Antoni Barrientos, PhD

barrientos-195x260Associate Professor of Neurology
Associate Professor of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology
Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine
Evelyn F. McKnight Brain Institute
Phone: 305-243-8683
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Dr. Barrientos is interested in the basic processes underlying the biogenesis of the mitochondrial respiratory chain (MRC) and how they bear on human neuromuscular and neurodegenerative disorders and during the aging process. We use yeast and mammalian cell culture models for our research
Three of the research lines in the lab involve:
1- We intend to delineate the assembly process of the enzymes composing the MRC, with special emphasis in cytochrome c oxidase (COX). COX deficiency is the most frequent cause of mitochondrial neuromyopathies in humans and has been shown to decline with age.
2- We are interested in the creation of yeast and neuronal models of age-related human neurodegenerative disorders (including Huntington’s disease and Parkinson’s disease). This will help us study the alterations in mitochondrial physiology that could be essential for the pathogenic mechanism of such disorders.
3- We have created novel yeast models of chronological aging that are being used to explore the role of mitochondrial function in the aging-disease relationship. The results obtained are being validated in mammalian neuronal aging models.


Susan Halloran Blanton, PhD

blanton-195x260Executive Director, Hussman Institute for Human Genomics
Associate Professor of Human Genetics and Neurology
Dr. John T. Macdonald Department of Human Genetics
Associate Director of Communications and Compliance
Hussman Institute for Human Genomics
PO Box 019132 (M-860)
Biomedical Research Building, Room 406
University of Miami Miller School of Medicine
Miami, FL 33101
Phone: 305-243-2321
Fax: 305-243-2523
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Dr. Blanton received her PhD in Human Genetics from Virginia Commonwealth University/Medical College of Virginia. She obtained post-doctoral training in Biostatistics (University of Pittsburgh) and Population Oncology (Fox Chase Cancer Center). Her primary research has focused on the mapping of genes for Mendelian and complex diseases; she has been instrumental in studies identifying over twenty genes/loci for Mendelian disorders. Stroke and the underlying genetics of its risk factors, deafness, retinal diseases, skeletal dysplasias, cleft lip/palate, and clubfoot are among the diseases which she currently studies. She collaborates with Drs. Sacco, Wright and Rundek to identify genetic factors influencing white matter and cognition and their relation to ageing. In addition, she has been involved in developing and implementing genetic education materials for Federal and appellate level judges and science writers in an ELSI sponsored project. Dr. Blanton is the Executive Director of the Hussman Institute for Human Genomics as well as the Associate Director of Communications and Compliance. She is an Associate Professor in the Dr. John T. Macdonald Foundation Department of Human Genetics.


Elizabeth Crocco, MD

crocco-195x260Chief, Division of Geriatric Psychiatry
Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
Miller School of Medicine/University of Miami
Geriatric Psychiatry Training Director
Jackson Memorial Hospital
1695 NW 9th Avenue
Suite 3204A
Miami, FL 33136
Phone: 305-355-9065
Fax: 305-355-9076

Dr. Elizabeth Crocco received her MD from Robert Wood Johnson Medical School/Rutgers University in Piscataway, New Jersey. She then completed her residency training in general psychiatry at The Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York. She specializes in geriatric psychiatry, and completed her fellowship at University of Miami/Jackson Memorial Hospital. Dr. Crocco is currently the Chief of Geriatric Psychiatry in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the Miller School of Medicine. As the Medical Director of the University of Miami Memory Disorder Clinic, within the University of Miami’s Center on Aging she oversees the coordination of clinical services at the MDC. As a clinical scientist she also participates in research on caregiving and the development of measures to diagnosis MCI and PRE-MCI. She also serves as the geriatric psychiatry training director at Jackson Memorial Hospital and facilitates the primary training and supervision of all geriatric psychiatry fellows, psychiatry residents, medical students and other physicians/health care professionals.

David Della-Morte, MD, PhD

Associate Professor
Department of Neurology
University of Miami, Miller School of Medicine
1120 NW 14th Street, Suite 1363
Miami, FL 33136
Phone: 305-243-4790
Fax: 305-243-7081

David Della-Morte received his MD degree and his PhD in Clinical Physiopathology and Experimental Medicine at University of Naples “Federico II”, Naples, Italy. Since 2005, Dr. Della Morte has been working at the Department of Neurology, University of Miami, and was trained as a Postdoc in Neuroscience at the Cerebrovascular Disease Research Center. Currently, he is a Research Associate Professor of Neurology at the same University. Since 2013, he has also been appointed Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine, Department of Systems Medicine, University of Tor Vergata, Rome, Italy and a collaborator with the IRCCS San Raffaele Pisana Rome, Italy since 2010. Dr. Della-Morte is involved in both basic and clinical science in the field of aging, metabolic, cardiovascular and cerebrovascular disease. His current research focus is to clarify the pathological pathways linking metabolic diseases with cognitive impairment typical of elderly patients and with genetic disorders, such as Huntington Disease. Moreover, he is currently working on analyzing the role of particular antioxidants enzymes, such as peroxiredoxins, serum/glucocorticoid regulated kinase 1 (SGK-1), and sirtuins, in delay senescence processes. Dr. Della-Morte is also involved in genetics studies aimed to identify genetic factors influencing the development of vascular aging and cognition.





Chuanhui Dong, PhD

Evelyn F. McKnight Brain Institute
Research Associate Professor
Department of Neurology
University of Miami, Miller School of Medicine
1120 NW 14th Street, Suite 1346
Miami, FL 33136
Phone: 305-243-9274

Dr. Dong is Research Associate Professor of Neurology and Biostatistician for the McKnight Brain Institute. Dr. Dong’s research focus is on the independent and interactive effects of social-demographic, environmental, behavioral, metabolic and genetic factors on the risk of complex diseases such as metabolic disorders, depression, cognition, drug response to clinical treatment, subclinical and clinical cardiovascular diseases. He is a member of the American Heart Association, the American Statistical Association, the International Genetic Epidemiology Society and the American Association of Human Genetics.


Hannah Gardener, ScD

gardener-195x260Assistant Scientist
Department of Neurology
University of Miami
Miller School of Medicine
1120 NW 14th St
Miami, FL 33136
Phone: 305-243-9283

Hannah Gardener, ScD, Assistant Scientist in the Department of Neurology at the University of Miami, is an epidemiologist with a particular interest in neuroepidemiology and the epidemiology of aging. She received her doctorate in Epidemiology in 2007 from the Harvard School of Public Health. She has been conducting research on risk factors for clinical and subclinical vascular outcomes in the Northern Manhattan Study for over seven years. She is particularly interested in dietary behavior and other modifiable vascular risk factors in relation to vascular events, carotid disease, and age-related changes in brain structure and cognitive decline.


Joyce Gomes-Osman, PT, PhD

gomes-195x260Assistant Professor
Departments of Physical Therapy and Neurology
University of Miami, Miller School of Medicine
Research Fellow
Berenson-Allen Center for Non-Invasive Brain Stimulation
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School
5915 Ponce De Leon Blvd
Coral Gables 33146-2435
Phone: 305-284-2632

Dr. Joyce Gomes-Osman is a clinical neuroscientist with extensive experience in non-invasive brain stimulation approaches (transcranial magnetic stimulation [TMS] and transcranial direct current stimulation [tDCS]) and task-specific training approaches to restore locomotion and upper extremity function. Dr. Gomes has a publication record that includes studies utilizing non-invasive brain stimulation to characterize the neurophysiology and induce neurostimulation (as a potential therapeutic approach) in individuals with neurologic impairments from spinal cord injury. Her experience in clinical trials is a result of 6 years working at the Miami Project to Cure Paralysis, University of Miami, where she was a project coordinator for two R01 grants, while working on her doctoral studies. Dr. Gomes has expanded her knowledge in advanced forms of TMS-based evaluation of intracortical inhibitory and excitatory pathways and neuroplasticity, during her postdoctoral fellowship with Dr. Alvaro Pascual-Leone, an internationally recognized leader in this field, at the Berenson-Allen Center for Non-Invasive Brain Stimulation at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School. She remains affiliated as a research scholar, and is currently conducting studies to investigate the effects of aerobic exercise on neuroplasticity, cognitive function and postural control in healthy individuals. In addition, she is a lecturer at the “Intensive Course in Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation” organized at the Center. Dr. Gomes recently re-joined the University of Miami, as an Assistant Professor at the Departments of Physical Therapy and Neurology.


Teshamae S Monteith, MD, FAHS

monteith-195x260Chief, Headache Division
Assistant Professor Clinical Neurology
Department of Neurology
University of Miami, Miller School of Medicine
1120 NW 14th Street, Suite 1347
Miami, FL 33136
Phone: 305-243-1029

Dr. Monteith is an Assistant Professor of Clinical Neurology. She is Chief of the Division of Headache in the Department of Neurology. She also has clinics at the Advanced Institute for Pain Management. Dr. Monteith’s research focus is on migraine and chronic disease states including chronic migraine and concussion. Her research focuses on neurometabolite distributions of chronic migraine and associations with indicators of clinical severity, including psychosocial impact.

She was awarded a National Institutes of Health (NINDS) supplement award to promote diversity in health-related research to study migraine and vascular risk factors, and complications such as silent brain infarcts, white matter lesions, and stroke. She is also the site PI for clinical trial aimed to investigate the use of CGRP antibodies for the treatment of both episodic and chronic cluster headache. She is a member of the American Headache Society Association, the American Academy of Neurology, and the International Headache Society. She is a board member of the Florida Society of Neurology.


Carlos T. Moraes, PhD

moraes-195x260Esther Lichtenstein Professor in Neurology
University of Miami, Miller School of Medicine
Dept. of Neurology and Cell Biology
1420 NW 9th Avenue, Rm.229
Miami, FL 33136
Phone: 305-243-5858
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Carlos T. Moraes, PhD is a Professor in the Department of Neurology with a secondary appointment in Cell Biology at the University of Miami, Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine. During his PhD at Columbia University he and other colleagues in the group identified large mitochondrial DNA deletions in patients with ocular myopathies. These initial observations were followed by the identification of several novel mutations in the mitochondrial genome in patients with different clinical phenotypes. Following a short postdoctoral period still at Columbia University he relocated to Miami in 1993 to start an independent research group on mitochondrial genetics. At the University of Miami he continued his work on mitochondrial diseases, developing genetic approaches to treat mitochondrial disorders and expanded to study nuclear mitochondrial interactions and the role of mitochondria in aging and neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer’s. Dr. Moraes has and continues to serve on several NIH panels including the Muscular Dystrophy Association grant review panels.


Miguel A. Perez-Pinzon, PhD

perez-195x260Professor of Neurology & Neuroscience
Vice-Chair for Basic Science (Neurology)
Director, Cerebral Vascular Disease Research Laboratories
Dept. of Neurology, D4-5
University of Miami Miller School of Medicine
P.O. Box 016960
Miami, FL 33101
Phone: 305-243-7698
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A major emphasis in our group is directed towards understanding the mechanisms of neuroprotection by ischemic preconditioning (IPC) against cerebral ischemia (as elicited by a stroke or cardiac arrest). We have demonstrated in brain that IPC is mediated by two key signaling pathways. One of these pathways is a protein kinase C isozyme epsilon. Another signaling pathway involves the NAD+-dependent class III histone deacetylase SIRT1. Our laboratory is fully engaged in defining how these signaling pathways protect neurons against cell death. We are currently studying how these pathways alter synaptic plasticity and ameliorate mitochondrial function.

Another area of emphasis in our group is defining mechanisms by which some signaling pathways alter synaptic function following cardiac arrest. Cardiopulmonary arrest remains one of the leading causes of death and disability in the U.S.A. The chances of survival following cardiac arrest are poor, despite fast emergency responses and better techniques of defibrillation. Cardiac arrest with its consequent disruption of blood flow sets in motion a cascade of cellular derangements that result in brain damage.

A third area of emphasis in our group is the definition of the mechanisms of mitochondrial dysfunction following cerebral ischemia. It has been postulated that delayed cell death after brain ischemia may result from two different mechanisms: apoptosis and/or necrosis. In both pathways however, mitochondrial dysfunction appears to play a pivotal role. We are currently investigating the signaling pathways that lead to mitochondrial dysfunction following cerebral ischemia.