Tag Archive | "college of engineering"

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Overuse of Cigarette Substitutes Could Pose Risk to Bones


By Marie Diaz-Guma
and Annette Gallagher

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (Aug. 26, 2014)—Cigarette smoking kills approximately 440,000 Americans each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Protection. It is the leading cause of preventable death worldwide. In order to overcome this addiction, many people resort to nicotine replacement therapies.

A recent literature review study by researchers at the University of Miami suggests that small dosages of nicotine found in cigarette substitutes could be harmful to the human musculoskeletal system due to overuse. The findings are reported in the Global Journal of Medical Research.

The researchers investigated and summarized the last five years of studies in the PubMed database on the effect of nicotine on wound and skeletal healing processes in humans.

The report suggests that more information is needed on the potential effect of cigarette substitutes like electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes), which are fairly new to the market and not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration.

“E-cigarettes are marketed as safe alternatives to cigarette smoking. However, the harms associated with their overuse have not yet been widely investigated,” said Herman S. Cheung, James L. Knight Professor in the College of Engineering and senior author of the report. “We hope to increase awareness and promote further investigations into this field.”

Interestingly, the findings show that nicotine can be beneficial at low dosages. For example, exposure to low dosages of nicotine promotes collagen production and skin wound repair. Yet at higher dosages, cells involved in the wound and skeletal healing processes actually become ineffective. That’s why overuse of nicotine replacements, which still contain small amounts of nicotine, can present a health risk. However, what constitutes a low or high dosage depends on the cell type.

The consequences of nicotine overuse are not necessarily new findings. However, the specific effects of nicotine on stem cells and the musculoskeletal system are. Stem cells are generic cells that can give rise to specific cell types in the body through a process called cell differentiation. These cells play a crucial role in tissue regeneration and healing. Any changes to their natural function can significantly alter these processes.

“It has been widely documented that smokers, compared to non-smokers, experience prolonged delays in bone healing after a bone fracture,” Cheung said. “There are many theories as to why. We believe that nicotine significantly affects the potential for stem cell proliferation, migration, and osteogenic differentiation—the potential of a cell to become a bone cell,” he said. “We think that these effects cause delays to bone healing.”

The mechanisms behind the effects of nicotine on musculoskeletal health are not fully understood. However, studies show that proteins called nicotine acetylcholine receptors (nAChRS) sit on the surface of the cells in the musculoskeletal system and act as mediators of the effects of nicotine on the cells.

Found throughout the body, micro ribonucleic acid (miRNA) molecules are instrumental in regulating the process that allows a stem cell to differentiate into a specific type of cell, like a muscle, or a bone cell. The researchers believe that when nAChRS are exposed to nicotine, they affect the expression of miRNAs. But it is not yet known if this is truly the case.

“The effect of nicotine on miRNAs is the focus of our current research,” Carballosa said. “However, the link between nicotine exposure and expression of miRNAs implies that there is a correlation between the two.”

The study is titled “Nicotine’s influence on musculoskeletal healing: A review featuring nAChRS and miRNA.” David J. Fernandez-Fidalgo, a graduate student in the Department of Biomedical Engineering, is also a co-author of the report.

Annette Gallagher can be reached at 305-284-1121.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Engineering Students Take a ‘Magical and Mind-Boggling’ Ride on NASA’s Weightless Wonder


By Robert C. Jones Jr.
UM News

microgravity-UM

Altered state: Ben Patterson, left, and Felipe Gheiman defy gravity aboard NASA’s Weightless Wonder while keeping a close eye on their experiment.

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (August 20, 2014) – About an hour into the flight, Nicolas Rongione knew he was in for the ride of his life—a free-floating trip that defied the laws of Newton. With arms and legs flailing, and no control over his body’s orientation, the University of Miami senior must have felt a lot like Alan Shepard some 53 years ago when he blasted off from Cape Canaveral aboard a Freedom 7 capsule to become the first American in space.

Read the full story

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Faculty and Staff Support the U: Engineer Enhances Environmental—and University—Resources


Helena Solo-Gabriele

Helena Solo-Gabriele

As a teacher, researcher, role model, and donor, Helena Solo-Gabriele is making a difference in the world. “Since I was an undergraduate here in the 1980s, our University has made huge advances,” says Solo-Gabriele, professor and associate dean for research in the College of Engineering. “While the amount I give each year isn’t large, I know it’s important. As more and more of our faculty, staff, and alumni donate, our University gains important resources.”

The daughter of Cuban-born parents, Solo-Gabriele is a long-time member of the UM “family.”  Her father, Emilio Solo, earned his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Miami in 1964. “He would bring our family to the UM pool, and it was always a special trip to come to the campus,” she says. Following in her father’s footsteps, she and her husband, Frank Gabriele, III, introduced their two daughters, Christina, now 19, and Elizabeth, 12, to the campus at an early age. Read the full story

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Daniel Berg Honored for His ‘Genius’ at Resolving Management Problems


Special to UM News

Daniel Berg, left, receives the Siwei Cheng Award in Information Technology and Quantitative Management at the IAITQM meeting in Moscow.

Daniel Berg, left, receives the Siwei Cheng Award in Information Technology and Quantitative Management at the IAITQM meeting in Moscow.

CORAL GABLES,  Fla. (June 24, 2014)—Daniel Berg, distinguished research professor of engineering, received the prestigious Siwei Cheng Award in Information Technology and Quantitative Management at the second annual meeting of the International Academy of Informational Technology and Quantitative Management (IAITQM) in Moscow this month.

Berg received the honor during the June 3-5 gathering for being “a person who has devoted genius efforts to applying quantitative methods and information technology to solve management problems.” The award is named for a former top leader in the Chinese Congress who heads a major program on economic theory at the renowned Chinese Academy of Science.

IAITQM was established in 2011 to promote innovative excellence in information technology and quantitative management; the organization has founding members from more than 50 countries, including the United States, China, Japan, Australia, and Turkey.

Berg was both surprised and honored by the award, noting that IAITQM members represent the most talented and experienced experts in his growing field. He also noted that the award’s namesake will be visiting the UM College of Engineering this year and looks forward to his interaction with the faculty and students on several topics.

Berg previously was dean and provost at Carnegie Mellon University, as well as provost and president at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and Institute Professor of Science and Technology. He received his B.S. in chemistry and physics from the City College of New York and his M.S. and Ph.D. in physical chemistry from Yale. He was employed by Westinghouse Electric in a variety of technical/managerial positions, including technical director.

Berg serves as the American editor of the International Journal of Services Technology and Management. He is the author of four books, five book chapters, and more than 80 refereed journal articles. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, a Life Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE), a Fellow of The Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS); and a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

His many additional awards and honors include the IEEE Engineering Management Section Educator of the Year Award; the International Association for Management of Technology’s Award for Distinguished Achievement in Management of Technology; the IEEE Educational Activities Board Meritorious Achievement Award in Continuing Education; the National Academy of Engineering Service Award; the Townsend Harris Medal, City College of New York; the Wilbur Cross Medal, Yale University; and the Belden Prize for Mathematics.

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College of Engineering Dean James Tien to Step Down in 2015


James M. Tien

James M. Tien

James M. Tien, who, as dean of the University of Miami’s College of Engineering for the past seven years, led successful efforts to double the number of women on the faculty, increase research expenditures, and boost enrollments at the undergraduate, master’s and doctoral levels, has announced he will step down from his post effective August 31, 2015.

“It has indeed been my privilege to have served in this capacity,” said Tien, who came to UM in 2007 from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York, where he served as the Yamada Corporation Professor and founding chair of the school’s Department of Decision Sciences and Engineering Systems. Read the full story

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