Michael D. Norenberg, M.D., Inducted into Association of American Physicians
For the fourth year in a row, a Miller School physician has been inducted into the prestigious Association of American Physicians (AAP), founded in 1885 for “the advancement of scientific and practical medicine.” Members include Nobel laureates and members of the National Academy of Science and the Institute of Medicine, making induction a great honor.
This year’s UM honoree is Michael D. Norenberg, M.D., professor of pathology and biochemistry and molecular biology and director of neuropathology research. He was inducted August 28 during the organization’s annual meeting and dinner in Chicago.
“We are so proud to have another Miller School faculty member inducted into the AAP,” said Pascal J. Goldschmidt, M.D., Senior Vice President for Medical Affairs and Dean of the Miller School, and CEO of the University of Miami Health System. “Dr. Norenberg’s career of research, specifically with our veterans, has earned him this great honor.”
As a neuropathologist who has worked with the Miami VA for 40 years and UM for 28 years, Norenberg has focused much of his research on the brain and spinal cord. He discovered that astrocytes, central nervous system cells, play a critical role in normal functions of the central nervous system. His work uncovered a link between severe liver disease and abnormal astrocytes, which results in cell swelling and brain edema. That research led to the discovery of various agents that diminish or block such swelling. Norenberg also has researched brain and spinal cord trauma, establishing mechanisms of traumatic brain edema.
Additionally, he uncovered the mechanism of central pontine myelinolysis (CPM), a debilitating neurological condition occurring in individuals with chronic medical disorders and usually presenting in a hospital setting. With his residents, he established that the disease occurred from an overly rapid correction of hyponatremia, the most common metabolic disorder observed in hospitalized patients. As a result of his studies, CPM is now rarely diagnosed.
Norenberg said he was honored to be inducted into the AAP, and acknowledged his mentor, the late Lowell W. Lapham, M.D., of the University of Rochester School of Medicine, who instilled in him “a great sense of joy and excitement in the study of mechanisms of neurological diseases. I also would like to express my appreciation for the unwavering support I have received from the two chairs of pathology I have worked with at UM, Drs. Azorides R. Morales and Richard J. Cote,” Norenberg said.
Cote, professor and Joseph R. Coulter Jr. Endowed Chair of Pathology and director of the Dr. John T. Macdonald Foundation Biomedical Nanotechnology Institute at UM, who was inducted into the AAP in 2010, nominated Norenberg for the honor, and said he “has made seminal contributions in several areas of brain and neurologic research, and his selection to the AAP is a testament to the excellence of his work.”
In 2010, Norenberg received the William S. Middleton Award from the Department of Veterans Affairs, the highest honor presented annually by the VA’s Research and Development Office, in recognition of outstanding scientific contribution and achievement in the areas of biomedical and bio-behavioral research related to the health care of veterans.