Zika Virus: Only a Few Small Outbreaks Likely to Occur in the Continental US

Natalie Dean (left), Ira Longini (right) working with Alex Vespignani at Northeastern University and other colleagues have published an article in the academic news website, The Conversation. A noteworthy excerpt from the full article is:  Based on current data, our model projects only small outbreaks from mosquito transmission in the continental U.S. that are likely to die out before spreading to new areas. Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Texas are at risk of these small outbreaks. This is because it is warm enough in these states through the summer and fall to sustain mosquito transmission. 

The research group created mathematical and computational models that account for mosquito populations, human mobility, infrastructure and other factors that influence the spread of Zika. 

Outbreaks of Zika in the continental U.S. are projected to be small and not likely to spread. Some countries, like Brazil, have already seen widespread outbreaks. Please visit the interactive website http://www.zika-model.org/ to view model scenarios.

Professor Faming Liang Receives Dean's Citation Award

On Friday, September 16th during the college general faculty meeting Dr. Faming Liang was the Department of Biostatistics' recipient of the Dean's Citation Award presented by Dean Michael G. Perri in recognition for his paper, Liang, F., Song, Q., & Qiu, P. (2015). An equivalent measure of partial correlation coefficients or high dimensional Gaussian graphical models. Journal of the American Statistical Association, 110, 1248-1265. Read article

Professor Somnath Datta PI on New NIH Grant

Professor Somnath Datta was recently awarded a two year R03 grant by NIH/NIDCR for his project titled "Exploratory statistical analysis of differential network behaviors based on gene expression atlas of palate development." This grant award exceeds the typical $100,000, as he is the PI for a $460,449 grant which undertakes a network analysis of next generation sequencing data in order to understand the systems biology of palate development in mice.


Clinical and Health Psychology

 Dr. Rozensky Nurtures Our Oxford Ties

During a recent trip to the University of Oxford, in England, Ronald Rozensky, PhD (left) met with Paul Kennedy, PhD, (right) Director of the Doctorate in Clinical Psychology in the Harris Manchester College at Oxford. This was Dr. Rozensky’s third trip to Oxford including an extended stay in the summer of 2001. During that visit he taught, toured clinical facilities, and provided the keynote speech to the British Psychological Association’s Group of Trainers in Clinical Psychology. Read more

Team Science in Action

A large number of collaborators from clinical and health psychology were recently among the collaborators on a paper entitled "Factors Influencing Clinical Correlates of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE):  A Review" published in August 2016 in Neuropsychology Review. The paper was a narrative review discussing biopsychosocial-based factors that complicate the understanding of the relationship between repetitive head trauma and pathological/clinical outcomes. One unique feature of the paper was the extensiveness of the collaboration, pulling in faculty and students with a wide diversity of research interests. All fourth year neuropsychology students were involved, in addition to contributors from other cohorts/labs. Read more


Dean's Office

Superior Accomplishment Nomination Period Begins

The Superior Accomplishment Award Committee is accepting nominations now through October 31, 2016. Division 5, the Health Science Center, will present a total of 46 awards from 5 different categories, as well as a Diversity and Inclusion Award and a Community Service Award.

This is an opportunity to recognize faculty and staff that have been outstanding employees, showing initiative in forwarding the mission of the College and UF, promoting good citizenship on and off of UF campus, and improving the workplace and community. Nominations are based on achievements in the previous academic year, August 1, 2015 to July 31, 2016. If you know someone who is deserving of this honor, please consider nominating him or her for this award. Staff members nominated for this award are also eligible for the PHHP Employee of the Year Award.

If you would like to learn more about this opportunity, you can contact the PHHP committee representative Steph McBride at stephmcbride@phhp.ufl.edu or 273-6214. Nomination forms can be found at http://hr.ufl.edu/learn-grow/awards-recognition/superior-accomplishment-awards/.


Environmental and Global Health

John Lednicky and Colleagues Find Another Significant Mosquito-Borne Virus in Haiti

Drs. Lednicky and Okech from the Department of Environmental and Global Health and researchers in the Department of Health Services Research, Management and Policy, College of Medicine, the Emerging Pathogens Institute, and their colleagues in Haiti and Italy discovered Mayaro virus in a child with febrile illness in Haiti. This mosquito-borne pathogen is related to Chikungunya virus, and had not previously been shown to be present in Haiti.  Mayaro virus causes signs and symptoms similar to those by Chikungunya virus, including debilitating joint pains that may last for many months. Though outbreaks are now occurring in parts of South America, cases of Mayaro Fever are underdiagnosed because of confusion with other serious mosquito-borne virus infections, especially dengue fever. An early online version of the Mayaro virus study is now available. Read more

Investigating the Relatedness of Enteroinvasive Escherichia coli to Other E. coli and Shigella Isolates by Using Comparative Genomics

In a study published in the August issue of Infection and Immunity, Dr. Tony Maurelli joined with scientists at the University of Maryland Institute for Genome Sciences and the Food and Drug Administration to describe the first use of whole-genome sequencing and comparative genomics to investigate the relatedness of enteroinvasive E. coli (EIEC) to other E. coli and Shigella. They used phylogenomics and comparative genomics to describe the genome sequences of a global collection of 20 EIEC isolates, including 14 newly sequenced genomes to highlight the similarities and differences among EIEC and Shigella isolates. A gene-based comparison showed that EIEC has greater similarity to Shigella than to other E. coli. Many of these shared genes are likely involved in the ability of EIEC to cause diarrheal disease similar to shigellosis. Genes that are unique to each of the EIEC lineages study were also identified. These genes can be used to develop diagnostic assays for the identification of presumptive EIEC clinical isolates. Read more



Epidemiology Announces New Faculty Member Dr. Hui Hu

The Department of Epidemiology welcomes new research assistant scientist Dr. Hui Hu. Dr. Hu received his PhD in Epidemiology at the University of Florida in 2016, and his research interests focus on health effects of environmental exposures, substance use, and racial disparities in health outcomes. He has been involved in several NIH-funded research projects, where he managed and analyzed multiple large datasets such as the Epidemiologic Catchment Area Study, Afghanistan National Urban Drug Use Study, SEER registries, NHANES data, and Florida Vital Statistics Birth Records. He was also a fellow of the Insight Health Data Science program, where he developed a web application with interactive maps to help people with disabilities in Massachusetts to find the best neighborhood to live using machine learning models, integrating data from different sources. We are pleased to have Dr. Hu on board.

Publication Featured on NHLBI In the News

Work by Epidemiology faculty member Dr. Jinying Zhao was highlighted on the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute's In the News webpage. Her featured publication titled “Processed meat, but not unprocessed red meat, is inversely associated with leukocyte telomere length in the Strong Heart family study” was published in The Journal of Nutrition and reports new evidence that consumption of processed meat — such as sausage, hot dogs, lunch meat, and canned meat — may shorten telomeres and raise a person’s risk of developing heart disease, diabetes, and other conditions. Consuming unprocessed red meat such as ground beef, steak, pork or lamb was not associated with telomere shortening. Telomeres function to protect our chromosomes from damage, and telomere shortening has been linked to increased disease risk. The findings were based on research conducted among 2,846 American Indians in the Strong Heart Study.

HealthStreet First Annual Night of Dance

UF HealthStreet hosted the first annual Night of Dance, held at Bo Diddley Plaza on August 20, 2016. This was an amazing celebration of our community’s diversity, creativity, and commitment to improved health. Around 500 people attended the event, enjoying fun activities and dancing while gaining access to health education and screenings provided by about 40 tabling organizations, including: Alachua County Library District, Alachua County Department of Health, UF Center for Arts in Medicine, UF IFAS Family Nutrition Program, Equal Access Clinic Network, UF Mobile Outreach Clinic, Gainesville Health and Fitness, and UF Pain Research and Intervention Center of Excellence. Community partners included the City of Gainesville and the Gainesville Community Redevelopment Agency. The evening was a lively convergence of people from all backgrounds coming together for a common cause: to better the community’s health through the art of dance!


Health Services Research, Management and Policy

New Faculty Member Dr. Deshmukh Presents at UF Health Cancer Center Oncology Grand Rounds

New HSRMP faculty member Dr. Ashish Deshmukh will be presenting at the UF Health Cancer Center Oncology Grand Rounds on Wednesday, October 5th from 12-1pm in C1-4. Dr. Deshmukh will be presenting, “Modeling Cancer Outcomes: Applications form Anal Cancer Prevention and Breast Cancer Control." The talk will be available by video streaming for those unable to attend. 

Dr. Kalyani Sonawane Joins HSRMP Faculty

Kalyani Sonawane, PhD, joined the department on September 12, 2016. Dr. Sonawane is a pharmacist by training. She earned her doctorate in Health Outcomes Research and Policy with a minor in statistics from Auburn University (2015). She has received dissertation data support from the University of Texas School of Public Health/ BlueCross and BlueShield of Texas Research Program in Payment Systems and Policy. Before joining the University of Florida she was a Health Outcomes Researcher at Anthem BlueCross BlueShield.


Occupational Therapy

MOT Representatives to the AOTA Assembly of Student Delegates

Taylor Rapaport (left) has been selected to serve as the Master of Occupational Therapy program (MOT) Representative and Zachary Pindar (right) as the Alternate Representative to the American Occupational Therapy Association’s (AOTA) Assembly of Student Delegates (ASD). ASD offers the opportunity for students to provide effective input into AOTA affairs while developing their leadership skills and political awareness of issues impacting the profession. The ASD meeting will be held in Philadelphia, PA, prior to the AOTA Annual conference in March of 2017.

Gainesville Sun Highlights MOT Student’s Story

Zachary Pindar shared his occupations of student, son, and spirituality in The Gainesville Sun article titled, “We All Have Countless Occupations." Use the link below to learn more about occupational therapy as seen through the eyes of a dedicated student:



Rehabilitation Science

Jayaraman Receives Young Alumnus Award

Class of 2008, Rehabilitation Science PhD program graduate, Arun Jayaraman, PT, PhD, was RSD's recipient of the PHHP Outstanding Young Alumnus Award for 2016. Dr. Jayaraman is the Director of the Max Nadar Center for Rehabilitation Technologies & Outcome Research at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago and associate professor in the Department of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation and Medical Social Sciences at Northwestern University. Jayaraman shared  his extensive research in the field of wearable robots and sensors during a September Rehabilitation Science research seminar, along with his UF mentor, Dr. Krista Vandenborne, who presented at the first seminar in the fall series.

Corti Awarded $750,000 Grant

Manuela Corti, PT, PhD, an assistant scientist at the University of Florida Powell Gene Therapy Center and a 2011 graduate of the Rehabilitation Science PhD program, has received a nearly $750,000 grant from the Italian patient advocacy group GoFAR. The grant focuses on the development of a gene therapy program to treat Friedreich’s ataxia, a progressive, debilitating and life-shortening neuromuscular disorder. Corti was mentored by UF Physical Therapy department Professor Carolynn Patten, PT, PhD, FAPTA. Read more

RSD Program Welcomes New and Returning Students

The Rehabilitation Science PhD program orientation was held last month to welcome all returning students to the start of the fall semester and to roll out the welcome mat to the seven newest RSD students. Newly enrolled in the program are: Majed Albadi, MS; Rawan Aldhabi, MS; Katherine Duker, BS; Mary Jeghers, OTS; Kavya Kamalamma, MPT; Mia Kelly, BS; Michele Singer, MS, CCC-SLP; and Michael Sunshine, BS.


Physical Therapy

Perry Receives Young Alumna Award

Class of 2008, Doctorate of Physical Therapy program graduate, Dr. Lindsay Perry, was PT's recipient of the PHHP Outstanding Young Alumna Award for 2016. Dr. Perry is an assistant professor at the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences and actively mentors licensed Physical and Occupational Therapists as well as Neurological Physical Therapist Residents for Brooks Rehabilitation in Jacksonville, FL. A dedicated clinician and teacher, Perry is also an experienced stroke and spinal cord injury researcher and has lectured internationally on neuroplasticity for recovery of movement post stroke, and treatment of the cardiovascular system post stroke.

Smith and Colleagues Use Gene Therapy to Treat Pulmonary Dysfunction in Pompe Disease

UF PT research assistant professor, Barbara Smith, PhD, PT, is a co-investigator in a first in-human study of gene therapy to treat respiratory dysfunction in patients with infantile onset of Pompe disease. This study began in 2011 and was recently published online in Experimental Neurology. Read more

PT Equal Access Clinic Welcomes OT

The Physical Therapy Equal Access Clinic (EAC) has joined forces with the Department of Occupational Therapy’s student-run EAC. OT is now present at the Clinical Learning Center on the first and third Thursdays of the month, providing patients at this pro bono clinic with cross referrals and management and opening the door to valuable interprofessional exposure for this enthusiastic group of UF PT and OT students.

The month of September boasted a record number of patients and the number of return visits has also increased a testament to the quality of patient care. Read more


Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences

SLHS Faculty Greet Returning Alumni, Recognizes Distinguished Alumna

The PHHP College Alumni BBQ was held on September 9 before the Kentucky game and afforded the opportunity to welcome back SLHS alumni from near and far. Class of 2005 graduate, Dr. Christi Barbee (left) was recognized as SLHS' recipient of the 2016 PHHP Outstanding Alumna Award by Dr. Susan Nittrouer (center), SLHS chair. Dr. Barbee, an assistant professor at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, was honored for the large role she has played in creating and sustaining Project Yucatan, a collaborative mission trip to Mexico, held annually for the past 13 years. Thanks to Dean Perri and the college for hosting the Alumni BBQ event which provided ample fun, conversation and barbeque. Alumni of our Master’s, AuD and PhD programs greatly enjoyed the chance to come back to campus (and to see the Gators smack the Kentucky Wildcats).

UF Pins Its Second-Year AuD Students

The UF Audiology program recognized the students in the class of 2019 in a traditional pinning ceremony before a gathering of 45 peers, faculty, friends and family. The formal ceremony marks the progress from early didactic experiences and laboratory work to more intensive clinical rotations. The ceremony included the recitation of the Audiology Oath which expresses the student’s understanding of the immense responsibility, respect and honor of becoming a professional audiologist. 

2nd Annual SLHS Fall Meet & Greet

The Department of Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences kicked off the Fall 2016 semester with the 2nd Annual Meet & Greet. The Meet & Greet provided students the opportunity to interact with the faculty and staff within the department. Our new undergraduate students were able to meet with an academic advisor and the undergraduate program coordinator before the event for a program overview.

We would like to say a special thanks to our raffle donors for providing us with awesome door prizes and the National Student Speech Language Hearing Association (NSSLHA) for helping us host a successful event. We cannot wait to carry on the Meet & Greet tradition. Lastly, we would like to thank the students, faculty, and staff for attending the Fall 2016 Meet & Greet and we will see you all next year!