News : 2015

From left, Wei Yang, Shivam Joshi, M.D., and Hadi Kaakour.

Resident and Medical Students Produce Patient-Education Video on Benefits of Kidney Transplants

A Miller School of Medicine alumnus and two current Miller School medical students have produced an educational video for patients with end-stage kidney failure about the benefits of kidney transplantation over long-term dialysis. The video, “Kidney Transplant – A Better Option for Dialysis Patients,” offers a lively, animated take on a serious subject and is available on YouTube in English, Spanish and Creole.

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Camillo Ricordi, M.D.

Italian Surgical Team Transplants Islet Cells Using Diabetes Research Institute Technique

A surgical team in Milan, Italy, has transplanted insulin-producing islet cells in a patient with diabetes, using an innovative technique developed at the Miller School of Medicine’s Diabetes Research Institute. On November 17, Dr. Federico Bertuzzi, who heads the Islet Transplant Program at Ospedale Niguarda Ca’ Granda, a public hospital in Milan, successfully completed the first such transplant in the world outside Miami.

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Camillo Ricordi, M.D.

Dr. Camillo Ricordi Delivers Inaugural Lecture Named in His Honor

Camillo Ricordi, M.D., Director of the Miller School of Medicine’s Diabetes Research Institute, was chosen to deliver the keynote address at the Cell Transplant Society’s recent international congress in Melbourne, Australia. He delivered the inaugural Camillo Ricordi Lecture, named in his honor, on “Translational challenges and opportunities in cellular therapies and regenerative medicine.”

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Juan Viles-Gonzalez, M.D.

Study of Removal of Implanted Cardiac Leads Points to Importance of Clinical Center’s Experience

Patients with cardiac implantable electronic devices who need to have the electrical leads removed have significantly better outcomes when treated by an experienced team in a high-volume clinical center, according to a groundbreaking national study published recently in the journal Circulation.

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From left, Board members Lawrence Feldman, Ph.D., and Lubby Navarro, Board Chair Perla Tabares Hantman, Marta Pérez Wurtz, Ph.D., J.D., Omaida C. Velazquez, M.D., Schools Superintendent Alberto M. Carvalho, Romulo M. Cuy, M.D., Board member Raquel Regalado and Board Vice Chair Dorothy Bendross-Mindingall.

Miami-Dade School Board Recognizes Dr. Omaida C. Velazquez for Her Career Achievements

The Miami-Dade School Board on November 18 issued a proclamation recognizing Omaida C. Velazquez, M.D., David Kimmelman Endowed Chair in Vascular and Endovascular Surgery, and Chair of the DeWitt Daughtry Family Department of Surgery, for her career achievements.

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David Roth, M.D.

Antiviral Therapy Shows Hope for Advanced Kidney Disease Patients with Hepatitis C Virus Infection

A University of Miami Miller School of Medicine researcher has played a principal role in an international phase III study, known as the C-SURFER trial, of the effect of direct-acting antiviral therapy for hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection in patients with chronic kidney disease stage 4 or 5. The therapy has shown positive results — a first for patients with advanced kidney disease.

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Marilyn K. Glassberg, M.D.

Age of Donor Affects Stem Cell Effectiveness in Repairing Lung Damage from Pulmonary Fibrosis

Miller School of Medicine researchers have found that the age of a donor mouse affects the ability of its mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) to repair damage to the lungs caused by pulmonary fibrosis. Their laboratory study, published recently in Translational Research, has important implications for clinical stem cell treatments in older patients with damaged and scarred lung tissue caused by smoking or other conditions.

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Tanya Zakrison, M.D., M.P.H.

Researchers Study Perceived Health Consequences of Gold Mining in Postwar El Salvador

The mining of heavy metals, such as gold, has long been known to have the potential for negative health impacts on local populations through chemical pollution of aquifers. Now a group of researchers from the Miller School of Medicine, collaborating with researchers in El Salvador and Canada, has conducted research indicating that related political and socioeconomic factors also have serious health consequences.

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Eduardo J. de Marchena, M.D.

Miami Valves 2015 Highlights New Cardiac Intervention Techniques

Interventional cardiologists from the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine and other leading institutions demonstrated the latest advances in minimally invasive treatments for damaged heart valves at Miami Valves 2015, a global conference held October 29-31 at The Alexander Resort on Miami Beach.

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Survivor Diana Fleeman danced in the flash mob to salute the Sylvester doctors who saved her life.

Breast Cancer Survivor says 'DCC with Me!'

Two years after being diagnosed with invasive breast cancer, Diana Fleeman is “hip-hopping” forward with her life, thanks to her “amazing team of doctors” at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center at UHealth – the University of Miami Health System.

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From left, Pascal J. Goldschmidt, M.D., Joshua W. Rednick, President and CEO, Diabetes Research Institute Foundation, Dora Berman-Weinberg, Ph.D., Camillo Ricordi, M.D., Wendy Peacock, Elina Linetsky, Ph.D., Rodolfo Alejandro, M.D., and David Baidal, M.D.

First Transplant Patient in BioHub Trial No Longer Needs Insulin Therapy

For more than two decades, Wendy Peacock went to bed every night fearful of not waking up. Peacock, a type 1 diabetic who suffers from severe hypoglycemia unawareness — an unfelt, and dangerous, drop in blood sugar that could send her into a fog or a faint — worried about slipping into a diabetic coma in her sleep.

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Camillo Ricordi, M.D.

Diabetes Research Institute Successfully Transplants First Patient in Pilot BioHub Trial

The Diabetes Research Institute (DRI), a Center of Excellence at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, announced that the first patient in its clinical trial to test for the first time a novel transplant technique for insulin-producing cells has been successfully completed.

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Omaida C. Velazquez, M.D.

Dr. Omaida C. Velazquez Named Chair of Department of Surgery

Omaida C. Velazquez, M.D., professor of surgery, radiology, and biochemistry and molecular biology, and David Kimmelman Endowed Chair in Vascular and Endovascular Surgery, has been named Chair of the DeWitt Daughtry Family Department of Surgery at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, after a thorough search that reviewed the most talented leaders in the surgical field in the U.S.

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Matthias Loebe, M.D.

Dr. Matthias Loebe Joins Miami Transplant Institute

Matthias Loebe, M.D., Ph.D., has joined the Miami Transplant Institute (MTI) as Director of Thoracic Transplantation and Mechanical Support. “There is an enormous need here in South Florida to provide heart and lung transplantation services at a very high level in an academic environment,” said Loebe.

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Nestor de la Cruz-Muñoz, M.D.

UHealth Surgeon Only Florida Doctor Trained to Perform Newly Approved Gastric Balloon Placement

Nestor de la Cruz-Munoz, M.D., leader of bariatric surgery at UHealth – University of Miami Health System, is the only Florida surgeon and one of a handful of surgeons in the U.S. trained to perform the newly approved ORBERA Intragastric Balloon procedure. On August 6, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the use of the non-surgical procedure to help adult patients suffering from obesity.

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Nipun Merchant, M.D.

Dr. Nipun Merchant Leads New Pancreatic Cancer Study

Nipun Merchant, M.D., Vice Chair of Surgical Oncology Services and Chief of the Division of Surgical Oncology at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, has received a $300,000 grant from the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network.

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Nestor de la Cruz-Muñoz, M.D., who last year marked a milestone 4,000 cases, performs bariatric surgery at University of Miami Hospital.

University of Miami Hospital Receives Healthgrades 2015 Bariatric Surgery Excellence Award

University of Miami Hospital has received its fourth consecutive Healthgrades Bariatric Surgery Excellence Award. The flagship hospital of UHealth – University of Miami Health System, UMH is the only hospital in Miami-Dade County to receive this honor out of the six eligible hospitals. Since 2013, UMH has been recognized among the top five percent of hospitals evaluated for bariatric surgery.

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From left, Pablo Rengifo-Moreno, M.D., Arthur H. Hertz and Eduardo de Marchena, M.D.

Miller School of Medicine Launches International Structural Heart Disease Interventional Fellowship

The Miller School of Medicine has launched an international fellowship program that will provide training and surgical experience with new technology-driven interventional treatments for structural heart disease. Participants in the one-year fellowship will spend eight months in Miami, two to three months at the Angiografia de Occidente in Cali, Colombia, and one month at ThoraxCenter in Rotterdam, the Netherlands.

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From left, Nagi Ayad, Ph.D., Claes Wahlestedt, M.D., Ph.D., Chiara Pastori, Ph.D., and Ricardo J. Komotar, M.D.

Researchers Discover Novel Cellular Mechanism Crucial to Brain Cancer Growth

A team of researchers at the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center and the Miller School of Medicine has discovered that a previously unappreciated so-called long noncoding RNA mechanism controls tumor growth of Glioblastoma Multiforme cells.

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Tan A. Ince, M.D., Ph.D.

Sylvester Researchers Develop Technique for Growing Ovarian Cancer Cell Lines in Long-Term Culture

A team of researchers at the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine has developed a technique for growing ovarian cancer cell lines that mimic the original tumor in long-term cultures.

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From left, medical students Matthew Stark, Shelly Birch, Simone Caccamo, Bryan Perez and Adam Aldahan.

Medical Education Holds 20th Annual Clinical Skills Exercises for Third-Year Students

The University of Miami Hospital and Clinics welcomed all 189 third-year Miller School students from both the Miami and regional medical campuses June 6-7 for the 20th annual Objective Structured Clinical Examinations, a medical school rite of passage that tests the clinical skills of students. More than 100 faculty members served as evaluators for the annual assessment.

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From left, Brazilian National Academy of Medicine President Pietro Novellino, Tomas A. Salerno, M.D., and Academy member Ivo Nesralla.

Dr. Tomas A. Salerno Inducted into Brazil’s National Academy of Medicine

Tomas A. Salerno, M.D., professor of surgery, Chief of the Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery, Vice Chairman for Faculty Development and Mentoring in the Department of Surgery, and Chairman of the University of Miami Faculty Senate, was inducted into Brazil’s National Academy of Medicine, one of the oldest and most exclusive medical academies in the world, on May 7.

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Eduardo J. de Marchena, M.D.

UM Hospital Performs First Mitral Clip Procedure

On May 11, a UHealth surgical team led by Eduardo de Marchena, M.D., professor of medicine and surgery, performed University of Miami Hospital’s first mitral clip procedure — a new, minimally invasive method of reducing mitral regurgitation in patients who are not good candidates for conventional surgical repair.

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Omaida C. Velazquez, M.D.

Dr. Omaida C. Velazquez Honored with Distinguished Graduate Award from University of Pennsylvania

Omaida C. Velazquez, M.D., professor of surgery and David Kimmelman Endowed Chair in Vascular and Endovascular Surgery at the Miller School of Medicine, was honored recently by the University of Pennsylvania as one of its most distinguished former residents.

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From left, Pascal J. Goldschmidt, M.D., Alan Pollack, M.D., Ph.D., Erin Kobetz, Ph.D., M.P.H., Arul M. Chinnaiyan, M.D., Ph.D., Ronald C. Desrosiers, Ph.D., Diana Lopez, Ph.D., Jonathan C. Trent, M.D., Ph.D., Vinata B. Lokeshwar, Ph.D., and Stephen D. Nimer, M.D.

Zubrod Memorial Lecture Program Spotlights Faculty and Young Investigators

Six Miller School of Medicine physician-scientists were recognized for their contributions to cancer research and treatment as part of the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center’s 16th Annual Zubrod Memorial Lecture and Cancer Research Poster Session on May 15. It was the first time multiple faculty awards have been part of the program.

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At rear, Per-Olof Berggren, Ph.D., and Midhat H. Abdulreda, Ph.D.

Study Uncovers Detail About Development of Diabetes

A research team led by Professor Per-Olof Berggren, Ph.D., an adjunct Professor and Mary Lou Held Chair at the Diabetes Research Institute at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, has revealed new evidence in mice on a mechanism that contributes to failure and death of the insulin-producing beta cells during development of diabetes. The study is published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.

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Kenneth W. Goodman, Ph.D.

Miller School’s Bioethics Institute Will Confront Broad Range of 21st Century Challenges

The University of Miami Faculty Senate has unanimously and enthusiastically approved the establishment of the Miller School of Medicine Institute for Bioethics and Health Policy. The Senate legislation was signed by President Donna E. Shalala in April.

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From left;  Alberto Mitrani, M.D., Fred F. Telischi, M.D., Maria T. Abreu, M.D., Eduardo de Marchena, M.D., and Steven Falcone, M.D., M.B.A.

Three UM Medical Alumni Receive Prestigious Distinguished Alumni Award

Honoring clinical excellence, research expertise, and public service among its graduates, the Miller School of Medicine Medical Alumni Association recently bestowed one of its highest honors — the Distinguished Alumni Award — on three outstanding physicians: Maria T. Abreu, M.D., Class of 1990; Eduardo de Marchena, M.D., Class of 1980; and Fred F. Telischi, M.D., Class of 1985.

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Phillip Ruiz, M.D., Ph.D.

Dr. Phillip Ruiz Elected Fellow of American Society of Transplantation

Phillip Ruiz, M.D., Ph.D., professor of surgery and Medical Director of the Transplantation Laboratories in the Department of Surgery, has been elected a Fellow of the American Society of Transplantation (AST). He will be formally inducted on May 4 during the American Transplant Congress in Philadelphia.

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Daniel M. Lichtstein, M.D., left, and Bradford Hastings.

2015 Regional Campus Paff Awards Ceremony Honors Faculty and Residents

Deans, faculty and students representing the Miller School of Medicine’s regional medical campus gathered on April 8 for the second annual Regional Campus Paff Awards Ceremony. The event, which was organized and hosted by the regional campus student government, recognizes faculty members and residents contributing to the education of students in the dual-degree M.D./M.P.H. program.

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From left, Joan St. Onge, M.D., Heidi Allespach, Ph.D., Yvonne M. Diaz, M.D., Halcyon M. Quinn.

Miller School Launches Pioneering Program for First-Year Residents

In a single week last August in New York City, two first-year residents, in different programs and in separate incidents, jumped to their deaths. What could have happened, just three months after their triumphant graduation from medical school, that would have made them want to take their lives? We may never know, but a likely contributing factor is a syndrome called burnout.

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Nagi Ayad, Ph.D.

Researchers Find Link Between Protein Inhibitors and Pediatric Brain Tumors

Miller School of Medicine researchers, collaborating with investigators at three other institutions, have found a link between certain protein inhibitors and the reduction in growth of medulloblastoma, the most common malignant pediatric brain tumor. Their findings may lead to treatments for other cancers, as well as a variety of other diseases and types of neurological injuries.

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Nicholas Namias, M.D., M.B.A.

Dr. Nicholas Namias to Chair Florida Committee on Trauma

Nicholas Namias, M.D., M.B.A., Medical Director of the Ryder Trauma Center at the University of Miami/Jackson Memorial Hospital and Chief, Division of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery, was named the Chairman of the Florida Committee on Trauma (FCOT) by the American College of Surgeons.

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Patricia Byers, M.D.

Dr. Patricia Byers Accepts 2014 Injury Prevention Award

The Florida Department of Health Injury Prevention Section, in partnership with the Florida Injury Prevention Advisory Council (FIPAC), named Patricia M. Byers, M.D., F.A.C.S., professor of surgery at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, as the 2014 Injury Prevention Award recipient.

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David J. Robbins, Ph.D., left, and Jun Long

Scientists Identify Novel Link Between Cellular Growth and Metabolism

A team of Miller School of Medicine researchers, working with investigators from three other institutions, has identified a relationship between a family of lipid modifications of a growth factor, and how that growth factor may regulate cellular fate and growth. This discovery may begin to show how the function of these proteins is modified by metabolic activity in both developmental and disease settings.

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From left, Wen Ding, Ph.D. candidate; Lina A. Shehadeh, Ph.D.; and Jihe Li, Ph.D.

Researchers Find Key Mechanism Leading to Vascular Calcification

A University of Miami Miller School of Medicine research team has uncovered a key mechanism in the development of vascular calcification, or hardening of the arteries, valves or plaque – a disorder that affects millions of people.

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Nestor de la Cruz-Muñoz, M.D., who last year marked a milestone 4,000 cases, performs bariatric surgery at University of Miami Hospital.

University of Miami Hospital Recognized for Quality, Cost-Effective Bariatric Surgery

Florida Blue has honored University of Miami Hospital, the flagship hospital of UHealth – University of Miami Health System, with a Blue Distinction Center+ designation in the area of bariatric surgery. UMH is among the first hospitals to receive the new designation.

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Hall of Fame Award 2014 recipient Roy G. Geronemus, M.D. ’79, center, with Albert Mitrani, M.D. ’85, and Dean Pascal J. Goldschmidt, M.D.

Medical Alumni Weekend 2015 to Celebrate Miller School’s Past, Present and Future

Medical alumni from around the country will gather on the Miller School of Medicine campus and at the Biltmore Hotel March 6–8 for Medical Alumni Weekend 2015. The annual event will celebrate the medical school’s past, present and future with three days of activities dedicated to ushering in a new generation of UM physicians, sharing recent advances in research and patient care, and bringing together former classmates.

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From left, Emmanuelle Simonet, M.A., CCRP, Jacqueline Reyes, Administrative Assistant, Pulmonary Lab at UMHC, Shirin Shafazand, M.D., Marilyn Glassberg, M.D., Patricia Rebolledo, Research Assistant, Division of Pulmonary, Allergy, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine, and Francisco Padron, RCP, RPFT, Pulmonary Lab at UMHC.

Miller School Selected for National Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation Care Center Network

The University of Miami Miller School of Medicine has been selected as a member of the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation Care Center Network and Patient Registry, a designation that will significantly enhance the clinical care provided to patients at UHealth – University of Miami Health System.

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Nipun B. Merchant, M.D.

World-Renowned Pancreatic Cancer Expert to Lead Surgical Oncology at Sylvester

Renowned pancreatic cancer clinician and scientist Nipun B. Merchant, M.D., is joining the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center as Chief Surgical Officer and Director of Surgical Oncology Research Programs. Merchant comes to the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine and UHealth – University of Miami Health System from Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

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Jun Long

Researchers Identify Potential Molecular Solution for Brain Tumor Relapse

A team of Miller School scientists has identified a compound that, when targeted to a location on the Hedgehog molecular signaling pathway, may prevent the recurrence of medulloblastoma, a type of brain tumor prevalent in children and adults.

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