Four Faculty Members Inducted into Association of American Physicians

Four University of Miami Miller School of Medicine physicians have been inducted into the prestigious Association of American Physicians (AAP), founded in 1885 for “the advancement of scientific and practical medicine.” Induction is considered a great honor as members have included Nobel laureates and members of the National Academy of Science and the Institute of Medicine.

The new UM honorees are Antonio Bianco, M.D., Ph.D., professor of medicine and chief of the Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Metabolism, Richard Cote, M.D., professor and chair of pathology and director of the Biomedical Nanoscience Institute, Camillo Ricordi, M.D., Stacy Joy Goodman Professor of Surgery, Distinguished Professor of Medicine and scientific director of the Diabetes Research Institute, and Joyce Slingerland, M.D., Ph.D., professor of medicine and biochemistry and molecular biology, associate director for translational research and director of the Braman Family Breast Cancer Institute at the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center. They were inducted during the organization’s annual meeting in Chicago on April 24.

“It is an incredible accomplishment to have four faculty members from the same institution inducted into the AAP at the same time,” 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. “All four inductees are stellar physician-scientists who have contributed greatly to the advancement of science in their chosen fields.”

Dr. Bianco is an internationally recognized expert on thyroid disease, and has made outstanding research contributions into the molecular process that can activate or inactivate thyroid hormone. His work has established the importance of the local control of thyroid hormone activation/inactivation via deiodination, as well as fundamental cellular and molecular properties of the deiodinases (D1, D2 and D3). Dr. Bianco has also helped elucidate the three-dimensional structure of the deiodinaseubiquitination complex, demonstrating that hedgehog-mediated ubiquitinationdeubiquitination controls local T3 production by affecting D2 dimerization. This constitutes a posttranslational on/off switch controlling thyroid hormone action in the settings of development, health and disease.

“I am thrilled and honored to become part of such an exceptional group of scientists,” said Dr. Bianco.

Dr. Cote is a nationally recognized expert on the cellular and molecular markers of tumor progression in cancer patients. He has led three of the largest clinical trials in breast, lung and bladder cancer, which were based on discoveries from his research that identified molecules and pathways important in assessing treatment response. Dr. Cote combines rigorous research and creativity to develop new nanoscale technologies for cancer diagnostic applications, such as bionanosensors to detect serum tumor markers, and technologies that capture and characterize circulating tumor cells.

“It is a great honor to be elected into the AAP, a group which includes the outstanding clinicians and scientists of our generation,” said Dr. Cote. “It is a particular pleasure to be included in the accomplished group of inductees from the Miller School, and to join the ranks of members of the AAP at the University of Miami.”

Dr. Ricordi is considered one of the world’s leading scientists in cell transplantation, and is well known for developing the automated method for islet cell isolation called the “Ricordi method.” The procedure made it possible to isolate large numbers of pancreatic islets and is now used by laboratories worldwide performing clinical islet transplants in patients with type 1 diabetes. Dr. Ricordi led the team that performed the first series of successful clinical islet transplants in 1990.

“It is an honor to become a member of such a prestigious society. As the only surgeon accepted this year and one of the few ever inducted, I am extremely grateful to the AAP selection committee for the consideration and recognition,” said Dr. Ricordi. “I accept this great honor on behalf of all of the outstanding scientists and staff of the Diabetes Research Institute who have made our work and progress toward a cure possible.”

Dr. Slingerland’s career in research has been devoted to translation of mechanistic aspects of cell cycle and hormonal regulation of breast cancer. She made the innovative discovery of the cell cycle inhibitor p27 during her post-graduate work, and in her own lab she went on to show that p27 deregulation is prognostic of poor patient outcome and leads to antiestrogen resistance in estrogen receptor positive breast cancers. Dr. Slingerland has also investigated molecular causes of resistance to hormonal therapy for breast cancer and found a promising new role for Src inhibitors. More than a decade of research has led to a novel clinical trial combining Anastrozole (an aromatase inhibitor) with AZD0530 (a Src inhibitor).

“It is a privilege and an honor to have my laboratory’s work recognized in this manner and to be elected to membership of the AAP,” Dr. Slingerland said. “I am delighted.”

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