e-Veritas Archive | March, 2015

Faculty Honored for Their Pioneering Research

UM News


From left are Kenneth Voss; Tatjana Rundek; David Birnbach, vice provost for faculty affairs, who oversaw the selection process for the Provost’s Award for Scholarly Activity; John Bixby, vice provost for research, who led the selection process for the Provost’s Research Awards; Martin Grosell; and  Provost Thomas J. LeBlanc.

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (March 27, 2015)—A world-renowned stroke expert, a marine biologist whose research has shed new light on the impact of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill on Gulf of Mexico marine life, and a physicist who has greatly increased our understanding of imaging and light transmission processes in the ocean are the recipients of the 2015 Provost’s Award for Scholarly Activity.

Ralph L. Sacco, professor and chair of the Miller School of Medicine’s Department of Neurology; Martin Grosell, Maytag Professor and chair of the Department of Marine Biology and Ecology at the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science; and Kenneth Voss, professor of physics in the College of Arts and Sciences, were honored last Friday during a ceremony held in the BankUnited Center’s Hurricane 100 Room.

The award acknowledges demonstrated excellence in research by either a single unique achievement or several years of scholarly productivity. “Today we recognize and celebrate the scholarly promise and achievement of our faculty,” Executive Vice President and Provost Thomas J. LeBlanc said in his opening remarks.

Sacco, who is also the Olemberg Family Chair in Neurological Disorders, was traveling and could not attend the ceremony; Tatjana Rundek, vice chair of  the Department of Neurology, accepted the award in his behalf.

Described by Miller School Dean Pascal J. Goldschmidt as “one of the giants of the University of Miami in terms of the quality of his scholarship and the impact of his work,” Sacco is an internationally recognized expert and leader in the area of stroke and stroke prevention. Across his career, his groundbreaking work in the incidence of stroke and the identification of risk factors in multiethnic regions has advanced prevention and stroke care in diverse populations.

As a principal investigator, Sacco has been continuously supported by the National Institutes of Health since 1993, with nearly $40 million in research funding awarded over that period of time. He has published 476 peer-reviewed scientific articles in high impact journals, along with several hundred abstracts published in supplements to major journals. Sacco has served on multiple committees, study sections, and task forces for the NIH, Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Food and Drug Administration, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, and the Institute of Medicine. He has been an invited participant for a number of high level meetings at the United Nations and, in 2010-11,  had the distinction of being the first neurologist to serve as president of the American Heart Association, until then a role filled by experts in the cardiovascular field. He is currently the president-elect of the American Academy of Neurology.

Grosell, participating in NOAA’s Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) on the impact of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, and a group of other scientists discovered that the overall swimming performance of juvenile mahi-mahi exposed to crude from the spill decreased by 37 percent. His team’s groundbreaking findings, published in Environmental Science and Technology and the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, revealed that even a relatively brief, low-level exposure to oil of the kind released by the spill harms the swimming capabilities of mahi-mahi and likely other large pelagic fish during their early life stages.

Grosell has capitalized on his NRDA work to develop and lead a consortium for the integration of studies examining the physiology and behavior of coastal redfish and pelagic mahi-mahi at different life stages. The Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative recently awarded that consortium a three-year $9 million grant. Considered one of the world’s leading experts on the mechanisms of copper toxicity to fish and other aquatic organisms in freshwater and seawater, Grosell has published 157 papers in peer-reviewed literature as well as a number of book chapters.

Voss has an international reputation in the field of environmental optics established through his leadership in developing new instrumentation for measuring different aspects of the light field in the ocean and atmosphere. Most recently, his research has focused on the design, development, and deployment of automated, optical observation buoys.

Five years ago Voss took over as lead investigator on the MOBY (Marine Optical Buoy) project, a NOAA-funded multi-institution program that operates a buoy with a payload of optical instruments in Hawaiian waters. The goal of the three-and-half-year $9 million-funded initiative is to provide accurate measurements of the radiance exiting the ocean in the visible and near infrared. Such measurements are critical for calibrating satellite-borne ocean color sensors that determine phytoplankton concentrations in the surface waters of the world’s oceans. Based on the success of this program and significance of the data acquired from it, NASA is now supporting the development of other MOBY instruments for deployment at other locations throughout the world.

The ceremony also honored the recipients of the 2015 Provost’s Research Awards. Classified into three categories based on discipline—the Max Orovitz Research Awards in the Arts and Humanities, the James W. McLamore Research Awards in Business and the Social Sciences, and the Research Awards in the Natural Sciences and Engineering—the Provost’s Research Awards provide salary support and direct research costs to faculty.

Read more about and view a list of the Provost’s Research Awards.


Posted in Briefly Noted, Features, Honors, NewsComments Off

President Shalala Advises Women to Connect Their Interests

By Meredith Camel
UM News


President Shalala urged about 250 attendees at the annual Women’s Commision breakfast to “reach out and help someone, especially another sister.”

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (March 26, 2015)—Students often ask University President Donna E. Shalala how she wound up on President Bill Clinton’s cabinet, as the longest-serving secretary of health and human services in history. Her answer: “Look around the room and figure out which one of your friends is going to be president, and keep in touch!”

As keynote speaker of the University of Miami Women’s Commission’s 44th Annual Breakfast, Shalala emphasized the importance of networking—on an individual basis and through organizations like the Women’s Commission—to “connect your interests with others to make the biggest impact.” The remarkable impact of her 14 years as president earned her the commission’s 2015 May A. Brunson Award, which recognizes her unwavering efforts to improve the status of women at the University.

As reported in the commission’s annual Sun Spots and Cold Waves report, women presently hold 49 academic or administrative dean-level positions and 129 senior administrative positions, compared with 27 dean-level women and 21 female senior administrators in 2006. These and other positive changes are not the result of giant leaps but “hundreds of deliberate steps,” Shalala said, also noting that leadership is not about being a “queen bee” and staying above the fray; it’s about service and mentorship, making a living while also making a good life.

“You’re not counted unless you reach out and help someone, especially another sister,” Shalala told more than 250 attendees at the Student Activities Center.

Shalala, who will be leaving the University at the end of May, thanked the Women’s Commission for its tribute to her late mother, Edna, who was born in a time when women didn’t have the right to vote. She also acknowledged the value in forming coalitions with men in the ongoing push toward equality.

“I tell all the men I work with that I assume they’re all feminists committed to equal opportunity,” she said. “And if they’re not, they’d better tell me.”


Senior Noelle Mendez received the Louise P. Mills Award for her efforts to promote equality.

Following presentation of the May A. Brunson Award, the Women’s Commission recognized senior-year student Noelle Mendez with the Louise P. Mills Award for her commitment to equality as a leader in events such as Walk a Mile in Her Shoes and the Clothesline Project, her advocacy of improving self-image among the student body, and her work as a research assistant for the YES Institute.


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See the Winning Design for Team UM’s Corporate Run/Walk T-Shirt

Corproate.Run T-shirtThe competition was stiff, but the University’s Culture Transformation Team has selected Isabel Vera’s design for the Dri-Fit T-shirts Team UM will wear in the 2015 Mercedes Benz Corporate Run/Walk.

Along with the theme for this year’s race—”At the U We Transform Lives”—the orange T-shirt features Sebastian on the front and the iconic U, formed by two hands, over the word “know” on the back.

“As in ‘U know, UM is it,”‘ said Vera, senior administrative assistant in Bascom Palmer Eye Institute’s Department of Surgery. “I was very surprised but very happy to win and look forward to seeing a lot of orange and green on race day.”

The 2015 Corporate Run/Walk is scheduled for Thursday, April 23, at 6:45 p.m. at Bayfront Park in downtown Miami. The T-shirt contest was sponsored by Human Resources, Well ’Canes, and the Herbert Wellness Center.

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Knight Foundation Grant to Help Fund New Recital Hall

By Julia Berg
Special to UM News


The generous gift will enable the Frost School of Music to move forward with the final design and construction of a “high-tech recital hall befitting its reputation.”

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (March 20, 2015) — The Phillip and Patricia Frost School of Music at the University of Miami was awarded a $7.5 million grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation to name and support construction of a new John S. and James L. Knight Recital Hall at the Frost School of Music, on UM’s Coral Gables campus.

Announced by Alberto Ibargüen, president and CEO of the Knight Foundation, at a March 8 community gathering at the Perez Art Museum Miami, the generous gift will be  combined with other donor pledges, including $2 million from the Paul J. DiMare Foundation and $1.2 million from Dorothy and David Weaver, to  enable the Frost School of Music to move forward with the final design and construction of the estimated $15 million project.

Knight Foundation’s naming gift also puts the Frost School of Music over its $40 million fundraising goal for Momentum2: The Breakthrough Campaign for the University of Miami.

The Frost School, Ibargüen said, is already considered one of the top music schools in the country and will now “build a high-tech recital hall befitting its reputation.”

He announced the gift in conjunction with a total $25 million Knight Foundation investment in South Florida that also includes $5 million for the Perez Art Museum Miami, and $5 million for the Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami. The balance will be allocated to fund challenge seed grants via the Knight Arts Challenge in South Florida through 2018.

“Great art defines and lifts the soul of a community. The arts create a sense of place and help bind us to each other with common experience. They help us explain the way we feel and represent who we are,” Ibargüen said. “Knight’s goal is to help build the community we all want to live in, a community where art is general and available to everyone, in all of our neighborhoods.”

The new Knight Recital Hall at the Frost School of Music, which is planned to seat approximately 200, will be designed for live acoustic and recorded music presentations, live streaming, multi-camera video projection, and other high-tech capabilities that will help meet the growing interactive performance needs of students and faculty of the Frost School, as well as the surrounding community.

The school presents more than 350 high-quality concerts, recitals, and events each academic year.

“This incredible endorsement from Knight Foundation will enable the Frost School of Music to build its vision of the recital hall of the future, with emphases on how to bring young audiences to classical and other treasured art music, partner with other arts organizations both regionally and nationally to premiere interactive multi-media creations, and broadcast the creativity of our students and faculty in groundbreaking ways,” said Shelly Berg, dean of the Frost School of Music.

Knight Foundation’s generosity has recently funded other key institutions in the Miami region, including a naming gift for the John S. and James L. Knight Concert Hall at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, and major support for New World Symphony, Miami City Ballet, and Miami International Film Festival. Through the Knight Arts Challenge it continues to fund grassroots artists and arts organizations annually “that are providing fresh and innovative work so that everyone has a chance to make their idea a reality.”

The Frost School of Music was a recipient of a $500,000 Knight Arts Challenge grant three years ago to build its Henry Mancini Institute’s HMI: Outbound community outreach music program, to bring high-quality genre-blending chamber music programming to Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden and numerous public schools in Miami-Dade County.

The University of Miami recently dedicated its new Patricia Louise Frost Music Studios, a 41,089-square-foot twin-building complex featuring 77 multi-purpose chamber music and teaching studios, two extra-large studios, a reception and information center, and a furnished breezeway. Designed by award-winning architects Yann Weymouth and HOK and built by Skanska USA, the facility is touted as the first building project in Coral Gables designed to achieve LEED Platinum certification, with sustainable features such as energy-efficient windows, rooftop solar panels, and cisterns that reduce water and electricity usage.

The complex was made possible by the benefactors, Phillip and Patricia Frost, whose landmark gift back in 2003 renamed UM’s music school in their honor. Featuring a new grand entrance into the school, the studios honor Patricia Frost’s lifelong commitment to music education as an elementary school principal and higher education advocate.

Julia Berg can be reached at 305-284-4895.

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A Celebration of All Things Haiti

UM News

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (March 23, 2015) – Haitian flags lined the walkway leading to the University of Miami’s Ashe Administration Building. Students, faculty, and staff sampled Haitian delicacies and looked at beautiful and amazingly detailed Haitian art displayed on tables at UM’s Rock plaza. And Haitian music filled the air, providing an ideal opportunity to learn some of the traditional dance moves of that island nation.

UM celebrated Haitian Culture Week on the Coral Gables campus March 23-27, kicking off five days of activities with an opening day ceremony of all things Haiti. “The week represented an excellent opportunity for the UM community to learn more about one of the most prominent cultures in Miami,” said Guerdiana Thelomar, president of the Haitian student organization Planet Kreyol, which organized the week of activities. “Oftentimes, Haiti is seen in a negative light, so we hope that through programs such as Haitian Culture Week we can show the beautiful, mystical, and vibrant side that people don’t often get a chance to experience when learning about Haiti.”

Other events included a panel discussion on the role Haitian Americans play in keeping the Haitian culture alive in the United States, the Miss Planet Kreyol Cultural Pageant, a Haitian-style carnival, and a day of service in Little Haiti. View the slideshow of the kickoff event.




Posted in Features, Freeze Frame, NewsComments Off

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