Briefly Noted

Scholars Honored for Their Pioneering Achievements

UM News

Scholarly Activity2

President Julio Frenk and Provost Thomas J. LeBlanc, at center, honor the recipients of the Provost’s Award for Scholarly Activity, from left, Peter Minnett, (who was away and impersonated by his mask-wearing chair, Dennis Hansell) and Xue Zhong Liu, and, from right, Francisco M. Raymo.

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (April 1, 2016)—An otolaryngologist who has identified new genes for different forms of hearing loss, a chemist who contributed to the explosion of molecular logic gates, and an oceanographer who specializes in remote satellite sensing of critical sea-surface temperatures are the recipients of the 2016 Provost’s Award for Scholarly Activity.

Xue Zhong Liu, professor of otolaryngology and vice chair for research in the Miller School of Medicine’s Department of Otolaryngology; Francisco M. Raymo, professor of chemistry in the College of Arts and Sciences; and Peter Minnett, professor of ocean sciences at the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science were honored last Friday by Provost Thomas J. LeBlanc, UM President Julio Frenk, and Vice Provost for Research John Bixby during a ceremony in the Fieldhouse at the BankUnited Center.

Also honored at the ceremony were five recipients of the Provost’s Funding Award, bestowed for the first time, and 61 recipients of the Provost’s Research Awards, announced earlier this year.

“It is my distinct privilege to be here today to acknowledge the life-changing work these award recipients conduct on a daily basis,”  Frenk said in offering his thanks and congratulations to all the awardees. “One of our aspirations is to be an exemplary university and that begins with you—you are an example to your colleagues and peers, your students, and our greater society.”


President Julio Frenk and Provost Thomas J. LeBlanc, center, and Vice Provost for Research John Bixby, left, honor the inaugural  recipients of the Provost’s Funding Award, from left, Neil Schneiderman, Victoria Behar Mitrani, Michelle Waks Galloway, W. Dalton Dietrich, and Fabrice Manns.

The funding award was established to recognize productivity in research, as evidenced by sustained, peer-reviewed, extramural funding, and, as what Bixby called “a stealth goal,” to identify faculty who have the ability and willingness to mentor other faculty. The inaugural recipients are: W. Dalton Dietrich, professor of neurological surgery and scientific director of The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis; Fabrice Manns, professor of biomedical engineering in the College of Engineering and professor of ophthalmology at Bascom Palmer Eye Institute; Victoria Behar Mitrani, professor and associate dean for the Ph.D. program and research in the School of Nursing and Health Studies; Neil Schneiderman, the James L. Knight Professor of Health Psychology in the College of Arts and Sciences and the Miller School of Medicine; and Michelle Wachs Galloway, professor of mathematics in the College of Arts and Sciences.

The annual Awards for Scholarly Activity recognize UM faculty who have demonstrated excellence in research by either a single unique achievement or years of high-quality scholarly productivity. Nominated by their deans and selected by a committee composed of previous awardees, this year’s recipients all have sustained, pioneering research accomplishments in their respective fields.

Liu, who is also a professor of human genetics, biochemistry, and pediatrics, has devoted his career to identifying new genes for different forms of hearing loss, the understanding of the molecular pathogenesis of genetic deafness, and the improvement of the clinical diagnosis/management of deaf patients.

He is the founder of the Miami Molecular and Clinical Otogenetic Programs, the most comprehensive research and patient care program for patients with genetic hearing loss in the world. His team has discovered 15 percent of all the new genes related to deafness in the world, and his innovations have led to exciting new ways to enhance our understanding of normal hearing and genetic aberrations that result in hearing impairments.

Liu is also known for his career-long, exemplary translational research on hereditary hearing loss from basic sciences to clinical application (bench to bedside) and, for the past three years, ranking in the top 1 percent of National Institutes of Health-funded physician-scientists in the auditory field.

As the author of more than 150 scientific papers and book chapters in highly impactful journals, including Nature GeneticsLancet, and Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Liu has made landmark contributions to auditory science and his work has been cited over 4,000 times.

A professor in the Department of Ocean Sciences, Minnett was unable to attend the ceremony so his chair, Dennis A. Hansell, accepted the award in his behalf—his face covered with a Minnett mask. The real Minnett has studied satellite oceanography for more than 30 years, concentrating primarily on the remote sensing of sea­-surface temperatures from satellites and ships, the microscale effects occurring at the sea surface, and the physics of the Arctic.

He and his team deploy highly calibrated Fourier Transform Infrared Interferometers on ships to measure the emission spectra from the ocean and atmosphere. The data sets support research into the physics of the ocean surface and air‐sea exchanges, and are considered among the most important in climate change research.

Minnett, whose three decades of sustained, high-quality research are evidenced by more than 120 peer-reviewed publications, has an “h-index” of 33, according to Google Scholar. In 2008, he was elected as the Science Team Chair of the International Group for High Resolution Sea‐Surface Temperature (GHRSST).

The recipient of many awards, including the 2014 and 2003 NASA Group Achievement Awards, he is on the editorial board of Surveys in Geophysics and associate editor of Remote Sensing of Environment. He also has held editorial responsibilities for the Oceans Encyclopedia of Remote Sensing (2007- 2013); the Cryosphere Encyclopedia of Remote Sensing (2007- 2013); the Journal of Atmospheric and Oceanic Technology (2004-2007); Remote Sensing of Environment (1999 – 2008); and Atmosphere-Oceans (2000-2001).

Over the past 15 years, Raymo, who holds six patents on technologies at the intersection of the biological, chemical, and materials sciences, has established an international reputation and a vigorous research program combining chemical synthesis, photochemistry, and supramolecular chemistry. His early research articles in PNAS and the Journal of the American Chemical Society contributed to the explosion of the general area of molecular logic gates.

These publications, together with his invited review in Advanced Materials, which already has been cited more than 400 times, are milestones in the field and helped establish Raymo’s international visibility early in his career. So, too, has a Career Award from the National Science Foundation, which has continuously supported his research since.

Altogether, his research has been cited as many as 11,907 times and his current h-index is as high as 58. The scientific impact of his findings is also evidenced by the invited lectures he delivered at the main international conferences in his research area, including the Gordon Research Conference on Photochemistry and the Gordon Research Conference on Artificial Molecular Motors and Switches.

This year’s Provost’s Research Awards, which were announced in January, are providing salary support and direct research costs to 61 faculty representing 32 departments in seven schools and colleges on the Coral Gables and marine campuses for a wide range of research projects—from the Effects of Anthropomorphizing Nature on Perceptions of Climate Change to The Film Music of Alberto Ginastera during the Perón Years.

The funding is awarded in three categories based on discipline: the Max Orovitz Research Award in Arts and Humanities; the James W. McLamore Research Award in Business and the Social Sciences; and the Research Award in the Natural Sciences and Engineering. Read more about the awards and view a list of this year’s awardees.

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UM Alumna Receives Abess Center’s Environmental Stewardship Award

UM News

Rachel Silverstein

Rachel Silverstein

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (March 25, 2016)—UM alumna Rachel Silverstein, the executive director of Miami Waterkeeper, received the 2016 Reitmeister-Abess Center Environmental Stewardship Award last Friday for her singularly significant contributions to conserving water resources.

Bestowed by the University of Miami’s Leonard and Jayne Abess Center for Ecosystem Science and Policy, the award is named for the late Louis Aaron Reitmeister, the 20th century writer, humanist, and environmentalist whose foundation continues to preserve endangered species and help rid the world’s oceans and waterways of pollution.

Silverstein, who earned her Ph.D. in marine biology and fisheries from the Rosenstiel School for Marine and Atmospheric Science in 2012, joined Miami Waterkeeper in June 2014, after serving as a Knauss Sea Grant Fellow and on the staff of the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries and Coast Guard in Washington, D.C.

As the head of the nonprofit advocacy organization dedicated to protecting Biscayne Bay, its watershed, and its wildlife, Silverstein is part investigator, scientist, educator, and legal advocate, functioning as a public spokesperson for the bay, protecting the public’s right to clean water, monitoring water quality, and bringing water polluters to justice.

As a UM doctoral candidate, she focused her research on the effect of climate change on reef corals, and used genetic methods to answer ecological questions. She also conducted outreach ranging from writing articles about science, including a Letter to the Editor published in the journal Science to mentoring undergraduate, middle, and high school girls on their science fair projects.

Silverstein graduated cum laude from Columbia University in 2006 with a B.S. degree in ecology, evolution and environmental biology. In 2004, she was a summer intern at the San Diego Coastkeeper (then Baykeeper).

Her passion for protecting the environment began early, while growing up along the Southern California coast and playing in the local tide pools. She earned her SCUBA certification at age 14 and has been an avid diver ever since.

Past recipients of the Reitmeister-Abess award include Harvey Ruvin, Miami-Dade County Clerk of Courts; Carl Hiaasen, local environmentalist, author, and Miami Herald columnist; Terrence “Rock” Salt, former principal deputy assistant secretary of the U.S. Army, Civil Works; and Jennifer Jurado, director of the Broward County Environmental Planning and Community Resilience Division.


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Sociologist Named AERA Fellow

Special to UM News


Jomills H. Braddock II

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (March 23, 2016)—Sociology Professor Jomills H. Braddock II, whose research interests include race-ethnic relations and sociology of sports and gender equity, is among the 22 scholars selected as 2016 American Educational Research Association (AERA) Fellows for their notable and sustained research achievements.

“It’s always a tremendous honor to have any aspect of one’s work acknowledged by professional peers,” said Braddock, the   co-author of the book Sex Segregation in Sports: Why Separate Is Not Equal. “I have always sought to conduct research that makes a difference. I am especially grateful to receive this honor.”

Founded in 1916, AERA is the largest national interdisciplinary research association dedicated to the scientific study of education and learning. The 2016 AREA Fellows were nominated by their peers, selected by the AERA Fellows Committee, and approved by the AERA Council, the association’s elected governing body.

Braddock and his fellow nominees will be inducted on April 9 during the AERA 2016 annual meeting in Washington, D.C.

“We are delighted to honor these 22 scholars for their contributions to education research and for their dedication to the field,” said AERA Executive Director Felice J. Levine. “AERA Fellows exemplify the highest standards of excellence through accomplishment, professionalism, and commitment.”

Other AERA Fellows include professors from Florida State University, Vanderbilt University, University of Notre Dame, Harvard University, and University of California, Berkeley.


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Nursing Researcher Headed to Hall of Fame

UM News

Anne.NorrisCORAL GABLES, Fla. (March 22, 2016)—Anne E. Norris, a professor in the School of Nursing and Health Studies who researches innovative technological approaches for tackling risky adolescent and young adult sexual behavior, will be among 19 nurse researchers inducted into the International Nurse Researcher Hall of Fame at the Sigma Theta Tau International (STTI) Honor Society of Nursing’s 27th International Nursing Research Congress in Cape Town, South Africa, this summer.

Created in 2010, the International Nurse Researcher Hall of Fame recognizes nurse researchers who have achieved significant and sustained national or international recognition for research that has improved the nursing profession and the people it serves. Norris’s research and that of the other 18 honorees, who come from six countries around the world, will be shared through STTI’s Virginia Henderson Global Nursing e-Repository, enabling nurses everywhere to benefit from their discoveries and insights.

“These cumulative research achievements of these 19 honorees has been nothing short of life-changing,” said STTI President Cathy Catrambone. “We celebrate their achievements in advancing world health, and I offer my personal congratulations. I look forward to learning and sharing more about their contributions.”

Norris, who earned her Ph.D. in nursing and psychology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1988, joined UM in 2014, after holding nursing faculty positions at Ohio State University, Boston College, and the University of Central Florida. She has spent much of her career exploring how culture and other social influences affect health behavior and how gaming and simulation can promote health.

She is the principal investigator of a $3.3 million grant to reduce teen pregnancy and the risk of sexually transmitted infections among Latina adolescents in Miami-Dade County using “Mighty Girls,” a program that combines classroom sessions and an interactive video game in which players talk with avatars to practice evidence-based communication skills for resisting peer pressure.

The author or co-author of more than 90 scholarly publications, Norris has presented her work at numerous national and international scientific meetings and served as guest editor for national and international nursing journals. She is also the 2011 recipient of the Mary Cash Award for Outstanding Contribution to Cultural Diversity in Nursing and Health Care and a fellow of the prestigious American Academy of Nursing.

STTI’s annual congress attracts nearly 1,000 nurse researchers, students, clinicians, and leaders, who learn from evidence-based research presentations. The theme for the 27th congress, to be held July 21-25, is Leading Global Research: Advancing Practice, Advocacy and Policy. To view details, visit congress.nursingsociety.org.



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Interactive Media Program Ranks in Top 25

Special to UM News

InteractiveMediaCORAL GABLES, FLA. (March 17, 2016—University of Miami School of Communication’s Interactive Media Program has earned the No. 23 spot on The Princeton Review‘s just-published list saluting the top 25 graduate schools to study game design for 2016.

The Princeton Review chose the schools based on a survey it conducted in 2015 of 150 institutions offering game design coursework and/or degrees in the United States, Canada, and some countries abroad.

The company’s 40-question survey asked schools to report on everything from their academic offerings and faculty credentials to their graduates’ starting salaries and employment experience. Among criteria The Princeton Review weighed to make its selections: the school’s academics, facilities, career services, and technology.

“This ranking is a tribute to the quality of our faculty and the innovative curriculum they have built. Graduates from this program are being hired into fantastic positions in great organizations. It’s a pretty amazing accomplishment, given how new our program is,” said Gregory J. Shepherd, dean of the School of Communication.

The Interactive Media program aims to prepare a new generation of innovators and leaders in the field of interaction design. Its mission is to explore the use of technology, design, human behavior, and their impact on communication. The multidisciplinary curriculum brings together students from different backgrounds to learn about game design, web design, mobile, data visualization, interaction design, and other emerging technologies. The program trains students to research, prototype, design, and build projects in business, social, academic, and cultural contexts.

“It has long been our mission to help students find – and get into – the schools best for them,” said Robert Franek, Princeton Review Senior VP/Publisher. “For students aspiring to work in the burgeoning field of game design, we strongly recommend University of Miami School of Communication’s Interactive Media Program and each of the other schools that made our 2016 lists. These are truly the ‘cream of the crop’ institutions from which to launch a career. Their faculties are outstanding. Their facilities are awesome. And their alumni include legions of the industry’s most prominent game designers, developers, artists, and entrepreneurs.”

The Princeton Review’s full report on this project at www.princetonreview.com/game-design also features a companion list of “Top 50 Undergraduate Schools to Study Game Design for 2016.” It includes profiles of the schools with application information and links to the school sites.

For the fourth consecutive year, The Princeton Review teamed up with PC Gamer, a monthly magazine published by Future plc as its reporting partner on this project. PC Gamer has a feature on the list in its May issue available on newsstands March 29. The feature has information on some of the schools’ unique programs, class offerings, prominent professors, and alumni.

The Princeton Review developed its Top Schools to Study Game Design project in 2009 with assistance from a national advisory board that helped design the survey instrument and methodology. Board members included administrators and faculty from respected game design programs, and professionals from some of the top gaming companies.

The Princeton Review is also known for its annual rankings of colleges, law schools, and business schools in dozens of categories, which it reports on its site, and in its books including The Best 380 CollegesThe Best 295 Business Schools, and The Best 173 Law Schools. The company is not affiliated with Princeton University.

– See more at: http://www.com.miami.edu/news/2016/03/17/university-miami%E2%80%99s-interactive-media-program-named-princeton-review-2016-list-top-25#sthash.hSP97eSn.dpuf

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