Priority: Slider Feature Item

Special Report on Climate Change Highlights UM Research

Sunset3Debuting in advance of Earth Day, the University of Miami’s Climate Change Special Report, developed by University Communications, features more than 40 articles on science and research; dozens of interviews with UM faculty, alumni, and students; and social and interactive engagement with polls, graphics, and an opportunity for you to write your own haiku to the environment.

Posted in FeaturesComments (0)

UM President Frenk Receives Bouchet Award

UM News


Yale University President Peter Salovey presents the Bouchet medal to University of Miami President Julio Frenk.

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (April 8, 2016)—University of Miami President Julio Frenk was presented the prestigious Bouchet Leadership Award Medal, named for the first African-American to earn a Ph.D. in the U.S., at the 13th annual Bouchet Conference on Diversity and Graduate Education at Yale University.

Frenk also delivered the keynote address at the April 2 conference, which was themed “Embedding Diversity in the Mission, Vision, and Values of the Academy.” In his remarks, “Beyond Goodwill: Committing to Diversity, Inclusion, and the Scholarship of Belonging,” he spoke eloquently about one of the core issues that define his new presidency at UM.

“Nearly 100 years after Bouchet’s death, the pipeline for faculty of color remains too narrow; the ranks of African-American scholars too thin. This is a challenge that all of us in higher education must address together,” he told the scholars, administrators, community leaders, and graduate and undergraduate students attending the conference from across the nation.

The award and conference are  named for Yale alumnus Edward A. Bouchet (1852-1918), who in 1876 became the first African-American to earn a Ph.D. in any discipline from an American university. Also one of the first African-Americans to be elected to Phi Beta Kappa, he was only the sixth person in the western hemisphere to earn a doctorate in physics.

Yale and Howard universities founded the Edward A. Bouchet Graduate Honor Society in 2005, and last year the University of Miami was recognized as an institutional member—the first in Florida—in recognition of the University’s outstanding scholarly achievements and promotion of diversity and excellence in graduate education.

The Bouchet Society seeks to develop a network of preeminent scholars who exemplify academic and personal excellence, foster environments of support, and serve as examples of scholarship, leadership, character, service, and advocacy for students and postdocs who traditionally have been underrepresented in the academy.


Posted in Honors, NewsComments Off

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.

Posted in HonorsComments Off

Zika Forum Spotlights the Epidemic

By Robert C. Jones Jr.
UM News

John Beier of the Department of Public Health Sciences discusses the importance of effective mosquito-control efforts to help prevent the spread of Zika and other vector-borne diseases.

John Beier of the Department of Public Health Sciences discusses the importance of effective mosquito-control efforts to help prevent the spread of Zika and other vector-borne diseases. Seated are, from left, Jose Szapocznik, chair of the Department of Public Health Sciences; Anna Marie Likos, director of the Division of Disease Control and Health Protection for the Florida Department of Health; and Lillian Rivera, administrator of the Florida Department of Health in Miami-Dade County.

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (March 24, 2016) – Here’s the tally, though by the time you read this, the number will have probably changed: 907.

That is the number of confirmed cases of microcephaly in Brazil. The birth defect, in which a baby is born with an abnormally small head and often incomplete brain development, has been linked to an explosion of the mosquito-transmitted Zika virus in that country.

The virus, which is transmitted to people primarily through the bite of an infected Aedes aegypti mosquito, has dominated the headlines for months. While no local mosquito-borne cases have been reported in the U.S., there have been travel-associated cases. In Florida alone, Zika cases now stand at 72.

And it was that number, as well as other startling statistics, such as how Zika has hit more than three dozen countries and territories in the Americas, that drew more than 300 people to a forum at the University of Miami’s Shalala Student Center on Wednesday that addressed recent developments on the virus.

The four-hour forum, which was presented by the Miller School of Medicine; UHealth – the University of Miami Health System; the Department of Public Health Sciences; the Institute for Bioethics and Health Policy, whose founder and director, Kenneth W. Goodman, Ph.D., served as the forum’s facilitator; the Department of Medicine; and the Division of Infectious Diseases, included panel discussions and remarks from several researchers and physicians from UM and elsewhere.

“We’re very concerned about the Zika virus,” said John Beier, professor and director of the Division of Environmental and Public Health in the Miller School’s Department of Public Health Sciences. “It causes microcephaly, but it is also the first sexually transmitted vector-borne disease.”

He called the virus an Aedes problem, referring to the mosquito that spreads it.

Aedes aegypti, which can also transmit dengue fever and the chikungunya virus, is proving to be “a little bit more fierce than we’re used to seeing,” said Esper G. Kallas, an infectious disease specialist and professor of medicine at the University of São Paulo, Brazil, who delivered the forum’s keynote address.

While females are known to lay their eggs in stagnant freshwater, Aedes aegypti are now showing an ability to multiply in polluted water sources as well, said Kallas. And rising temperatures that are the result of global warming are helping the mosquito to adapt to northern locations, where in the past, the insect would never have been found.

Beier called the Aedes aegypti a challenge for vector biologists to control, noting that the mosquito has even demonstrated an ability to go underground and find suitable habitats during winter.

“We have tools for controlling mosquitoes,” said Beier, who also studies mosquito ecology and behavior in West Africa, “and we have newer methods, but they haven’t been validated yet.”

Florida has some of the world’s most effective mosquito control practices, Beier said. But in developing countries, mosquito infestations can be difficult to control, allowing vector-borne diseases to spread easily. Giving people better access to safe drinking water and improving sewage treatment practices could help, he said.



Posted in NewsComments Off

US News Ranks UM Graduate Programs in Top Tier

US News RankingsU.S.News & World Report has released the 2017 edition of its annual “Best Graduate Schools” issue, placing several University of Miami programs in its top 50 rankings.

Climbing 12 spots in the past decade, the Miller School of Medicine is now ranked No. 44 among the nation’s best research medical schools. The Miller School’s Department of Physical Therapy received a No. 10 ranking.

The School of Nursing and Health Studies’ Master of Science in Nursing program climbed a dramatic 21 spots since last year to reach the No. 40 ranking this year out of 259 schools. Its Doctor of Nursing Practice program is No. 38 among 149 schools, a new category in 2017.

Other UM graduate programs in the top tier include the School of Law’s Tax Law program (No. 12), the College of Arts and Sciences Department of Psychology’s Clinical Psychology program (No. 25), the School of Business Administration’s Health Care Management program (No. 33), and, in the earth sciences category, the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences’ marine geosciences program (No. 42).



Posted in NewsComments Off

  • Features
  • Tags
  • Popular
  • Subscribe
  • Subscribe to the Veritas RSS Feed
    Get updates to all of the latest Veritas posts by clicking the logo at the right.

    You can also subscribe to specific categories by browsing to a particular section on our site and clicking the RSS icon below each section's header.

UM Facebook

UM Twitter