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

Up Front

Member Anne Auguste brightens her day in a body-sculpting class.

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Member Anne Auguste brightens her day in a body-sculpting class.

The UHealth Fitness and Wellness Center: Transforming Lives

At 4:45 a.m., the sun isn’t up yet. Nonetheless, when Michael Montero, first-shift receptionist, and Miguel Figueroa, first-shift wellness instructor, arrive each weekday morning to open the recently renamed UHealth Fitness and Wellness Center, located on the 9th floor of the Clinical Research Building, the same group of guys is already waiting to get in and get started. They come to pump iron, they have been doing it together for years, and this is the most treasured time of their day.

One of them, Leander Horton, Supervisor of Animal Husbandry in the Division of Veterinary Resources, has been a member since the Center opened in October 2006. Now 40, he’s no stranger to exercise, but he says the classes offered by the Center changed his whole approach to fitness and health.

Read more about the UHealth Fitness and Wellness Center »

More News

Dean Pascal J. Goldschmidt, M.D., speaks with medical students about their future.

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Dean Pascal J. Goldschmidt, M.D., speaks with medical students about their future.

Dean Goldschmidt Welcomes Class of 2018

In a changing healthcare climate, tomorrow’s doctors will focus on delivering preventive care to keep their patients healthy, while developing new strategies like regenerative medicine to address acute and chronic conditions, according to Pascal J. Goldschmidt, M.D., Senior Vice President for Medical Affairs and Dean of the Miller School of Medicine.

“I have never been more optimistic about the future of healthcare,” Goldschmidt told the 151 members of the Miller School’s M.D. Class of 2018 at orientation on Monday. Those students join the 48 members of the M.D./M.P.H. Class who began their M.P.H. coursework in June as part of their dual-degree program.

Read more about freshman orientation »

Noam Alperin, Ph.D.

Noam Alperin, Ph.D.

Research Team Improves Identification of Surgical Candidates for Neurological Disorder

A multidisciplinary group of Miller School of Medicine researchers, collaborating with investigators from the University of Munich and the University of Pittsburgh, has identified 10 complementing morphologic and physiologic measurements that better characterize a neurological disorder known as Chiari Malformation Type I (CMI) and are likely to improve identification of appropriate surgical candidates. Findings from their NIH-supported study, “MRI Measures of Posterior Cranial Fossa Morphology and CSF Physiology in Chiari Malformation Type I,” have been published online by the journal Neurosurgery.

Read more about the study »

Gennaro D’Urso, Ph.D.

Gennaro D’Urso, Ph.D.

Researchers Introduce Yeast Augmented Network Analysis—Novel Approach to Identify Drug Targets fo

Research led by Gennaro D’Urso, Ph.D., associate professor of molecular and cellular pharmacology, introduces the Yeast Augmented Network Analysis, a novel genetic approach to identifying new compounds for the treatment of human diseases. The study, funded by the Muscular Dystrophy Association, was featured in F1000Research, an open access journal that offers immediate publication, open peer review and full data sharing.

For the study, “Yeast Augmented Network Analysis (YANA): a new systems approach to identify therapeutic targets for human genetic diseases,” D’Urso and his team considered spinal muscular atrophy, an often fatal disease that destroys the nerves controlling voluntary muscle movement and the number one genetic cause of infant death in the United States.

Read more about the study »

Xue-Ting Luo, Ph.D.

Xue-Ting Luo, Ph.D.

NIH Director Features “Unique Method” Used by UM Neuroscientist

“Fasten your seat belts! We’re going to fly through the brain of a mouse,” wrote NIH Director Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D., in an article highlighting the work of Xue-Ting Luo, Ph.D., post-doctoral research fellow at The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis, and his mentor Kevin Park, Ph.D., assistant professor of neurological surgery.

Collins is clearly impressed by a unique method used by Luo and Park to visualize neurons in an intact brain, which was among the winners of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology’s 2013 BioArt competition. A video posted along with the article gives viewers a rare close-up of the retinal ganglion cells that carry information from the eye to the brain, where light signals are decoded and translated.

Read more about the article »

Alejandro Ayala, M.D., left, and Alex J. Manzano, M.D.

Alejandro Ayala, M.D., left, and Alex J. Manzano, M.D.

Review of Cushing’s Disease Poses New Monitoring Algorithm for Early Detection

To address the need for standardized care of patients with Cushing’s disease, a rare neuroendocrine disorder, Alejandro Ayala, M.D., Interim Chief of the Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism and associate clinical professor of medicine, and former endocrinology fellow Alex J. Manzano, M.D., reviewed the current care and treatment protocols for the devastating disease. Their review, published in the July issue of the Journal of Neuro-Oncology, calls for a systematic algorithm based on clinical experiences and integrated literature.

Cushing’s disease is characterized by chronic hypercortisolism due to a hyperactive adrenocorticotropic hormone-secreting pituitary adenoma. Patients with the disease often develop debilitating sequelae of cardiovascular disease, glucose intolerance and cognitive impairment, underscoring the urgent need for early diagnosis and treatment. Transsphenoidal surgical resection (TSS) is the first line of treatment, but surgical success rates vary widely, and the disease may recur years after remission.

Read more about the review »

Ralph L. Sacco, M.D., M.S.

Ralph L. Sacco, M.D., M.S.

Neck Manipulation May Be Associated with Stroke

Treatments involving neck manipulation may be associated with stroke, though it cannot be said with certainty that neck manipulation causes strokes, according to a new scientific statement published in the American Heart Association’s journal Stroke.

Cervical artery dissection (CD) is a small tear in the layers of artery walls in the neck. It can result in ischemic stroke if a blood clot forms after a trivial or major trauma in the neck and later causes blockage of a blood vessel in the brain. Cervical artery dissection is an important cause of stroke in young and middle-aged adults.

Read more about the scientific statement »

Designer Fan “Franklin” Zhang, a second-year M.F.A. student, works on the award-winning Zoo Rush game.

Designer Fan “Franklin” Zhang, a second-year M.F.A. student, works on the award-winning Zoo Rush game.

Interactive Media’s ‘Zoo Rush’ Wins Good Gaming Award for Raising Sickle Cell Awareness

Collaborating with the Miller School of Medicine’s Department of Public Health Sciences, student game developers in the School of Communication have created Zoo Rush, an award-winning adventure game that aims to increase awareness about sickle cell disease and reduce the stigma often associated with the painful inherited blood disorder that slows blood flow.

Representing the UM team, Zoo Rush developers Ebtissam “Ebby” Wahman and Fan “Franklin” Zhang brought the Silver Award in the Games for Good category back from the 2014 International Serious Play Awards held July 24 at the University of Southern California.

In the game, which can be played on the Web or by download to any Android or iOS device, players take on the role of a zookeeper with sickle cell disease who, on his or her first day on the job, faces a monumental challenge: All the animals escape.

Read more about the game »

Conference Seeks Ways to Eliminate Health Disparities in Genomic Medicine

To formally acknowledge the growing impact of health disparities on genomic medicine translation and to find solutions, the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine and Stanford University School of Medicine will host the third annual “Why We Can’t Wait: Conference to Eliminate Health Disparities in Genomic Medicine.” A group of diverse stakeholders — clinicians, researchers, advocates, public health specialists, ethicists, community members, industry leaders, foundations and legislators — will gather September 4-5 at W Hotel in Washington, D.C., to focus on policy issues related to genomics and health disparities.

“The research, clinical and policy approaches to genomics and health disparities are extremely varied, as are the stakeholders invested in and impacted by them,” said Margaret A. Pericak-Vance, Ph.D., the Dr. John T. Macdonald Foundation Professor of Human Genomics and Director of the John P. Hussman Institute for Human Genomics at the Miller School.

Read more about the conference and register »

Registry Matches UM Investigators with Study Participants

University of Miami investigators now have access to a national database of volunteers for research studies. The Miami Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI) has partnered with ResearchMatch, a unique recruitment tool funded by the National Institutes of Health Clinical and Translational Science Award Program, to connect researchers and potential participants in a convenient way.

ResearchMatch is a free and secure registry composed of more than 62,000 volunteers and 2,059 researchers from 94 institutions. It was created to address the challenges of participant recruitment by having the researcher pair the right volunteer with the right study.

Investigators can use it in two ways: to view aggregate data regarding the registry population or to search for and recruit volunteers.

To have recruiting privileges, a principal investigator and/or authorized recruitment proxy must submit evidence of having an approved IRB study. Beyond that, getting started is easy. Interested investigators should visit www.ResearchMatch.org/researchers and complete the registration process.

Liaisons with the Miami CTSI are available to answer questions regarding ResearchMatch and can be contacted through www.MiamiCTSI.org/researchmatch.

Helena Solo-Gabriele, Ph.D.

Helena Solo-Gabriele, Ph.D.

Faculty and Staff Support the U: Engineer Enhances Environmental—and University—Resources

As a teacher, researcher, role model and donor, Helena Solo-Gabriele, Ph.D., Associate Dean for Research in the College of Engineering, gives back to her alma mater with an eye on the future.

Read her story »

UM Rolling Out New Cloud-Based File Sharing and Storage Solutions for Faculty, Staff and Students

Three cloud-based data storage and file-sharing solutions will be rolled out by University of Miami Information Technology over the next few months. Box, Google Drive, and Microsoft OneDrive will enable faculty, staff and students to easily store and manage content in a secure online environment, as well as share files and collaborate with individuals and teams — at no cost.

Details on when these storage solutions will be available and how to access them will be announced as each is implemented, starting with Box over the next few days.

Read more about the new data storage and file-sharing solutions »

UM Updates SecureCanes Wireless Network

As part of the University of Miami’s initiative to improve wireless connectivity, UMIT has updated the SecureCanes wireless network across all campuses. As a result of this update, the way in which users connect to SecureCanes has been slightly modified.

Users now have to accept the new login authentication presented on their Wi-Fi devices (laptops, smartphones, tablets, etc.) that are used to connect to SecureCanes. The documentation for accepting the new certificate can be viewed here.

If you are having problems connecting to SecureCanes, please contact the UMIT Service Desk at 305-243-5999.

Research News

Research Ethics Consultations: Expanded Intercampus Service

The UM Ethics Programs’ Research Ethics Consultation Service (RECS) is a resource for addressing ethical issues that arise during the development, conduct, analysis, or reporting of research.

RECS consultations are provided without charge to UM faculty, staff and trainees involved in the conduct of research. RECS Consultants provide people requesting consultations with a non-binding “advisory” response.

RECS complements but does not supersede the work of other entities at UM that are involved in the supervision of research, such as the Human Subjects Research Office and its Institutional Review Boards, the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee, or the Office of the Vice Provost for Research. In particular, interactions with RECS consultants do not supplant any reporting requirements to/for these other UM entities (e.g., reporting to the anonymous ‘Cane Watch hotline).

UM Ethics Programs have since its inception provided research ethics consultation services on a variety of topics. The RECS process has been expanded and formalized under the auspices of the Miami Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI).

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