News : 2011

Eckhard Podack, M.D., Ph.D.

Rising NIH Ranking Reflects the Miller School’s Growing Research Prowess

Enhancing the University’s growing reputation as a research institution, the Miller School of Medicine climbed two spots to No. 39 in the amount of highly coveted research funding awarded by the National Institutes of Health during the 2010-11 federal fiscal year.

Read more »

Nicholas Namias, M.D., sits in the Robert Zeppa Endowed Chair surrounded by, from left, Alan S. Livingstone, M.D., Albert Vara, Enrique Lopez, UM President Donna E. Shalala, Mariano “Harry” Macias and Dean Pascal J. Goldschmidt, M.D.

Nicholas Namias, M.D., Named Robert Zeppa Chair in Division of Trauma

Surrounded by friends, family, and UM and Miller School leadership, Nicholas Namias, M.D., professor of surgery and chief of the Division of Trauma, accepted the Robert Zeppa Endowed Chair in the Division of Trauma at a December 14 ceremony on the Miller School campus.

Read more »

Adam Williams, M.D., left, celebrates winning the Vivien Thomas Young Investigator Award with Joshua Hare, M.D., who was senior author on the study.

Miller School Researcher Triumphs at AHA Scientific Sessions

Adam R. Williams, M.D., resident in the Department of Surgery and post-doctoral research fellow at the Interdisciplinary Stem Cell Institute (ISCI), received the Vivien Thomas Young Investigator Award at the annual Council on Cardiovascular Surgery and Anesthesia (CVSA) dinner at the American Heart Association Scientific Sessions.

Read more »

Si M. Pham, M.D.

UM/Jackson Heart Transplant Program Recognized as Top Transplant Center

The heart transplant program at the Miami Transplant Institute at the University of Miami/Jackson Memorial Hospital has been recognized by HealthGrades, a leading provider of comprehensive information about physicians and hospitals, with the Heart Transplant Excellence Award

Read more »

Seated in the front, from left, are Dao Nguyen, M.D., the new B. and Donald Carlin Chair in Thoracic Surgical Oncology, and B. Carlin Foundation President Bob Breier. Behind them are, from left, Richard J. Thurer, M.D., UM President Donna E. Shalala, Alan S. Livingstone, M.D., and Dean Pascal J. Goldschmidt, M.D.

Dao M. Nguyen, M.D., Named B. and Donald Carlin Chair in Thoracic Surgical Oncology

Surrounded by friends, colleagues and University leadership, Dao M. Nguyen, M.D., was named B. and Donald Carlin Chair in Thoracic Surgical Oncology at a Miller School ceremony hosted by Alan S. Livingstone, M.D., professor and chair of the Department of Surgery and chief of the Division of Surgical Oncology.

Read more »

Andreas G. Tzakis, M.D., Ph.D., receives his honorary degree from Dowen Birkhed, D.D.S., Ph.D., at the Sahlgrenska Academy in Sweden.

Dr. Andreas Tzakis Awarded Prestigious Honorary Degree in Sweden

Andreas G. Tzakis, M.D., Ph.D., professor of surgery and director of the Liver/GI Transplant Program at the Miller School and a world-renowned transplant surgeon, was awarded an honorary doctorate by the Sahlgrenska Academy at Sweden’s University of Gothenburg.

Read more »

Didier De Cannière, M.D., Ph.D.

Surgeon Determined to Make Mitral Valve Repair the Gold Standard

Didier De Cannière, M.D., Ph.D., professor of surgery, is on a mission. A pioneer in minimally invasive robotic surgery, he joined the Miller School from one of Europe’s largest heart surgery services nearly two years ago in hopes of helping lead a revolution in mitral valve repair in the United States.

Read more »

Kristine O’Phelan, M.D., left, and Michael Nares, M.D.

Miller School Physicians Recognized as Organ Donation Heroes

Two Miller School faculty, Michael Nares, M.D., assistant professor of clinical pediatrics, and Kristine O’Phelan, M.D., associate professor of clinical neurology, were honored at the Life Alliance Organ Recovery Agency’s 9th Annual Luminaire Gala this month for their dedication to making the “miracle of life” possible.

Read more »

From left are Jeffrey Augenstein, M.D., Ph.D., Dean Pascal J. Goldschmidt, M.D., LTC George D. Garcia, M.D., Ivette Motola, M.D., M.P.H., and Kenneth G. Proctor, Ph.D.

Army Trauma Training Center Marks a Decade by Thanking Miller School Life-Savers

Marking the 10th anniversary of the Army Trauma Training Center at the Ryder Trauma Center, the U.S. Army last week recognized the contributions of Kenneth G. Proctor, Ph.D., professor of surgery, anesthesiology and biomedical engineering, and Jeffrey Augenstein, M.D., Ph.D., professor of surgery and director of the William Lehman Injury Research Center, to improving medical outcomes for those wounded in war zones.

Read more »

From left, Bruno V. Gallo, M.D., Ricardo Komotar, M.D., awake craniotomy patient Ray Beccaria, and Thomas Fuhrman, M.D.

Doctors and Patient Describe Rare Awake Craniotomy Surgery at UMH

In early September, Ray Beccaria began struggling to put into words what he wanted to say. A week later, he had trouble reading and thought he might be having a stroke. His wife thought he was just stressed. The 64-year-old health information management specialist admits he was “scared every day” that his perplexing symptoms would worsen. A CT scan and MRI at University of Miami Hospital confirmed his fears: a glioblastoma.

Read more »

Jagajan “JJ” Karmacharya, M.D.

Memorial Service for Dr. Karmacharya Set for October 5

A memorial service for Jagajan “JJ” Karmacharya, M.D., associate professor of clinical surgery, chief of vascular surgery at the Miami VA hospital and associate program director of the vascular surgery fellowship, will be held Wednesday, October 5, at 1 p.m. in Jackson Memorial Hospital’s Diagnostic Treatment Center, room 259.

Read more »

Jagajan “JJ” Karmacharya, M.D.

UM Surgeon Jagajan “JJ” Karmacharya, M.D., Dies in Nepal Plane Crash

Jagajan “JJ” Karmacharya, M.D., associate professor of clinical surgery, chief of vascular surgery at the Miami VA hospital and associate program director of the vascular surgery fellowship, died Sunday in a plane crash in his homeland of Nepal, where he had gone to visit his ailing mother. Also killed were Dr. Karmacharya’s girlfriend, one of his brothers, a sister-in-law, and 15 other passengers and crew on board.

Read more »

Vineet Gupta, Ph.D.

UM Researchers Target Inflammatory and Autoimmune Diseases

Research led by a Miller School team has unearthed new findings showing that activating a specific integrin—one of the receptors that mediate attachment between a cell and surrounding tissue and play a role in cell signaling—could lead to more therapies for fighting inflammatory and autoimmune diseases that afflict millions of people worldwide.

Read more »

George Burke III, M.D., Alberto Pugliese, M.D., and Gaetano Ciancio, M.D.

Transplant Surgeons and Diabetes Researcher Present Breakthroughs at International Meeting

Research on pancreas transplantation from three Miller School faculty members who have been at the forefront of innovative immunosuppression protocols for kidneys and kidney-pancreas transplantation was featured prominently at the International Pancreas and Islet Cell Transplant Association meeting, held in Prague in June.

Read more »

From left, Ryan Labbe, his wife Trine Engebretsen with their son Andersen, Dr. Andreas G. Tzakis, and Dr. Salih Y. Yasin.

Pair of Liver Transplant Recipients Welcome Their Baby

When he arrived via Cesarean section on July 21 at University of Miami/Jackson Memorial Medical Center, Andersen Labbe’s parents celebrated his birth and his place in history. He is believed to be the first child born to parents who are both liver transplant recipients.

Read more »

Omaida Velazquez, M.D.

Omaida Velazquez, M.D., Named Vice Chair of Research for Surgery

Omaida Velazquez, M.D., professor of surgery and chief of the Division of Vascular and Endovascular Surgery, has been appointed vice chair of research for the DeWitt Daughtry Family Department of Surgery.

Read more »

From left, Nicholas Namias, M.D., M.B.A.; Louis R. Pizano, M.D, M.B.A.; Carlos Migoya, Jackson Health System CEO; and Carl I. Schulman, M.D., M.P.H., show off the Burn Center's certificate of verification.

University of Miami/Jackson Memorial Burn Center Receives Re-Verification

The Burn Center at the University of Miami/Jackson Memorial Hospital has received re-verification by the American Burn Association and the American College of Surgeons Committee on Trauma. This achievement recognizes the burn center’s dedication to providing compassionate, leading-edge care to patients.

Read more »

JFK Medical Center in Atlantis

New Surgical Residency Program Approved at Regional Campus

The University of Miami Miller School of Medicine has received approval for the first allopathic surgical residency program in Palm Beach County. The new five-year program at the University of Miami Regional Campus in Palm Beach County was approved by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education and will be implemented in close collaboration with JFK Medical Center in Atlantis, where it will be based.

Read more »

Members of Team Precision show off their first-place trophy at the Life Alliance Organ Recovery Agency's first annual Fishing for Life Tournament.

Life Alliance's First Annual Fishing Tournament A Success

The Miller School’s Life Alliance Organ Recovery Agency raised more than $19,000 at its first annual Fishing for Life Tournament on Saturday, June 25. The charity event was designed to raise funds and awareness of the critical need for organ, eye and tissue donations for those awaiting the gift of life through transplantation in South Florida.

Read more »

Director James K. Loftus, right, shares the Miami-Dade Police Department's gratitude for the Ryder Trauma Center with, from left, Carlos Migoya, Jackson Health System CEO, Nicholas Namias, M.D., M.B.A., and Dean Pascal J. Goldschmidt, M.D.

Miami-Dade Police Show Gratitude to Ryder Trauma Center

At a July 13 news conference at the UM/Jackson Ryder Trauma Center, Miami-Dade Police Director James K. Loftus expressed his department’s collective thanks to the venerable institution by presenting a certificate of appreciation to Miller School Dean Pascal J. Goldschmidt, M.D., Jackson Health System CEO Carlos Migoya, and Nicholas Namias, M.D., M.B.A., professor of surgery and medical director of trauma at Ryder.

Read more »

Rosetta Rolle Hylton, L.P.N.

Educator Helps Grieving Families Give the Gift of Life

Rosetta Rolle Hylton, L.P.N., spends her days turning tragedies into miracles. As the communications coordinator and designated requestor for the Life Alliance Organ Recovery Agency, she saves lives by asking families about to remove a loved one from life support to donate their organs and tissue so others may live.

Read more »

William O’Neill, M.D., tells third-year students they just completed boot camp and are on the journey to an amazing profession.

Third-Year Students Earn Their Stripes with Their Scrubs

Third-year students “earned their stripes” Monday, receiving their official UHealth scrubs following a ceremony that honored a pioneering cardiac surgeon and revered humanitarian who Miller School leaders hope students emulate as they begin seeing patients on the wards.

Read more »

Louis R. Pizano, M.D., center, joined Broward County firefighters at a “Fill the Boot for Burns” collection site in Dania Beach.

Firefighters Turn Up the Heat for UM/Jackson Memorial Burn Center

Over Memorial Day weekend, faculty from the Miller School’s Department of Surgery teamed up with the Fire Chiefs Association of Broward County, the Broward County Council of Professional Firefighters, and Professional Firefighters and Paramedics of Broward County for the “Fill the Boot for Burns” campaign to benefit the University of Miami/Jackson Memorial Burn Center.

Read more »

Discussing HIPEC at a May 17 news conference are, from left, colorectal surgeon Floriano Marchetti, M.D., patients Georgina Pereira and Tammy Rosamilia, Mecker Möller, M.D., lead HIPEC surgical oncologist, and Samer Schuman, M.D., gynecologic oncology surgeon.

Sylvester First in South Florida to Offer Novel Abdominal Cancer Treatment

Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center is the first in South Florida to offer a novel therapy for certain types of abdominal cancers that combines heated chemotherapy with surgery. The procedure is performed at the time of surgery and has extended the lives and improved the quality of life for patients who might otherwise have limited treatment options.

Read more »


Bariatric Surgery Becoming a Family Affair

Dr. Nestor De La Cruz-Munoz, a bariatric specialist with the University of Miami Health System, is seeing more patients from the same family opting for surgery. The plan can be a plus for some people who struggle with obesity, like sisters Wendy Carulla and Brenda Fernandez.

Read more »


High Risk Surgeries Getting Safer: Study

Dr. Tomas Salerno, chief of the division of Cardiothoracic surgery at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, said that “this issue of volume and risk of surgery is something that has been debated for quite awhile.”

It does seem to make sense that hospitals that do more of a given procedure do it better, he said. “This applies to a lot of procedures,” Salerno said. However, it doesn’t seem to apply to heart bypass surgery, he added. The reasons for this aren’t clear, Salerno said.

Read more »

Jochen Reiser, M.D., Ph.D., Alessia Fornoni, M.D., Ph.D., and George W. Burke III, M.D.

Physicians Discover How Cancer Drug Works to Help Prevent Recurrent Kidney Disease

A collaboration of Miller School physicians, surgeons and scientists has unlocked the mechanism of a drug used to prevent recurrent kidney disease. The finding, which has implications for the diagnosis and treatment of many other diseases, involves the action of rituximab, a B-cell lymphoma therapy, in treating recurrent focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS) in children and young adults.

Read more »


FIU Student Shot in the Heart on a Dare - and Survives

Gabriel Mendigutia dared his girlfriend to shoot him in the heart with a pellet rifle. The pointed lead pellet went through his heart and lodged in a muscle in his back.

“He is a miracle case because so many things went in his favor,” said Dr. Nicholas Namias, Jackson Ryder trauma department director and one of the surgeons who operated on Mendigutia, 21, last week.

Read more »

Jonathan McLean, EMT-P, teaches children how to identify and check for vital signs at the Michael S. Gordon Center for Research in Medical Education.

Department of Surgery Wows Youngsters During Bring Your Child to Work Day

The Department of Surgery hosted 40 children on April 28 for a special Bring Your Child to Work Day. The day kicked off with breakfast and an introduction by Rafic Warwar, vice chair of administration.

Read more »


Child Ready To Go Home After Receiving Seven Transplanted Organs at Jackson Memorial Hospital

Delilah Nevaeh Valdez, 19 months, will finally go home with her parents to San Antonio after surviving — and thriving — on the heels of a seven-organ transplant at Jackson Memorial Hospital.

“Delilah had a condition in which her smooth muscles don’t contract normally,’’ said Dr. Andreas Tzakis, director of UM/Jackson Memorial’s liver/GI transplant program. He performed the nearly 14-hour surgery.

Read more »

Nestor de la Cruz-Muñoz, M.D.

UM Surgeon Publishes Findings About Gastric Bypass Surgery and Adjustable Gastric Banding

Recent findings from the Department of Surgery at the Miller School were published in the April edition of the Journal of the American College of Surgeons. The study led by Nestor de la Cruz-Munoz, M.D., associate professor of surgery and chief of the Division of Laparoendoscopic and Bariatric Surgery, shows that bariatric surgery results in significant and dramatic weight loss and improved fasting plasma glucose and HbA1c l

Read more »

Miller School Dean Pascal J. Goldschmidt, M.D.,  (left) congratulates 2011 Miami Transplant Institute Humanitarian Award recipient R. Kirk Landon.

Philanthropist Kirk Landon Honored with Miami Transplant Institute's 2011 Humanitarian Award

One of South Florida’s premier philanthropists and community supporters, R. Kirk Landon, was honored Wednesday evening as the second recipient of the Miami Transplant Institute’s Humanitarian Award.

Read more »

Raymond J. Leveillee, M.D., FRCS-G

Surgeon Removes Kidney Through Patient's Navel

One of UHealth’s experts at minimally invasive surgery has performed a groundbreaking operation. Raymond J. Leveillee, M.D., FRCS-G, chief of the Division of Endourology, Laparoscopy and Minimally Invasive Surgery, recently removed a patient’s kidney through her navel, leaving no visible scar.

Read more »

From left are Christopher J. Salgado, M.D.; Fahim A. Habib, M.D.; and Jose M. Martinez, M.D.

Department of Surgery Opens Hernia Center at UMHC

The Department of Surgery has opened a Hernia Center on the first floor of University of Miami Hospital and Clinics with a multidisciplinary team widely acclaimed for its diversity in hernia repair, variety of available procedures, comprehensive approach, and cutting-edge technology.

Read more »

From left, Steven Falcone, M.D., Dean Pascal J. Goldschmidt, M.D., Gaetano Ciancio, M.D., Alan Livingstone, M.D., and Eduardo de Marchena, M.D.

Transplant Pioneer Gaetano Ciancio, M.D., Receives First UMMG Faculty Hero Award

When transplant surgeon Gaetano Ciancio rushed from the operating room to the transplant conference room last Thursday, just a tad late for his 3 p.m. meeting with the chairman of surgery, he was greeted by a room full of applauding colleagues and admirers.

Read more »

Watch the Breakthrough Medicine Blitz

The Breakthrough Medicine series will be airing Saturdays in January at 7 p.m. on Channel 10 (ABC-WPLG). The new year blitz will begin with the Emmy Award-winning “Stem Cell Therapy: Healing Force of the Future” on January 8 and we will premier our newest episode, “Weight-loss Surgery: Embarking on a Life-Saving Journey,” on January 22.

Read more »