Hub Headlines from the Johns Hopkins news network Hub Wed, 28 Jan 2015 16:20:00 -0500 Johns Hopkins stem cell researcher Sharon Gerecht receives inaugural President's Frontier Award <p><a href="">Sharon Gerecht</a> says that scientists always have different paths they would like to take with their research, but they usually have to stick to the roadmap for which they have funding. Today, she was encouraged to break new ground in stem cell biology when Johns Hopkins University President <a href="">Ronald J. Daniels</a> and Provost <a href="">Robert C. Lieberman</a> presented her with the inaugural President's Frontier Award in the amount of $250,000.</p> <p>"Now we have the opportunity to go in new directions, which is great," she says. "I am very happy, and I am humbled."</p> <p>Gerecht was surprised when the president, provost, division leaders, and other colleagues arrived during her meeting with students at Croft Hall to tell her she was chosen to receive the award.</p> <p>"Sharon embodies the best traditions of Johns Hopkins research: vision, collaboration, and tireless pursuit of discovery," Daniels says. "This award reflects our commitment to her work and the advances she is poised to make in the field of stem cell research."</p> <p>Gerecht, an associate professor in the university's <a href="">Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering</a> in the <a href="">Whiting School of Engineering</a>, has identified ways to control the fate of stem cells, which are the most fundamental building blocks of tissues and organs. She has coaxed them to form complex blood vessels—for the first time growing vessels in a synthetic material—that can feed the generation of new organs like the heart. She has also studied how to stifle their growth to starve cancer cells and inhibit metastasis. <a href="">Learn more about the Gerecht lab</a></p> <p>Gerecht was awarded her PhD within the Technion–Israel Institute of Technology's Biotechnology Interdisciplinary Unit in 2004. She then worked as a postdoctoral fellow at MIT before joining the Whiting School faculty in 2007. She is an affiliated faculty member of the Johns Hopkins <a href="">Institute for NanoBioTechnology</a> and a project leader for Johns Hopkins <a href="">Physical Science-Oncology Center</a>. Her work has appeared in more than 90 publications and she holds 19 patents. She is also recognized for employing innovative thinking across disciplines as diverse as materials chemistry, engineering, and cell biology.</p> <p>"One of the things that attracted me to Hopkins is the fact that people are very collaborative here," she says. "There is no problem to find someone that wants to work with you."</p> <p>Recently, Gerecht was named the first Kent Gordon Croft Investment Management Faculty Scholar, a three-year award that provides funds for research, teaching, and entrepreneurial activities.</p> <p>"There is no question that Sharon is a leader in her field with exciting new ideas," Lieberman says. "She is also a highly valued member of our faculty community who teaches, advises, and mentors students at all levels and is dedicated to empowering women and minorities in science and engineering. We are proud that she has made Johns Hopkins her academic home."</p> <p>The Frontier Award was made possible by a generous donation from trustee Louis J. Forster, A&S '82, SAIS '83, and Kathleen M. Pike, SAIS Bol '81 (Dipl), A&S '82, '83 (MA). It will recognize one person each year for five years with financial support for their research expenses. The inaugural year brought forward a highly competitive pool of 77 nominees demonstrating excellence in a wide array of academic pursuits across divisions.</p> <p>In addition to the winner, Daniels is also recognizing three outstanding finalists with a gift of $50,000 to support their research and advance their academic pursuits. They are:</p> <ul> <li><a href="">Scott Bailey</a>, an associate professor in the Bloomberg School of Public Health </li> <li><a href="">Samer Hattar</a>, an associate professor in the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences</li> <li><a href="">Sean Sun</a>, an associate professor in the Whiting School of Engineering </li> </ul> <p>The <a href="">Presidents Frontier Award program</a> launches a series of efforts by university leadership to support faculty as they pursue innovative and important research.</p> <p>Two more funding opportunities for faculty members were announced this week. The <a href="">Johns Hopkins Discovery Award program</a> is focused on sparking new interactions among faculty from across the university. The <a href="">Johns Hopkins University Catalyst Awards</a> are intended to help promising early-career faculty establish their research programs. Both are supported by the Office of the President, Office of the Provost, and the deans of the university's schools and divisions.</p> <p>Speaking of the Frontier Award and the two new award programs, Gerecht says they are "very needed" by the research community.</p> <p>"There is not enough money to think out of the box and propose things that are risky," she says, "It's becoming very difficult to get this money. … Hopefully this will fund out-of-the-box thinking or crazy ideas that might lead to breakthrough inventions and discoveries."</p> <p>Asked if she has plans already in mind for her Frontier Award funding, she says, "Oh yeah, definitely. I have some ideas where to take it."</p> Wed, 28 Jan 2015 09:31:00 -0500 JHU's Daniels to discuss decline in funding for young scientists on WAMU's 'The Kojo Nnamdi Show' <p>Johns Hopkins University President <a href="">Ronald J. Daniels</a> will be a guest Thursday on a WAMU's <a href=""><em>The Kojo Nnamdi Show</em></a>, where he will discuss the decline in federal research funding for young scientists.</p> <p>The hour-long segment will air live beginning at noon on WAMU-FM 88.5; it can be heard online at <a href=""></a>.</p> <p>Earlier this month, Daniels authored an <a href="">article in the journal <em>Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences</em></a> in which he noted that America's youngest scientists are increasingly missing out on research dollars and leaving the academic biomedical workforce, a brain drain that poses grave risks for the future of science.</p> <p>The number of principal investigators with a leading NIH grant who are 36 years old or younger dropped from 18 percent in 1983 to 3 percent in 2010, Daniels wrote. Meanwhile, the average age when a scientist with a medical degree gets her first of these grants has risen from just under 38 years old in 1980 to more than 45 in 2013.</p> <p>"The inability to staunch—if not reverse—the above trends stands as an urgent and compelling policy challenge," Daniels wrote in <em>PNAS</em>. "The current stewards of the U.S. research enterprise bear a responsibility to sustain and safeguard that enterprise so that it can provide a platform for the scientists and the science of generations to come."</p> Tue, 27 Jan 2015 12:48:00 -0500 $4.5M for a 30-second Super Bowl ad? Johns Hopkins marketing expert discusses the benefits and risks <p>A 30-second commercial during the Super Bowl XLIX broadcast on Sunday will cost advertisers a record $4.5 million. Tack on the expense of producing a Super Bowl-worthy ad—typically also in the seven-figure range—and the decision to ante up for the big game can be a tough one for some companies, according to Johns Hopkins University marketing expert <a href="">Haiyang Yang</a>.</p> <p>Yang, an assistant professor on the research faculty of JHU's <a href="">Carey Business School</a>, recently discussed the pros and cons of buying time for a Super Bowl ad.</p> <p><strong>How does a company justify the price tag for one of these ads?</strong></p> <p>Whenever firms are making decisions about big advertising events like this, they're thinking basically about two things. One is to get the company's or brand's name out there and build awareness. If we look at who advertises during a Super Bowl, many are new companies or new brands. Super Bowl advertising allows them to be noticed by over 100 million consumers in 30 seconds. Even if you are an established brand, you want to keep your product in consumers' "consideration set" when they shop. Super Bowl advertising is one way to remind consumers of your product. Also, the boost in awareness goes beyond those 30 seconds during the game. Whenever people talk about the ads online or offline after the game—and sometimes even before the game in some cases—the awareness is increased.</p> <p><strong>Also see:</strong> <a href="">The 10 Super Bowl ads you won't want to miss this year</a> (<em>Adweek</em>)</p> <p>Second, Super Bowl advertising is also a tool for firms to create a favorable brand image—<em>Yes, I saw your ad and now know about your brand, but do I like your brand as a result?</em> That's decided by a number of factors such as whether your ad is well designed, novel, and humorous, and whether it meets my expectation of what a Super Bowl ad should be like. Of course, the fact that you're associating yourself with such a prestigious event gives your brand some credibility. But you will need a great ad to truly benefit from this opportunity to connect with consumers and build a favorable brand image.</p> <p><strong>Besides those two main reasons for doing an ad, are there others you care to mention?</strong></p> <p>There are some auxiliary benefits that people don't usually take into account when assessing the impact of these ads. For example, Super Bowl ads can have influence inside the advertising companies themselves, particularly for new companies. Many people tend to favor working for "brand name" firms. The ability to pull off a great Super Bowl ad can help new firms attract and recruit new talent. Also, for those who already work for the firms, they would be motivated by the fact that their company now can do what the most powerful firms do—advertise in the Super Bowl.</p> <p>Super Bowl advertising may also provide benefit in a business-to-business sense. Even if you are a consumer product company, after seeing your company's great Super Bowl ad, other firms you interact with, like your suppliers and distributors, could be more interested in doing business with you. After all, you are now famous, and that fame is something that could potentially benefit those other firms as well.</p> <p><strong>So how about the risks? Why would a company not want to advertise during the Super Bowl?</strong></p> <p>All advertisers in the Super Bowl face the risk of very high expectations. Just the fact that it's a Super Bowl ad increases viewers' expectations of how good it should be. If it isn't up to that standard, you could end up disappointing the very people you're trying to impress.</p> <p>About half of the game's viewers reportedly tune in just to see the ads, so that raises the stakes for advertisers even more. These are viewers who aren't just comparing this year's ads with one another but also with Super Bowl ads from the past, which are some of the best TV commercials ever made. If viewers feel that a company didn't execute its advertising well, then that can speak to the competency of the company in some consumers' minds.</p> <p><strong>Also see:</strong> <a href="">Six ads that that redefined the Super Bowl ad</a> (<em>International Business Times</em>)</p> <p>Advertisers also face the risk of a public that's becoming less susceptible to the messaging of the ads, thanks to the abundance of technology and information at our fingerprints. The entire advertising industry is built on the fact that we don't have perfect information about products. But if I know exactly how an advertised product will perform—because I can look up countless reviews and product-comparison reports online—then that changes the game. An ad may have less persuasive power than before. This may be especially true for utilitarian products, like a computer printer, but perhaps less so for products that are more hedonic, more about pleasure, like a beverage. Given that one thing advertising does particularly well is make emotional appeals, hedonic products may benefit from Super Bowl advertising relatively more.</p> <p>There is also a question of return on investment. Advertising at Super Bowl is expensive. Firms should think about whether they can achieve the same level of brand awareness and build the same brand image through other channels like regular TV programs or online platforms at a lower cost. Another issue firms need to think about is that when, for example, all the major brands of the same product category advertise during the Super Bowl, assuming that their ads are equally good and that the number of consumers of this category of product is stable, none of the brands might end up benefiting from the huge advertising spending. In such a case, those brands may be more profitable if they all do not advertise.</p> <p>Finally, we've seen various issues recently that have made the NFL a troubled brand, from domestic violence and other criminal cases to the more recent "Deflategate" controversy. If your brand centers on the value of family or honesty, association with the NFL may sometimes become a liability.</p> Tue, 27 Jan 2015 11:12:00 -0500 New Johns Hopkins awards to provide $15M to support faculty-led research <p>Johns Hopkins University today announced two new award programs that together will provide an additional $15 million to advance innovative faculty-led research over the next three years.</p> <p>The expanded university funding is aimed at promising early-career scholars and at organizers of ambitious research projects proposed by teams that involve more than one Johns Hopkins division or affiliate. These new internal financial awards are urgently needed to make up for declining research funds from traditional government sources, such as the National Institutes of Health, university officials said.</p> <p>"The academic leadership at the university wants our faculty to know how inspired by and supportive we are of the work they do to expand the horizons of knowledge," Johns Hopkins University <a href="">President Ronald J. Daniels</a> said. "These awards are a substantial investment in the promise of our young scholars and scientists and the creative collaborations of our faculty across the university."</p> <p>Details of the new funding programs, called Catalyst and Discovery awards, were outlined in an announcement sent to the Johns Hopkins community today by Daniels, <a href="">Provost Robert C. Lieberman</a>, and the deans and directors of the university's divisions.</p> <p>These Johns Hopkins leaders recognize the increasing difficulty that their faculty members now face in finding dollars to support their research in health-related advances, technology innovations, and other scholarly pursuits, the message said.</p> <p>"This issue has particular salience given our status as America's first research university, and as the largest university recipient of federal grant support," university leaders wrote in their message.</p> <p>As an example, the statement noted that "after the doubling of the government's investment in the NIH in 2003, we have experienced a 20 percent contraction in the real value of NIH funding. Discretionary funding for the National Endowment for the Humanities has declined by 25 percent in constant dollars over the last 10 years. These pressures can be even more difficult for our early-career faculty members, who are searching for resources not only to start projects but also to launch their careers."</p> <p>Daniels recently called attention to this problem in an <a href="">article he contributed to the journal <em>Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences</em></a>. In the article, Daniels noted that the drop in government research funding is causing many of the nation's youngest and most promising scientists to leave the academic biomedical workforce. He argued that this brain drain poses grave risks for the future of science.</p> <p>The university's new <a href="">Catalyst Awards</a> program is designed to address this challenge. These awards of up to $75,000 will be provided to early-career faculty members across the university who are undertaking exceptional research or creative endeavors. The awards will help these individuals to launch their promising careers during the crucial years when start-up funds are depleted and external funding or other support may be elusive.</p> <p>The Catalyst guidelines define "early-career" applicants as any full-time faculty member who was first appointed within the last three to 10 years.</p> <p>The second new funding program, called <a href="">Discovery Awards</a>, is designed to foster faculty-led cross-university research, encouraging new interaction among scholars from various university schools or affiliates. Some of these awards will be reserved for faculty teams that need start-up support while they look for outside funding, a large-scale grant, or a cooperative agreement. Applications must include at least two faculty members and/or non-faculty members who are from separate divisions or affiliates of the university.</p> <p>The Discovery Award applications can be in one of two categories:</p> <ul> <li><p>Cross-divisional Collaborative Projects, for which the applicants may seek up to $100,000 for a one-year term; applicants must submit a proposal describing a project that assures they will make substantial progress with a single year of funding.</p></li> <li><p>Program Project Planning Funds, for which the applicants may seek up to $150,000 of one-year funding to prepare a credible research program; applicants must submit a description of how they will seek external funding to move the project forward.</p></li> </ul> <p>In both the Catalyst and Discovery award programs, applicants must submit their proposals by March 31. Awards will be announced in May, with funding set to begin in July. In this first funding cycle, the university expects to allocate 20 to 30 Catalyst Awards and 15 to 20 Discovery Awards.</p> <p>In both award programs, the funding can be used for a variety of related expenses, including support for graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and technicians, as well as for equipment and travel.</p> Mon, 26 Jan 2015 14:30:00 -0500 Johns Hopkins mourns death of freshman lacrosse player <p>Johns Hopkins University is mourning the loss of a freshman who was found dead in his campus residence hall this morning, university administrators announced in a message to students, faculty, and staff.</p> <p>Jeremy Huber, a student in the Krieger School of Arts & Sciences interested in majoring in cognitive science and also a member of the men's lacrosse team, died during the night in his bedroom in Wolman Hall, Kevin G. Shollenberger, vice provost for student affairs, and Terry Martinez, associate vice provost and dean of students, said in their message.</p> <p>Police are investigating as a matter of standard procedure but say preliminarily that they have found no evidence of a crime. There also was no indication of contagious disease.</p> <p>"On behalf of the entire university community, we offer our deepest sympathies to Jeremy's parents and younger brother, his relatives, his friends here and at home, and his lacrosse teammates," Shollenberger and Martinez wrote. "We ask everyone in our community to offer support to those who may need it at this most difficult time."</p> <p>A native of Las Vegas, Huber was the salutatorian of his graduating class at West Career and Technical High School. He was a four-time all-state selection in lacrosse and helped his team win two state championships.</p> <p>"We are stunned and deeply saddened by the sudden passing of Jeremy Huber," Johns Hopkins men's lacrosse coach Dave Pietramala said in a statement. "Jeremy was a wonderful young man who was extremely well-liked by his teammates and the members of our lacrosse family. He was a considerate, bright young man that loved being a part of our lacrosse program. He was an outstanding representative of Johns Hopkins University, and words cannot adequately express the loss we are feeling right now. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family as we all try to work through this difficult time."</p> <p>The full text of the announcement sent to members of the university community is show below.</p> <blockquote> <p>Dear Students, Faculty and Staff,</p> <p>We are deeply sorry to report the loss of a member of our community.</p> <p>Student Jeremy Huber died during the night in his bedroom in Wolman Hall. Police, who are investigating as a matter of standard procedure, have said preliminarily that they have not found any evidence of a crime. There is also no indication of contagious disease. The state medical examiner is charged with determining the cause of death.</p> <p>Jeremy was a freshman in the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences, interested in majoring in cognitive science. He had been salutatorian of his class at West Career and Technical High School in Las Vegas. A true student-athlete, he was also a four-time all-state lacrosse defenseman there.</p> <p>Jeremy was also playing varsity lacrosse here at Johns Hopkins. Those who knew him say he was a bright, considerate, wonderful young man who was excited to be at the university. In his relatively brief time here, Jeremy had earned admiration and respect from teammates, coaches, and everyone who is a part of the lacrosse program.</p> <p>On behalf of the entire university community, we offer our deepest sympathies to Jeremy's parents and younger brother, his relatives, his friends here and at home, and his lacrosse teammates.</p> <p>We ask everyone in our community to offer support to those who may need it at this most difficult time. Our counselors and chaplains and the Office of Student Affairs are available, today and in days to come, to any student who wishes to talk.</p> <p>You may make an appointment at the <a href="">Counseling Center</a>, which is open until 6 p.m. tonight, by calling 410-516-8278. Outside of normal hours, the counselor on call may be reached through Security at 410-516-7777. <a href="">Campus Ministries</a>, which is open until 9 p.m. tonight, may be reached at 410-516-1880. Contact information for the Dean of Students Office staff is <a href="">here</a>.</p> <p>We will provide information on memorial arrangements when they become available.</p> <p>The start of the spring semester is meant to be a day of excitement. It is a time when we reunite after weeks apart to resume our journey of learning and discovery together. This time, however, the beginning of the semester is also a time of sadness as we learn that one of our own will not be continuing the journey with us. We are confident, however, that those who knew and cared for Jeremy will always carry his memory in their hearts.</p> <p>Sincerely,</p> <p>Kevin G. Shollenberger Vice Provost for Student Affairs</p> <p>Terry Martinez Associate Vice Provost and Dean of Students</p> </blockquote> Mon, 26 Jan 2015 14:00:00 -0500 JHU Intersession course introduces students to old-time banjo music <p>With a hunk of wood between their legs and a nationally acclaimed banjoist leading the way, a small group of eager students strummed the chords and sang the familiar folk lyrics on a recent January evening.</p> <p><em>Roll my breeches ter my knees</em></p> <p><em>En wade ol' Cripple Creek when I please</em></p> <p>Now just the good ol' boys!</p> <p>The soulful sound seemed to transform Johns Hopkins' Levering Hall into a barn. You couldn't help but tap your toe.</p> <p>This was only the third session of the Old-time Clawhammer Banjo class, one of many unconventional class offerings during JHU's annual winter Intersession period, and the class was already playing a song, a testament to their brazen leader. <a href="">Brad Kolodner</a> is one of the nation's foremost clawhammer banjo players and also a bluegrass DJ on WAMU-FM 88.5.</p> <p>Intersession and its assortment of personal enrichment courses—from Cuban salsa dancing to Appalachian fiddle, Shiatsu sitting to beer history and appreciation—has been offered at JHU for about 40 years. Jane Rhyner, coordinator of Intersession's Personal Enrichment program for the past 29 years, says the intent of the non-credit courses is "to give students the opportunity to do something fun in January while they are either taking an academic class or working, or just relaxing before Spring Semester begins."</p> <p>About 150 students participated in 20 Personal Enrichment courses this year during Intersession (which concluded last week), Rhyner says. The classes were taught by members of the JHU community (including two courses taught by undergraduate students) and subject experts who are unaffiliated with the university, like Kolodner.</p> <p>Clawhammer describes a style of rhythmic banjo playing—as opposed to the familiar picking style of bluegrass—in which the head of the instrument is placed between the legs and strummed in a distinct pattern with the hand in the shape of a claw. The hand beats against the head instead of plucking each string, providing a heartbeat behind the tune. Essentially, it's a drum and a banjo rolled up into one style.</p> <p>Clawhammer banjo originated in Africa and was made popular in Virginia by African-American players in the 18th century. These days, comedian Steve Martin—yes, that <em>wild and crazy guy!</em>—is amongst its best-known practitioners. But the style and sound connects to a long tradition of southern songs that create a sense of escape and wonderment. There is a lot of history here.</p> <p>"It's a grain of salt on the beach that is old-time music," Kolodner said of his Intersession course. "It's meant to be a class that will kickstart someone's interest in the music."</p> <p>Kolodner kept the class moving at a quick pace, and the participants smiled while rubbing their sore hands in between practicing phrases. You knew the banjo would be fun, but you didn't know that it would require physical labor and mental discipline.</p> <p>Kolodner said it takes hundreds of times playing a song before it comes naturally to a player's hands. He demonstrated what "Cripple Creek" played at speed would sound like, a real treat from a polished player who has likely rolled up his breeches and waded Cripple Creek no less than a thousand times.</p> <p>With new-found inspiration, the beginners returned to the basic techniques they had recently acquired. The bum-ditty strumming pattern and the hammer-on and pull-off motions were repeated. And repeated. Soon the aching fingers produced the slow but unmistakable sound that accompanies the tune's final lines:</p> <p><em>I got drunk and fell against the wall</em></p> <p><em>Old corn likker was the cause of it all</em></p> <p>Now curtsy or bow, and go practice.</p> Mon, 26 Jan 2015 12:08:00 -0500 Johns Hopkins study of retired NFL players sheds light on concussion-related brain damage <p>A team of Johns Hopkins specialists has gathered evidence of accumulated brain damage in former NFL players that could be linked to specific memory deficits experienced decades after the men stopped playing the game.</p> <p>The small study, which involved imaging and cognitive tests of nine former NFL players, provides further evidence of the potential long-term neurological risks to football players who sustain repeated concussions. It also strengthens the argument of those calling for better player protections.</p> <p>Results of the study are <a href="">published in the February 2015 issue of the journal <em>Neurobiology of Disease</em></a>.</p> <p>"We're hoping that our findings are going to further inform the game," says <a href="">Jennifer Coughlin</a>, assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. "That may mean individuals are able to make more educated decisions about whether they're susceptible to brain injury, advise how helmets are structured, or inform guidelines for the game to better protect players."</p> <p>Several anecdotal accounts and studies have suggested that athletes exposed to repeat concussions—including collegiate and professional football, hockey, and soccer players—could suffer permanent brain damage and deficits from these events. However, the mechanism of damage and the source of these deficits have remained unclear.</p> <p>To understand them, Coughlin; Yuchuan Wang, assistant professor of radiology and radiological science at the JHU School of Medicine; and their colleagues used tests to directly detect deficits and to quantify localized molecular differences between the brains of former players and of healthy people who didn't play football.</p> <p>The researchers recruited nine former NFL players who retired decades ago and who ranged in age from 57 to 74. The men had played a variety of positions and self-reported a wide range of concussions, varying from none for a running back to 40 for a defensive tackle. The researchers also recruited nine age-matched "controls"—healthy individuals who had no reason to suspect they had brain injuries.</p> <p>Each of the volunteers underwent a positron emission tomography, or PET, scan, a test in which an injected radioactive chemical binds to a specific biological molecule, allowing researchers to physically see and measure its presence throughout the body. In this case, the research team focused on the translocator protein, which signals the degree of damage and repair in the brain. While healthy individuals have low levels of this protein spread throughout the brain, those with brain injuries tend to have concentrated zones with high levels of translocator protein wherever an injury has occurred.</p> <p>The volunteers also underwent MRIs, which allowed the researchers to match up the PET scan findings with anatomical locations in the volunteers' brains and check for structural abnormalities. In addition, participants took a battery of memory tests.</p> <p>While the control volunteers' tests showed no evidence of brain damage, PET scans showed that on average, the former NFL players had evidence of brain injury in several temporal medial lobe regions, including the amygdala, a region that plays a significant role in regulating mood. Imaging also identified injuries in many players' supramarginal gyrus, an area linked to verbal memory.</p> <p>While the hippocampus, an area that plays a role in several aspects of memory, didn't show evidence of damage in the PET scans, MRIs of the former players' brains showed atrophy of the right-side hippocampus, suggesting that this region may have shrunk in size due to previous damage.</p> <p>Additionally, many of the NFL players scored low on memory testing, particularly in tests of verbal learning and memory.</p> <p>Though the researchers emphasize that this pilot study is small in size, they say that the evidence suggests that there are molecular and structural changes in specific brain regions of athletes who have a history of repeated hits to the head, changes that remain decades after their playing careers have ended.</p> <p>The researchers are currently looking for translocator protein hotspots in both active and recently retired players to help determine whether these changes develop rapidly or whether they're a result of a more delayed response to injury with similarities to other degenerative brain disorders.</p> <p>If these findings are seen in studies with larger numbers of participants, they say, the molecular brain imaging technique used in this study could eventually lead to changes in the way players are treated post-concussion or perhaps in how contact sports are played.</p> Sun, 25 Jan 2015 12:30:00 -0500 Johns Hopkins team continues excavation, conservation efforts at ancient Egyptian burial site <p>A team of Johns Hopkins researchers and students, led by <a href="">Betsy Bryan</a>, a professor of Egyptian art and archaeology in the university's <a href="">Department of Near Eastern Studies</a>, has spent the past three weeks conducting field work at the Temple of the Goddess Mut dig site in Luxor, Egypt.</p> <p>Bryan has been leading Johns Hopkins work teams to Luxor since 1995 and since 2001 has chronicled their expeditions on the <a href="">Egypt Today blog website</a>. The current team, which includes seven Hopkins graduate students and three undergraduates, has been focusing on the excavation and conservation of an ancient burial site first discovered by Bryan and others in 2012.</p> <p>We caught up with Bryan via email in Egypt to learn more about her team's current expedition.</p> <p><strong>What kind of work is the team currently doing at the Temple of Mut site?</strong></p> <p>This year the team is working behind the Sacred Lake in an area that housed temple dependencies such as the granaries, breweries, bakeries, etc., between around 1600 and 700 B.C. But since 2012 we have found in that same region an earlier "cemetery," which was not expected, because burials generally did not occur on the east side of the Nile where we are and did not take place within sacred precincts. In the period prior to 1600 this was a more domestic environment with houses, etc., and after the temple establishment, the serf and/or captive workers may have been buried here because they were unable to move around elsewhere to choose another spot. This year we are excavating skeletons that we discovered in 2012 but did not have the bioarchaeological expertise to excavate properly. Because we are on the verge of publishing all of our work there since 2001, we are also studying, analyzing, and drawing pottery; registering and drawing small finds; and, of course, photographing everything from the excavation.</p> <p><strong>Have there been any exciting finds during this or other recent expeditions?</strong></p> <p>Egypt is always a place of discovery, so we have had no shortage of interesting and even exciting finds. For example, in 2002 and 2003 we found a wonderful life-sized statue of King Ramesses III beneath the floor of the Ramesses III temple at the Mut precinct (there are three main temples in the precinct, and the concession is quite large). We had it reconstructed and it now is in the <a href="">Luxor Museum</a>, a beautiful and modern museum.</p> <p>In 2006 we discovered (actually a graduate student overseeing work on the porch of the main Mut Temple discovered) an over-life-sized statue of Queen Tiye, a very famous queen and mother of the heretic King Akhenaten, in nearly pristine condition.</p> <p>In 2004-2007 we discovered the architectural elements of a "Hall of Drunkenness," where the so-called "Festivals of Drunkenness" were conducted between 1475 and 1460 B.C. Evidence for these festivals had been nearly entirely limited to the Greco-Roman period until our discovery, and it has been covered in several documentaries by Discovery, History, and National Geographic. My own publication of the hall and the ritual as celebrated in the earliest period as at Mut appeared this fall in a scholarly volume.</p> <p><strong>What sorts of activities are the students involved in at the site? What can they expect to gain from the experience?</strong></p> <p>The students are rotating through all of our activities if they have not worked with us before (this is true for all the undergrads). They have learned now to identify ceramic fabrics, shapes, and manufacturing techniqes, and they have learned to draw pottery for publication. They have also learned how to do basic surveying using our old-fashioned transit level as well as our brand new Total Station, and they have done both the shooting of points and the holding of the prism or rod used to identify points.</p> <p>They have also all worked with the bioarchaeologists and osteologists to learn how to carefully excavate skeletons, clean and make them visible for photography, and survey in situ. They have learned basic osteology to identify specific bones (this is especially useful for the two pre-med students with us.)</p> Fri, 23 Jan 2015 16:50:00 -0500 Johns Hopkins seniors Bugarinovic, Hammer featured in Sports Illustrated's 'Faces in the Crowd' <p>A milestone night garnered some national attention recently for a pair of Johns Hopkins men's basketball players.</p> <p>Seniors George Bugarinovic and Jimmy Hammer, who both reached the 1,000-point mark for their careers in the Blue Jays' win against Muhlenberg on Dec. 6, were among the athletes spotlighted in the Jan. 19 installment of <em>Sports Illustrated</em>'s long-running "Faces in the Crowd" feature. They became the 15th and 16th players in school history to surpass 1,000 points. From <em>SI</em>:</p> <blockquote> <p>Johns Hopkins seniors Bugarinovic, a forward, and Hammer, a guard, both reached 1,000 career points in an 87-77 win over Muhlenberg. Bugarinovic achieved the milestone in the first half, and Hammer joined him with 2:10 to play.</p> </blockquote> <p>Hammer leads JHU in scoring at 15.1 points per game and is shooting 47% from three-point range for the season. Bugarinovic ranks second in scoring at 13.1 points per game and adds a team-best 6.7 rebounds per game.</p> <p>Bugarinovic carries a 3.84 cumulative grade point average, and Hammer has a 3.54. Both players had 4.0 GPAs during the fall semester.</p> <p>The Blue Jays (14-2, 8-1 in the Centennial Conference) have won 11 consecutive games and are ranked No. 24 in the nation among Division III teams.</p> <p>"Faces in the Crowd," which first appeared in <em>Sports Illustrated</em> in 1956, spotlights the accomplishments of unknown or amateur athletes. Athletes featured in the past include golfing greats Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods, tennis champions Arthur Ashe and John McEnroe, Olympic gold medal sprinters Wilma Rudolph and Jackie Joyner-Kersee, and chessmaster Bobby Fischer.</p> Fri, 23 Jan 2015 14:06:00 -0500 Johns Hopkins brain researcher Lisa Feigenson honored by National Academy of Sciences <p>Johns Hopkins University brain researcher <a href="">Lisa Feigenson</a> was one of four researchers honored today by the National Academy of Sciences in recognition of their extraordinary scientific achievements in neuroscience and psychological and cognitive sciences.</p> <p>Feigenson, a professor in the university's <a href="">Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences</a>, explores the fundamental processes of human cognition and memory by testing the limits on what infants and children are able to understand about numbers and the processes that underlie that understanding.</p> <p>She joined Yael Niv, an assistant professor of psychology and neuroscience at Princeton University, in receive 2015 Troland Research Awards, two $75,000 awards given annually to recognize unusual achievement by young investigators and to further empirical research within the broad spectrum of experimental psychology. Feigenson was recognized "for her meticulous investigations of the origins and early development of representations of objects and numbers," NAS wrote in its announcement. "Her research on cognition in infancy illuminates the foundations of young children's mathematical reasoning and learning."</p> <p>More from NAS:</p> <blockquote> <p>Feigenson has shed light on many fundamental processes of human cognition and memory by teasing out the limits on what infants and children are able to understand about numbers and the processes that underlie that understanding. She demonstrated, for instance, that infants between 12 to 14 months of age can differentiate between one, two and three objects—but not four. Further experiments showed that the limit of three could be overcome by grouping objects in small sets, allowing infants to remember groups of up to eight objects. This is similar to what adults do to boost their memory, such as breaking up a phone number into three sets of digits. With such work, Feigenson and colleagues have illuminated some of the fundamental cognitive abilities that are in place early in life, which are subject to change as children learn through further experience.</p> </blockquote> <p>Niv's work has focused on how the brain sorts information, effectively parsing complex environments into relevant, bite-sized chunks that can be acted upon efficiently.</p> <p>Catherine G. Dulac, investigator at Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Higgins Professor of Molecular and Cellular Biology at Harvard University, received the Pradel Research Award, a $50,000 award presented annually to recognize mid-career neuroscientists whose work is making major contributions to our understanding of the nervous system.</p> <p>Scott D. Sagan, Caroline S.G. Munro Professor of Political Science at Stanford University, received the William and Katherine Estes Award, which recognizes basic research in any field of cognitive or behavioral science that uses rigorous formal and empirical methods to advance our understanding of issues relating to the risk of nuclear war.</p> <p>The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit institution that was established under a congressional charter signed by President Abraham Lincoln in 1863. It recognizes achievement in science by election to membership, and—with the National Academy of Engineering, Institute of Medicine, and National Research Council—provides science, engineering, and health policy advice to the federal government and other organizations.</p> Fri, 23 Jan 2015 12:05:00 -0500 JHU's Pam Jeffries named dean of George Washington's School of Nursing <p><a href="">Pamela R. Jeffries</a>, who has been a professor at the Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing since 2009 and in 2013 was named the Johns Hopkins' inaugural vice provost for digital initiatives, was announced as the next dean of <a href="">George Washington University's School of Nursing</a> today.</p> <p>"Dr. Jeffries is a nationally recognized innovator with a strong background in research and extraordinary expertise in the application of technology to teaching and learning," said GW President Steven Knapp. "She understands the complexities of 21st century health care and has the vision and experience to guide our School of Nursing as it prepares the next generation of nursing and health care leaders."</p> <p>Prior to her appointment as a Johns Hopkins vice provost, Jeffries served as the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing associate dean for academic affairs and vice dean of faculty from 2009 to 2013. While in that role, she led the school in its online education initiative, launching more than 40 courses and two online master's programs.</p> <p>She will begin her new role on April 6, 2015, succeeding Jean Johnson, founding dean of the GW School of Nursing, who retired in December 2014.</p> <p>"I am honored to join George Washington University nursing at this transformational time in nursing, higher education, and the development and growth of the school," Jeffries said. "Leading a new nursing school in its early years is a unique opportunity and one that few nursing leaders are privileged to experience. Dr. Johnson has built a strong foundation on which the faculty and I can now continue to develop an outstanding school of nursing in the nation's capital. It is a challenge I eagerly accept, and I look forward to sharing the rewards of success with faculty and students."</p> <p>In her more than 30 years in academia, Jeffries has held numerous faculty and leadership positions. Earlier in her career, she served as associate dean of undergraduate programs at the Indiana University School of Nursing, where she implemented a faculty/student mentor program and assisted in the design of a state-of-the-art medical simulation center.</p> <p>"Dr. Jeffries distinguished herself from an exceptional pool of candidates with her diverse academic portfolio and dynamic vision for our School of Nursing," said GW Provost Steven Lerman. "I am confident she will build on the foundation of excellence created by her predecessor, Dean Jean Johnson, to raise the school's prominence as the leader in nursing education."</p> <p>Jeffries has received numerous awards and honors in recognition of her work in higher education and her many accomplishments and innovations in preparing future nurses. In 2013, she received the American Association of Colleges of Nursing's Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Excellence Award and in 2012 was inducted into the Sigma Theta Tau International Researchers Hall of Fame. She is a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Executive Nurse Fellow and a fellow of the American Academy of Nursing, serves on the Institute of Medicine Innovation in Health Professional Education Global Forum, and is immediate past-president of the Society for Simulation in Healthcare. She has consulted for national regulatory bodies such as the National Council State Board of Nursing, as well as large corporations and health care organizations. She has published scores of peer-reviewed articles and numerous books, and has disseminated her work throughout the world. Her research on innovative teaching strategies, online learning, practice partnerships, and clinical simulations has been shared widely across the U.S. and in 14 countries.</p> <p>"Dr. Jeffries's vision, experience, and scholarship immediately impressed the committee," said Dr. Christine Pintz, chair of the search committee. "Her extensive experience in academic leadership is well suited to developing and building upon the success of the School of Nursing. Her expertise in simulation, online education and best practices in teaching will continue to foster the innovative and creative teaching and research that has distinguished GW's nursing faculty."</p> <p>Dr. Jeffries received a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree from Ball State University in 1976. She earned a Master of Science in Nursing in 1982 and a doctorate of nursing in 1996 from Indiana University.</p> Thu, 22 Jan 2015 16:25:00 -0500 Big ideas net CTY research awards for 10 aspiring young researchers <p>One aspiring researcher wants to develop a software tool that could help doctors pinpoint which drugs work best to treat patients with lung cancer. Another hopes to address global warming by exploring a new, more economical way to grow algae. And a third hopes to create a human-powered portable refrigerator to transport vaccines to remote areas.</p> <p>These are just a few of the projects proposed by the 10 middle and high school students who were recently named recipients of the CTY Cogito Research Awards by the <a href="">Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth</a>.</p> <p>Grants of $599 each were awarded to students from across the country who submitted outstanding proposals for research in science, technology, engineering, or math fields. A CTY judging panel selected the winning proposals from more than 185 student applications based on overall quality and promise to achieve compelling research results.</p> <p>Student researchers will use the funds to purchase equipment, rent lab space, or for other project-related expenses. The award-winners will work with supervising mentors as they see their projects through and write final reports on their results. Awardees will also blog about their progress on <a href=""></a>, CTY's website and online community for math- and science-minded middle and high school students.</p> <p>The 2015 CTY Cogito Research Awards winners are:</p> <ul> <li>Shanelle Fernando, 16, of Franklin Park, Pennsylvania </li> <li>Anurudhramanan Ganesan, 15, of Clarksburg, Maryland </li> <li>Edward Gelernt, 16, of Moorestown, New Jersey </li> <li>Nikhil Gopal, 14, of Belle Mead, New Jersey </li> <li>Arun Johnson, 14, of Redwood City, California </li> <li>Katherine Nurminsky, 15, of Lutherville-Timonium, Maryland </li> <li>Sonia Sachar, 16, of Fremont, California </li> <li>Pia Sen, 17, of Austin, Texas </li> <li>Pranshu Suri, 14, of Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania </li> <li>Isabel Young, 17, of Bethesda, Maryland </li> </ul> <p>Summaries of proposed projects can be found at <a href=""></a>.</p> Thu, 22 Jan 2015 10:43:00 -0500 Johns Hopkins adds new interdisciplinary major: Medicine, science, and humanities <p>Johns Hopkins University's <a href="">Krieger School of Arts and Sciences</a> has launched the medicine, science, and humanities major for students who want to examine medical and scientific issues through the lens of humanities studies. The new interdisciplinary major gives JHU undergraduates the chance to pursue the natural sciences and the humanities, rather than having to choose one or the other.</p> <p><a href="">Beverly Wendland</a>, interim dean of the Krieger School, says the major was created in part to help close the polarizing gap between the sciences and the humanities.</p> <p>"Given our academic strengths, Johns Hopkins is ideally suited to create a course of undergraduate concentration that focuses on the intersection of medicine, science, and the humanities," Wendland says. "In the rapidly changing landscape of higher education in the 21st century, interdisciplinary approaches are needed to promote intellectual innovations and will forge productive connections between scientific and humanistic cultures."</p> <p>The new major is expected to attract students who plan to pursue careers in the health professions as well as those interested in issues of importance to science and medicine, and students who plan to pursue graduate work in a range of humanities and social science disciplines. The major does not fulfill all premedical requirements, but advisers will work with students regarding additional needed course work. The new major also will serve students interested in a humanistic approach to science as the foundation of their liberal arts education.</p> <p>"It is only recently that medicine, science, and the humanities have become separated and siloed," says <a href="">Charles Wiener</a>, a professor of medicine at the <a href="">Johns Hopkins School of Medicine</a> and interim director of the new major. "Professions such as medicine recognize that future physicians must be more humanistic with additional skills in critical analysis, communication, and teamwork. The new MCAT being introduced this year addresses these cultural changes. The expectations of incoming medical students are becoming much broader to include cross-cultural studies, ethics, philosophy, and a range of humanities studies—all with the goal to produce more well-rounded physicians."</p> <p>Recently approved by the Maryland Higher Education Commission, the major requires students to take a core introductory course that is taught by a team of humanities professors. The course provides a foundation in a selection of the many disciplines that make up the field of humanities relevant to medicine and science.</p> <p><a href="">William Egginton</a>, vice dean for graduate studies at the Krieger School and the Andrew W. Mellon Professor in the Humanities, spearheaded the effort to create the major. He says students who graduate with it will "demonstrate awareness of how the sciences and medicine are called upon to answer fundamental human problems."</p> <p>Graduates in the major also will have attained an intermediate level of proficiency in a language other than English, the ability to deploy research methodologies in one of the humanistic disciplines, and the capability to critically evaluate how medical institutions and practices interact with a culture's beliefs and values.</p> <p>So far, more than a dozen incoming freshmen and several current freshmen have expressed interest in pursuing the major.</p> <p>"I'm not at all surprised at the considerable interest being shown for the major," Wiener says. "I look forward to meeting these students and sharing the details with them. Our new major is a reflection of the Krieger School's mission to create new knowledge through research and scholarship. Like the humanities, science and medicine are essentially interpretive, creative endeavors, and the new major celebrates that integral connection."</p> <p>For more information, contact Professor William Egginton at <a href=""></a></p> Wed, 21 Jan 2015 11:48:00 -0500 Johns Hopkins experts challenge belief that city living raises asthma risk <p>Challenging the long-standing belief that city dwellers suffer disproportionately from asthma, the results of a new <a href="">Johns Hopkins Children's Center</a> study of more than 23,000 U.S. children reveal that income, race, and ethnic origin may play far more potent roles in asthma risk than kids' physical surroundings.</p> <p>The study, based on comparison of childhood asthma rates in cities and outside of them, found no differences in asthma risk between children living in urban areas and their suburban and rural counterparts.</p> <p>The findings, published online Jan. 20 in the <a href=""><em>Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology</em></a>, showed a surprisingly uneven distribution of asthma—one that fails to follow traditional patterns of urban and nonurban residence, the team says.</p> <p>Significantly, the investigators say, they found a powerful link between poverty and African-American race and Puerto Rican ethnicity and a higher-than-average asthma risk.</p> <p>"Our results highlight the changing face of pediatric asthma and suggest that living in an urban area is, by itself, not a risk factor for asthma," says lead investigator <a href="">Dr. Corinne Keet</a>, a pediatric allergy and asthma specialist at Johns Hopkins. "Instead, we see that poverty and being African American or Puerto Rican are the most potent predictors of asthma risk."</p> <p>The idea that certain aspects of urban living—pollution, cockroach and other pest allergens, higher rates of premature births, exposure to indoor smoke— make inner-city children more prone to developing asthma emerged more than 50 years ago, when public health experts first described an epidemic of inner-city asthma cases. While all those factors continue to fuel asthma risk, the investigators say, they may no longer be exclusive to or even predominant in inner-city areas, and the new study findings bear out this phenomenon.</p> <p>The results, the researchers say, reflect powerful demographic shifts at work, such as increasing poverty in suburban and rural areas, and the movement of racial and ethnic minorities out of inner cities. Therefore, they add, public health interventions should also reflect this changing reality.</p> <p>"Our findings suggest that focusing on inner cities as the epicenters of asthma may lead physicians and public health experts to overlook newly emerging 'hot zones' with high asthma rates," says senior author <a href="">Dr. Elizabeth Matsui</a>, a pediatric asthma specialist and associate professor of pediatrics and epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.</p> <p>The investigators caution that their research focused solely on baseline asthma risk—in other words, whether a child living in the city is more likely to have asthma than a child living in the suburbs or in the country. Their present study, they add, was not designed to capture whether inner-city children who have asthma suffer worse symptoms or require more medical attention than children with asthma who live elsewhere. The latter question, the researchers say, is the subject of a separate investigation already under way.</p> <p>The Johns Hopkins study, based on a survey of parents and caregivers of 23,065 children, ages 6 to 17, showed that 13 percent of inner-city kids had asthma, compared with 11 percent of children living outside of inner cities. This small difference vanished, however, once the investigators included variables such as race, ethnicity, and geographic region in their analysis.</p> <p>In addition, children of families with incomes below the national poverty threshold were more likely to be diagnosed with asthma and have an asthma attack that required emergency treatment than the children of families with higher incomes. And as annual income went down, the risk of having an emergency asthma episode or a diagnosis of asthma both crept up, the study found. Of note, the researchers say, was the finding that family poverty had a stronger influence on asthma risk than overall neighborhood poverty. In other words, personal poverty drove asthma risk more than living in a poor neighborhood itself.</p> <p>African-American children and those of Puerto Rican descent had disproportionately higher asthma rates, at 17 and 20 percent respectively, compared with their white (10 percent), other Hispanic (9 percent) and Asian (8 percent) counterparts. Being African American or Puerto Rican remained potent risk factors even after the scientists eliminated the influence of other variables such as neighborhood poverty, household income, and geographic area of residence.</p> <p>While the study was not designed to tease out the driving factors behind the disproportionately higher asthma risk among African-American and Puerto Rican children, the investigators note that both African Americans and Puerto Ricans have a well-known risk for developing asthma, partly due to biologic and genetic differences.</p> <p>Inner-city asthma rates, the study showed, varied widely by geographic region, with urban areas in the Northeast having the highest prevalence—17 percent of children living there had an asthma diagnosis—while urban areas in the western United States had the lowest asthma rates at 8 percent. Some poor suburban and rural areas had asthma rates higher than those of inner-city zones. For example, the asthma prevalence in low-income suburban areas of the Northeast was 21 percent, compared with 17 percent in the corresponding urban area of that same geographic region. Low-income areas in medium metro areas in the Midwest had 26 percent asthma prevalence, compared with 15 percent in urban areas of the Midwest.</p> <p>Co-investigators included Meredith McCormack, Craig Pollack, Roger Peng and Emily McGowan, all of Johns Hopkins.</p> Wed, 21 Jan 2015 08:30:00 -0500 Johns Hopkins junior, food blogger shares simple recipes in Dorm Cooking 101 <p>Emily Hu has mastered the art of dorm cooking.</p> <p>A savvy food blogger with an appetite for fresh, healthy ingredients, Hu can whip up apple crumble in porcelain ramekins using a toaster oven. She prepares a pumpkin spice mug cake within minutes in a microwave. The secret ingredient? Dr Pepper.</p> <p>The Johns Hopkins University junior public health major and aspiring nutritionist gives gluttonous dishes a healthy twist. Her decadent dark chocolate truffle recipe, for example, calls for three ingredients: chocolate chips, cocoa powder, and avocados.</p> <p>Hu has become a cuisinière of dorm kitchens, and she wants her peers to know that they can, too. She's sharing her recipes—many of which call for five ingredients or fewer—for a three-part Intersession course, Dorm Cooking 101. "My goal was to show students who don't cook that it's pretty simple," says Hu.</p> <p>For three weeks every winter, JHU students escape their often-hectic academic routines for Intersession, a period in which they can pursue lively and engaging courses unrelated to their majors. Students assume many guises: yogi, sommelier, and beeroisseur, among other amusing roles. But no course gave them an opportunity to play chef for the day. So Hu, with her burgeoning gastronomic credentials, assumed the role of teacher.</p> <p>Hu has dined at Noma, widely regarded as one of the world's best restaurants, after scoring a coveted last-minute reservation during her semester abroad in Copenhagen. She reached food blog fame when Buzzfeed featured a Greek yogurt pancake recipe from her blog, <a href="">Not Your Average College Food</a>, in "<a href="">29 Versions of Your Favorite Comfort Food</a>." So, she thought, why not try her hand at being a cooking class instructor, too?</p> <p>On a frigid January morning, she lugs a suitcase full of personal kitchenware (several cutting boards, chopping knives, pots, pans, even a cheese grater) and heads to the Charles Commons kitchen to greet fellow students—some self-described "foodies," some admittedly culinarily challenged.</p> <p>The group of nine students splits into three groups to tackle recipes ranging in difficulty: Brussels sprouts with bacon, chicken thighs smothered in a honey-soy marinade, and a mushroom garlic risotto, a challenge assumed only by the more experienced members of the group.</p> <p>As the smell of risotto fills the room, a student considers making a run to Nolan's on 33rd for a to-go container. But, of course, there are no leftovers anyway.</p> <p>John Vingeo, a freshman whose mother is a freelance food writer in New York City, had no real background in cooking. He took on the Brussels sprouts trimming with reluctance but was pleasantly surprised to learn that the vegetables, once saturated in chicken broth and paired with bacon, aren't so bad after all. "Oh, these are really good!" he said when the group sat down to eat.</p> <p>"I can relate to that feeling of accomplishment," Hu says. "Like 'wow I made that,' which makes the food even more enjoyable."</p> <p>The students agreed that cooking is much better when you're with friends, and the compliments and pleasantries passed around the table suggested that bonds were formed over food. "I haven't had a chicken this good since the last time I ate at a restaurant," one student said to another.</p> <p>They all agreed that the dishes were delicious, and easy to re-create.</p> <p>"Can you send us more recipes?" asked a graduate student before running out the door. Hu directed the student to her blog.</p> Mon, 19 Jan 2015 09:00:00 -0500 Johns Hopkins senior Sandya Subramanian wins Churchill Scholarship <p>Sandya Subramanian, a Johns Hopkins University senior from Grand Rapids, Mich., has won a scholarship from the <a href="">Winston Churchill Foundation of the United States</a> for graduate study at England's University of Cambridge.</p> <p>The <a href="">Churchill Scholarship</a> is awarded annually to at least 14 students who have demonstrated a capacity to contribute to the advancement of knowledge in the sciences, engineering, or mathematics by completing original, creative work at an advanced level. Subramanian is the fifth Johns Hopkins winner in the past four years.</p> <p>Subramanian, who is majoring in biomedical engineering and applied math and statistics, hopes to become a computational neuroscience researcher, devising tools to help clinicians treating the brain. For three years, she has worked lab of <a href="">Sridevi V. Sarma</a>, an assistant professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering's <a href="">Institute for Computational Medicine</a>. There she developed a tool to help doctors pinpoint the region of the brain responsible for seizures in people with epilepsy.</p> <p>"Of all the undergraduate students I have supervised in research, Sandya is by far the most precocious, talented, hardworking, and diligent student—and this is significant given the talented student pool [of the university's biomedical engineering students]," Sarma said. "There is no doubt in my mind that Sandya has a remarkable ability to be innovative and conduct original research that will have a high impact on the field of neuroscience, computational medicine, and patients suffering from epilepsy."</p> <p>At Cambridge, Subramanian plans to continue exploring the brain through new research projects in the <a href="">Department of Clinical Neurosciences</a>.</p> <p>"It will be a first step for me as an independent researcher," she said. "This is an amazing opportunity that so few people get."</p> <p>Subramanian has already spent summers in research programs at both the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the National Institutes of Health.</p> <p>Donniell Fishkind, an associate research professor in the Department of Applied Mathematics and Statistics at Johns Hopkins, recruited Subramanian to be one of his teaching assistants. He recalled that one day when he unexpectedly missed a class session, Subramanian, undaunted, gave part of the lecture—to 130 students.</p> <p>"Her quantitative background is unusually strong, she is very quick to grasp complex ideas, and she is also very clever," Fishkind said. "She is well-prepared for conducting serious research, and she has successfully started down that road."</p> <p>While at Johns Hopkins, Subramanian performed for four years with the South Asian fusion a cappella group <a href="">Kranti</a>. A certified emergency medical responder in the state of Maryland, she also volunteered with the 24/7 campus emergency response unit. And invention that she helped create with fellow engineering students that <a href="">improves the way lifesaving shocks are delivered to the heart</a> took first prize at the Collegiate Inventors Competition in 2013 and last year at the North American Professionals and Entrepreneurs Council Innovation Challenge. Subramanian also led a student team that <a href="">developed a lightweight, wearable defibrillator garment</a> to deliver lifesaving shocks to patients experiencing serious heart problems.</p> <p>The Winston Churchill Foundation was established in 1959, the same year that Churchill College at the University of Cambridge was established as the national and Commonwealth tribute to Sir Winston Churchill. The first three Churchill Scholarships were given in 1963. The one-year Churchill Scholarship pays all university and college fees (ranging from $33,500 to $37,600), a living allowance (ranging from $17,700 to $21,000), transportation to and from the United Kingdom (up to $1,100), student visa expenses ($500), a travel award of $500, and a possible special research grant of up to $2,000. Depending on the field of study, the scholarship is worth between $57,000 and $63,600.</p> Fri, 16 Jan 2015 13:20:00 -0500 Johns Hopkins researcher Marc Kamionkowski shares top astrophysics prize <p>Johns Hopkins University's <a href="">Marc Kamionkowski</a> has been named one of two winners of the 2015 <a href="">Dannie Heineman Prize for Astrophysics</a>, one of the top prizes in the field, the American Astronomical Society and the American Institute of Physics announced today.</p> <p>The honor, awarded annually to outstanding mid-career scientists, carries a cash prize of $10,000 that will be split between Kamionkowski and his co-recipient, David Spergel of Princeton University.</p> <p>The two researchers were honored "for their outstanding contributions to the investigation of the fluctuations of the cosmic microwave background, which have led to major breakthroughs in our understanding of the universe," according to the selection committee.</p> <p>Kamionkowski, a theoretical physicist and a professor in the <a href="">Department of Physics and Astronomy</a> within the university's [Krieger School of Arts and Sciences}(, specializes in cosmology and particle physics. He studies data collected from telescopes and other instruments to suggest a history of the universe that conforms to the laws of physics. His work has often set the stage for successful experimental research conducted by other scientists.</p> <p>"Marc Kamionkowski's groundbreaking theoretical work on cosmic background radiation has helped drive experimental progress in the field, work that has forever changed how we view the universe," said Fred Dylla, the American Institute of Physics' executive director and CEO.</p> <p>"It's a great honor for me," Kamionkowski said after learning he would receive the Heineman Prize. "If I look at the list of prior winners, lots of astrophysicists whose work I have admired over the years are there. It's also an honor to share it with David Spergel."</p> <p>Said David J. Helfand, president of Quest University Canada and a past president of the American Astronomical Society: "Marc and David have taught us how to read the subtle bumps and swirls in our exquisite image of the early universe to reveal what happened in the moments of creation."</p> <p>Kamionkowski received his PhD from the University of Chicago in 1991 and did his postdoctoral work at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, N.J. He then worked as an assistant professor at Columbia University before moving to Caltech in 1999. He joined the faculty at Johns Hopkins in 2011. He has received numerous awards for his work, including the E.O. Lawrence Award for Physics in 2006, and he was named a Simons Foundation Investigator in 2014.</p> <p>Kamionkowski began his work on cosmic background radiation—leftover thermal energy from the Big Bang—in the 1990s, when <a href="">NASA's Cosmic Background Explorer</a> was beginning to announce results. "It seemed like a promising area for investigation," he said. He co-wrote several papers with Spergel proposing a way to determine the spatial geometry of the universe, using temperature maps of the cosmic microwave background.</p> <p>"I think that our work helped provide the motivation for these experiments," he said. "By the beginning of the next decade, we were already starting to see measurements like those we had envisioned."</p> <p>Later, Kamionkowski studied the polarization of the cosmic microwave background, again spurring experimentalists to measure this phenomenon. His work has advanced the field of precision cosmology, which in recent years has provided data on the age, shape, and composition of the universe.</p> <p>"One of the goals of my research," he said, "has been to think of ways we can use cosmic microwave background and other cosmological measurements to learn about the very early universe or physical phenomenon that might occur in a later universe."</p> <p>His latest honor, the Heineman Prize, is named after Dannie N. Heineman, an engineer, business executive, and philanthropic sponsor of the sciences. The prize was established in 1979 by the Heineman Foundation for Research, Education, Charitable and Scientific Purposes Inc.</p> <p>Kamionkowski is the third consecutive Heineman Prize winner with a connection to Johns Hopkins. The 2013 winner, Rachel Somerville, held a joint appointment at Johns Hopkins and the Space Telescope Science Institute before joining Rutgers in 2011, and Piero Madau, the 2014 recipient who is now at UC Santa Cruz, held appointments at Johns Hopkins and the Space Telescope Science Institute from 1989 to 1999. Kamionkowski is the first Johns Hopkins professor to receive the Heineman Prize since 1981, when the honor went to Riccardo Giacconi, who later won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2002 "for pioneering contributions to astrophysics, which have led to the discovery of cosmic X-ray sources."</p> Fri, 16 Jan 2015 10:50:00 -0500 Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley to join Johns Hopkins as visiting professor <p>Outgoing Maryland governor <a href="">Martin O'Malley</a> will join the Johns Hopkins University's <a href="">Carey Business School</a> as a visiting professor focusing on government, business and urban issues.</p> <p>O'Malley, who on Jan. 21 concludes two terms as the state's chief executive, will participate in classes on such topics as leadership, infrastructure, entrepreneurship, and ethics. He also will work with other faculty members and students on their studies of management in the government sector.</p> <p>The former Baltimore mayor and city council member will also be a part of <a href="">Johns Hopkins' 21st century cities initiative</a>, involving faculty members from disciplines across the university brought together to study and propose approaches to issues affecting cities, including economic growth, urban education, violence, urban health, and support for arts and culture.</p> <p>"The Johns Hopkins Carey Business School is training students to be both business leaders and exemplary citizens who will improve society and increase value for all stakeholders," Dean <a href="">Bernie Ferrari</a> said. "Gov. O'Malley's wealth of experience and leadership will be a welcome addition to our faculty and in the classroom. We are delighted to have him."</p> <p>Added <a href="">Ronald J. Daniels</a>, president of the university: "Gov. O'Malley has devoted his career to bringing data-driven decision-making to tackling our city's and state's most complex challenges. His insights and experience will be of enormous benefit to our students and faculty."</p> <p>O'Malley, who will begin at Johns Hopkins on Feb. 2, is known as an innovator in management for the public sector. He developed a data-driven management system as Baltimore's mayor starting in 1999. The program, called CitiStat, provided leaders with frequent statistical performance updates department-by-department throughout city government, allowing the mayor and his appointees to identify problem areas and fix them.</p> <p>When he became governor in 2007, O'Malley transferred the concept to the state level, creating <a href="">StateStat</a> and putting data online so that taxpayers, lawmakers, and researchers could track performance along with the governor, his cabinet, and staff.</p> <p>O'Malley also incorporated his data-based management philosophy in his <a href="">BayStat</a> program, monitoring progress in restoring the Chesapeake Bay, and in the <a href="">Genuine Progress Indicator</a>, an index of economic, social, and environmental indicators measuring quality of life in Maryland. The <a href="">index advanced 3.27 percent in 2013</a>, the latest year for which full data is available.</p> <p>"I am honored to join Johns Hopkins University, a world-class institution that has done so much for Baltimore and Maryland," O'Malley said. "As both a mayor and governor, I've worked to make government work better for all of our citizens through a relentless focus on data and transparency. Our efforts got results—driving violent crime down to record lows, recovering 100 percent of the jobs lost during the recession, and restoring the health of the Chesapeake Bay for generations to come. I look forward to sharing management insights from these past two decades with the next generation of leaders at Johns Hopkins."</p> <p>O'Malley managed Maryland during the recession of 2008 and the subsequent recovery, cutting projected state spending while making strategic investments in education and infrastructure and maintaining the state's AAA bond ratings. He worked to raise the state's minimum wage to $10.10 by 2018; has promoted renewable energy, the restoration of the bay, and reductions in greenhouse gas emissions; and signed into law same-sex marriage equality in Maryland and a state-level version of the Dream Act providing access to public higher education for immigrants.</p> Thu, 15 Jan 2015 12:21:00 -0500 Civil rights advocate urges tolerance, denounces 'fear of diversity' at Johns Hopkins MLK Jr. commemoration <p>For the 33rd consecutive year, the Johns Hopkins community gathered to celebrate the legacy and life's work of Martin Luther King Jr.</p> <p>Keynote speaker <a href="">Morris Dees</a>, a founder of the <a href="">Southern Poverty Law Center</a>, spoke at the Jan. 9 event about tolerance and diversity.</p> <p>"The march for justice continues," Dees said. "It didn't end with the voting rights act of 1965. It continues today."</p> <p>He spoke of divisions in America and what he called a "fear of diversity."</p> <p>"This nation is great because of our diversity, not in spite of it," Dees said.</p> <p>Dees recounted stories of his years of human rights advocacy and of using the law to cripple many of the nation's most notorious hate groups. He encouraged the packed auditorium to carry on King's commitment to human rights and social justice.</p> <p><strong>Also see:</strong> <a href="">Video of full 2015 Johns Hopkins MLK Jr. commemoration event</a></p> <p>In addition to Dees' remarks, the event featured a tribute to Maya Angelou, the author, poet, and two-time keynote speaker at King commemorations at Johns Hopkins.</p> <p>Retired Johns Hopkins professor and surgeon Levi Watkins Jr. hosted the event, as he has each of the 32 previous commemorations. Watkins called Dees "one of the biggest challengers to extremism."</p> <p>Johns Hopkins University President <a href="">Ronald J. Daniels</a>; <a href="">Paul B. Rothman</a>, dean of the medical faculty and CEO of Johns Hopkins Medicine; and <a href="">Ronald R. Peterson</a>, president of The Johns Hopkins Hospital and Health System and executive vice president of Johns Hopkins Medicine, each spoke and underscored the event's theme of tolerance.</p> <p>Unified Voices, a volunteer gospel choir of Baltimore community members and Johns Hopkins faculty, staff, and students, set an inspirational tone for the gathering. The overflow crowd sang along with "Lift Every Voice," known as the "Black American National Anthem."</p> <p>Watkins remembered Angelou, who died in May.</p> <p>"She loved Johns Hopkins," he said.</p> <p>Watkins introduced a brief video clip of Angelou's last address to the Johns Hopkins community. In the clip, Angelou expressed her appreciation of the Johns Hopkins Unified Voices choir. "My Lord, these children can sing!"</p> <p>Watkins wrapped up the emotional tribute to Angelou: "It's pretty heavy in here right now."</p> <p>Each year at the event, Johns Hopkins honors faculty, staff, students and trainees who have exemplified the passion for service and social justice that characterized King's life. This year's recipients of the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Service Award were postdoctoral fellow Theresa Barberi, trauma surgeon Albert Chi, physician assistant Janine Coy, registered nurse Rochelle Mariano, home care coordinator Harlisha Martin, protective services officer Nelson Moody Sr., Ph.D. student Adi Noiman and senior research technician Margaret Strong.</p> Wed, 14 Jan 2015 08:45:00 -0500 Johns Hopkins receives national recognition for community service efforts <p>Johns Hopkins University is among hundreds of colleges and universities recently recognized by the <a href="">Corporation for National & Community Service</a> for its role in addressing community challenges through service.</p> <p>The President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll, launched in 2006, annually recognizes institutions of higher education that reflect the values of exemplary community service and achieve meaningful, measurable outcomes in communities through service. Johns Hopkins was recognized for the first time this year in the General Community Service category.</p> <p>In its application for recognition, Johns Hopkins highlighted its <a href="">Community Impact Internships Program</a>, which pairs undergraduate students with community-focused non-profits and social service agencies; the <a href="">Tutorial Project</a>, in which JHU student volunteers provide tutoring in reading and math to Baltimore City elementary school students; and the <a href="">Student Outreach Resource Center's Service Scholars Program</a>, which gives students an opportunity to make a long-term commitment to a Baltimore community organization.</p> <p>"This recognition not only reflects Johns Hopkins' commitment to our community, civic engagement, and community service, but also highlights the collaborative relationships the we share with so many dynamic community partners," said <a href="">Rollin Johnson Jr.</a>, director of JHU's <a href="">Center or Social Concern</a>.</p> <p>CNCS, the federal agency for volunteering and service, has administered the President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll since 2006 in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, as well as the American Council on Education, Campus Compact, and the Interfaith Youth Core.</p> <p>College students make a significant contribution to their communities through volunteering and service, according to the most recent <a href="">Volunteering and Civic Life in America</a> report. In 2012, 3.1 million college students dedicated more than 118 million hours of service across the country—a contribution valued at $2.5 billion.</p>