Tag Archive | "miller school of medicine"

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Apply Now for Miami CFAR Pilot Awards on Vaccines and Immunology


The Miller School of Medicine Center for AIDS Research (CFAR) is now accepting applications for developmental projects in HIV/AIDS research with a focus on vaccines and immunology. The purpose is to provide pilot funds that will stimulate new research and collaborations between basic and clinical researchers and generate supporting preliminary data to increase competitiveness for extramural HIV/AIDS funding. For this special round of pilot awards, CFAR is looking to fund projects specifically focused on research leading to the development of cell-based or antibody-based vaccines or projects focused on immunology research. The deadline is Friday, September 26.

For more information and instructions, visit http://cfar.med.miami.edu/developmental-core/pilot-grants.

 

 

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Interactive Media’s ‘Zoo Rush’ Wins Good Gaming Award for Raising Sickle Cell Awareness


By Nancy M. Molina
Special to UM News

Zoo.Rush.Zhang

Designer Fan “Franklin” Zhang, a second-year MFA student in the Interactive Media program, works on the award-winning Zoo Rush game.

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (July 25, 2014) – Collaborating with the Miller School of Medicine’s Department of Public Health Sciences, student game developers in the School of Communication have created Zoo Rush, an award-winning adventure game that aims to increase awareness about sickle cell disease and reduce the stigma often associated with the painful inherited blood disorder that slows blood flow.

Representing the UM team, Zoo Rush developers Ebtissam “Ebby” Wahman and Fan “Franklin” Zhang brought the Silver Award in the Games for Good category back from the 2014 International Serious Play Awards held July 24 at the University of Southern California.

In the game, which can be played on the Web or by download to any Android or iOS device, players take on the role of a zookeeper with sickle cell disease who, on his or her first day on the job, faces a monumental challenge: All the animals escape.

The goal is for the player to capture each escaped animal before time runs out. Due to the zookeeper’s medical condition, the player must avoid infections, hydrate often, check in with their physician, and take their medication, such as hydroxyurea, the only FDA-approved medication for sickle cell disease.

Assistant Professor Clay Ewing, Zoo Rush’s project manager and game designer, said the Serious Play award validates the work of students and faculty in the School of Communication’s new Interactive Media program, who collaborated with Lanetta Jordan, M.D., M.P.H., M.S.P.H., associate professor of Public Health Sciences and president of the Foundation for Sickle Cell Disease Research, to build awareness about the disease that largely affects people who come from or whose ancestors came from parts of the world where malaria is or was common.

As Ewing notes, new programs must establish credibility, and the Serious Play Association’s recognition is a sign that the program is on the right path. He and the Zoo Rush team are particularly proud that the game is proving successful at increasing awareness of sickle cell disease, the most common genetic disorder of newborns in the U.S.

“My friend’s daughter downloaded the game and couldn’t stop playing,” Ewing said. “Later that night, she asked her dad about sickle cell disease. He didn’t know anything about it, so they spent the night finding out about it online. That’s exactly what we’re trying to do: Get a person engaged in an experience to the point where they begin seeking new knowledge on the topic and spreading the word.”

Wahman, who graduated from the UM College of Engineering’s electrical engineering program in 2012, had limited knowledge of sickle cell before taking part in the project. She said Zoo Rush was the first full game she developed and the experience helped her grow both as a developer and a person. “I feel honored that I was a part of such a project where I not only made a fun game, but also raised awareness about a disease that doesn’t get enough attention and affects millions of people around the world,” Wahman said.

Added Zoo Rush’s sound designer, Isabella Douzoglou, a motion picture and computer science major, “Increasing awareness through a fun medium is brilliant, especially when it’s for a good cause. It was a pleasure to be involved.”

Students from all majors at the School of Communication had the opportunity to test the game on various devices in an open playtest. They said the game gave them some insight on sickle cell disease and left them curious to learn more. The developers used this feedback to make adjustments to the game.

In sickle cell disease, red blood cells take on a sickle or crescent shape. Normal red blood cells are round and move through the blood vessels with ease, carrying oxygen to all parts of the body. Sickle-shaped blood cells often get stuck in blood vessel passageways, slowing down blood flow and preventing oxygen from reaching certain parts of the body. This can cause severe pain and other serious problems, such as infection, anemia, and stroke.

As Jordan notes, the transition from pediatric to adult care in young adults with sickle cell disease is becoming a major public health issue. Studies show that young adults transitioning to adult medical care are at a much higher risk for early death, especially shortly after leaving pediatric care. For some, the shift away from pediatric services results in the loss of an established primary medical home or access to health insurance.

In addition, Jordan said, these young adults are especially at risk of suffering from complex psychosocial issues due to stigmatization, the process of identifying an attribute and associating it with a stereotype that negatively labels a person or group.

Children and adolescents with sickle cell often experience low self-esteem or embarrassment. Pain is one of the most stigmatizing aspects of the disease, which often requires treatment with opioids.  As a result, Jordan said, up to 80 percent of young adults and adults with sickle cell disease choose to manage their pain at home. Zoo Rush developers hope to reduce this number by targeting young adults in the sickle cell community and influencing the way people perceive the disease.

For more information, visit Zoo Rush and the Foundation for Sickle Cell Disease Research.

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Order a Pizza and Help Team UM Sylvester’s DCC Riders


The Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center’s Office of Research Administration is holding a pizza sale to support the fundraising efforts of employees who have signed up with Team UM Sylvester as riders and virtual riders in next February’s Dolphins Cycling Challenge V. Cheese and pepperoni pizzas will be pre-sold only for $15 each, and available for pick up on Wednesday, August 13, at lunchtime in the Clinical Research Building, 6th floor. Please email Nikki Waskiewicz at NWaskiewicz@med.miami.edu by Monday, August 11 to place your order.

 

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Great Sports Legends Dinner to Honor Famous Athletes and Raise Funds for Spinal Cord Injury Research


Special to UM News

Champion Olympic sprinter and bobsledder Lauryn Williams, seen here at the University of Miami’s Black Alumni Society and Woodson Williams Marshall Association 2014 Scholarship Reception last March, will be honored with a group of other famous athletes at the 29th Annual Great Sports Legends Dinner.

Champion Olympic sprinter and bobsledder Lauryn Williams, seen here at the University of Miami’s Black Alumni Society and Woodson Williams Marshall Association 2014 Scholarship Reception last March, will be honored with a group of other famous athletes at the 29th Annual Great Sports Legends Dinner.

NEW YORK, N.Y. (July 31, 2014) –Olympic champion and University of Miami alumna Lauryn Williams, who became only the fifth person in history to medal at both the Summer and Winter Games when she captured silver at Sochi last February, is among an all-star lineup of famous athletes who will be honored September 29 at the annual Great Sports Legends Dinner at New York’s Waldorf Astoria.

NBA champion Hakeem Olajuwon, two-time Super Bowl-winning coach Bill Cowher, NFL Hall of Famer and former Miami Hurricanes defensive lineman Warren Sapp, and decorated Olympic gymnast Mary Lou Retton will also be honored. Read the full story

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Bascom Palmer Eye Institute Ranks No. 1 for the 11th Straight Year

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Bascom Palmer Eye Institute Ranks No. 1 for the 11th Straight Year


Special to UM News

Bascom.Palmer

Eduardo C. Alfonso, M.D., professor and chairman of Bascom Palmer Eye Institute, says outstanding care is the foundation of the institute’s reputation.

MIAMI, Fla. (July 14,2014)—For the 11th consecutive year, the 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.

“This ranking is a testament to the incomparable excellence and dedication found at every level at Bascom Palmer,” said Pascal J. Goldschmidt, M.D., Senior Vice President for Medical Affairs and Dean of the Miller School and CEO of UHealth. “To be named No. 1 is a great honor; to be named No. 1 year after year and without interruption can only happen when you have an unwavering commitment to groundbreaking research, education and world-class clinical care. As of this date, Bascom Palmer has been ranked No. 1 more times than all other U.S. eye centers put together. At the Miller School and the University of Miami, we are so proud of our Bascom Palmer Eye Institute.”

The Bascom Palmer team is recognized as an international leader in every subspecialty in ophthalmology. Faculty and staff have made notable contributions in the fields of macular degeneration, retinal surgery, glaucoma, infections and inflammations, corneal surgery, Lasik, cataract surgery, neuro-ophthalmology, plastic surgery, pediatrics and cancers.

“We are honored to be recognized as the leader in the life-changing and dynamic field of ophthalmology. It is our privilege to deliver exceptional patient care, cutting-edge research and the finest medical education possible,” said Eduardo C. Alfonso, M.D., professor and Chairman of Bascom Palmer Eye Institute. “The outstanding care that is delivered to each Bascom Palmer patient is the foundation for our reputation. The well-being of our patients inspires us to continually reach higher and excel in areas of clinical care, vision research and surgical innovation.”

Bascom Palmer’s physician-scientists lead research teams that are currently involved in new clinical trials using gene therapy, retinal chips, genomics and stem cell therapy. Additional research is being conducted on genetic mapping of cancers to better target treatment. The molecular basis of degenerative diseases of the retina being investigated in the laboratory will lead to new clinical treatments. In addition, surgical treatment of diseases such as cataracts, retinal detachment and glaucoma continues to be improved in the clinical setting.

Bascom Palmer Eye Institute/Anne Bates Leach Eye Hospital was also ranked the overall No. 1 hospital in the Miami-Fort Lauderdale area.

Three other specialties of the University of Miami/Jackson Memorial Hospital were recognized as high-performing byU.S. News & World Report: nephrology, neurology and neurosurgery, and urology. In addition, UM/Jackson was ranked among the top 10 hospitals in the Miami Metro area.

Two specialties at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center/University of Miami Hospital and Clinics — cancer, and ear, nose and throat — were recognized as high-performing by U.S. News & World Report, and the facility was ranked among the top 25 hospitals in Florida.

This spring U.S. News & World Report named Holtz Children’s Hospital at the University of Miami/Jackson Memorial Medical Center one of the country’s best children’s hospitals. The rankings feature the top 50 hospitals in each of the 10 pediatric specialties.

Holtz was ranked in seven specialties this year: 20th in diabetes and endocrinology, 25th in gastroenterology and GI surgery, 33rd in nephrology, 44th in cardiology and heart surgery, 45th in urology, 47th in pulmonology and 48th in neonatology.

The complete 2014-15 Best Hospitals rankings are accessible online at http://health.usnews.com/best-hospitals and will be in bookstores and on newsstands in August.

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