From river blindness to genomics, USF Health faculty lead the world

USF Health faculty members in medicine and public health scored major media hits this past week.

Stephen Liggett, MD, vice dean for research at the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine,  was among the academic  leaders in the emerging field of personalized medicine and genomics to comment in a New York Times piece about a new technologically-advanced machine  that interprets a person’s DNA blueprint for use in medicine, while keeping the highly personal data secure.     A multicenter team headed by Dr. Liggett recently identified alterations in DNA sequence, termed genetic variants, that predict which patients with heart failure can be saved from experiencing fatal arrhythmias.

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Thomas Unnasch, PhD, professor and chair of global health at the USF College of Public Health, was prominently featured in a CNN Health story that depicts the misery suffered by Africans afflicted by onchocerciasis, commonly known as river blindness.  Dr. Unnasch is one of the world’s leading exerts on this rare parasitic disease spread by the bite of a black fly that breeds in fast-flowing rivers.   He chairs an expert advisory committee consulting with the Ugandan Ministry of Health on efforts to eliminate the blinding infection from Uganda by 2020.

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