Chemistry Professor Awarded Science Fellowship in Japan

By Betty Chinea
Special to UM News


Rajeev Prabhakar

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (February 15, 2017)—Rajeev Prabhakar, a chemist at the University of Miami College of Arts and Sciences, is no stranger to spending time in a foreign country.

Originally from India, he earned his Ph.D. in Sweden and is accustomed to discovering and acclimating himself in different cultures, which is why Prabhakar had no reservations about visiting Japan—for the second time in his career. But this excursion is more business than pleasure.

Recently, Prabhakar received news that he was awarded a prestigious fellowship from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) as a visiting professor.

Selection for this coveted fellowship is an honor not lost on Prabhakar. Only 25 percent of applicants are accepted and each must have a host professor in Japan who applies for them.

“It is very exciting,” said Prabhakar. “The Japanese are very advanced in science and they have a strong research culture.”

Prabhakar, who began his journey February 15, will visit multiple universities in Japan through March 9, including the University of Tokyo, Kyoto University, Fukui Institute for Fundamental Chemistry, Institute of Transformative Bio-Molecules, Nagoya University, and Hokkaido University.

The purpose of the fellowship is to establish research collaborations with Japanese scientists from the institutes and universities, and help advance and expand Prabhakar’s current research at UM, which is primed to fundamentally advance the design of artificial enzymes, biomaterials, antimicrobial peptides, and drugs for neurological disorders.

“It will be very beneficial to interact with some of the leading researchers in these areas and explore innovative ideas of mutual interest,” said Prabhakar.

The importance of Prabhakar’s research is underscored by JSPS’s full support of his visit. Along with collaborating and forming new connections with Japanese researchers, he will be presenting research seminars as a visiting professor.

For more than 80 years, the JSPS has initiated and carried out a vast array of programs that are essential to promoting scientific research. The organization has developed as a research and support organization designed to advance research and foster talented researchers for generations to come.

The fellowship also supports UM President Julio Frenk’s vision for UM as an innovation hub, connecting, collaborating, and building knowledge with organizations and researchers beyond our borders.

“I am hopeful that the JSPS fellowship will help me to expand the research we are already doing here and start something new and interesting while building ties between UM and leading Japanese universities,” said Prabhakar.


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University Receives Five CASE Awards

UM News

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (February 10, 2017) —The Division of University Advancement received five awards, including a National Platinum Award of Excellence for its outreach to graduating students, at the Council for Advancement and Support of Education’s (CASE) District III awards ceremony in Nashville last week.

As part of the "Senior Sendoff" iniiitve, the inaugural commencement ball was held in 2016.

Part of the “Senior Sendoff” initiative, the inaugural Commencement Ball was held in 2016.

The Office of Alumni Relations won the Award of Excellence in the category of Best Practices in Alumni Relations for its “Senior Sendoff” initiative, a comprehensive, multi-channel program launched in 2015 to engage graduating students and convey the importance of philanthropy while they are still on campus. The Senior Sendoff program includes a “Senior Day at the Rat,” a commencement ball, and the distribution of “alumni cards” during cap-and-gown pick-up.

Alumni Relations also received the Grand Award in the category of Engagement Project, Event, or Program, and a Special Merit Award for Best Practices in Alumni Relations for its outreach to alumni during UM President Julio Frenk’s inauguration. Managed by the UM Alumni Association, the weeklong series of events aimed at exciting alumni about UM’s sixth president included ’Canes Communities Inauguration Tip-Off Parties, an alumni-owned/operated businesses initiative, corporate inauguration gatherings, inauguration kits, and a promotional UM video, among others.

University Communications was recognized with two Special Merit Awards, including one in the events category for ’Cane Talks, the lively 10-­minute presentations by UM scholars and leaders introduced as a new tradition during Frenk’s inauguration. It submitted this entry on behalf of staff in several areas of University Advancement, the ’Cane Talks committee, and other individuals who worked on the event. The second merit award, for graphic design in the periodical category, went to UM Libraries’ “Access: Reflections on Discovery and Growth at the UM Library.’’

Covering 68 categories, the CASE District III Awards recognize the best practices in advancement in nine states.


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Poster Winners from the 8th Annual Postdoctoral Fellows Research Day Announced

The Postdoctoral Programs Office held its 8th Annual Postdoctoral Fellows Research Day at the Miller School of Medicine’s Lois Pope LIFE Center on Friday, February 3, when the research posters of 39 presenters were available for viewing and discussion. Faculty judges who evaluated the posters awarded the top honors to the following postdoctoral fellows:

1st place: Priyanka Maiti, Ph.D.
Title of Research: “Elucidating the role of GTPases OBGH1 and OBGH2 in mammalian mitoribosome assembly”
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Antonio Barrientos

2nd place: Akhilesh Kumar, Ph.D.
Title of Research: “Ate1-mediated posttranslational arginylation is essential for stress response regulation and mutagenesis suppression”
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Fangliang Zhang

3rd place: Jianping Li, M.D./Ph.D.
Title of Research: “ASXL2 is required for normal hematopoiesis and loss of Asxl2 leads to myeloid malignancies in mice”
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Feng-Chun Yang

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Toppel Career Center Congratulates Finalists for 2017 Toppel Awards

The Toppel Awards recognize outstanding students, faculty, staff, alumni, employers, and recruiters for their commitment to career education and personal career development. Toppel is excited to share the finalists for each award category on our Toppel Awards page. Winners will be announced at an awards ceremony on Tuesday, February 21. Thank you for your nominations!

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Nurse Scientist to Advance NINR’s Mission


Rosina Cianelli

UM News

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (February 9, 2017)Rosina Cianelli, an associate professor in the School of Nursing and Health Studies who teaches and conducts research in women’s health, health disparities, and international health, is among 15 new ambassadors selected by the Friends of the National Institute of Nursing Research (FNINR) to advance the  mission of the National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR). Part of the National Institutes of Health, the NINR is dedicated to nursing research that promotes and improves the health of individuals, families, and communities.

Selected from a national pool of applicants, Cianelli and the other new ambassadors  join 15 current ambassadors who focus specifically on educating Congressional leaders about high-impact and cost-effective treatments and quality-of-life enhancements that emanate from nursing science. Ultimately, the goal is to advance research funding to ensure the training of nurse scientists at a time of major scientific breakthroughs, and to promote the NINR strategic plan for for improving the wellbeing of Americans across the human lifespan.

“We are exquisitely positioned to use science generated by highly trained nurses to generate cures, reduce symptoms and side effects, and promote health and wellbeing aimed at individuals, families, and communities,” said Karen Drenkard, president of the FNINR.

“In the last year,” she continued, “we have had important conversations with key Congressional leaders who are understanding and valuing how nurses function as scientists, individually and on integrated research teams. With the large number of newly elected officials nationally and at the state level, the ambassadors will join others, including our board, to bolster awareness and action for those discoveries that save lives, advance health, and reduce costs.”

An independent, non-profit organization, the FNINR seeks to support research-based nursing practice by educating health care professionals, Congress, and other appointed and elected officials, as well as the public in general, about the advances made through nursing research and its benefits to society.


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