Strategic Alliances – Collaborators

Miami Transplant Institute (MTI) is a joint program between the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine and Jackson Memorial Hospital. The Life Alliance Organ Recovery Agency (formerly the Organ Procurement Organization) is the source of transplantable organs for the Miami-Ft. Lauderdale area, and is based at and affiliated with the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.

The University of Miami has a rich history in transplantation. The program began in 1979 and has grown to become one of the largest and most comprehensive transplant centers in the world. The transplant faculty performs more than 500 transplant procedures annually, playing a major role in kidney, liver, intestinal, heart, and pancreas transplantation. MTI is also a leader is developing unique programs in multi-visceral transplantation and the transplants of insulin-producing cells used to treat diabetes.

In May 2007, Miami Transplant Institute was formed to change the practice of transplantation as we know it today. MTI is a unifying force with a powerful combination of world-renowned experts that represent a broad array of transplant disciplines. MTI is the vibrant core of existing Miami-based transplant research programs and has the unique expertise to carry out large-scale clinical trials for the testing of new therapies in this rapidly evolving field.

Dr. Pascal Goldschmidt, dean of the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, has made transplantation a key research priority for the future. Transplantation plays a central role because of the school’s existing strengths and because it amplifies and overlaps so extensively the areas of regenerative medicine, immunology, cellular therapies, and genetics – all essential parts of the institution’s vision for the future of biomedical research.

Diabetes Research Institute (DRI)

MTI is connected to and thereby benefits from many outstanding clinical and research centers at the Miller School. For instance, the DRI works closely with MTI. Dr. Camillo Ricordi, Director of the DRI, is a pioneer in the field of pancreatic islet cell transplantation. A major portion of the DRI research agenda revolves around the issue of tolerance, and there are several research projects on which transplant faculty and DRI researchers are collaborating.

University of Miami Department of Microbiology and Immunology

Dr. Eckhard Podack, chair of microbiology and immunology, is heavily involved in transplantation research and was the first scientist to describe perforin as one of the molecules involved in lymphocyte cytotoxicity. In collaboration with DRI, he studies the mechanisms of rejection, specifically the role of perforin as a mediator of rejection in skin grafting models and graft-versus-host disease after bone marrow transplantation.

Miami Institute for Human Genomics

The Miller school is also building its capacity in disciplines that are vital to transplantation research. The school has recruited Dr. Margaret Pericak-Vance and Dr. Jeffery Vance from Duke University. The Vances are renowned scientists and are directing the Miami Institute for Human Genomics. The University has also recruited Dr. Eli Gilboa, an internationally known immunologist, who is director of the Dodson Interdisciplinary Immunotherapy Institute.

With its long history of institutional expertise and success, key new resources in important complementary disciplines, a detailed and ambitious research agenda, and the vision and resources of a committed philanthropic partner, the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine’s Miami Transplant Institute is second to none.