News : 2014

Allan D. Levi, M.D., Ph.D.

Miami Project Doctors Transplant First Participant in StemCells, Inc. Pathway Study

Allan D. Levi, M.D., Ph.D., Robert M. Buck Distinguished Chair in Neurological Surgery at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, transplanted the first subject in the Phase II Pathway study assessing the efficacy of StemCells, Inc.’s proprietary human neural stem cells for the treatment of cervical spinal cord injuries

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Shawn Monti, left, discusses his surgery with Ricardo Komotar, M.D., as a video of the operation plays in the background.

Glowing Tumor Surgery Offers New Hope to Brain Cancer Patient

A Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center neurosurgeon has used new visualization technology that makes a brain tumor glow, enabling a safer resection with less damage to normal brain tissue that surrounds it, offering hope to a seriously ill patient and his family.

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Coleen Atkins, Ph.D., and W. Dalton Dietrich, Ph.D.

Scientists Awarded $2 Million to Treat Cognitive Dysfunction After Brain Injury

W. Dalton Dietrich, Ph.D., Scientific Director of The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis and Kinetic Concepts Distinguished Chair in Neurosurgery, and Coleen Atkins, Ph.D., assistant professor of neurological surgery, have been awarded a $2 million, five-year grant by the National Institutes of Health to further develop a promising compound that could potentially help millions suffering from brain injury.

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Barth A. Green, M.D., left, receives congratulations from Robert M. Quencer, M.D.

Dr. Barth A. Green Commemorates 20 Years as Chair of Neurological Surgery

Surrounded by hundreds of colleagues, family and friends, Barth A. Green, M.D., celebrated 20 years as Chair of the Department of Neurological Surgery. With more than 39 years at the Miller School of Medicine, Jackson Memorial Hospital and Miami VA, Green has developed a world-class program renowned in the surgical management of complex spinal cord injuries and disorders.

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Michael Hoffer, M.D.

NFL Grant Awarded to Study Novel Diagnostic Device for Concussions

A $500,000 grant from the National Football League will enable the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and medical equipment manufacturer Neuro Kinetics Inc. to test the effectiveness of a diagnostic device prototype, the I-Portal® PAS goggle, for early and accurate detection of concussions.

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Clinton Wright, M.D., M.S.

Miller School Researchers Helping Lead National Study Evaluating New Alzheimer’s Drug

The University of Miami Miller School of Medicine is participating in a new, national Alzheimer’s disease clinical research study evaluating the potential benefits of an investigational medicine when taken by people with mild-to-moderate Alzheimer’s who are already being treated with donepezil (Aricept). Titled NOBLE, the trial is evaluating an investigational drug, T-817MA.

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From left, Vance Lemmon, Ph.D., Ubbo Visser, Ph.D., M.Sc., Stephan Schürer, Ph.D., and  Christopher Mader.

UM Awarded NIH Big Data to Knowledge (BD2K) Grant

A team of University of Miami researchers is part of a trio of institutions that have been awarded a $20 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to create a Center to integrate and analyze large and diverse datasets of cellular signatures as part of the Big Data to Knowledge (BD2K) initiative. The award, of which there is only one in the nation, is to create a Data Coordination and Integration Center.

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Allan D. Levi, M.D., Ph.D.

Novel Stem Cell Trial for Cervical Spinal Cord Injury to Start with the Miller School’s Miami Proj

A novel clinical trial using human neural stem cells for the treatment of cervical spinal cord injury is beginning at the Miller School of Medicine. Allan D. Levi, M.D., Ph.D., professor and Robert M. Buck Distinguished Chair in Neurological Surgery, is the principal investigator of the Pathway Study, which is the first clinical study of its kind.

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Eric Peterson, M.D., left, and Ricardo J. Komotar, M.D.

UM Neurological Surgeons to Lead Florida Neurosurgical Society

Two faculty members from the Miller School of Medicine’s Department of Neurological Surgery have been elected to leadership roles in the Florida Neurosurgical Society. Ricardo J. Komotar, M.D., assistant professor of neurological surgery, and Eric Peterson, M.D., assistant professor of neurological surgery, have been selected as President and President-Elect, respectively, for the upcoming year.

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The Miami Project team of physicians, scientists and staff is helping advance spinal cord injury research and treatment.

The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis Charts Recent Scientific Progress

For The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis, a Center of Excellence at the Miller School of Medicine, 2014 has been a banner year. Its researchers have been using a bench-to-bedside-and-back-again approach to more efficiently share the findings of their advanced discovery science, translational studies, clinical investigations and FDA-approved trials.

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Noam Alperin, Ph.D.

Research Team Improves Identification of Surgical Candidates for Neurological Disorder

A multidisciplinary group of Miller School of Medicine researchers, collaborating with investigators from the University of Munich and the University of Pittsburgh, has identified 10 complementing morphologic and physiologic measurements that better characterize a neurological disorder known as Chiari Malformation Type I (CMI) and are likely to improve identification of appropriate surgical candidates.

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Xue-Ting Luo, Ph.D.

NIH Director Features “Unique Method” Used by UM Neuroscientist

“Fasten your seat belts! We’re going to fly through the brain of a mouse,” wrote NIH Director Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D., in an article highlighting the work of Xue-Ting Luo, Ph.D., post-doctoral research fellow at The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis, and his mentor Kevin Park, Ph.D., assistant professor of neurological surgery.

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From left, Jean Jose, D.O., Lee Kaplan, M.D., and Allan D. Levi, M.D., Ph.D.

Miller/UHealth Team Defines New Surgical Technique for Removing Neuromas

A collaborative report encompassing three Miller School and UHealth departments highlights a new technique for surgically accessing sensory nerves and neuromas. Published online ahead of print in the journal Neurosurgery, the report is the first to illustrate the use of pre-operative ultrasound combined with specialized needle placement to localize the infrapatellar branches of the saphenous nerve.

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W. Dalton Dietrich, Ph.D.

Dr. W. Dalton Dietrich Wins Translational Medicine Prize

W. Dalton Dietrich, Ph.D., Kinetic Concepts Distinguished Chair in Neurosurgery, and Scientific Director of The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis, received the 2014 Drexel Prize in Translational Medicine during the annual International Symposium on Molecular Medicine and Infectious Disease at Drexel University College of Medicine in Philadelphia.

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Bascom Palmer Eye Institute

Bascom Palmer Ranked No. 1 in Ophthalmology for 11th Consecutive Year

For the 11th consecutive year, the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine’s Bascom Palmer Eye Institute has been ranked the nation’s best in ophthalmology by U.S. News & World Report. Bascom Palmer has received the No. 1 ranking a total of 13 times and has been in the top two since the annual rankings began 25 years ago.

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Ralph L. Sacco, M.D., M.S., left, and Chuanhui Dong, M.D., Ph.D.

Miller School Researchers Discuss Positive Stroke Trends and Future Challenges in JAMA Editorial

Although both the incidence of stroke and the mortality rate have declined in the past decade, obesity, diabetes and lack of physical activity could reverse those trends in the future, according to two Miller School of Medicine researchers in an editorial published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).

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Dileep Yavagal, M.D., left, and Jeremiah Johnson, M.D.

Burst Spinal Artery Aneurysm Linked to Ecstasy

Taking the street drug Ecstasy could lead to a potentially fatal weakening and rupture of the artery to the spinal cord, doctors warn in a new case report published July 4 in the Journal of NeuroInterventional Surgery.

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Gillian Hotz, Ph.D., stands outside the east gate of the White House before attending the Healthy Kids and Safe Sports Concussion Summit.

Miami Project Researcher Attends White House Concussion Conference

Gillian Hotz, Ph.D., research professor of neurological surgery, Director of the UHealth Sports Medicine Concussion Program and of several programs at The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis, attended the White House Healthy Kids and Safe Sports Concussion Summit on May 29. Joining her were young athletes, coaches, parents, NFL players, military representatives and other stakeholders.

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Honored at the Health Care Heroes award luncheon, from left, Bernard J. Fogel, M.D.; Mary Bartlett Bunge, Ph.D.; Carlos A. Migoya; and Robert J. Myerburg, M.D.

Dean Emeritus Bernard J. Fogel, M.D., Receives Lifetime Achievement Award

An audience of more than 500 healthcare and business leaders cheered as Miller School Dean Emeritus Bernard J. Fogel, M.D., received the AXA Advisors Lifetime Achievement Award at the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce’s Health Care Heroes Awards Luncheon, held on May 20 in Jungle Island’s Treetop Ballroom. In addition, Mary Bartlett Bunge, Ph.D., won the Health Care Hero Award in the Bio-Medical category.

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Cor Vitae Stroke Award winner Ralph L. Sacco, M.D., M.S., right, with Heart Ball Corporate Chairman Carlos Castresana of Wells Fargo.

Dr. Ralph L. Sacco Receives Cor Vitae Stroke Award from American Heart Association

The American Heart Association has presented its prestigious Cor Vitae Stroke Award to Ralph L. Sacco, M.D., M.S., professor and Olemberg Chair of Neurology. Sacco received the award at the AHA’s 2014 Miami Heart & Stroke Ball, held May 17 at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel. UHealth was a Platinum Sponsor of the event.

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Noam Alperin, Ph.D.

Researchers Explore Pharmacological Complement to iNPH Brain Shunt Procedures

An interdisciplinary team of researchers from the Miller School and Weill Cornell Medical College has found that a drug commonly given to young, obese females to treat idiopathic intracranial hypertension also has a condition-reversing effect when given to seniors of either gender who have idiopathic normal-pressure hydrocephalus (iNPH), a type of brain malfunction caused by excessive accumulation of cerebrospinal fluid.

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Ralph Sacco, M.D., M.S., was one of four faculty members who spoke at the symposium.

Fit Friendly Symposium Discusses Healthy Work Environments

More than 50 corporate leaders joined UHealth and the American Heart Association at the 2014 Miami and Broward Fit Friendly Symposium, held at the UHealth Fitness and Wellness Center on April 22. The purpose of the panel event was to share health data and exchange tips for creating healthy work environments.

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SCI therapy research team, from left: Juan Pablo de Rivero Vaccari, Ph.D.; Robert W. Keane, Ph.D.; Helen M. Bramlett, Ph.D.; and W. Dalton Dietrich, Ph.D.

Discovery Scientists Receive NIH Funding for Spinal Cord Injury Therapy

A group of Miller School scientists has received a $1.6 million small business award from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, a unit of the National Institutes of Health, to support development and clinical trials of a novel anti-inflammatory antibody treatment for human spinal cord injury.

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Clinical neurotrauma research team members are, standing, from left, Varan Govind, Ph.D., research assistant professor; Maria Muniz, senior administrative assistant; Carlos Bidot, M.D., senior research associate; Rebecca Safon, R.N., B.S.N., C.R.C.C., research nurse specialist; Karla Gonzalez, M.A., C.R.C.C., clinical research coordinator; and Petra Caliste, Program Administrator of WalkSafe. Seated are Gillian Hotz, Ph.D., left, and Ross Bullock, M.D., Ph.D.

NIH Grant Funds Traumatic Brain Injury Research

Miller School scientists will join researchers from more than 20 other institutions in the International Traumatic Brain Injury Initiative, a five-year international research project on concussion and traumatic brain injury funded by an $18.8 million grant from the National Institutes of Health.

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Miller School of Medicine, Schoninger Research Quadrangle

Departments Post Gains in NIH Research Grants

Reflecting the growing recognition of the University of Miami as one of the nation’s preeminent research institutions, six of the Miller School of Medicine’s departments rose in national rankings based on the size of the research grants they received from the National Institutes of Health during the 2013 federal fiscal year. The gains were especially significant in a year that saw across-the-board reductions in NIH grants.

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