e-Veritas Archive | February, 2010

College of Engineering hosts groundbreaking meeting

A joint regional meeting of the National Academy of Engineering and the Institute of Medicine included presentations and a panel discussion on engineering innovations in health care.

University of Miami President Donna E. Shalala moderates the panel discussion on engineering health care innovation that included, from left, William Rouse, director of the Tennenbaum Institute at Georgia Tech; William Stead, associate vice chancellor for health affairs, chief strategy and information officer, and McKesson Foundation Professor of Medicine at Vanderbilt University; and Pascal J. Goldschmidt, senior vice president for medical affairs and dean of UM's Miller School of Medicine. Also on the panel was Van C. Mow, chair of Columbia University's Department of Biomedical Engineering.

On the same day that President Barack Obama and Congressional representatives met in Washington, DC to discuss health care reform, a historic gathering of a different sort—one composed not of lawmakers, but of scientists and scholars—convened on the University of Miami campus to address the issue from another perspective: how the field of engineering can help improve medical care for the benefit of all.

“When you think about the future of health care, there’s no question that the ideas, ideals, and capacities of engineering have a great deal both to offer and to gain from a closer collaboration with the counterparts in health care for improving health in our country and around the world,” Harvey Fineberg, president of the Institute of Medicine (IOM), told an audience of more than 300 people at UM’s Storer Auditorium on Thursday.

His comments were part of the first-of-its-kind joint regional meeting between the institute and the National Academy of Engineering (NAE). The summit, organized by UM College of Engineering Dean James M. Tien and Distinguished Research Professor Daniel Berg, featured scientific presentations by scientists and physicians—among them Miller School of Medicine Dean Pascal J. Goldschmidt—and a panel discussion, moderated by UM President Donna E. Shalala, that focused on the role of engineering in improving health care.

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Architectural marvels of Pisa come to UM

An exhibition featuring amazingly detailed replicas of famous structures at Pisa, Italy’s Cathedral Square, including the Leaning Tower of Pisa, opens at the School of Architecture this weekend.

A technician assembles a replica of the top two tiers of the Leaning Tower of Pisa outside the School of Architecture's Jorge M. Perez Architecture Center.

The burly worker climbed the scaffolding that had been erected on a small grassy area of the University of Miami campus. He gave a few quick tugs to a section of the framework, testing its sturdiness and strength.

Six sheets of strong, lightweight fabric had already been fastened to different metal rods of the frame, and in just a few hours, more sections of cloth would be attached until they completely enveloped the cylindrical structure.

Adorned with images of arches, columns, and bells, each piece of fabric is an individual work of art. But it is the tower’s unmistakable lean that raises eyebrows.

No architectural blunder here, though. The tilt is intentional. The structure, a nearly full-scale replica of the top two tiers of the famous Leaning Tower of Pisa, is being assembled on the grounds of UM’s School of Architecture as part of a first-of-its-kind exhibition showcasing the architectural marvels of Pisa, Italy’s famed Cathedral Square.

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Stimulus response

With support from close to $90 million in stimulus-backed grant awardsand countingfrom various federal agencies, University of Miami investigators have embarked on research projects aimed at finding solutions to some of the world’s most pressing problems.

Stimulus-backed research is being conducted on UM's Coral Gables, Miller School, and Rosenstiel School campuses.

The bioreactor that will enable Weiyong Gu to analyze the growth characteristics of intervertebral tissue without having to remove samples from the device hasn’t even been invented yet. But the University of Miami biomedical engineer is in a race against time, working long hours in his lab to build the instrument that could help pave the way for advanced techniques in the engineering of human tissue to replace organs.

At UM’s Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, the challenge that confronts geochemist Peter Swart lies not in building a new device, but in using existing tools to determine whether the technique of carbon capture can actually help solve the global-warming crisis.

Both investigators are conducting their research with the blessing and backing of Uncle Sam. They are beneficiaries of hefty grants that have been flowing from the federal government’s coffers ever since the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) pumped $10.4 billion into the National Institutes of Health, with $8.2 billion earmarked for scientific research priorities.

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