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

Up Front

Miller School Researchers Receive State Funding for Drug-Discovery Projects

From left, FTRP grant recipients Glen Barber, Ph.D.; Shaun Brothers, Ph.D.; Claes Wahlestedt, M.D., Ph.D.; Seung-Uon Shin, Ph.D.; and Joseph Rosenblatt, M.D.

From left, FTRP grant recipients Glen Barber, Ph.D.; Shaun Brothers, Ph.D.; Claes Wahlestedt, M.D., Ph.D.; Seung-Uon Shin, Ph.D.; and Joseph Rosenblatt, M.D.

Miller School of Medicine researchers have received three grants in the latest round of funding from the Florida Translational Research Program (FTRP), a state-funded initiative to advance drug discovery. All of the projects receiving awards focus on the discovery and development of novel small molecules for the treatment of disease, specifically cancer. This brings the total number of grants awarded to Miller School researchers in the two-year-old FTRP to six.

The primary investigators in the three newly funded projects are Claes Wahlestedt, M.D., Ph.D., Leonard M. Miller Professor, Associate Dean for Therapeutic Innovation, Vice Chair for Research in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, and Director of the Center for Therapeutic Innovation; Joseph Rosenblatt, M.D., professor of medicine, microbiology and immunology, Chief of the Division of Hematology and Oncology in the Department of Medicine, and William J. Harrington Chair in Hematology; and Glen Barber, Ph.D., professor and Chair of the Department of Cell Biology, and Associate Director of Basic Science at the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Read more about the grants »

More News

Stephan Schürer, Ph.D.

Stephan Schürer, Ph.D.

Cheminformatics Expert Awarded NIH Grant to Study “Druggable Genome”

Knowing the size of the human genome, it is exciting to consider just how many molecular targets could represent an opportunity for therapeutic intervention. As part of an NIH Common Fund project called Illuminating the Druggable Genome (IDG), Stephan Schürer, Ph.D., research associate professor of molecular and cellular pharmacology, has received part of a $5.8 million grant established to discover many of these targets.

For the multifaceted study of the “druggable genome” – the subset of the nearly 30,000 genes in the human genome that express proteins able to bind drug-like molecules — Schürer and his team at the Center for Computational Science will serve as an integral part of the Knowledge Management Center, designed to develop an integrated informatics solution that encompasses data accrual, analysis, data-driven prioritizations and abstraction that will help identify knowledge gaps in these proteins. In addition to the Knowledge Management Center, the project also includes several Technology Development and Screening Centers.

Read more about the druggable genome project »


Revolutionary Radiation Therapy System Coming to Sylvester

Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine is making a new state-of-the-art weapon available to its patients, becoming only the fourth facility in the U.S. and the first on the east coast to acquire an MRI-guided radiation therapy system from ViewRay Inc. The MRIdian (me-rid-i-an) system is the first and only FDA cleared system of its kind and provides a unique combination of simultaneous radiation therapy delivery and continuous magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) for the treatment of cancer.

Because MRI technology eliminates the radiation exposure associated with computed tomography (CT) scans, the MRIdian system allows for continuous imaging during the delivery of radiation therapy. Physicians are able to directly view and track the tumor during treatment. The system also permits the physician to adapt treatment based on changes in the tumor and surrounding tissues

Read more about the MRIdian system at Sylvester »

Thomas M. Hooton, M.D., and Diana D. Cardenas, M.D., M.H.A.

Thomas M. Hooton, M.D., and Diana D. Cardenas, M.D., M.H.A.

New Book by UM Experts Explores Complications in Patients Undergoing Medical Rehabilitation

With more than three decades of experience, Diana D. Cardenas M.D., M.H.A., professor and Chair of the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, knows the many medical complications that may occur in patients undergoing medical rehabilitation.

People admitted to in-patient rehabilitation for injuries to the brain, spinal cord or even cancer recovery can develop fevers, pneumonia, urinary tract infection (UTI), and other complications that require specialized medical attention.

Read more about the book »

Joshua D. Lenchus, D.O., left, demonstrates the new ultrasound simulator for David A. Lubarsky, M.D., M.B.A.

Joshua D. Lenchus, D.O., left, demonstrates the new ultrasound simulator for David A. Lubarsky, M.D., M.B.A.

Center for Patient Safety Reveals Advanced Ultrasound Simulator

Resident physicians will now have access to the most comprehensive ultrasound simulator in the Southeast region, thanks to a project funded by the Committee of Interns and Residents (CIR), the union that represents interns, residents and fellows at the University of Miami/Jackson Memorial Hospital. The CAE VIMEDIX ultrasound simulator provides vivid, life-like and high-resolution color imaging to assist in diagnosing a variety of medical issues.

Using computer-generated echo simulation, VIMEDIX teaches residents how to perform cardiac echo imaging procedures and interpret the scanned ultrasound images – without risk to patients.

Read more about the ultrasound simulator »

From left are Abhijit Ghatak, M.D., Mauricio Cohen, M.D., and Eduardo de Marchena, M.D.

From left are Abhijit Ghatak, M.D., Mauricio Cohen, M.D., and Eduardo de Marchena, M.D.

Large Study Finds Higher Costs and Complications from Balloon Mitral Valvuloplasty

The largest study in the U.S. of percutaneous mitral valvuloplasty procedures has found a significant decline in use of this procedure in the United States along with an overall increase in the cost and complication rate.

The study, “Balloon Mitral Valvuloplasty in United States: A 13-Year Perspective,” was recently published in The American Journal of Medicine. Led by first author Abhijit Ghatak, M.D, an interventional cardiology fellow at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, this study was performed using the Nationwide Inpatient Sample data from 1998 to 2010 and included weighted data on 6,540 procedures.

Read more about the study »

2014 JJ Vance Memorial Summer Interns are, from left, Diana Milton, Alina Andrews, Jeffery Ferguson, Antonio Menarde, Julia Keyes, Blake Thomas, Camille Dulin, Giovanni Chiarella, Janel Weatherly, Dorothy Alexis, and Jewly Fleuristil.

2014 JJ Vance Memorial Summer Interns are, from left, Diana Milton, Alina Andrews, Jeffery Ferguson, Antonio Menarde, Julia Keyes, Blake Thomas, Camille Dulin, Giovanni Chiarella, Janel Weatherly, Dorothy Alexis, and Jewly Fleuristil.

JJ Vance Internship Program Immerses High Schoolers in Biological and Computational Sciences

Eleven of South Florida’s brightest high school seniors successfully completed a challenging eight-week summer internship program at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine’s John P. Hussman Institute for Human Genomics. The 2014 JJ Vance Memorial Summer Internship in Biological and Computational Sciences provided the students a unique opportunity to gain hands-on experience and be directly involved in scientific research.

“Part of our mission at the John P. Hussman Institute for Human Genomics is to train the next generation of researchers,” said Margaret A. Pericak-Vance, Ph.D., the Dr. John T. Macdonald Foundation Professor of Human Genomics and Director of the Hussman Institute. “We strive to create a passion for science and research.”

Read more about the internship »


Learn How to Save a Life at CPR Day Miami September 6

With 70 percent of Americans lacking the knowledge to perform CPR, the University of Miami, Jackson Health System, and Miami-Dade County Public Schools, in collaboration with the American Red Cross and the American Heart Association, will host CPR Day Miami, a free, countywide training event for participants 11 and older, on Saturday, September 6. Available at seven locations, the training sessions are offered multiple times between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. and last only 90 minutes.

The official opening ceremony for CPR Day Miami takes place from 10 to 11 a.m. at UM’s BankUnited Center Fieldhouse, with UM President Donna E. Shalala, Alberto Carvalho, superintendent of Miami-Dade County Public Schools, and Carlos Migoya, President and CEO of Jackson Health System, in attendance.

Read more about CPR Day »

Kevin E. Packman, Esq., Chairman and CEO of the ALS Recovery Fund, takes the Ice Bucket Challenge.

Kevin E. Packman, Esq., Chairman and CEO of the ALS Recovery Fund, takes the Ice Bucket Challenge.
Photo GalleryView Video »

The Ice Bucket Challenge Comes to the Miller School!

The “Ice Bucket Challenge” has been going viral across the nation and around the world, raising awareness and, so far, more than $10 million for the ALS Association, funding research against amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. The Department of Neurology at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine has been a leader in ALS research and is now joining the “Ice Bucket Challenge.”

Michael Benatar, M.D., Ph.D., Walter Bradley Professor of ALS Research and Chief of the Neuromuscular Division, has been challenged by Kevin Packman, Esq., UM alum (LL.M. ’02) and Chairman of the ALS Recovery Fund, which has given millions of dollars to fund ALS research at the Miller School. Packman also challenged UM Hurricanes Football Coach Al Golden and UM Baseball Coach Jim Morris.

Benatar will take the “Ice Bucket Challenge” himself in the Schoninger Research Quadrangle today (Tuesday) at 5:30 p.m. Who will be challenged next?!

ALS is a rapidly progressive neurodegenerative disease that causes weakness of the voluntary muscles, and eventually paralysis in many cases. Come help us raise awareness and funds for ALS research at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.

Dining Services Unveils New Options, Venues, and Employee Dining Plans

Faculty and staff who visit the Coral Gables campus are in for a number of culinary surprises as students return and the University begins another exciting academic year. To enhance the campus dining experience, Dining Services has spent the summer carrying out its Dining Master Plan by adding new and healthy food choices and appealing venues to its offerings — and new dining plans for faculty and staff.

Read more about the Dining Master Plan »

This Week's Grand Rounds

Wednesday, August 20, 2014Medical Grand Rounds: "Update on Genome Sciences in Research and Practice"

Thursday, August 21, 2014Anesthesiology Grand Rounds: "Perioperative Thrombocytopenia: Please Don't Take Away My Aspirin"

Thursday, August 21, 2014Ophthalmology Grand Rounds

View more Grand Rounds »

This Week's Events

Wednesday, August 20, 2014Calder Library Seminar: EndNote Citation Manager

Tuesday, August 26, 2014Calder Library Seminar: RefWorks/Write-N-Cite

Tuesday, August 26, 2014Calder Library Seminar: Tools for Clinicians

View more Events »

For Your Benefit

 

Well `Canes Yoga Wednesdays at the Miller School

 

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Funding and Research

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