News : 2018

A Safer Way to Edit Genes?

CRISPR-Cas9 has set the research community on fire for its gene editing efficiency. But that doesn’t mean we can’t do better. Now, in a paper published in the journal PLOS ONE, researchers at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine have shown a system used for decades in bacteria can also edit human cells. With a little optimization, this approach — called recombineering — could be a safer way to edit genes.

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The bacterial spores in the

NSF Award Will Let UM Researchers Dig Deeper into Innovative Soil Technology

Helping farmers and agricultural professionals detect nutrients and harmful chemicals in their soil in an easy, affordable and long-term way is the goal of a group of researchers at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine’s Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. The promise of their new technology just landed them a competitive National Science Foundation award.

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Patients will be seen by UM clinicians and genetics experts, who will perform in-depth and comprehensive clinical examinations, as well as cutting-edge genomics investigations, including whole genome sequencing.

Miller School Becomes a Site for NIH’s Undiagnosed Diseases Network

The University of Miami Miller School of Medicine is among five new academic medical sites across the nation that have joined the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) Undiagnosed Diseases Network (UDN) and been awarded a grant by the agency to improve and accelerate the diagnosis of rare and undiagnosed conditions. The new awards, announced September 24, are part of the second phase of the agency’s expansion of the network.

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From left, Edward Abraham, M.D., Alan Zhou, M.D., Wendy Liu, M.D. ’14, Xue Zhong Liu, M.D., seated, Henri R. Ford, M.D., MHA, Li Lin Du, Fred F. Telischi, M.D., MEE.

Dr. Xue Zhong Liu Honored with Marian and Walter Hotchkiss Chair in Otolaryngology

In honor of his landmark research identifying the genes that cause deafness and its translation to patient care, Xue Zhong Liu, M.D., Ph.D., was recently honored with the Marian and Walter Hotchkiss Chair in Otolaryngology. Dr. Liu — an internationally renowned researcher, author, educator, and otolaryngologist — received the chair August 30 during a ceremony at the Lois Pope LIFE Center.

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A patient undergoing radiation therapy.

$2 Million NCI Grant Funds Research to Protect Kidneys from Radiation Therapy

A cross-departmental team of researchers at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine has received a five-year, $2 million grant from the National Cancer Institute to study ways to protect kidneys from radiation therapy. Specifically, the investigators will be seeking new information about the molecular mechanisms of radiation nephropathy.

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Feng Gong, Ph.D., enjoys the interactive aspects of teaching M.D. and M.D./MPH students and training residents.

Miller School Professors Recognized for Promoting Positive Learning Environment in PULSE 360 Survey

In all, 33 Miller School professors received high scores for promoting a positive learning environment in the first PULSE 360 Survey for Faculty-Learner Engagement. The survey was performed by the Physicians Development Program Inc., an independent organization, to allow comparison to national data and to assure anonymous feedback to individual faculty members.

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Sylvester Researchers Discover A Novel Mediator of Genome Instability Relevant to Many Cancers

A research team at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine has discovered a novel role for a protein factor that allows it to contribute to the genome instability observed in many cancer cells. The investigators found that the FANCA protein plays an unexpected role in an error-prone DNA repair pathway that can drive the common instability mechanism.

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Vivien Chen in the laboratory.

Miller School Student Wins First-Ever Wound Healing Society Summer Research Fellowship

Vivian Chen, a member of the Miller School Class of 2021, won the first Summer Research Fellowship Award ever given by the Wound Healing Society. The award, in addition to a stipend and funds for supplies, includes funding for travel expenses to present her research at the Wound Healing Society’s 2019 Annual Meeting next May in San Antonio.

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Xue Zhong Liu, M.D., Ph.D.

$3 Million NIH Grant Will Fund Genetic Hearing Loss Research

The University of Miami Miller School of Medicine Department of Otolaryngology received a $3 million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to fund research related to biological treatments and clinical diagnosis of patients with hearing loss. Xue Zhong Liu, M.D., Ph.D., professor of otolaryngology, human genetics, biochemistry, and pediatrics will serve as principal investigator.

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From left, Ashok, Saluja, Ph.D., Vrishketan Sethi, M.B.B.S., and Vikas Dudeja, M.D.

A New Take on Immunotherapy: Gut Microbes and Tumor Growth

Investigating the microbiome has provided new insights into infection control, metabolism and mental health. It may also play a significant and surprising role in cancer. Scientists at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center have shown that depleting the gut microbiome reduces tumor growth and metastases in models of pancreatic cancer and melanoma and slows metastases in colon cancer.

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From left, Antonio Barrientos, Ph.D., with Rui Zeng, Ph.D.

Researchers Use Yeast to Discover New Links between Cellular Energy Production and Human Diseases

Researchers at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine have used yeast to gain new understanding of the molecular pathways that allow the cells to build the machinery they need to undergo respiration and aerobic energy production. This knowledge will contribute to a better understanding of the development of mitochondrial diseases and cancer in humans.

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Miller School of Medicine Rises in NIH Research Grant Funding

The Miller School of Medicine received $120.7 million in research grants from the National Institutes of Health in Federal Fiscal Year 2017 — a $9.5 million increase over the school’s FFY 2016 total. According to the national rankings of medical schools based on data compiled by the Blue Ridge Institute for Medical Research, that total made the Miller School the No. 1 NIH-funded institution in Florida.

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