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

Up Front

Berg President Niven R. Narain and Dean Pascal J. Goldschmidt, M.D., sign research partnership agreement. In back row, from left, David Seo, M.D., associate professor and Chief Medical Informatics Officer; Gary Beecham, Ph.D., assistant professor and Director, Division of Research Informatics; Suzanne Liv Page, J.D., Director, Office of Research Administration; Sylvia Daunert, Ph.D., Pharm.D., M.S., Professor and Lucille P. Markey Chair, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology; James O’Connell, Director, Office of Technology Transfer; Sapna Deo, Ph.D., associate professor, biochemistry and molecular biology; Joaquin J. Jimenez, M.D., research associate professor, dermatology and cutaneous surgery, and biochemistry and molecular biology.

Berg President Niven R. Narain and Dean Pascal J. Goldschmidt, M.D., sign research partnership agreement. In back row, from left, David Seo, M.D., associate professor and Chief Medical Informatics Officer; Gary Beecham, Ph.D., assistant professor and Director, Division of Research Informatics; Suzanne Liv Page, J.D., Director, Office of Research Administration; Sylvia Daunert, Ph.D., Pharm.D., M.S., Professor and Lucille P. Markey Chair, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology; James O’Connell, Director, Office of Technology Transfer; Sapna Deo, Ph.D., associate professor, biochemistry and molecular biology; Joaquin J. Jimenez, M.D., research associate professor, dermatology and cutaneous surgery, and biochemistry and molecular biology.

Miller School Signs Agreement for Drug Discovery Partnership

The Miller School and Berg, a Boston-based biopharmaceutical company, have entered into a collaborative research and development agreement to share research and data while seeding critical projects in the areas of cancer, metabolic diseases and diseases of the central nervous system.

Berg, co-founded by Niven R. Narain, who previously was the School’s Director of Transdermal Delivery/Cutaneous Cancer Research in the Department of Dermatology and Cutaneous Surgery, has already funded more than $10 million in research grants over the past 10 years. This formalized partnership is expected to increase that value even further and accelerate Miami’s standing as an emerging hub for biotechnology.

Read more about the research partnership »

More News

UM Trustee Paul J. DiMare celebrates the unveiling of the da Vinci Xi Surgical System at University of Miami Hospital, with Dipen Parekh, M.D., patient Keith McKerrow, and his business associate and partner, Donald Rabideau.

UM Trustee Paul J. DiMare celebrates the unveiling of the da Vinci Xi Surgical System at University of Miami Hospital, with Dipen Parekh, M.D., patient Keith McKerrow, and his business associate and partner, Donald Rabideau.

UHealth is the First Academic Medical Center to Use New da Vinci Surgical System

Building on its growing reputation as a leader in the use of breakthrough technology, UHealth – University of Miami Health System has become the first academic medical center in the world to use the new da Vinci® Xi™ Surgical System. The procedure, a prostatectomy, was performed by Dipen Parekh, M.D., professor and chairman of urology and Director of Robotic Surgery, at University of Miami Hospital, the flagship hospital of UHealth, and is one of the surgical options available to patients at the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Read more about the da Vinci® Xi™ at UMH »

Department of Physiology and Biophysics researchers are, from left, H. Peter Larsson, Ph.D., Marta E. Perez, Feng Qiu, Ph.D., Xiaoyu Wang, and Rene Barro-Soria, Ph.D.

Department of Physiology and Biophysics researchers are, from left, H. Peter Larsson, Ph.D., Marta E. Perez, Feng Qiu, Ph.D., Xiaoyu Wang, and Rene Barro-Soria, Ph.D.

Study Will Boost Therapeutic Options for Patients with Cardiac Arrhythmias

H. Peter Larsson, Ph. D., associate professor of physiology and biophysics, led a study published in the April issue of Nature Communications that brings researchers one step closer to understanding the mechanism behind cardiac arrhythmias caused by mutations in the IKs channel, a physiologically important potassium channel critical in controlling the heart’s electrical activity.

“Understanding IKs channel functioning will lead to better treatments of life-threatening cardiac arrhythmias,” said Larsson, who is senior author.

Read more about the study »

Michal Toborek, M.D., Ph.D.

Michal Toborek, M.D., Ph.D.

Multidisciplinary Researcher-Physician Earns Society’s Highest Honor

Michal Toborek, M.D., Ph.D., Leonard M. Miller Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, received the Wybran Award at the Society of NeuroImmune Pharmacology’s 20th annual meeting in New Orleans. The highest honor bestowed by the Society, the award recognizes Toborek for his scientific contributions that have preserved and expanded the field of neuroimmune pharmacology.

“I am deeply honored to receive the award named after such a great person, citizen, and researcher as Dr. Wybran was, and to add my name to a distinguished list of previous awardees,” said Toborek, who is also Vice Chair for Research. “I am deeply grateful to my mentors and to all my students and postdoctoral fellows, whose tireless work generated the foundation for this award. This recognition will further motivate me to excel in research in the field of neuroimmunology.”

Read more about Dr. Toborek »

John E. Lewis, Ph.D.

John E. Lewis, Ph.D.

Study Finds Dietary Supplement Improves Cognitive Functioning in Alzheimer’s Patients

When Rina Torres was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in her 70s, she gradually lost her ability to communicate or recognize family members. Then she joined a University of Miami Miller School of Medicine study to test if a dietary supplement, aloe polymannose multinutrient complex (APMC), might improve her mental condition.

Rina’s grandson, Lisandro Sierra, a doctor from eastern Cuba, who enrolled her in the study, admitted he was very skeptical. That is until he saw his grandmother “move from darkness to the light. She became more aware of her surroundings, asked for water when she was thirsty, and went to the bathroom by herself,” said Sierra. “It was like a touch of magic.” Torres’ dramatic improvement lasted until her death in 2012 at the age of 84.

Torres was far from the only Alzheimer’s patient to benefit from APMC, made with aloe vera powder containing a minimum of 15 percent poly acetyl mannose (BiAloe®), according to John E. Lewis, Ph.D., associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, who led the team of Miller School and Miami Jewish Health Systems researchers.

Read more about the study »

Roberta Brambilla, Ph.D.

Roberta Brambilla, Ph.D.

Researcher Receives NIH Grant to Explore Possible MS Therapy

Roberta Brambilla, Ph.D., research assistant professor at The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis, has received a two-year, $418,000 grant from the National Institutes of Health to explore the modulation of tumor necrosis factor receptor 2 (TNFR2), one of the receptors activated by tumor necrosis factor, as a possible new target for multiple sclerosis therapy.

Multiple sclerosis is a neurological disease characterized by inflammation and damage to the myelin, the substance that envelops the nerve fibers in the central nervous system. “This slows the conduction of nerve impulses, causing symptoms such as muscle weakness, numbness, pain and vision loss,” said Brambilla. “Suppressing inflammation, protecting myelin integrity and promoting remyelination are paramount in MS therapy.”

Read more about the research »

Dressed as minions based on the movie <em>Despicable Me</em>, lab directors and staff performed “Labby,” a scientific rendition of the Pharrell Williams song “Happy.”

Dressed as minions based on the movie Despicable Me, lab directors and staff performed “Labby,” a scientific rendition of the Pharrell Williams song “Happy.”

Department of Pathology Celebrates National Medical Laboratory Professionals Week

The Department of Pathology celebrated National Medical Laboratory Professionals Week April 20-26 in honor of its more than 300 laboratory professionals, whose contributions are pivotal in determining patient diagnoses.

Throughout the week, laboratory professionals enjoyed celebratory lunches and other activities leading up to an April 23 reception in University of Miami Hospital’s Seminar Center, where members of the department’s 11 laboratories throughout UHealth converged for a festive lab coat decorating contest, a special live performance and games.

Richard J. Cote, M.D., professor and the Joseph R. Coulter, Jr. Endowed Chair in Pathology, kicked off the reception by thanking staff for their dedication.

Read more about Laboratory Professionals Week »

The UHealth Sports Medicine team provided first aid support.

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The UHealth Sports Medicine team provided first aid support.

UHealth Sports Medicine Sets Pace at 2014 Corporate Run/Walk

More than 1,000 UM faculty, staff, alumni and guests participated in the 2014 Mercedes-Benz Corporate Run/Walk on April 24. UHealth Sports Medicine was the official first aid provider for the event. Medical personnel from University of Miami Hospital manned the first aid tent to ensure that the more than 25,000 runners received prompt medical attention for any blisters, scrapes or bruises. UHealth Sports Medicine also had a sponsor tent at the event, where giveaways and promotional material were distributed.

Ralph Sacco, M.D., M.S., was one of four faculty members who spoke at the symposium.

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Ralph Sacco, M.D., M.S., was one of four faculty members who spoke at the symposium.

Fit Friendly Symposium Discusses Healthy Work Environments

More than 50 corporate leaders joined UHealth and the American Heart Association at the 2014 Miami and Broward Fit Friendly Symposium, held at the UHealth Fitness and Wellness Center on April 22. The purpose of the panel event was to share health data and exchange tips for creating healthy work environments.

Welcoming the group was Steven Falcone, M.D., M.B.A., Executive Dean for Clinical Affairs and CEO, UHealth Clinical Practice, Associate Vice President for Medical Affairs, and professor of radiology, neurological surgery and ophthalmology.

Facilitating the panel discussion was Ralph Sacco, M.D., M.S., professor and Olemberg Chair of Neurology, and past National President of the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association.

Read more about the symposium »

Come to an Open Forum with Joe Natoli

Learn about the current business strategy for the Miller School and UHealth, as well as key initiatives driving change at the University, in an open discussion led by Joe Natoli, Interim Chief Operating Officer of the Miller School and UHealth and Senior Vice President for Business and Finance and Chief Financial Officer.

The next forum will be at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, June 4, in the Gordon Center for Research in Medical Education, Broad-Bussel Auditorium, located on the first floor of the Clinical Research Building. Additional sessions for satellite locations have been added. Click here to register and view additional dates and locations.

World Immunization Week is April 24-30: “Know, Check, Protect, Prevent”

Are your patients up-to-date on their immunizations? UHealth and the University of Miami Medical Group are partnering with the World Health Organization during its World Immunization Week Campaign: “Know, Check Protect, Prevent,” to promote one of the world’s most powerful tools for health – the use of vaccines to protect people of all ages against disease.

Immunization is widely recognized as one of the most successful and cost-effective health interventions ever introduced, preventing an estimated two to three million deaths worldwide every year.

Read more about World Immunization Week »

M.D./M.P.H. students and staff complete one minute of chest compressions during a hands-only CPR information session during National Public Health Week at the University of Miami.

M.D./M.P.H. students and staff complete one minute of chest compressions during a hands-only CPR information session during National Public Health Week at the University of Miami.

Public Health Student Association Promotes Public Health Awareness at the U

The Public Health Student Association (PHSA), in partnership with the American Public Health Association, celebrated National Public Health Week April 7-13, as part of the University of Miami’s Week of Well-Being.

PHSA, with support from several campus organizations, including UHealth Wellness, the Diabetes Research Institute, UPolice and UEmergency, hosted five days of events focused on five daily themes — prevention, maternal and child health, eating well, emergency preparedness and becoming the healthiest nation in one generation. With activities happening on both the Medical and Coral Gables campuses, PHSA was able to reach a large portion of the University of Miami community.

Read more about Public Health Week at UM »

Office of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs Has a New Home

The Office of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs has moved. It is now located in the Rosenstiel Medical Science Building (RMSB), Suite 1130, at 1600 NW 10th Avenue. The new telephone number is 305-243-7156.

Medical Compliance Services

Office of Billing Compliance to Host Education Program

The Office of Billing Compliance will be providing education on professional coding, billing and documentation guidelines this week.

The program is intended for:

  • Faculty physicians
  • Fellows
  • Residents
  • Non-physician practitioners, such as ARNPS, PAs, CRNAs
  • Technicians
  • Scribes
  • Administrators
  • Billing staff, including coders

View the schedule »