News : 2014

Claes Wahlestedt, M.D., Ph.D.

Renowned Neuropsychiatric Researcher Receives Distinguished Investigator Grant

Claes Wahlestedt, M.D., Ph.D., Leonard M. Miller professor and vice chair of psychiatry and behavioral sciences and Associate Dean for Therapeutic Innovation, is one of 15 researchers nationally to receive a Distinguished Investigator Grant from the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation.

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Philip D. Harvey, Ph.D.

Psychology Chief Receives Alexander Gralnick Award for Schizophrenia Research

Philip D. Harvey, Ph.D., Leonard M. Miller Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and Chief of the Division of Psychology, was recently honored with the American Psychiatric Foundation’s coveted 2014 Alexander Gralnick Award for Research in Schizophrenia.

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Suzanne Lechner, Ph.D.

Community-Based Programs Reduce Stress for Black Breast Cancer Survivors

A team of researchers at the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center has found that a community-based stress management intervention program improved the psychological adaptation of underserved black breast cancer survivors. They also found that an educational program providing post-treatment breast cancer health and wellness information had a similar effect.

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Charles B. Nemeroff, M.D., Ph.D.

Researchers Discover How Depression and Aging Link to Increased Disease Risk

Psychological stress and stress-related psychiatric disorders are associated with increased risk for age-related diseases, but the molecular mechanisms underlying this relationship are unknown. An international group of researchers from Germany and the U.S. has discovered a biochemical change in a specific gene that causes this risk, a finding that may lead to improved treatments for diseases of aging.

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Janice Egeland, Ph.D., in 2006, displaying the world's largest bipolar pedigree from the Amish Study.

Decades of Research Pay Off with Promising Link to Treatments for Bipolar Disorder

Janice A. Egeland, Ph.D., professor emerita of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, and collaborators at three other institutions have identified what may be the molecular pathway underlying bipolar I (manic depressive) disorder (BPI), a breakthrough that could lead to better drugs for treating BPI, as well as depression and other related mood disorders. Their findings have been published online in Nature Molecular Psychiatry.

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John E. Lewis, Ph.D.

Research Identifies Tai Chi as Effective Smoking Cessation Tool

Research led by John E. Lewis, Ph.D., associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, has identified Tai Chi exercise as an effective intervention to treat tobacco addiction.

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Deborah Jones Weiss, Ph.D., M.Ed., Mahendra Kumar, Ph.D.

Researchers Receive $2.9 Million NIH Grant to Study Cardiovascular Disease in Drug Abusers wit

Mahendra Kumar, Ph.D., and Deborah Jones Weiss, Ph.D., M.Ed., in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, have received a $2.9 million, five-year grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse to study cardiovascular disease in HIV-positive cocaine users.

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Daniel Jimenez, Ph.D.

New Study Helps Hispanic Seniors in Miami Fight Depression with Exercise

University of Miami Miller School of Medicine psychologist Daniel Jimenez, Ph.D., assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, has just kicked off a study that uses exercise and social engagement as a way to stem depression and anxiety among local Hispanic seniors.

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University of Miami Leads Out of the Darkness Walk

To increase awareness and prevention of suicide, 900 walkers united on the Coral Gables campus September 21 for the Out of the Darkness Community Walk, sponsored by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

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Philip D. Harvey, Ph.D.

World-Renowned Psychiatric Researcher Receives Barnwell Award

Philip D. Harvey, Ph.D., Leonard M. Miller Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and Chief of the Division of Psychology, is one of only two 2014 recipients of the Veterans Health Administration John Blair Barnwell Award. The award is the highest honor for scientific achievement presented by the Clinical Science Research and Development division of the VA’s Office of Research and Development.

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Offical notice of the 2014 Barnwell Award recipient - Dr. Harvey

On behalf of Veterans Health Administration and the Clinical Science Research & Development (CSR&D) division of the Office of Research and Development, I am pleased to inform you that Philip D. Harvey, Ph.D. is one of two recipients of the 2014 John B. Barnwell Award. This award for outstanding achievement in clinical research is CSR&D’s highest honor for scientific achievement.

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From left, Charles B. Nemeroff, M.D., Ph.D., Miller School Dean Pascal J. Goldschmidt, M.D., and Norm Parsons, Director of the UM Wellness Centers, lead the 2013 Out of the Darkness walk on the Coral Gables campus.

Join Team UHealth for Out of the Darkness Walk to Prevent Suicide

The Miller School of Medicine and the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences will once again support efforts to raise awareness about suicide at this year’s Out of the Darkness Community Walk, sponsored by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, on Sunday, September 21, from 10 a.m. to noon on the Coral Gables campus.

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From left, FTRP grant recipients Glen Barber, Ph.D.; Shaun Brothers, Ph.D.; Claes Wahlestedt, M.D., Ph.D.; Seung-Uon Shin, Ph.D.; and Joseph Rosenblatt, M.D.

Miller School Researchers Receive State Funding for Drug-Discovery Projects

Miller School of Medicine researchers have received three grants in the latest round of funding from the Florida Translational Research Program (FTRP), a state-funded initiative to advance drug discovery. All of the projects receiving awards focus on the discovery and development of novel small molecules for the treatment of disease, specifically cancer.

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Member Anne Auguste brightens her day in a body-sculpting class.

The UHealth Fitness and Wellness Center: Transforming Lives

At 4:45 a.m., the sun isn’t up yet. Nonetheless, when Michael Montero, first-shift receptionist, and Miguel Figueroa, first-shift wellness instructor, arrive each weekday morning to open the recently renamed UHealth Fitness and Wellness Center, located on the 9th floor of the Clinical Research Building, the same group of guys is already waiting to get in and get started.

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Neil Schneiderman, Ph.D.

Study Finds Factors Affecting Diabetes Risk Among Hispanics

People of Hispanic origin living in the U.S. are at high risk for developing type 2 diabetes and related cardiometabolic abnormalities, but the risk varies considerably among specific ethnic groups and according to other factors, including education and length of time living in the U.S. That is the primary finding of a study led by the Miller School of Medicine and published in the August issue of Diabetes Care.

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Marvin I. Herz, M.D.

Revered UM/Jackson Psychiatrist Dr. Marvin I. Herz Passes Away

Marvin I. Herz, M.D., voluntary professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, died Monday, July 21, at Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami due to complications from renal failure. He was 86.

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From left are Charles B. Nemeroff, M.D., PhD.; event committee and advisory board members Alyson Katz, Donna Bitterman Shepard, Grisell Ocariz, Edmi Cortez, M.D., Susan Racher, Cori Lopez-Castro, and Mary Demetree; and Pascal J. Goldschmidt, M.D. (Committee and Advisory Board Members not pictured are Gayle Nemeroff, Tricia Rutsis and Jennifer Sazant).

Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences Hosts Event to Raise Program Awareness

With an eye toward raising awareness and needed funding for mental health programs, members of the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and its volunteer Advisory Board recently came together to inform the community of the many resources and treatment programs available to them when dealing with mental health issues.

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Quality improvement contest winners are, from left, Jose Llinas, M.D., Lara Paraskos, M.D., Andreina Rojas, M.D., Melany Castillo, M.D., and Alex Manzano, M.D.

UHealth Promotes Patient Safety and Quality Initiatives During National Week

To further improve patient safety and quality initiatives that directly affect the University of Miami Health System, students, residents and fellows took part in various educational activities held in conjunction with National Patient Safety Awareness Week.

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Samir A. Sabbag, M.D.

Psychiatry Clinician-Researcher Selected for Competitive Summer Research Institute

Samir A. Sabbag, M.D., assistant professor of clinical psychiatry and behavioral sciences, has been selected to participate in the Weill Cornell Medical College’s 2014 Summer Research Institute in Geriatric Mental Health. Funded by the National Institute of Mental Health, Sabbag will attend the Summer Institute at the University of California, Los Angeles from July 20 to 25.

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John E. Lewis, Ph.D.

Study Finds Dietary Supplement Improves Cognitive Functioning in Alzheimer’s Patients

When Rina Torres was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in her 70s, she gradually lost her ability to communicate or recognize family members. Then she joined a University of Miami Miller School of Medicine study to test if a dietary supplement, aloe polymannose multinutrient complex (APMC), might improve her mental condition.

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Ralph Sacco, M.D., M.S., was one of four faculty members who spoke at the symposium.

Fit Friendly Symposium Discusses Healthy Work Environments

More than 50 corporate leaders joined UHealth and the American Heart Association at the 2014 Miami and Broward Fit Friendly Symposium, held at the UHealth Fitness and Wellness Center on April 22. The purpose of the panel event was to share health data and exchange tips for creating healthy work environments.

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Brain fitness Pavilion in The Miami Herald

Detail-oriented brain functioning? Check.

Speedy brain processing. Check.

I’m sitting before a touchscreen laptop inside the University of Miami’s just-opened Brain Fitness Pavilion on its downtown medical campus. The new center opened in March to offer comprehensive cognitive programs, neuropsychological assessments, assessments of everyday living skills. The pavilion also features one addictive tool: BrainHQ.

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Yosef Itzhak, Ph.D.

Research Finds Long-Term Methamphetamine Exposure in Mice Affects Offspring

A study by three Miller School researchers has found that long-term methamphetamine exposure in mice affects the cognitive development, behavioral characteristics and epigenetics in the hippocampus of their offspring — possibly for generations.

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John E. Lewis, Ph.D.

Research Shows Further Evidence of Enhanced Nutrition Benefits

In a study led by John E. Lewis, Ph.D., associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, researchers have further proven the benefits of enhanced nutrition in improving cognitive and immune functioning among healthy older adults.

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Sara J. Czaja, Ph.D.

Sara J. Czaja Appointed to Institute of Medicine Committee and Board

Sara J. Czaja, Ph.D., Leonard M. Miller Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and Scientific Director of the Center on Aging, has been appointed by the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies to the Committee on the Public Health Dimensions of Cognitive Aging and reappointed to the National Research Council Board on Human-Systems Integration.

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Philip D. Harvey, Ph.D.

UM Opens South Florida’s First Brain Fitness Pavilion

The Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, in collaboration with the Center on Aging at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, is opening South Florida’s first Brain Fitness Pavilion. Located at the Center on Aging on the third floor of the Mental Health Hospital Center at 1695 N.W. 9th Avenue, the Pavilion offers state-of-the-art, comprehensive cognitive programs.

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