Hub Headlines from the Johns Hopkins news network Hub Tue, 07 Jul 2015 07:55:00 -0400 Johns Hopkins adds master's program in Film and Media <p>In response to the film industry's growing need for seasoned screenwriters, forward-looking film executives, and skilled sound engineers, Johns Hopkins has launched a Master of Arts in Film and Media program, which will focus on the business of film, writing for film and television, and sound production. All courses will be held in the new film studio and recording center in Baltimore's Station North Arts and Entertainment District.</p> <p>The program will be offered by <a href="">Johns Hopkins Advanced Academic Programs</a>, a division of the university's <a href="">Krieger School of Arts and Sciences</a>.</p> <p>"Achieving a career in today's entertainment and media industry takes a special talent, as well as an insider's understanding of the business practices needed to succeed," says <a href="">Roberto Busó-García</a>, the program's director. "Film and Media students will gain the creative expertise, a compelling portfolio, and the professional network to accomplish just that. In designing your film and television career in our program, the sky's the limit."</p> <p>Students in the program will take 11 courses and choose two concentrations:</p> <ul> <li><p>The <strong>business concentration</strong>, taught by veteran development and acquisitions executives, teaches the skills to develop business plans, investor decks, and marketing plans and offers the opportunity to present them to invited executives, investors, and entrepreneurs.</p></li> <li><p>The <strong>sound concentration</strong> provides hands-on audio experience in creating and recording sound effects, dialogue, and music for film and media projects in a new sound studio co-designed by faculty members <a href="">Thomas Dolby</a> and <a href="">Scott Metcalfe</a>.</p></li> <li><p>The <strong>writing concentration</strong>, led by award-winning screenwriters and television writers, guides students as they build a portfolio and draft feature length screenplays, television spec scripts, and television pilots that are reviewed by guest executives, agents, and executive producers.</p></li> </ul> <p>In addition, all students will acquire hands-on experience in developing, shooting, editing, and marketing original film and television content in the Graduate Filmmaking Studio.</p> <p>The Master of Arts in Film and Media is tailored to students who wish to advance their current career as well as those looking to change careers and work in the entertainment industry.</p> <p>For more information about the program, visit <a href=""></a>.</p> Mon, 06 Jul 2015 16:05:00 -0400 Big new home for Big Data: $30M computing center nears opening <p>Whether they're studying distant galaxies or deadly diseases deep within human cells, Big Data researchers increasingly need more powerful computers and more digital storage space. To address this demand, two Maryland universities are preparing to open one of the nation's largest academic high-performance computing centers, located at the edge of the Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center campus in East Baltimore.</p> <p>Supported by $30 million in state funding, the <a href="">Maryland Advanced Research Computing Center</a> (MARCC, pronounced "MAR-see") is expected to provide state-of-the-art digital processing power to a wide array of researchers at Johns Hopkins University and the University of Maryland, College Park. Final testing is under way at the facility, which is expected to be functional by the end of the month.</p> <p>Thanks to speedy fiber-optic cable connections to the participating campuses, Big Data university researchers will never need to leave their labs or offices to tap into the new computing center.</p> <p>"Everyone is going to be able to access the new facility on a remote basis," said Jaime Combariza, a Johns Hopkins computational chemist who became director of MARCC in June of last year. "MARCC allows all of Johns Hopkins and the University of Maryland to centralize their computing power."</p> <p>For participating researchers, he said, the arrangement should lead to significant cost savings and greater efficiency. Instead of requiring individual research groups to use time, money, and space to create their own high-performance computing centers, all participants will share the costs of cooling, networking, and running the single center.</p> <p>The shared equipment within the nondescript 3,786-square-foot building will be capable of delivering a hefty digital punch. The setup includes more than 19,000 processors and 17 petabytes of storage capacity—that's 17 million gigabytes.</p> <p>Access to this computing power will be granted to Johns Hopkins researchers from the university's School of Medicine, Bloomberg School of Public Health, Krieger School of Arts and Sciences, and Whiting School of Engineering, and to scholars from the University of Maryland, College Park.</p> <p>"The deans will have the decision-making power over which of their researchers will be able to use the facility," Combariza said. "The computing resources will be available to researchers from all of these schools."</p> <p>The users are expected to include astrophysicists who grapple with vast amount of celestial data from powerful telescopes. Scholars from biophysics and material science also have inquired about using MARCC for their research.</p> <p><a href="">Alex Szalay</a>, a professor in the Krieger School's Department of Physics and Astronomy who pioneered the use of Big Data in sky-mapping projects, has also begun to apply his expertise to biomedical research. One new project, slated to run on MARCC computers, involves newly designed software, written in collaboration with scientists from the McKusick-Nathans Institute of Genetic Medicine and the Department of Computer Science. The software is designed to perform a demanding genetics task. With MARCC on board, computations that used to take a day to complete will finish in much less than an hour, enabling Szalay's team to crunch several hundred genomes' worth of data in a matter of days.</p> <p>Many other Big Data projects in biology and medicine have become popular, and they also require significant computing resources. For example, just one experiment comparing gene activity in two types of tissue generates 30 to 40 gigabytes of data. A simulation of the workings of the heart generates one terabyte of data. A single MRI or CT scan creates one-to-two terabytes. MARCC is expected to speed up the completion of studies involving such information.</p> <p>Having a central location such as MARCC is also expected to result in less idle time for computers, meaning researchers will spend less time waiting for their results.</p> <p><a href="">Natalia Trayanova</a>, a Johns Hopkins professor of biomedical engineering, leads a team that creates complex simulations of the heart, using everything from MRIs to the latest information on heart-specific proteins. Her team currently uses computing centers at Johns Hopkins' Homewood campus and often must wait for enough processors to become available. If Trayanova's team needs 10, and only nine are available, they have to wait. Now, with thousands of processors in a central location, idle computers can be used by any researchers who need them. Members of Trayanova's team are already participating in beta-testing of the new computing center's equipment.</p> <p>Even before it officially opens, 80 percent of MARCC's computing power is already allocated. But with enough land for four more identical centers on the lot at Bayview, there's plenty of room to grow if the demand and funding materialize, MARCC administrators say.</p> Mon, 06 Jul 2015 08:45:00 -0400 Scientists briefly lose contact with New Horizons, but Pluto flyby remains on track <p>NASA's <a href=""><em>New Horizons</em> mission</a> has returned to normal operations and remains on schedule for its flyby of Pluto next week after an operational anomaly over the weekend briefly caused scientists to lose contact with the distant spacecraft.</p> <p>On Saturday, just before 2 p.m. EDT, the mission operations center at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory lost contact with the unmanned craft. During that time, the autonomous autopilot on board the spacecraft recognized a problem and—as it's programmed to do in such a situation—switched from the main to the backup computer. The autopilot placed the spacecraft in "safe mode" and commanded the backup computer to reinitiate communication with Earth.</p> <p><em>New Horizons</em> then began to transmit telemetry to help engineers diagnose the problem. Communications was reestablished at 3:15 p.m. EDT.</p> <p>An investigation concluded that no hardware or software fault occurred on the spacecraft. The underlying cause of the incident was a hard-to-detect timing flaw in the spacecraft command sequence that occurred during an operation to prepare for its flyby of Pluto on July 14. No similar operations are planned for the remainder of the Pluto encounter.</p> <p>"I'm pleased that our mission team quickly identified the problem and assured the health of the spacecraft," said Jim Green, NASA's Director of Planetary Science. "Now, with Pluto in our sights, we're on the verge of returning to normal operations and going for the gold."</p> <p>Preparations are ongoing to resume the originally planned science operations by Tuesday and to conduct the entire close flyby sequence as planned. The mission science team and principal investigator have concluded that the science observations lost during the anomaly recovery do not affect any primary objectives of the mission, with a minimal effect on lesser objectives.</p> <p>"In terms of science, it won't change an A-plus even into an A," said Alan Stern of the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colorado, principal investigator for the <em>New Horizons</em> mission.</p> <p>Adding to the challenge of recovery is the spacecraft's extreme distance from Earth. <em>New Horizons</em> is almost three billion miles away, where radio signals, even traveling at light speed, need four and a half hours to reach Earth. Two-way communication between the spacecraft and its operators requires a nine-hour round trip.</p> <p><em>New Horizons</em>, which is closing in on Pluto at about 31,000 miles per hour, has already covered nearly than three billion miles since its launch on Jan. 19, 2006. Its epic journey has taken it past each planet's orbit, from Mars to Neptune, in record time, and it is now days away from its long-awaited encounter with the dwarf planet Pluto, the most distant planet in our solar system.</p> Thu, 02 Jul 2015 13:45:00 -0400 JHU's School of Public Health, Tsinghua University establish China-based doctoral program <p>The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Tsinghua University and Capital Healthcare Group, a Beijing-based financial firm, <a href="">signed an agreement in Beijing today that establishes a collaborative doctoral degree in public health in China</a>.</p> <p>The program is the Bloomberg School's first collaborative program in China that confers a Doctor of Public Health with a concentration in health care leadership and management. The Tsinghua-Johns Hopkins Public Health Management Program will be based in Tsinghua University's Institute for Hospital Management. Tsinghua University is one of China's leading research and educational institutions. The Bloomberg School, the world's oldest continually operating school of public health, conferred its first Doctor of Public Health in 1919.</p> <p>The Tsinghua-Hopkins Doctor of Public Health program will begin accepting applications next spring, with courses slated to start in the fall of 2016.</p> <p>"This is an exciting opportunity for us to help train the next generation of public health and health care leaders in China, leaders with a unique perspective on the specific needs of their country," says Michael J. Klag, dean of the School of Public Health. "The school has worked with Chinese educational institutions going back nearly a century and this new collaboration is another way to strengthen that bond."</p> <p>The signing ceremony took place at National Stadium, which is also known as the Bird's Nest for its modern, nature-inspired design. Joining Dean Klag at the ceremony were Bin Yang, a vice president at Tsinghua University, and Laiying Fang, director of the Beijing Municipal Commission of Public Health and Family Planning, as well as officials from Capital Healthcare.</p> <p>The program is aimed at professionals in China who have demonstrated leadership in health fields and want training in public health, health care and hospital management.</p> Wed, 01 Jul 2015 15:30:00 -0400 Study: Healthier menu options can boost bottom line for carryouts <p>Mom-and-pop carryout restaurants in Baltimore saw profits rise when they tried out healthier menus, according to a study conducted by Johns Hopkins University researchers.</p> <p>Through a pilot program, a small group of carryouts in low-income Baltimore neighborhoods received guidance to redesign their menus and offer healthier side dishes, entrees, and combo meals. The result was that the stores increased their gross revenue by an average 25 percent, researchers from JHU's <a href="">Bloomberg School of Public Health</a> found.</p> <p>They hope their findings, published in the most recent issue of <a href=""><em>The American Journal of Health</em></a>, will help encourage more carryouts to modify their menus, stemming diet-related health issues that are especially prevalent in low-income urban areas.</p> <p>"We can now tell carryout owners that it can be profitable to offer a wider variety of healthy foods in their stores," says <a href="">Joel Gittelsohn</a>, the study's senior author. "So it is not only good for the health of people living in their community, it's also good for the bottom line."</p> <p>The results from the 2011 study, called "<a href="">Baltimore Healthy Carryouts</a>," have already won attention from the city. Modified versions of the program are currently at work in <a href="">six indoor public markets</a> in Baltimore, as well as carryouts near 15 city recreation centers.</p> <p>The pilot program was launched in response to the scarcity of fresh food in many low-income areas of Baltimore, where small carryouts can serve as a primary source of meals. Previous research suggests, for example, that residents of Southwest Baltimore spend an average of $153 a month at carryout restaurants.</p> <p>The eight-month pilot program worked with eight carryouts in the city, four of which made menu changes and four of which did not. (One of those stores ultimately didn't provide enough data to analyze.)</p> <p>Researchers first helped redesign the look of the menus, creating professional-looking boards to emphasize healthier food offerings. They used the word "fresh" to promote those items, so as not to repel customers who associate the word "healthy" with tastelessness.</p> <p>Next researchers helped introduce and promote healthy side dishes—both existing menu items and new offerings that were initially provided to the stores free of charge. The final focus was offering healthy main dishes, like entree-sized salads and grilled chicken instead of fried chicken, and promoting healthy lower-cost combo meals.</p> <p>According to analysis of store receipts, the participating carryouts demonstrated revenue increases throughout the duration of the eight-month study. Revenue from heavily promoted healthy sides and beverages increased by 62 percent, for example.</p> <p>"When we found these promising results, we were excited because programs like these can potentially improve diets and reduce the risk of obesity and other diet-related chronic diseases," Seung Hee Lee-Kwan, the study's lead author, says.</p> <p>The research had support from Johns Hopkins' <a href="">Center for a Livable Future</a> as well as the <a href="">Diabetes Research and Training Center</a>, which includes researchers from Johns Hopkins and the University of Maryland.</p> Wed, 01 Jul 2015 08:30:00 -0400 A closer look at compensation paid by Germany after WWII <p>This year marks the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II. On Aug. 15, Japan will commemorate the end of fighting in the Pacific, known in the United States as V-J Day. For Japan's Axis ally Germany, the war remains pertinent year-round through <a href="">a series of compensation programs to victims of atrocities committed by the Third Reich</a>. The below illustration shows a general breakdown of these programs, which started in the 1950s and will continue for the foreseeable future.</p> <p><br/></p> <p><img src="" /></p> Tue, 30 Jun 2015 12:14:00 -0400 Johns Hopkins offers online master's degree in applied biomedical engineering <p><a href="">Johns Hopkins Engineering for Professionals</a>, a division of the JHU's <a href="">Whiting School of Engineering</a> that administers part-time and online graduate programs, has announced that students can now complete its <a href="">Applied Biomedical Engineering program</a> online.</p> <p>"The online program is identical to the face-to-face program, from the modern courses it offers, to the expert Johns Hopkins instructors who teach them," said <a href="">Eileen Haase</a>, chair of the Applied Biomedical Engineering program at Engineering for Professionals. "We've simply added another way for our students, who are busy working professionals, to complete their degree."</p> <p>To obtain the Master of Science in Applied Biomedical Engineering, students must complete 10 courses within a five-year period. They can choose all online courses, all on-site courses, or a combination of both online and on-site courses.</p> <p>Whether they choose to study online or in the classroom, all Applied Biomedical Engineering master's degree candidates must complete the program's unique practice and innovation residency course. This course is offered primarily online, but also affords students the opportunity to attend hands-on lab sessions for two weekends in Baltimore, where they will work alongside faculty and medical experts from the world-renowned Johns Hopkins Hospital and the university's top-ranked Department of Biomedical Engineering.</p> <p>The <a href="">U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics</a> projects employment for biomedical engineers to grow 27 percent from 2012 to 2022, much faster than the average for all occupations. This demand is being fueled by the growing number of aging baby boomers in need of medical care and also by public awareness of biomedical engineering advances, according to the BLS.</p> <p>"Placing our Master of Science in Applied Biomedical Engineering program online gives students around the world the opportunity to earn a Johns Hopkins degree in this expanding field," said <a href="">Dexter G. Smith</a>, an associate dean at the Whiting School who is responsible for Engineering for Professionals. "While the off-campus, classroom-based program is still available, we're excited to offer this added flexibility both to our local and to our international students."</p> <p><a href="">The Maryland Higher Education Commission</a> has endorsed both the on-site and online pathways for the Applied Biomedical Engineering program.</p> <p>Johns Hopkins Engineering for Professionals gives working adults a convenient way to advance their education and competitiveness in 19 traditional and newly emerging fields. Building on the world-class reputation and dynamic resources of Johns Hopkins University, Johns Hopkins Engineering for Professionals offers online and on-site classes at times that complement the busy schedules of today's practicing engineers and scientists.</p> Tue, 30 Jun 2015 11:30:00 -0400 Johns Hopkins to move graduation ceremony to off-campus indoor venue <p>To ensure commencement is enjoyable and memorable for all participants, Johns Hopkins University leaders are moving the annual celebration from Homewood Field to a climate-controlled venue that still allows graduates to invite as many guests as they would like.</p> <p>Starting with the 2016 ceremony on May 18 at 4 p.m., the universitywide commencement will be held at Baltimore's Royal Farms Arena, President <a href="">Ronald J. Daniels</a> and Provost <a href="">Robert C. Lieberman</a> announced in a message to the university community today. Several divisional ceremonies will be held at the arena in 2016 as well.</p> <p>"Johns Hopkins' annual commencement ceremony stands as one of the highlights of our academic year, a chance to honor and celebrate the impressive accomplishments of each class of graduates," Daniels and Lieberman said in their message. "For the past 13 years, this momentous event has been held outdoors at Homewood Field, subject to weather conditions that are too often brutally hot or, as we saw this year, unseasonably cold and rainy."</p> <p><strong>Also see:</strong> <a href="">Commencement FAQ</a></p> <p>Each year, organizers must consider whether unsafe weather conditions will require them to move the ceremony to ticketed indoor venues at the last minute, or even cancel it after families have traveled to Baltimore. This years' rain was unpleasant for attendees, organizers said, and high temperatures in prior years were uncomfortable for everyone—and potentially dangerous for those with health conditions.</p> <p>"Our commencement team is working to ensure the unique traditions and festivities of our commencement ceremony will carry over to the arena," Daniels and Lieberman said, "and that all necessary logistics will be in place for a successful event."</p> <p>The university will also invite the undergraduate Class of 2016 to help plan a new commencement celebration event on the Homewood campus.</p> <p>The Student Government Association was involved in discussions about the move and plans to help ensure a smooth transition, says Executive President Jason Paul Plush, a senior. "This change may come as a surprise," he says, "but this is an opportunity for the student body, beginning with the Class of 2016, to provide input on our ceremony and shape a new Hopkins tradition."</p> <p>More information on the next year's commencement can be found at <a href=""></a>; details will be updated throughout the year.</p> Tue, 30 Jun 2015 11:00:00 -0400 Johns Hopkins researchers explore how cancer spreads, how it can be stopped <p>The biochemical mysteries of how cancer occurs, grows, and spreads are areas of intense study in centers and bioscience labs around the world, but engineers also are applying their particular perspectives to understanding and stopping cancer in its tracks.</p> <p><a href="">Aleksander Popel</a>, a professor of biomedical engineering at the <a href="">Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine</a>, is one such engineer. As the director of the <a href="">Systems Biology Laboratory</a>, he studies the processes and pathways of cancer growth and spread.</p> <p>In one trajectory, he is developing novel peptide-based drugs to halt angiogenesis, the process by which cancer tumors establish the new blood vessels necessary for them to thrive. Peptides are short chains of amino acids that mimic the body's own biochemical mechanisms, in this case to prevent the formation of new capillaries. Popel and a fellow Hopkins biomedical engineer, <a href="">Jordan Green</a>, have formed a company, <a href="">AsclepiX Therapeutics</a>, to explore the potential of these drugs.</p> <p>In another angle of his research, Popel is studying how cancer metastasizes—how it spreads from one bodily system to others.</p> <p>"Ultimately, metastasis is what kills the patient," Popel says. "But, if we can disrupt the chemical processes that lead to and enable metastasis, we hope to shut it down."</p> <p>Popel is applying his understanding of metastasis to several kinds of cancers, including glioblastomas in the brain and certain aggressive breast cancers. Recently, Popel and his team identified the metastatic processes by which triple-negative breast cancer spreads. This cancer, which is typically chemotherapy-resistant, is a particularly invasive one with poor prognosis for the patient.</p> <p>Using a combination of animal experiments and advanced computer models, Popel and his team identified the biochemical processes by which tumors in the breast lay the groundwork for metastasis in distant organs. Popel, ever the engineer, went one step beyond that insight and is now testing drugs in an effort to disrupt metastasis. The drugs he has chosen are already FDA-approved for treatment of other diseases, which should greatly speed them to market if they prove effective in human trials.</p> <p>"We are engineers. We see a problem, like cancer, and we want to understand the mechanisms behind the complex microenvironment. Then, we try to find a solution," Popel says. "It's challenging work, but it's very rewarding."</p> Mon, 29 Jun 2015 09:25:00 -0400 Prosecutor Marilyn Mosby to speak to JHU students taking part in Baltimore internships program <p>The Community Impact Internships Program at Johns Hopkins University has traditionally pulled in Baltimore heavyweights as speakers. Past guests have included writers (and JHU graduates) Wes Moore and D. Watkins, who carved out their reputations on Baltimore-focused work.</p> <p>This summer, the program has secured Baltimore State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby, the young prosecutor who has garnered national attention for bringing charges against six police officers involved in Freddie Gray's arrest. Mosby will speak at the program's midpoint event Tuesday evening on JHU's Homewood campus; the talk is invitation-only, with attendance limited to the program's interns and community partners.</p> <p>"[Getting] students out of the Hopkins bubble to be part of the Baltimore community" is the main goal of the <a href="">Community Impact Internships</a>, says Abby Neyenhouse, the program's director. She adds that it's important for this summer's session to deal directly with the issues surrounding the arrest of Freddie Gray, the charged atmosphere in Baltimore following his death, and the subsequent unrest in the city.</p> <p>Given that the interns work in the field with Baltimore nonprofits and government agencies, it's something "all of our students are going to be experiencing or seeing the emotional impact of this summer," Neyenhouse says. She says Mosby was her top choice for the program's midpoint speaker.</p> <p><strong>Also see:</strong> <a href="">Making an impact</a> (<em>Hopkins Insider</em> student blog)</p> <p>The Community Impact Internships Program, part of Hopkins' <a href="">Center for Social Concern</a>, marks its fifth anniversary this summer. This year's cohort of 50 interns started work June 2 at a variety of posts throughout the city, including the Right to Housing Alliance, Blue Water Baltimore, the Living Classrooms Foundation, Jubilee Arts, and the Maryland Office of the Public Defender. The 49 partners run the gamut from "incredibly small grassroots-run organizations with three staffers, to government agencies," Neyenhouse says, so placement of interns "is a very intentional process" based on community-identified needs and students' skills and interests.</p> <p>For the eight-week assignment, interns receive a $4,000 stipend from Hopkins. The program, which is supported by anonymous donors, is currently funded through 2019.</p> <p>In addition to the internships, there's programming to ramp up the Baltimore community focus, like the speaker series. Small group sessions involve discussions of "Baltimore issues in general, usually from a more historical lens," Neyenhouse says. Orientation events include a citywide scavenger hunt that exclusively requires the use of public transportation.</p> <p>This summer, Pastor Heber M. Brown of the <a href="">Pleasant Hope Baptist Church</a> also took part in the orientation, speaking about his church's response to the Baltimore uprisings.</p> <p>"The students gave him a standing ovation," Neyenhouse says.</p> <p>Neyenhouse helped launch the internship program in 2011 after coming to Johns Hopkins from the Baltimore nonprofit sector. Her connections there helped her introduce the Hopkins program to a number of local organizations. Five years in, "because of the success of the program, we are fortunate to have our students be a small part of the work these organizations do" year-round, she says.</p> Mon, 29 Jun 2015 08:05:00 -0400 Johns Hopkins students win biotech case competition for third consecutive year <p>A five-member team of Johns Hopkins students took home first place and $10,000 in the sixth annual <a href="">Wake Forest University Healthcare Strategy Conference and Case Competition</a>, the third consecutive first-place finish for JHU students in the competition.</p> <p>The Johns Hopkins team consisted of Christopher "Kitt" Burch, a 2015 graduate of the Global MBA program at the <a href="">Carey Business School</a>; Basil Hussain, a PhD student in the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics at the <a href="">Johns Hopkins School of Medicine</a>; Steven Wang, a PhD student studying cellular and molecular medicine at the School of Medicine; Christopher Bailey, a fourth-year medical student; and Tim Xu, a third-year medical student.</p> <p>Boston University, Cornell, University of Maryland, MIT, North Carolina State, Rutgers, University of Texas at Dallas, Tufts, and Wake Forest also participated in the competition, which was held in March.</p> <p>Teams were challenged to develop a growth plan for a minor division of <a href="">Boston Scientific</a>, a medical devices and solutions provider best known for its work in the field of interventional cardiology. The plan needed to show how to grow the smaller division to the size and scope of the highest earning divisions within the company's portfolio. Each team completed an executive summary and was then given 20 minutes to orally present their plan to a panel of judges consisting of Boston Scientific executives.</p> <p>Burch said the strength of the Hopkins team was its multidisciplinary approach.</p> <p>"One of the biggest things I learned at Carey was how to work in multidisciplinary teams, and that really came in handy," he said.</p> <p>He said the team's diverse makeup and expertise allowed them to put together a comprehensive and multi-pronged solution, which focused on both short- and long-term goals for the division.</p> <p>"The other teams were either primarily all MBA students or all engineering students," he said. "I think our strength was that everyone on our team approached the problem a slightly different way, and that helped us develop different strategies and approaches."</p> <p>According to Burch, their pitch centered on leveraging Boston Scientific's networks and contacts to springboard a new technology they've been developing. Specifically, the team focused on the Chinese market and provided a detailed market analysis that included specific cities and hospitals to target for implementation.</p> Thu, 25 Jun 2015 16:15:00 -0400 Loyalty rewards programs work best in online retail, Johns Hopkins researcher finds <p>Attention, shoppers: "Loyalty rewards" discounts are more useful, from the perspective of both consumers and retailers, in the online arena than at traditional brick-and-mortar stores, according to new research from Johns Hopkins University.</p> <p>Loyalty rewards might be wasted on shoppers who prefer revisiting brick-and-mortar or "offline" sellers. Those shoppers typically don't require the incentive of a coupon to return to their favorite stores, Johns Hopkins Carey Business School Assistant Professor <a href="">Sanghee Lim</a> explains in a study published recently in <a href=""><em>Decision Support Systems</em></a>.</p> <p>But online shoppers, Lim says, are more variable. They tend to scour the Internet for the best bargains they can find, with little sense of loyalty to one seller or another. These are customers who likely would be persuaded by a loyalty reward to revisit a merchant's website.</p> <p>All the more reason, she says, for online retailers to implement discount programs that could turn fickle Internet shoppers into repeat buyers. Besides, online shoppers don't have to factor in the transportation costs and other expenses associated with visiting brick-and-mortar businesses. Not to mention that shopping in your pajamas is a lot more feasible when you're making online purchases.</p> <p>"Offline stores may be giving away profits when they offer loyalty rewards to customers who will keep coming back anyway, regardless of any discount that's offered," Lim said. "Online shoppers, on the other hand, may use a coupon to revisit a retail website even when it's not one of their preferred sellers."</p> <p>The findings are based on a well-known game-theoretic model created by economist Harold Hotelling, which considers the economic activities in a market consisting of two firms. In their model, Lim and her co-author, <a href="">Byungtae Lee</a> of the College of Business at <a href="">KAIST</a> in South Korea, looked at how consumers might behave after making a purchase. Once buyers made that initial purchase, would they revisit that seller after weighing factors such as price, potential rewards (including coupons for repeat customers), and possible expenses such as transportation?</p> <p>Lim, the lead author, says the study advances the literature by being the first to compare the effectiveness of loyalty reward programs in both online and offline markets. It also breaks new ground by investigating the value of the transaction data collected through loyalty programs—namely, the information about consumer habits and preferences that triggers the mailing of coupons to regular buyers of particular products.</p> <p>"Companies have been collecting this type of data from transactions for years, but they haven't really been sure what to do with it," said Lim, whose expertise is in information systems. "Only in the past decade have they begun to study their data and introduce these reward programs as a way to retain customers. And the companies are getting more sophisticated about it all the time."</p> <p>Again, online retailers appear to reap the greater benefit, using transaction data to build their loyalty programs. For brick-and-mortar stores in the study's game-theoretic model, transaction data might lead to the offer of rewards to loyal customers, but price competition would probably eat into any profits that offline merchants in relative proximity of one another might make from their rewards programs, says Lim.</p> <p>Lim suggests that future studies of this topic could look at periods of more than two purchases and at the ways loyalty rewards might best be used by companies that have both offline and online channels. Her paper compared rewards programs among online-only and offline-only retailers.</p> <p>In any case, she says, her paper's findings provide evidence that loyalty rewards programs could help retailers—online sellers in particular—realize rewards of their own.</p> Wed, 24 Jun 2015 08:20:00 -0400 Study: Mislabeled medical marijuana edibles put buyers at risk for unintentional overdose (or underdose) <p>The majority of edible cannabis products sold in a small sample of medical marijuana dispensaries <a href="">carried labels that overstated or understated the amount of THC</a>, a study led by a Johns Hopkins researcher found.</p> <p>The results of the study suggest some medical marijuana patients could be unintentionally overdosing or are being cheated by mislabeled products, researchers say.</p> <p>"If this study is representative of the medical cannabis market, we may have hundreds of thousands of patients buying cannabis products that are mislabeled," says experimental psychologist <a href="">Ryan Vandrey</a>, an associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the <a href="">Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine</a> and lead author of a report on the study <a href="">published in the <em>Journal of the American Medical Association</em></a>.</p> <p>Calling for better regulation and oversight of marijuana edibles, Vandrey and his team say patients who consume underlabeled products—meaning more THC is in the product than is stated on the label—could suffer from overdosing side effects, including extreme anxiety and psychotic reactions. Patients purchasing products that are overlabeled are not getting what they paid for, he adds.</p> <p>For the study, Vandrey teamed with an independent laboratory and collected 75 different edible marijuana products—baked goods, beverages, and candy/chocolates—representing 47 different brands. The products were legally purchased from a sample of three medical dispensaries in three cities: Seattle, San Francisco, and Los Angeles.</p> <p>"Those cities were chosen based on the location of the labs" in California and Washington, says Vandrey, "because you can't transport these products across state lines legally."</p> <p>Comparing the THC content listed on product labels with the laboratory measures revealed only 13 products (17 percent) were accurately labeled. When lab results differed from the product label by more than 10 percent, the team categorized those products as either under- or overlabeled. Seventeen products (23 percent) had more THC than advertised, which could lead to overdosing. The majority of products—45 (60 percent)—were overlabeled, meaning patients purchasing those products for their THC content are not getting the dose of medicine they believed they purchased.</p> <p>"We didn't have a guess as to how many products would have inaccurate labels," says Vandrey, "but I was surprised it was so many."</p> <p>The team also tested the products for cannabidiol, or CBD, another of the active ingredients in cannabis believed to have medical benefit, which may also help reduce the side effects of THC. Laboratory testing showed 44 products (59 percent) had detectable levels of CBD, but the average ratio of THC to CBD was 36-to-1. Only one product had a 1-to-1 ratio, which some research suggests is associated with fewer side effects and improved clinical benefit compared with higher ratios of THC to CBD.</p> <p>"A lot of dispensary owners and medical cannabis proponents make a big case about how therapeutically beneficial CBD is," says Vandrey, "but our testing indicates that a lot of what's available in the edible cannabis market may have very little CBD."</p> <p>Currently, marijuana remains classified as a Schedule I substance under the U.S. Controlled Substances Act, meaning it is considered to have a high potential for abuse, no accepted medical value, and lack of accepted safety for use under medical supervision. Yet 23 states and the District of Columbia permit the sale and/or use of medical marijuana, and four states and D.C. permit its sale and use for recreational purposes.</p> <p>In the absence of federal regulation, says Vandrey, "the states that have medical marijuana laws need to account for the quality and testing of medical marijuana products sold to their residents."</p> <p>Other authors on the paper are Jeffrey C. Raber, Mark E. Raber, Brad Douglass and Cameron Miller of <a href="">The Werc Shop laboratory</a> and Marcel O. Bonn-Miller of the <a href="">University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine</a>.</p> Tue, 23 Jun 2015 12:48:00 -0400 Daniels outlines expansion of Johns Hopkins' 'deep and unwavering' commitment to Baltimore <p>Johns Hopkins is expanding its commitment to Baltimore on a number of fronts as the city faces "a time in need of new thinking and of urgent action," Johns Hopkins University President <a href="">Ronald J. Daniels</a> said Monday night at a gathering of community, political, and faith leaders in West Baltimore.</p> <p>Daniels discussed efforts to support city schools, including new partnerships with Barclay Elementary/Middle School and Margaret Brent Elementary/Middle School, and the previously announced <a href="">hiring of up to 300 Baltimore youth as part of the institution-wide summer jobs program</a>. He pointed to Johns Hopkins' current ex-offender hiring program and work that is under way to develop more job training resources. He also previewed the roll-out of an expanded program to increase local hiring, purchasing, and contracting.</p> <p>The university's efforts were in the works before the protests and unrest following the death of Freddie Gray and a subsequent increase in violence in the city. But those events intensified the push at Johns Hopkins, the state's largest private employer, to invest in the community, Daniels said.</p> <p>"We have long understood how inextricably tied Hopkins is to the city we call home," Daniels said at the event, entitled "From Slogan to Strategy" and organized by the Baltimoreans United in Leadership Development, or BUILD. "And so, I say tonight that we stand here today proudly and deeply committed to the promise of all of our fellow citizens."</p> <p><strong>Also see:</strong> <a href="">Hopkins pledges to provide summer jobs to hundreds of Baltimore youth</a> (<em>The Baltimore Sun</em>)</p> <p>Daniels' complete remarks, as prepared for the event, are below:</p> <blockquote> <p>"It is a great privilege to be here with all of you—to join together in marking a better future for the city we all love.</p> <p>"I went a little out of my way to be with you tonight, not solely because of the persuasive powers of Bishop Miles, but because I couldn't imagine a more important or opportune moment to declare our deep and unwavering commitment to our fellow citizens and to the future they so richly deserve.</p> <p>"Few of us will soon forget the unrest that erupted on April 27 or the arresting truths it laid bare. It was a night when communities across our city cried out—for recognition, for understanding and, ultimately, healing of the despair that has engulfed them. Despair that corrodes dignity. Despair that undermines purpose. Despair that is the enemy of our common humanity and that diminishes all of us.</p> <p>"I am here tonight because I, and the community of Hopkins, want to register clearly and unequivocally, our firm determination that things in this city can change. That things must change.</p> <p>"We want to see better schools and educational opportunities for our children. We want to see more jobs for men and women of working age. We want to see an end to the pervasive violence that plagues too many of our communities. We want to see our city become the embodiment of the best in our great country—its hope and optimism, its boundless opportunities, its dynamism, and not the opposite.</p> <p>"This seems a lofty dream. And these are just words. But words lead to action, and action leads to change. As Lincoln declared, our cause is new, so we must think anew and act anew. Now is truly a time in need of new thinking and of urgent action.</p> <p>"Johns Hopkins as a community feels this responsibility acutely. And although our record is not without blemish, we have long understood how inextricably tied Hopkins is to the city we call home. And so, I say tonight that we stand here today proudly and deeply committed to the promise of all of our fellow citizens.</p> <p>"And, because I know this commitment must be rooted in action, I want to share some of what we're doing today.</p> <p>"First, we are deepening our connections to Baltimore City schools. We have invested in and operate the Henderson Hopkins School—the first new school in East Baltimore in 20-plus years—and are now finalizing a partnership between our School of Engineering and Barclay Elementary/Middle School. This partnership will build a comprehensive science and engineering curriculum, with a focus on mechanical and electrical engineering and computer science, a state-of-the-art science lab, and technology capacity throughout the school.</p> <p>"We are also in conversations with Margaret Brent Elementary/Middle, where a similar partnership will emphasize arts integration. And we are working with education, business and elected leaders to explore opportunities for bringing other innovative programs to our struggling high schools.</p> <p>"We have and will continue to wholeheartedly support the expansion of the City's Summer Jobs Program. This month we increased our summer hires from 200 to 300 Baltimore youth, and are recruiting like-minded businesses to participate as well. And they are heeding our request in dramatic ways. This is not only about summer pocket money; it is about providing opportunities that could shift the trajectory of a child, and the future of this city's workforce.</p> <p>"Because we know that the needs of this city are multi-generational, we are focused not only on creating a bright future for Baltimore's youth, but also on building better opportunities today for their parents and grandparents—including permanent employment.</p> <p>"Our ex-offender hiring program offers the possibility of good jobs and a career path forward after prison. Our institutions hired more than 120 ex-offenders last year alone. Today, we're working with BUILD and other organizations to expand opportunities for returning citizens, not only at Johns Hopkins but with willing partners across the city.</p> <p>"We are also considering the full inventory of our education and workforce programs with an eye on developing a more comprehensive program that would provide city residents with the necessary skills first for entry-level jobs and then for fulfilling career paths.</p> <p>"Finally, we will soon launch a major expansion of our economic inclusion program, with firm and measurable commitments to increase local hiring and purchasing and contracting with local, minority-owned, and women-owned businesses. Called Hopkins Local, it is our promise to do more to leverage our hiring and purchasing power and create lasting economic opportunities here in Baltimore.</p> <p>"None of these initiatives were born of this spring's unrest. But all have been intensified in some way —made broader, deeper, or faster—by the extraordinary urgency and opportunity of this moment. These programs, and the impact they aspire to have, will not come to fruition overnight.</p> <p>"Our problems have been generations in the making, and our efforts to resolve them, even with the best of intentions, will take time. But we can start now. It takes a leap of faith for all of us to join hands in this moment, and work together in new ways for the sake of a just and shared future.</p> <p>"l want to thank BUILD for its daring vision and determination in helping us start this process, renewing their conversations with Johns Hopkins and others in that spirit of trust.</p> <p>"And I want to thank Bishop Miles, Michael Cryor, Archbishop Lori, Congressman Cummings, City Council President Young—and those essential and dedicated leaders who could not be with us tonight—for allowing us to work with them in this monumental endeavor.</p> <p>"We come together tonight uniting policy and pulpit, preachers and presidents, because we know Baltimore's future depends on it. All of us who care about this city understand the challenges ahead. But we also see the possibilities of progress in this moment, at this critical moment, if we can stand firmly and resolutely as One Baltimore."</p> </blockquote> Mon, 22 Jun 2015 15:30:00 -0400 Food truck hub brings new lunch options to East Baltimore <p>There's a new lunch option in East Baltimore, and it's on wheels.</p> <p>In the midst of Baltimore's growing food truck movement, East Baltimore Development Inc. and Forest City Enterprises teamed up with Dave Pulford, president of the <a href="">Maryland Mobile Food Vending Association</a>, to launch Eager Park Eats, a food truck hub near the Johns Hopkins East Baltimore campus.</p> <p>The program debuted today as <a href="">Kooper's Chowhound Burger Wagon</a> set up shop on Ashland Avenue between Wolfe and Washington streets, near Atwater's at Johns Hopkins.</p> <p>A rotating lineup of vendors will be in the same site between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Monday through Friday. Other mobile vendors on the schedule include <a href="">Koco</a> (Tuesdays), <a href="">The Jolly Pig</a> (Wednesdays), <a href="">The Sultan Tandoor</a> (Thursdays), and <a href="">The Smoking Swine</a> (Fridays). Picnic tables will be available on the lawn, giving customers the option of al fresco lunches.</p> <p>"The Maryland Mobile Food Vending Association is very happy to partner with Johns Hopkins and Forest City to bring food trucks back to the area around the hospital," said Pulford, who helped launch the program. "We have enjoyed a great relationship with the hospital staff, and we look forward to seeing our old friends as well as making new ones as the East Baltimore campus continues to grow."</p> <p>For more information, including a full schedule of food trucks, visit <a href=""></a>.</p> Mon, 22 Jun 2015 08:47:00 -0400 Amino acid could pave way for new epilepsy treatments <p>An amino acid whose role in the body has been all but a mystery appears to <a href="">act as a potent seizure inhibitor in mice, according to a study by researchers at Johns Hopkins</a>.</p> <p>In a series of experiments, the amino acid D-leucine, found in many foods and certain bacteria, interrupted prolonged seizures, a serious condition known as status epilepticus, and it did so just as effectively as the epilepsy drug diazepam—the choice of treatment for patients in the throes of convulsions—but without any of the drug's sedative side effects.</p> <p>Results of the federally funded research, <a href="">reported online June 4 in the journal <em>Neurobiology of Disease</em></a>, also suggest that D-leucine works differently from all current anti-seizure therapies—a finding that may pave the way for much-needed treatments for the nearly one-third of people with epilepsy with drug-resistant forms of the condition, marked by recalcitrant seizures.</p> <p>"Epilepsy treatments over the last 50 years have not improved much, so there's an acute need for better therapeutic approaches, especially for the millions of people with drug-resistant epilepsy," says lead investigator Adam Hartman, a pediatric neurologist at the <a href="">Johns Hopkins Children's Center</a> and an associate professor of neurology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. "If confirmed in larger animals and humans, our results carry a real promise for those suffering from unremitting seizures."</p> <p>Amino acids, the building blocks of proteins, are sources of energy and are critical for many biochemical reactions in the body, but many specific roles of the various amino acids remain elusive.</p> <p>In the current study, investigators started out with the premise that certain amino acids may play a role in seizure prevention because they produce some of the same metabolic by-products as high-fat ketogenic diets, an alternative therapy for patients whose seizures are not well controlled on medication. A form of the diet was used as standard epilepsy treatment in the 1920s and 1930s during the pre-medication era but fell out of favor when the first epilepsy drugs emerged. An improved version of the diet, brought back into vogue by the late Johns Hopkins neurologist John Freeman, offered relief to countless children with drug-resistant seizures. However, the food regimen requires complex calculations, can be challenging to follow, and doesn't always provide complete seizure control.</p> <p>In a set of experiments, D-leucine was shown to increase seizure resistance in mice pre-treated with the amino acids, and to interrupt convulsions when administered while seizures were ongoing.</p> <p>"Our results suggest that D-leucine affects neurons differently from other known therapies to control seizures," says senior investigator J. Marie Hardwick, Ph.D., the David Bodian Professor in microbiology and immunology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. "This finding gives us hope of new approaches to epilepsy on the horizon."</p> Thu, 18 Jun 2015 15:23:00 -0400 Tamper-proof pill bottle could help curb prescription painkiller misuse, abuse <p>You can whack it with a hammer, attack it with a drill, even stab it with a screwdriver. But try as you might, you won't be able to tamper with a high-tech pill dispenser designed by mechanical engineering students at Johns Hopkins University's Whiting School of Engineering.</p> <p>Which is exactly the point.</p> <p>The <a href="">U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention</a> has estimated that drug overdoses kill more than 44,000 Americans annually, including more than 16,000 deaths from prescription drugs. Federal officials also say that at least one in 20 Americans ingests drugs prescribed for someone else. Concerned about these alarming statistics, experts at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health's <a href="">Center for Injury Research and Policy</a> challenged a team of Johns Hopkins senior mechanical engineers to design and build an anti-theft and tamper-resistant pill dispenser.</p> <p>"We needed this personal pill 'safe' to have tamper resistance, personal identification capabilities, and a locking mechanism that allows only a pharmacist to load the device with pills," said Kavi Bhalla, assistant professor at the university's Bloomberg School of Public Health and one of the team's mentors for the project.</p> <p>Classmates Megan Carney, Joseph Hajj, Joseph Heaney, and Welles Sakmar—each 22 years old and recently graduated from Johns Hopkins—spent their senior year researching, designing, building, and testing a device that met those specifications. The team unveiled its high-tech creation at the Department of Mechanical Engineering's Senior Design Day, an event held annually at the end of the spring semester.</p> <p>Weighing in at 2.57 pounds and standing 9.25 inches tall, the electronic prototype is equipped with a fingerprint sensor to ensure that drugs are dispensed only to the prescribed patient at the prescribed intervals and in the prescribed dosage. The cylindrical device is constructed of the same kind of super-tough steel alloy used in aircraft landing gear and is equipped with the same kind of fingerprint sensor used in some iPhones to ensure that the medication is dispensed only to the correct patient.</p> <p>"The device starts to work when the patient scans in his or her fingerprint. This rotates a disc, which picks up a pill from a loaded cartridge and empties it into the exit channel. The pill falls down the channel and lands on a platform where the patient can see that the pill has been dispensed. The patient then tilts the device and catches the pill in their hand," Carney explains.</p> <p>According to Heaney, the most challenging part of the whole project was "getting the electronic circuit that powers the fingerprint detector to work right."</p> <p>The device holds 60 tablets (a standard month's dose) of OxyContin, a potent narcotic pain reliever that was selected for the project because it tops the list of the most commonly abused prescription drugs. (Tylenol tablets served as a stand-in for its more potent cousin during device development.)</p> <p>"We also went and talked to the pharmacist at the Rite-Aid [on the Johns Hopkins Homewood campus] and got his feedback on our design and approach," Sakmar says. "We wanted to make sure not only that it was easy for the patient to use but also simple for the pharmacist to unlock, load with pills, and then relock."</p> <p>Once the team members were satisfied with the input from the pharmacist, they then challenged a student to try to break into it.</p> <p>"He took a hammer and other tools to it, from a hacksaw to a drill, and he broke at least one drill bit trying to get it open," Carney says.</p> <p>Andrea Gielen, director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Injury Research and Policy at the Bloomberg School of Public Health and one of the team's mentors, said she and Bhalla were so impressed with the team's design that they have a proposal pending with the National Institutes of Health to further develop and test prototypes of the team's device as part of a larger consumer product safety initiative.</p> <p>"The team did a terrific job in applying their skills to help reduce the number of poisoning deaths in this country," Gielen says. "We hope this work will lead to having safer pill dispensers on the market soon. Engineering has always had a huge role to play in preventing injuries, so we are very grateful for this important partnership"</p> Wed, 17 Jun 2015 16:00:00 -0400 Johns Hopkins math students a hit with minor league baseball schedulers <p>With the help of some Johns Hopkins University math students, <a href="">minor league baseball</a> is catching up with the majors in using computers to produce its game schedules.</p> <p>The students and their professors used complicated mathematical formulas to coax computers into churning out workable schedules for several minor leagues—a marked improvement over the tedious and more time-consuming method of developing schedules by hand. On Friday, the <a href="">New York-Penn League</a> will open its 76-game short season with a schedule produced not by hand but by students in a JHU computer programming class under two faculty members' direction.</p> <p>The South Atlantic League has also approved a 140-game schedule for 2016 made by the Johns Hopkins group, and further scheduling agreements for next year are pending with other minor leagues. There have even been discussions with the scouting department of the <a href="">Baltimore Ravens</a>.</p> <p>"This is brand new, this is trailblazing," said <a href="">Eric Krupa</a>, president of the South Atlantic League. He added that his 14-team league at the minors' Class-A level has always had its schedule made by hand. "I am very much excited, intrigued by this whole process."</p> <p>So are the students who have worked on the project, said <a href="">Donniell E. Fishkind</a>, an associate research professor in the <a href="">Department of Applied Mathematics and Statistics</a> in the <a href="">Whiting School of Engineering</a>. He said about 20 students who were excelling in his course, Introduction to Optimization, worked on the project.</p> <p>"They're visibly interested and excited. … The educational value is immense," said Fishkind. It's one thing to learn the mathematical concepts involved in programming, he said, but "a lot of times it doesn't have meaning until you apply it."</p> <p>The students worked under Fishkind and <a href="">Anton Dahbura</a>, executive director of the <a href="">Johns Hopkins University Information Security Institute</a>. The arrangements with the minor leagues took shape over the past two years in discussions between league officials and Dahbura, a Hopkins alumnus, former college baseball player, and part-owner of the Hagerstown Suns, the South Atlantic League affiliate of the Washington Nationals.</p> <p>Scheduling is a daunting balancing act of team requirements and special requests. Each team wants the best schedule of limited travel, homestands and road trips not too long or too short, well-placed rest days, home games on weekends, and away games when their ballpark is booked for concerts or other events.</p> <p>Major League Baseball has been using computers to produce their schedules for years, but minor-league schedules have been done by hand.</p> <p>"It's a matter of keeping all the teams equally happy, or you might say, equally unhappy," said Dahbura, an associate resident scientist in the Whiting School's <a href="">Department of Computer Science</a>. "It's kind of like being an umpire."</p> <p>In numerical terms, given the needs and wants of the 14 teams in the South Atlantic League, that 140-game schedule adds up to 36,753 desired outcomes that the computer has to figure out by accounting for 46,457 variables.</p> <p>The good news is that once all the information is fed into the computer, changes can be made relatively quickly, Dahbura said. Revisions that might take weeks by hand can be done electronically in a few days.</p> <p>In the end, the students' work was compared with the hand-made version and came out ahead, said <a href="">Rick Murphy</a>, chairman of the New York-Penn League scheduling committee, which considered eight key criteria, including numbers of consecutive games without a break, total days off, and balance of Friday and Saturday home games.</p> <p>"The committee felt as though the Johns Hopkins proposed schedule did a better job of addressing the criteria," said Murphy, vice president and general manager of the <a href="">Tri-City Valley Cats</a> in upstate New York, one of the league's 14 teams.</p> <p>The South Atlantic League also compared the computer and the hand-made schedule, and went with Hopkins, Krupa said.</p> <p>The <a href="">Southern League</a> and the <a href="">Carolina League</a> are now reviewing proposed 2016 schedules that the students created. The Florida State League has provided information that could be used to make a 2016 schedule, and the International League is asking for revisions to a proposed 2017 schedule, Dahbura said.</p> <p>The students also have created schedules for the umpires for the New York-Penn League 2015 season and will do the same for the South Atlantic League for 2016.</p> <p>Now the NFL is knocking on the door. The <a href="">Baltimore Ravens</a> have asked the group to fine-tune the travel schedule for the team's three scouts who have to cover a couple of hundred colleges across the country between August and November, Dahbura said.</p> <p>That's in the early stages, but the success up to now has been satisfying, said Marni Wasserman, who worked on the project as a junior and senior in Fishkind's class.</p> <p>"It was really exciting because we had worked really hard," said Wasserman, who graduated in May from the Whiting School of Engineering with a degree in Applied Mathematics and Statistics. "It was exciting that our hard work had paid off."</p> Wed, 17 Jun 2015 12:55:00 -0400 Johns Hopkins women's lacrosse team to join Big Ten Conference <p>Johns Hopkins University's women's lacrosse team <a href="">will begin play as a member of the Big Ten Conference during the 2017 season</a>, JHU President Ronald J. Daniels announced today.</p> <p>The Blue Jays have been accepted by the conference as a sport affiliate member and will join Maryland, Michigan, Northwestern, Ohio State, Penn State, and Rutgers in the league.</p> <p>Hopkins recently completed its first season as a Big Ten sport affiliate member in men's lacrosse.</p> <p>"For decades, Hopkins' women's lacrosse has upheld a tradition of excellence on the field and in the classroom," Daniels said. "We believe that tradition will fit seamlessly into the Big Ten and are thankful for the invitation from the conference. This is an exciting time for our student-athletes, alumni, and fans, and we look forward to the challenges and opportunities our sport affiliate membership in the Big Ten will present."</p> <p>JHU recently completed its 40th season of women's lacrosse competition with a 14-4 record and a second consecutive NCAA tournament appearance.</p> <p>The Blue Jays transitioned from Division III to Division I in 1999 and competed as an independent at the Division I level until 2001. In 2002, JHU joined the American Lacrosse Conference and maintained that membership through the 2014 season, after which the ALC disbanded. That league included current Big Ten members Michigan, Northwestern, Ohio State, and Penn State.</p> <p>Hopkins competed as an independent in 2015 and will do so again next season before joining the Big Ten.</p> <p>"We are thrilled to add the Johns Hopkins women's lacrosse program as a sport affiliate member and look forward to seven women's teams competing for the Big Ten Championship beginning in 2017," Big Ten Commissioner James E. Delany said in <a href="">a conference announcement</a>. "The Blue Jays men's lacrosse program just completed a successful first season of conference competition, part of an outstanding inaugural year of Big Ten lacrosse. We are excited to add another strong program from a premier institution with a passionate fan base to continue growing the sport of lacrosse both in the conference and on the national scene."</p> <p>Blue Jays coach Janine Tucker recently completed her 22nd season at JHU and owns a career record of 249-129 (181-113 at the Division I level). She has guided Hopkins to five of its NCAA tournament and ranks 19th all-time in victories among NCAA women's lacrosse coaches.</p> <p>"We are honored to join the Big Ten Conference and thrilled to be affiliated with such incredible institutions," Tucker said. "I am grateful for the tremendous support we received from our administration, including President Ron Daniels and Director of Athletics Tom Calder, during this process. Competing for a conference championship against some of the top teams in the nation is an exciting opportunity and one that should only enhance our recruiting efforts."</p> <p>The Big Ten tournament champion receives an automatic bid to the 26-team NCAA tournament. The Big Ten placed four teams in the NCAAs in its inaugural season of competition— Northwestern, Ohio State, Penn State, and Maryland, which won its second consecutive national title (and 12th overall).</p> <p>"The Big Ten has quickly established itself as one of the premier women's lacrosse conferences in the nation," Calder said. "We are fully committed to competing at the highest level and providing Janine Tucker and our women's lacrosse program the resources and opportunities necessary to do that. Aligning our program with the Big Ten is an exciting and positive step in our quest to compete for a national championship."</p> Tue, 16 Jun 2015 12:30:00 -0400 Urban agriculture startup founded by JHU students aims to bring future of farming to Baltimore <p>A few years ago, J.J. Reidy applied to business schools selling a somewhat grandiose vision: an urban farming system that could disrupt an entire city's food supply chain. Instead of shipping in produce from out-of-state or even local farms, cities could grow it on their own. Not in quaint corner plots or community gardens but on a commercial scale. On rooftops. Without dirt.</p> <p>Reidy had seen the so-called "vertical farming" systems succeed in places like Montreal and New York City. He wanted to join this new wave of food entrepreneurs "tapping into a global, growing movement that's changing the way we're designing our cities," he says.</p> <p>Reidy set his sights on the <a href="">Johns Hopkins Carey Business School</a> and the city of Baltimore. But before starting the program, he took a summer detour, moving to an organic farm commune in Vermont.</p> <p>"I thought, if I want to be a farmer of the future … I first have to be a farmer of 10,000 years ago," Reidy says.</p> <p>At <a href="">Earth Sky Time Community Farm</a>, he tended chickens, rode tractors, and worked in greenhouses. He also managed farmers markets that ran on old-fashioned bartering rather than money. The farm owners joked that he wouldn't need business school after that.</p> <p>But Reidy did pursue his MBA, which he received last month. And now he's busy launching his startup, <a href="">Urban Pastoral</a>, in Baltimore along with team members Julie Buisson and Mark Verdecia. The team is starting out with partnerships with food services contractor Bon Appétit (and by extension, Johns Hopkins) as well as the <a href="">Baltimore Food Hub</a>, an ambitious, $16 million campus for local food entrepreneurs planned for East Baltimore. Last week, Urban Pastoral and other Food Hub partners participated in the first <a href="">"Made in Baltimore" vendor fair</a> at Lexington Market.</p> <p>Ultimately, Reidy intends to fulfill his original vision for a commercial-scale urban farming facility that he says could produce more than 300,000 pounds of greens and herbs in Baltimore each year—"enough to feed an entire school system, or an entire hospital."</p> <p>To do this, the team will need a rooftop with more than 20,000 square feet to build upon. Urban Pastoral is currently exploring two options: the old Hoen Lithograph factory in East Baltimore, and the former Gwynns Falls Park Junior High School building in West Baltimore, which the Green Street Academy charter school is expected to move into this fall.</p> <p>The farming system will rely on hydroponics, which delivers nutrients to plants via water, requires no soil, and produces no waste. The guiding principle is that of "vertical farming," ideal for urban environments. A controlled climate also makes it functional year-round. <a href="">Investors are paying attention</a> as more entrepreneurs explore this concept worldwide—through profit-making ventures like Brooklyn-based <a href="">Gotham Greens</a>, which supplies to dozens of retailers including Whole Foods.</p> <p>Reidy—who also envisions retail partners in the future, along with possible work with government agencies—believes this could be a game-changer for Baltimore. Like most places in the U.S., the city ships in the majority of its produce from other states, primarily California. That state's current severe drought demonstrates one of the glaring flaws of this supply chain.</p> <p>The firm has already signed a letter of intent with Bon Appétit Management Co., a major food service provider for not only Johns Hopkins University but also other groups in Maryland, including Goucher College and St. John's College. The agreement lays out Bon Appétit's commitment to purchase food from Urban Pastoral, replacing some of its current providers, according to the company's resident district manager, Norman Zwagil. This arrangement could possibly involve the Baltimore Food Hub.</p> <p>In the meantime, Urban Pastoral is also working on smaller-scale goals. The first visible step of progress will be a greenhouse designed from a shipping container, intended to supply food to local restaurateurs as well as Bon Appétit. Reidy's currently working out a location with the nonprofit <a href="">Humanin</a> in East Baltimore. He hopes for the greenhouse to be up and running by the end of summer.</p> <p>Eventually the goal is to move that greenhouse to the campus of the Baltimore Food Hub, which after years of delays is slated to see <a href="">construction progress soon</a>.</p> <p>One future step for Urban Pastoral will be to hire a greenhouse engineer to add to <a href="">the current small team</a> of Verdecia, a scientist who's pursuing his MBA at Hopkins, and Buisson, who earned her master's and MBA through the <a href="">Design Leadership Program</a> run jointly by Hopkins and the Maryland Institute College of Art.</p> <p>The team is currently working to drum up funding. It received about $10,000 by participating in Johns Hopkins' <a href="">Social Innovation Lab</a>, and Buisson just scored another $10,000 by winning a LAB (Launch Artists in Baltimore) Award at MICA for her greenhouse design.</p> <p>There could be more greenhouses in the future for Urban Pastoral, and Reidy hopes to launch a rooftop facility by the end of 2016.</p> <p>For skeptics who tell him, "You can't feed a city with urban agriculture," Reidy has a retort ready: "There's no other option."</p>