedication to research and practice in the field of ophthalmology.

Clarkson, whose many achievements were highlighted in a video shown at the ceremony, said he was both surprised and humbled by his selection.

Read more and watch a video about Dr. Clarkson »

From left are Roya Pedram Fatemi, Marco Magistri, Ph.D., Claes Wahlestedt, MD., Ph.D., Mohammad Ali Faghihi, M.D., Ph.D., Shaun Brothers, Ph.D., and Farzaneh Modarresi, M.D.

From left are Roya Pedram Fatemi, Marco Magistri, Ph.D., Claes Wahlestedt, MD., Ph.D., Mohammad Ali Faghihi, M.D., Ph.D., Shaun Brothers, Ph.D., and Farzaneh Modarresi, M.D.

Study Reports Novel Drug Technology That Boosts Therapeutic Proteins

A Miller School-led research team has created a groundbreaking drug technology platform that enables the body to increase its protein levels, a novel invention that potentially could usher in treatment for a wide variety of serious diseases resulting from a lack of specific proteins.

Published online March 25 in Nature Biotechnology, the study, “Inhibition of natural antisense transcripts in vivo results in gene-specific transcriptional upregulation,” was led by Claes Wahlestedt, M.D., Ph.D., professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences and associate dean for therapeutic innovation, who is widely known for his research in epigenetics and novel drug therapies to treat diseases such as autism, Alzheimer’s, schizophrenia, depression, addiction, Parkinson’s and cancer. Mohammad Ali Faghihi, M.D., Ph.D., research assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, spearheaded the study with Wahlestedt.

Read more about the study »

Masayuki Fukata, Ph.D.

Masayuki Fukata, Ph.D.

Study Suggests New Treatment for Bacterial GI Infections

A new Miller School laboratory study of the cellular signaling pathways in the body’s immune system response could lead to better treatment strategies against cholera, salmonella and other dangerous Gram-negative bacterial infections in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract.

“Our results demonstrate a previously unknown role of the pathway that recognizes these pathogens and stimulates the immune response,” said Masayuki Fukata, Ph.D., assistant professor of medicine in the Division of Gastroenterology, and the study’s senior author. “Our results provide an important way to activate the body’s innate immune response without causing systemic toxicity. We envision that targeting this pathway can be a new approach to treating patients within a window of infection.”

Read more about the findings »

Marjana Tomic-Canic, Ph.D., discusses wound healing at her NIH lecture.

Marjana Tomic-Canic, Ph.D., discusses wound healing at her NIH lecture.

Marjana Tomic-Canic, Ph.D., Presents NIH’s Weekly Lecture

The Miller School’s Marjana Tomic-Canic, Ph.D., professor of dermatology and cutaneous surgery and director of the Wound Healing and Regenerative Medicine Research Program, presented a lecture on March 7 on wound healing for the NIH director’s prestigious Wednesday Afternoon Lecture Series, which features scientific talks by some of the world’s top biomedical sciences researchers.

Nominated for the honor by the National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR), Tomic-Canic was introduced at NIH headquarters in Bethesda, Maryland, by NINR Director Patricia Grady, R.N., Ph.D., who noted Tomic-Canic is a long-time NIH grantee who has made significant discoveries in the basic science of wound healing and is on the forefront of translating them to clinical use.

Read more about the lecture »

Bill Donelan thanks his UHealth colleagues for their tribute.

Bill Donelan thanks his UHealth colleagues for their tribute.

LDI Session Places Focus on the Patient Experience

Following the theme “The Year of the Patient Experience,” Dean Pascal J. Goldschmidt, M.D., kicked off the 15th session of the Leadership Development Institute by recounting a recent encounter with Quint Studer, the well-known health care consultant who helped UHealth-University of Miami Health System launch its patient-centered initiative UCare.

At the meeting, Studer gave the Dean a copy of his latest book, “The Great Employee Handbook: Making Work and Life Better,” in which he had inscribed, “You are making work and life better.”

Read more about the LDI session »

From left, Ryan Labbe, his wife Trine Engebretsen, and Andreas Tzakis, M.D., Ph.D., at the Miami Transplant Institute's Third Annual Humanitarian Award Celebration.

From left, Ryan Labbe, his wife Trine Engebretsen, and Andreas Tzakis, M.D., Ph.D., at the Miami Transplant Institute's Third Annual Humanitarian Award Celebration.

Miami Transplant Institute Honors Philanthropists with Humanitarian Award

More than 375 guests attended the Third Annual Humanitarian Award Celebration benefiting the Miami Transplant Institute at the Miller School on March 17. The event, held at the JW Marriott Marquis Miami, raised more than $400,000 and gathered supporters from the business and social community to honor those who have donated $1 million or more to the Miami Transplant Institute to fund research in organ transplantation.

Receiving the Humanitarian Award this year were Linda and Phil Corey, Judith and Robert Cornfeld, D.D.S., and Norman Millstein. The Humanitarian Award was established to recognize individuals who have demonstrated exceptional generosity, volunteerism and leadership. Past recipients include former Miami Heat All Star Alonzo Mourning and R. Kirk Landon, a community philanthropist.

Read more about the celebration »

Eduardo Alfonso, M.D., left, and Terrence O’Brien, M.D., toast Bascom Palmer’s 50th anniversary.

Eduardo Alfonso, M.D., left, and Terrence O’Brien, M.D., toast Bascom Palmer’s 50th anniversary.

Bascom Palmer Celebrates 50 Years of Excellence

Hundreds of guests attended Bascom Palmer Eye Institute’s 50th anniversary gala on March 10 at The Breakers Hotel in Palm Beach, where they celebrated the Evening of Vision theme.

Before a night of socializing, dining and dancing, Bascom Palmer Director Eduardo C. Alfonso, M.D., who is also professor and chair of ophthalmology, highlighted the institute’s impressive history, crediting founding chairman Edward W.D. Norton, M.D., for establishing the institute’s ongoing dedication to superior patient care, innovative vision research, and outstanding education and training programs.

Read more about Bascom Palmer's 50th anniversary gala »

Paul Farmer, M.D., Ph.D., delivers the symposium keynote address.

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Paul Farmer, M.D., Ph.D., delivers the symposium keynote address.

Paul Farmer, M.D., Ph.D., Delivers Keynote Address at Annual M.D./Ph.D. Student Research Symposium

Paul Farmer, M.D., Ph.D., the noted medical anthropologist, physician and author who has pioneered strategies that bring quality health care to resource-poor settings, delivered the keynote address at the Miller School’s 4th annual M.D./Ph.D. Student Research Symposium this month.

In his March 16 talk, “Community-based care for infectious disease and the future of antibiotic resistance,” Farmer, who is chair of global health and social medicine at Harvard Medical School, discussed his work in Rwanda and Haiti, where he is a United Nations deputy special envoy under Special Envoy and former President Bill Clinton.

Read more and watch the video »

Family Weekend with the Miami Marlins Set for April 27-29

In appreciation of the dedication and outstanding work of its employees, the University of Miami will host Family Weekend with the Miami Marlins on Friday, April 27; Saturday, April 28; and Sunday, April 29, at the new 37,000-seat Marlins Park in Little Havana. Playing in new uniforms and new digs, the Marlins will take on the National League West Champion Arizona Diamondbacks at 7:10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and 1:10 p.m. on Sunday.

Ticket distribution on the medical campus is scheduled for Friday, March 30, and Tuesday, April 10.

View ticket distribution dates »

Office of Technology Transfer Renamed Intellectual Property Strategy and Licensing

The Office of Technology Transfer has been renamed Intellectual Property Strategy and Licensing. The office will continue its long history of assisting University of Miami investigators in taking their unique research discoveries from the laboratory to the market, by protecting University-generated innovations, commercializing innovations through academic-industry partnerships, negotiating licensing, confidentiallity and material transfer agreements, and launching start-up ventures.

The office is still located on the 12th Floor of Dominion Tower in suite 1200, and all telephone and fax numbers are the same. For questions or more information on services, contact Sharon Starkes at 305-243-5689 or sstarkes@med.miami.edu.

An Approved UM Vendor, UPS Store at Life Science Park Offers Discounts

The new UPS Store on the first floor of the University of Miami Life Science & Technology Park is now an approved University of Miami vendor, which means every unit, department or center at the Miller School and UHealth can take advantage of the discounts and promotions the store offers to the University. All UM employees and students are also eligible for the discounts.

Read more about the UPS Store »