Hub Headlines from the Johns Hopkins news network Hub Fri, 24 Jun 2016 12:30:00 -0400 Johns Hopkins foreign policy experts weigh in on Brexit vote <p>Britain's vote yesterday to officially leave the European Union—the so-called Brexit—has created a dramatic shift in the political landscape of the West, according to several experts from the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies.</p> <p>"[I]t's really a historic defeat of American foreign policy," <a href="">John Harper</a>, a professor of U.S. foreign policy, <a href="">tells the German news organization <em>Deutsche Welle</em></a>. "It's quite a historic moment in a negative sense."</p> <p>He adds: "The Americans have said clearly, 'Don't expect any favors from us.' ... If the people who have voted for Brexit expected that their economic conditions are going to improve, I am afraid they are in for a disappointment."</p> <p><div class="external-links inline align-left"> <h6>Also see</h6> <div class="article teaser force"> <div class="text"> <h5><a href="">Britain’s Point of No Return</a></h5> <div class="summary"> <span class="source">/ Foreign Affairs</span> </div> </div> </div> <div class="article teaser force"> <div class="text"> <h5><a href="">EU referendum : Views from Oxford</a></h5> <div class="summary"> <span class="source">/ Oxford Politics Blog</span> </div> </div> </div> <div class="article teaser force"> <div class="text"> <h5><a href="">Brexit a historic slap in the face for US foreign policy</a></h5> <div class="summary"> <span class="source">/ Deutsche Welle</span> </div> </div> </div> </ul> </div> </p> <p><a href="">In commentary on the <em>Oxford University Politics Blog</em></a>, <a href="">Erik Jones</a>, professor of European studies and international political economy, explains that a political upheaval of this scale has not occurred since the end of World War II. "This move toward disintegration is going to have a powerful impact on the West as a community and as a concept," he says. "Certainly it will have an impact on connections across the Atlantic. NATO will still exist, of course, and so will the special relationship shared between Britain and the United States. But what remains of the EU will have a larger population and greater resources than the U.K. and so it will also loom larger in U.S. foreign policy."</p> <p>The vote to leave the EU could affect solidarity in Britain. "This was a very emotional referendum, steeped in identity politics," writes Jones. "The result will have emotional resonance across Europe and it will change European perceptions of the U.K. That should be expected as well. Hopefully it will not result in some intemperate reaction."</p> <p> <div class="image inline align-left image-square column has-caption"> <img src="//" alt="Poster reads "We're better off in. Vote Remain on June 23rd."" /> <div class="caption"> <p> <span class="visuallyhidden">Image caption:</span> EU referendum "remain" poster </p> </div> </div> </p> <p>In advance of yesterday's vote, <a href="">Matthias Matthijs</a>, assistant professor of international political economy, speculated on the possible ramifications throughout Europe if the referendum passed. "Nationalists will want to see the whole [European Union] disintegrate," <a href="">Matthijs wrote in <em>Foreign Affairs</em></a>. "France will want to punish the United Kingdom, and Germany will be more cautious and will insist on letting the markets take care of it. Some member states will want to renegotiate their own rules of engagement with the EU, including Poland and the Czech Republic, which have agitated against the union's refugee policy, but also Denmark and Sweden, which are close trade partners of the United Kingdom and may want a similar deal as the British."</p> <p>According to Harper, an unraveling European Union would be a "real nightmare for the United States."</p> Fri, 24 Jun 2016 10:30:00 -0400 How fat becomes lethal, even without weight gain <p>Sugar in the form of blood glucose provides essential energy for cells. When its usual dietary source—carbohydrates—is scarce, the body goes into starvation mode and the liver can produce glucose with the aid of fat.</p> <p> <div class="image inline align-left image-landscape column has-caption"> <img src="//" alt="The livers of a normal mouse (left) and a mouse whose liver cells lack Cpt2 (right) after eating a high fat diet." /> <div class="caption"> <p> <span class="visuallyhidden">Image caption:</span> The livers of a normal mouse (left) and a mouse whose liver cells lack Cpt2 (right) after eating a high fat diet. </p> <p class="credit"> Image <span class="visuallyhidden">credit</span>: Courtesy of Cell Press </p> </div> </div> </p> <p>But <a href="">new research from Johns Hopkins</a> adds to evidence that other tissues can step in to make glucose, too. The research also found that the liver's role in breaking down fats is vital to protect the organ from a lethal onslaught of fat.</p> <p>The findings, <a href="">summarized in the June 16 issue of <em>Cell Reports</em></a>, have the potential to help scientists better understand a growing class of often fatal metabolic diseases.</p> <p>"We were surprised that other tissues, including the kidney and intestine, could compensate so well when the liver's ability to generate glucose is impaired," says <a href="">Michael Wolfgang</a>, an associate professor of biological chemistry at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. But he also notes that "it's not unusual in biology to have backup systems for something so crucial to survival as providing energy to cells."</p> <p>Conducting their studies on mice, the researchers focused on the process known as gluconeogenesis, which maintains blood glucose during starvation and requires the breakdown of fatty acids. It's believed that about 90 percent of gluconeogenesis takes place in the liver, with the other 10 percent happening in the kidneys and gut.</p> <p>In the mice, the researchers depleted a gene called Cpt2 in the liver, which is necessary for breaking down fatty acids. They were surprised to see that this depletion didn't impact the mice's survival. In fact, it turned out the mice with compromised livers weighed the same as normal mice and used the same amount of energy.</p> <p>"I still find it hard to wrap my head around how these seriously compromised mice not only survived but were indistinguishable from normal mice in their energy use," says Wolfgang.</p> <p>In further tests, researchers found that the kidney had dialed up its fatty acid breakdown process in the mice lacking Cpt2. Those results begged the question of just what distress signals the compromised liver was sending to tell other tissues to help. The team discovered that one signaling molecule, known as FGF21, was greatly elevated in these cases.</p> <p>To better understand the unique metabolism of the mice lacking Cpt2, the researchers put them on a high-fat, "ketogenic diet," similar to the commercial Atkins diet that is very low in carbohydrates. The mice consumed their calories by essentially eating just butter, and their livers couldn't handle the fat. The diet was eventually lethal. The mice had seemingly dissolved all fat tissue throughout their bodies, but their livers were engorged with fat molecules.</p> <p>"The liver knew it needed to burn fat to make glucose, so it kept asking fat tissue to send fatty acids," Wolfgang explains. "But it couldn't burn those fatty acids, so it just absorbed them and got too fat to function."</p> <p>The team's data suggest that the absence of the ketones—molecules that are known to slow the breakdown of fats in fat tissue—likely contributed to the continued onslaught of fats on the liver.</p> <p>All of this, says Wolfgang, might help explain how and why metabolism goes haywire in people who are obese, diabetic, or born with genetic errors that affect fatty acid oxidation.</p> <p>Wolfgang hopes that further studies on the body's adjustments to a compromised liver will shed light on how to prevent or better regulate faulty metabolism. He says researchers are particularly interested in examining a condition called ketoacidosis, which threatens people with type 1 diabetes.</p> Thu, 23 Jun 2016 13:40:00 -0400 Flight of the Gofriller: Famous cello gets first-class treatment on flight with Peabody musician <p>Cellos, as you may know, like causing a ruckus on international flights. Especially, it seems, historic Gofriller cellos, manufactured in the early 1700s.</p> <p><div class="video align-left inline column force" role="region" aria-label="YouTube video"> <div class="set-video-width column"> <div class="set-video-height"> <iframe src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""> </iframe> </div> </div> <div class="caption column"> <p> <b class="credit"><span class="prefix">Video: </span>Amit Peled</b> </p> </div> </div> </p> <p>It's best if they are buckled, head-down, in their own seats with a harness, explains Peabody cellist <a href="">Amit Peled</a> in a short video the musician made while pre-boarding an Air Canada flight. Tony, an employee of the airline, straps down the 283-year-old instrument—once owned by renowned cellist Pablo Casals—while Peled praises the airline for how nicely they treat cellos, despite the fact that Gofrillers "like to jump off their chair during the flight and eat the passengers."</p> <p>The upside to traveling alongside one of the most famous (and rowdy, apparently) instruments in the world? Early boarding, Peled says.</p> Thu, 23 Jun 2016 09:40:00 -0400 Novel controller allows video gamers to compete with their feet <p>It's tough to play video games when you have no fingers to push buttons on the controller.</p> <p>Just ask Gyorgy Levay, an avid gamer who lost both hands to a meningitis infection five years ago. But Levay and two fellow Johns Hopkins graduate students have devised a clever way get him—and others with similar disabilities—back in the game.</p> <p>Their solution—a sandal-like controller that allows a player to control the on-screen action with his or her feet—recently won the $7,500 grand prize in the 2016 <a href="">Intel-Cornell Cup</a>, in which student inventors were judged on innovative applications of embedded technology.</p> <p> <div class="image inline align-left image-landscape column has-caption"> <img src="//" alt="three students stand at a table displaying their design and two computers" /> <div class="caption"> <p> <span class="visuallyhidden">Image caption:</span> Johns Hopkins biomedical engineering grad students, from left, Adam Li, Nate Tran and Gyorgy Levay displayed their innovative video gaming shoes at a recent design competition. </p> <p class="credit"> Image <span class="visuallyhidden">credit</span>: John Bidlack / Homewood Photography </p> </div> </div> </p> <p>The team—dubbed GEAR, for Game Enhancing Augmented Reality—also was a finalist in the 2016 Johns Hopkins Healthcare Design Competition, organized by the university's <a href="">Center for Bioengineering Innovation and Design</a>, which is based within the <a href="">Department of Biomedical Engineering</a>.</p> <p>To master's degree candidate Levay, the project is about much more than recovering his ability to play video games.</p> <p>"About 200,000 people in the United States alone have lost at least some part of an upper limb," he said, "and 20 to 30 percent of all amputees suffer from depression. They have a hard time socializing, especially young people."</p> <p>Especially for those with highly visible impairments, online video games can be a boon, Levay said, because a player's appearance is not typically on view.</p> <p>"The GEAR controller allows people to socialize in a way in which their disability is not a factor," Levay said. "That was a key point we wanted to make with this device."</p> <p>To create a hands-free control system, Levay, who is from Budapest, Hungary, teamed up last year with two other biomedical engineering grad students from his Johns Hopkins instrumentation course: Adam Li, who is from Los Angeles, and Nate Tran, from Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam.</p> <p>The students decided to design a game interface that could be operated by a player's lower limbs.</p> <p>"Next to our hands," Li said, "our feet are probably the most dexterous part of our body."</p> <p>By the time their third prototype was built, the team had produced adjustable padded footwear that could enable a seated player to participate in video games. Beneath each shoe's padding are three sensors that can pick up various foot movements, such as tilting or raising the front or heel of each foot.</p> <p>The students designed intricate circuitry within each shoe that translates each foot movement into a different command to guide the activity in a video game. In its most basic setup, two of the high-tech shoes can control eight different game buttons. But the inventors say that with practice, this number could increase to as many as 20 buttons.</p> <p> <div class="image inline align-left image-square column has-caption"> <img src="//" alt="A close-up of the boots" /> <div class="caption"> <p> <span class="visuallyhidden">Image caption:</span> The GEAR team devised these game controller shoes that respond to different foot movements. </p> <p class="credit"> Image <span class="visuallyhidden">credit</span>: John Bidlack / Homewood Photography </p> </div> </div> </p> <p>The GEAR team has successfully used the technology to play popular games such as Counter-Strike, Fallout 4, and World of Warcraft. The students also set up a small online survey, putting four virtual characters through the same challenging segment of a video game. When the game clips were posted online, viewers were asked to identify which character was being controlled by an amputee using the GEAR technology. Of the 51 viewers who participated in the survey, 81 percent failed to identify the correct GEAR-controlled character.</p> <p>"This is a very simple design," Tran said, "but it can potentially help a lot of people since it's wearable, and it's adjustable."</p> <p>For team member Li, the project was particularly rewarding because it allowed him to apply his knowledge to a real-life challenge, not just a teacher's test questions. Sometimes as an engineering student, he said, "you're stuck in a classroom, and you're learning about all these theories, but you don't get to put it into practice. This problem really allowed us to design a solution and actually implement it."</p> <p>The GEAR team members have worked with the <a href="">Johns Hopkins Technology Ventures</a> staff to obtain a provisional patent covering their invention. Their goal is to license their work to a company that can help make their device widely available.</p> <p>The GEAR team was advised by <a href="">Nitish V. Thakor</a>, a professor of biomedical engineering, and Luke Osborn, a biomedical engineering doctoral student. At Johns Hopkins, the Department of Biomedical Engineering is shared by the university's Whiting School of Engineering and its School of Medicine.</p> Wed, 22 Jun 2016 16:00:00 -0400 Bloomberg Distinguished Professorships attract top talent to Johns Hopkins <p>A <a href="">recent article in <em>The Baltimore Sun</em> offers an in-depth look at the Bloomberg Distinguished Professorships</a> and how Johns Hopkins University woos star professors from around the world.</p> <p>The <a href="">Bloomberg Distinguished Professorships</a>—supported by a $350 million gift from businessman, politician, and JHU alum Michael Bloomberg—thus far have brought together 21 leading researchers, including 15 who are new to the university. The goal is to form a cadre of 50 world-class faculty members whose excellence in research, teaching, and service will be centered on interdisciplinary scholarship, encouraging collaborations across Hopkins that might lead to discoveries that wouldn't otherwise be possible.</p> <p>"This is precisely where we believe that you can be very impactful in moving your field forward and contributing to the resolution of important social issues, economic issues and changing perspectives on the world," JHU President <a href="">Ronald J. Daniels</a> told <em>The Sun</em>.</p> <p>More from <em>The Sun</em> article:</p> <blockquote> <p>It can take an artful approach to attract candidates, many of whom have spouses and children to worry about uprooting, [JHU's vice provost for research Denis] Wirtz, said. The success rate is about 60 percent, with competition between Hopkins and a professor's home institution, and sometimes even a third or fourth institution, often heating up.</p> <p>"It's not an interview, it's a sales pitch," Wirtz said. "You want to feel special. You want to feel you're the only one in the world for that department."</p> </blockquote> Wed, 22 Jun 2016 13:20:00 -0400 How a woman with amnesia defies conventional wisdom about memory <p>She no longer recognizes a Van Gogh, but can tell you how to prepare a watercolor palette.</p> <p>She can't recall a single famous composer, but knows the purpose of a viola's bridge.</p> <p>She hasn't flown a plane since 2007, when viral encephalitis destroyed her hippocampus, the part of the brain used to form new memories and retrieve old ones. And she couldn't describe a single trip she's ever taken. But in detail, she'll list the steps needed to keep a plane from stalling and where to find the rudder controls.</p> <p><div class="external-links inline align-left"> <h6>Also see</h6> <div class="article teaser force"> <div class="text"> <h5><a href="">For an artist with amnesia, the world takes place through her pencil</a></h5> <div class="summary"> <span class="source">/ The New Yorker</span> </div> </div> </div> </ul> </div> </p> <p>Johns Hopkins University cognitive scientists say the sharp contrasts in this patient's memory profile—her inability to remember facts about pursuits once vital to her life as an artist, musician, and amateur aviator, while clearly remembering facts relevant to performing in these domains—suggest conventional wisdom about how the brain stores knowledge is incorrect.</p> <p>Conventional wisdom about memory firmly separates declarative knowledge—memories about facts—from memories for skills, or "muscle memory." For instance, a severe amnesiac with muscle memory might never forget how to ride a bike, but probably couldn't recall anything about the Tour de France. But because skilled performance, like playing music or flying airplanes, requires much more than mere muscle memory, and because this patient retained it despite losing most other aspects of her declarative memory, researchers conclude this type of skill-related declarative knowledge is different.</p> <p>"There is such a contrast between her not being able to tell us anything about her former life and not being able to tell us anything about many aspects of art and music that she once knew well, but when we ask her to tell us how to do a watercolor, she is articulate and full of detail," said <a href="">Barbara Landau</a>, professor of cognitive science at Johns Hopkins. "How can you talk about this knowledge of 'how to' as distinct from declarative knowledge? It is declarative knowledge."</p> <p><a href="">The findings are now available online</a> and are due to appear in an upcoming issue of the journal <em>Cognitive Neuropsychology</em>.</p> <p>Before her illness, Lonni Sue Johnson, 64, was an accomplished artist whose portfolio included six <em>New Yorker</em> covers. She was also an amateur violist who played in orchestras and chamber groups and a licensed single-engine airplane pilot who flew more than 400 flights and owned two planes. Her illness left her with severe brain damage and catastrophic memory impairment, including severe losses of memory about her previous life and severely restricted ability to learn new facts.</p> <p>She has very little memory of her past—not even of her wedding day. She forgets having done something immediately after doing it. She also has very little memory for general world knowledge, including facts about the fields at which she once excelled.</p> <p>To determine whether Johnson's "skill-related" memory was preserved despite extensive losses in memory for general world knowledge, the team tested her on her memory for facts related to performing four of her former top skills—art, music, aviation, and driving. They gave the same tests to people of similar age and experience in those areas, as well as to people with no experience in them.</p> <p>The oral tests, of about 80 questions each, covered information about the techniques, equipment, and terminology involved in performing the various skills. They included things like "How might one remove excess paint when painting with watercolor?" and "How should one touch the strings of an instrument to produce a harmonic?"</p> <p>In art and driving, Johnson scored nearly as high as experts taking the test. In music and aviation, she did not perform as well, but knew considerably more than the novices.</p> <p>"Although Johnson had not created watercolors, had not flown a plane, and had not driven since her illness, she could still describe how one would go about carrying out these activities," said Johns Hopkins cognitive scientist <a href="">Michael McCloskey</a>. "These findings suggest that skill-related knowledge can be spared even with dramatic losses in other kinds of knowledge."</p> Wed, 22 Jun 2016 11:45:00 -0400 Breathing easier: Johns Hopkins students develop improvements for Ebola protection suit <p>For health workers in the field treating people stricken with Ebola and other diseases, a protective suit is the first defense against infection. The suit and head covering itself, however, can hamper the ability to help by impeding breathing, or heating up so quickly in high temperatures and humidity that workers can scarcely wear the suits for more than an hour.</p> <p> <div class="teaser inline align-left column force has-image"> <div class="thumbnail"> <a href=""><img src="//" alt="" /></a> </div> <div class="text"> <div class="kicker">Featured Coverage</div> <h5><a href="">Johns Hopkins responds to Ebola</a></h5> <div class="summary">Relevant news coverage and helpful resources related to the Ebola outbreak and how Johns Hopkins is responding at home and abroad </div> </div> </div> </p> <p>Johns Hopkins University engineering students and team members hope to solve these problems as they improve a protective suit to be manufactured by DuPont under <a href="">an agreement forged last year between the university and the international science and engineering company</a>. Two Johns Hopkins mechanical engineering undergraduate teams, sponsored by the <a href="">Johns Hopkins Center for Bioengineering Innovation and Design</a>, or CBID, have developed prototypes for a more comfortable hood and face mask that make breathing easier, and for a battery-powered system that curbs humidity in the suit.</p> <p>DuPont has licensed intellectual property for a coverall, hood, and full body suit designed and prototyped by CBID last year. Each product reduces the number of pieces required by current protocols, takes much less time to put on and remove, and cuts the number of potential contamination exposure points by nearly a third. The two recent projects by seniors at Johns Hopkins University's <a href="">Whiting School of Engineering</a> are meant to improve the CBID designs even further.</p> <p>"The hope for us is this could be used for any infectious disease that's transmitted through bodily fluids," said Laura Scavo, who graduated in May with a degree in mechanical engineering and worked on the hood as a final project. Under a grant, she is continuing to work with the CBID team this summer.</p> <p>"The aim of our device is to extend the working time of health care workers in an Ebola Treatment Unit by increasing thermal comfort, and thus decreasing the risk of heat-induced psychological and physiological impairments," the students who worked on the cooling system wrote in their final report.</p> <p> <div class="image inline align-left image-square column has-caption"> <img src="//" alt="An apparatus is worn around the waist with ventilation tubes attached to a headpiece" /> <div class="caption"> <p> <span class="visuallyhidden">Image caption:</span> A model wears the humidity-control apparatus featuring a Desiccant Air Purifying Respirator (DAPR) </p> <p class="credit"> Image <span class="visuallyhidden">credit</span>: Johns Hopkins Center for Bioengineering Innovation and Design </p> </div> </div> </p> <p>Worn around the waist, the humidity-control apparatus adapts an off-the-shelf powered air purifying respirator and looks almost like something one would expect to see as part of a space suit. It includes a canister connected by a hose to a boxy fan unit, which in turn is connected with a second hose that runs up the wearer's back to the head covering. The system draws air in through the canister cartridge filled with a chemical drying agent, or desiccant. The desiccant soaks up moisture, delivering drier air to the person wearing the suit.</p> <p>The project presented many challenges, some solved, some still in the works. The cartridge containing the desiccant had to be designed not to overheat due to the chemical reaction that occurs as the material absorbs moisture. In one laboratory experiment, the material overheated so fast that it melted a plastic container.</p> <p>There was also the difficulty of sealing joints between the several pieces to create the most efficient airflow, and to keep out potential contaminants. That's still being figured out as the apparatus is tested and refined, but the team succeeded in key goals. The system significantly cuts humidity. The used desiccant cartridge can be regenerated with heating equipment commonly available at field treatment centers, and at 3.8 pounds the unit is well below the goal of 10 pounds.</p> <p>In the hood project, Scavo improved on a model produced by CBID months earlier. Among other changes, she redesigned the integrated facemask to produce a good fit for a wide range of face sizes, adjusted filter placements so that the design would meet certification by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, and worked with DuPont to develop prototypes for testing that could be mass produced.</p> <p>Scavo and the team conducted field tests in Liberia this spring for the coverall and facemask. Feedback for refinements will be turned over to DuPont as the Johns Hopkins team pursues further grants to continue working on the project.</p> <p>"A tremendous amount of effort has been put into this project by Johns Hopkins and DuPont in less than a year of development," said David Kee, North American marketing manager for Tyvek protective apparel, the brand name for clothing made by DuPont Protection Solutions. "DuPont is still evaluating the commercial viability of these enhancements; some innovations are conceptually appealing, but need further refinement prior to mass production. We look forward to our continued work together to strike the right balance and bring a truly innovative product to a wide market."</p> Wed, 22 Jun 2016 10:25:00 -0400 Study: Long-term opioid treatment might not be answer for managing sickle cell pain <p>Opioids may not be the best long-term solution for managing pain in sickle cell patients, according to <a href="">new research from the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine</a>.</p> <p>In a small study of adults with sickle cell disease, researchers found that those treated long term with opioids often fared worse than others in measures of pain, fatigue, and curtailed daily activities. Their <a href="">findings are published online in the <em>American Journal of Preventive Medicine</em></a>.</p> <p>"We need to be careful and skeptical about giving increasing doses of opioids to patients with sickle cell disease who are in chronic pain if it isn't effective," says <a href="">C. Patrick Carroll</a>, director of psychiatric services for the <a href="">Johns Hopkins Sickle Cell Center for Adults</a>. "Too little is known about the effects of long-term opioid management of chronic pain."</p> <p>Sickle cell disease, a rare genetic blood disorder, predominantly affects African-Americans in the United States. The frequency of hospitalizations for pain treatment makes the disease one of the most expensive to treat in the American medical system.</p> <p><div class="pullquote inline align-left"> "We need to be careful and skeptical about giving increasing doses of opioids to patients with sickle cell disease who are in chronic pain if it isn't effective. Too little is known about the effects of long-term opioid management of chronic pain." <div class="cite">C. Patrick Carroll, Johns Hopkins</div> </div> </p> <p>The disease is caused by a mutation in the gene responsible for hemoglobin that causes red blood cells to take on a sickle-like shape and clog blood vessels. The clogged vessels can cut off oxygen to tissues and cause episodes of severe pain, known as crises, which often drive patients to emergency rooms to receive treatment with intravenous opioids.</p> <p>Sickle cell patients can also develop chronic pain over time, an issue that has shifted more to the forefront as treatments have advanced and more patients are living well into adulthood. For chronic pain as well as for crisis pain, a common pain management strategy is opioids, through long-term prescriptions that often escalate to higher doses.</p> <p>The Johns Hopkins team's research, however, casts doubt on the effectiveness of long-term opioid therapy for a number of medical conditions and discovered that in some cases opioid use is associated with a paradoxical increase in pain sensitivity.</p> <p>For the new study, the team recruited 83 adults with sickle cell disease—29 who were prescribed daily long-acting opioids to manage pain, and 54 who weren't on long-term opioids. For three months, the patients self-reported their daily levels of pain, physical activity, and fatigue, among other quality of life factors.</p> <p>Overall, the study found that patients on long-term opioid treatment were more impaired. On days of non-crisis pain, they reported three times greater pain interference in their activities and twice the fatigue. In addition, the patients on opioids reported pain intensities over three times higher than those not taking opioids on non-crisis days, and 32 percent higher on crisis days.</p> <p>The research team also examined the phenomenon of central sensitization, in which the central nervous system amplifies pain sensations. Central sensitization is thought to be one way that opioids might increase pain sensitivity, and may play a role in how sickle cell disease causes chronic pain, says Carroll.</p> <p>Investigating that angle, the researchers measured how intensely the participants experienced unpleasant heat and pressure. Overall, patients on long-term opioid therapy showed higher levels of central sensitization, with an index of 0.34, than those who were not, with an index of -0.10.</p> <p>In participants who were not on long-term opioid therapy, the level of central sensitization correlated with levels of non-crisis pain. However, that correlation essentially vanished in the opioid-taking patients who also had higher levels of central sensitization and crisis pain. Carroll says this surprising result suggests the pain mechanisms in opioid-taking patients may differ in unexpected ways from patients who don't take opioids regularly.</p> <p>Carroll cautions that the research is preliminary and that physicians shouldn't stop prescribing opioids to sickle cell patients who need to control chronic pain.</p> <p>"We need to better understand how long-term opioid use affects pain sensitization and determine if certain people are more sensitive to these effects so we can prescribe the best treatment option for each individual patient," Carroll says. "We also need to learn more about how sickle cell disease may sensitize the nervous system."</p> Wed, 22 Jun 2016 09:30:00 -0400 Hopkins-Nanjing Center marks 30 years of 'improbable' academic, cultural partnership <p>The <a href="">Hopkins-Nanjing Center for Chinese and American Studies</a>, which opened in 1986 as a one-of-a-kind center for international studies in China, celebrated 30 years of its groundbreaking educational partnership this past weekend.</p> <p>The trailblazing model took years to develop, and many were skeptical of its prospects. But today the center, run jointly by Johns Hopkins University's <a href="">School of Advanced International Studies</a> and <a href="">Nanjing University</a>, is known as the premier institution for educating future leaders of Sino-American relations.</p> <p> <div class="image inline align-left image-landscape column has-caption"> <img src="//" alt="" /> <div class="caption"> <p> <span class="visuallyhidden">Image caption:</span> Participants in the 30th anniversary celebration included (from left to right) Vali Nasr, dean of JHU's School of Advanced International Studies; JHU President Ronald J. Daniels; Jeffrey H. Aronson, chair of JHU's board of trustees; former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright; Luo Zhijun, communist party secretary of Jiangsu Province; Chen Deming, China's former minister of commerce; Miao Ruilin, Nanjing's mayor; Zhang Yibin, chancellor of Nanjing University; and Nanjing University President Chen Ju. </p> <p class="credit"> Image <span class="visuallyhidden">credit</span>: Carl McLarty </p> </div> </div> </p> <p>The HNC now counts more then 2,800 alumni, among them diplomats, professors, and heads of industry and nongovernmental organizations.</p> <p>Many of those alumni, along with university leaders and other notable attendees, gathered over the weekend in Nanjing to celebrate the milestone anniversary.</p> <p>"I'm amazed by the progress of this center and all that it has become, particularly so when I think about what it took for the leaders of our two universities to, quite literally, build the HNC from the ground up," Johns Hopkins University President <a href="">Ronald J. Daniels</a> said Saturday at a convocation event that was part of the weekend's festivities.</p> <p>Though the world may be different, Daniels said, the values on which the center was founded—academic rigor, scholarly freedom, and cultural exchange—remain as vital as ever.</p> <p>"The ambitions were high," he said, "and the results over the past 30 years have been nothing less than remarkable."</p> <p>Former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright—one of two guests of honor at the 30th anniversary celebration, along with former Chinese Minister of Commerce Chen Deming—echoed Daniels' sentiments about the center's "improbable story."</p> <p>She noted that the project had to "overcome deep suspicion and mistrust on both sides" at a time when diplomatic relations between the U.S. and China were in their early stages.</p> <p>"Through 30 years of ups and downs in the relationship between China and the United States, HNC has overcome its own challenges and thrived," Albright added. "It has done so because at its core is a simple, and vital, mission—to help Americans learn about the real China and Chinese to learn about the real United States.</p> <p>"Instead of empty spaces on a flat map, the United States and China become real places with intriguing people living fascinating lives."</p> <p>The weekend's events included a concert of Chinese folk music by performers from Nanjing University, a discussion of international economics and Sino-American relations, and commencement festivities for the HNC's 2016 class of about 175 graduate students.</p> <p>"No matter what your future holds—whether a career in public service, academia, or industry—let your time at the HNC remind you to embrace the complexities of the human experience as well as the commonalities that bind us across cultures," Daniels told the graduates. "And know that in doing so, you will carry the spirit of this center forward as you serve as standard-bearers of international cooperation and partnership."</p> Wed, 22 Jun 2016 08:54:00 -0400 Johns Hopkins joins partnership to discover, develop new cancer treatments <p>A group of cancer centers from four leading academic institutions today announced the establishment of a research consortium to accelerate the discovery and development of cancer therapeutics and diagnostics, with the goal of creating high-impact research programs to discover new cancer treatments.</p> <p>The consortium will bring together researchers from the <a href="">Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center</a> at Johns Hopkins, the Abramson Cancer Center at the University of Pennsylvania, The Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center at Columbia University Medical Center, and The Tisch Cancer Institute at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.</p> <p><div class="pullquote inline align-left"> Over the next 10 years, the institutions intend to present multiple high-impact research programs to Celgene Corporation with the goal of developing new life-saving therapeutics. </div> </p> <p>Over the next 10 years, the institutions intend to present multiple high-impact research programs to <a href="">Celgene Corporation</a>—a New Jersey-based global biopharmaceutical company engaged primarily in the discovery, development, and commercialization of innovative therapies for the treatment of cancer and inflammatory diseases—with the goal of developing new life-saving therapeutics.</p> <p>Celgene will pay a total of $50 million—$12.5 million to each institution—for the option to enter into future agreements to develop and commercialize novel cancer therapeutics arising from the consortium's efforts. Subject to Celgene's decision to opt-in and license the resulting technologies, each program has the potential to be valued at hundreds of millions of dollars.</p> <p>"The active and coordinated engagement, creative thinking, and unique perspectives and expertise of each institution have made this collaboration a reality," the four cancer center directors—Steven Burakoff of the Icahn School of Medicine, Stephen G. Emerson of Columbia University, William Nelson of JHU's Kimmel Cancer Center, and Chi Van Dang of the University of Pennsylvania—said in a joint statement. "Our shared vision and unified approach to biomedical research, discovery, and development, combined with Celgene's vast research, development ,and global commercial expertise, will enable us to accelerate the development and delivery of next-generation cancer therapies to patients worldwide."</p> <p>In addition to the benefits of long-standing professional relationships among the four cancer center directors, the depth and breadth of the institutions' combined research and clinical infrastructures provide a foundation upon which to build this collaboration. The four institutions collectively care for more than 30,000 new cancer patients each year and have nearly 800 faculty members who are active in basic and clinical research, and clinical care.</p> <p>The four consortium members are among the 69 institutions designated as cancer centers by the National Cancer Institute. These 69 institutions serve as the backbone of NCI's research efforts.</p> <p>The Cancer Trust, a non-profit organization, brought together the four institutions, thereby establishing the multi-institutional research consortium. The commercialization offices of the four institutions—<a href="">Johns Hopkins Technology Ventures</a>, Columbia Technology Ventures, Mount Sinai Innovation Partners, and the Penn Center for Innovation—subsequently collaborated with Celgene.</p> Tue, 21 Jun 2016 15:00:00 -0400 Restaurants, coffee shop planned for new building near JHU's Homewood campus <p>Two new restaurants and a coffee shop will occupy retail space in the new <a href="">Nine East 33rd</a> building, an off-campus student housing complex under construction at the intersection of St. Paul and 33rd streets in Baltimore's Charles Village neighborhood.</p> <p> <div class="image inline align-left image-landscape column has-caption"> <img src="//" alt="" /> <div class="caption"> <p> <span class="visuallyhidden">Image caption:</span> An early conceptual design (not a final design) of the planned mixed-use development on Johns Hopkins University property at 3200 St. Paul St. in Baltimore. </p> <p class="credit"> Image <span class="visuallyhidden">credit</span>: ARMADA HOFFLER PROPERTIES/DESIGN COLLECTIVE/JHU </p> </div> </div> </p> <p>PekoPeko Ramen, a noodle restaurant owned by alum David Forster, will feature ramen, Japanese rice bowls, and other sides. And <a href="">honeygrow</a>, a Philadelphia-based fast-casual chain that emphasizes locally sourced ingredients, will serve stir-fry bowls, salads, smoothies, and build-your-own desserts.</p> <p>They will join Bird in Hand, a joint venture between Spike Gjerde—the James Beard Award-winning chef behind Baltimore's Woodberry Kitchen, Parts & Labor, and Artifact Coffee—and <a href="">the Ivy Bookshop</a>. Bird in Hand, which is scheduled to open in August, will serve coffee, sandwiches, and pastries and also feature a curated collection of books.</p> <p>Nine East 33rd, a Johns Hopkins–owned space near the university's Homewood campus, will also include a CVS pharmacy.</p> <p>The property is currently accepting residential lease applications. The all-inclusive housing option—which will include more than 150 units and more than 560 beds—offers residents private bedrooms; semi-private bathrooms; and a fully-furnished, modern space. Residents will also have access to a state-of-the-art fitness center, study lounges, a rooftop green space, and a media center. The building offers 24-hour emergency maintenance; secure access; and optional, paid garage parking.</p> <p>The Nine East 33rd management office, located in the Steinwald House at 3211 Charles St., has samples of furniture available and more information about floor plans. New residents will receive a $500 gift card upon signing the lease and another $500 gift card upon move-in.</p> Mon, 20 Jun 2016 14:39:00 -0400 A method for measuring the 'cool factor' of commercial products <p>Whether buying shampoo, cars, or clothing, consumers ponder more than price and usefulness when deciding how to spend their money.</p> <p>So-called "network effects"—the term for the value derived from the product's popularity within a large community of users—also come into play.</p> <p>A Johns Hopkins University business professor has developed a computational model that measures consumer choices in terms not only of price and usefulness, but also of network effects. <a href="">The findings of the new study</a>, which will be published in the journal <em>Management Science</em>, could be valuable to manufacturers and retailers seeking to boost sales and market shares.</p> <p>"Suppose you're planning to buy a computer. You'll consider a price range that you're comfortable with, and you'll look at all the attributes of the computer—the screen, keyboard, memory, CPU, and so on," says <a href="">Ruxian Wang</a>, an assistant professor at the <a href="">Johns Hopkins Carey Business School</a> and the paper's lead author. "But you could also consider the network effects. Specifically, is this a popular product that makes you feel happy to be among the people buying and using it? The model described in this paper computes data in a way that shows the extent of the network effects, and it can accurately predict the future sales of a product based on how strong or weak its network effect is, in addition to its features or price promotion."</p> <p>An example of a positive network effect—the cool factor associated with, say, a fashion trend or a ticket to <em>Hamilton</em>, Broadway's hottest show. But, Wang warns, this phenomenon cuts both ways: When so many people are buying the current trendy footwear or dress design that it begins to appear passé, a negative network effect may arise. The same would apply to a commuter route that appeals to so many drivers that it leads to snarled traffic.</p> <p>Knowing the network effects of products can help companies determine how many of these items it should make, says Wang. Instead of offering an array of similar products—say, a line of computers or automobiles that are more alike than different—a company could use Wang's algorithm to determine which of the products had strongly positive network effects and then concentrate on selling those. Wang cites the example of Apple and its relatively limited but highly successful line of technology products.</p> <p>"In the past, selling a variety of items was usually the way firms approached their work," Wang says. "But that can be very expensive for them. There's really no reason to offer many different versions of a particular product if the company finds that one or two of them have strong network effect. They could even lower the price of that product a little and experience an increase in sales and a larger share of the market."</p> <p>Streamlined product lines also can reduce the confusion that potential customers sometimes feel when faced with a large number of similar items, according to Wang.</p> <p>The study, titled "Consumer Choice Models with Endogenous Network Effects," was co-authored by Zizhuo Wang, assistant professor at the University of Minnesota,. The computational model developed by the two authors was based on data from downloads, player ratings, and other user information from the Google platform for video games. Wang points out that this study was concerned with a single firm and how it would market multiple products. He and his colleague plan in future studies to consider how network effects influence the strategies of competing manufacturers and retailers.</p> Mon, 20 Jun 2016 13:00:00 -0400 Johns Hopkins honored by Associated Black Charities for community programs <p>The <a href="">Associated Black Charities</a> recently presented three Johns Hopkins leaders with its Community Investors for More in the Middle Award in recognition of the university and health system's <a href="">HopkinsLocal</a> initiative, and for the health system's role in launching Maryland's Population Health Workforce for Disadvantaged Areas program.</p> <p> <div class="image inline align-left image-landscape column has-caption"> <img src="//" alt="Six people pose for a photo" /> <div class="caption"> <p> <span class="visuallyhidden">Image caption:</span> From left: Robert Wallace, president of BITHGROUP Technologies, Inc; Mimi Roeder Vaughn, president and CEO of Roeder Travel; Paul Rothman; Ronald Peterson; Ronald Daniels; and Chineta Davis, ABC’s board chair of ABC and retired vice president and general manager of Northrop Grumman Corporation </p> </div> </div> </p> <p>The award is given to organizations that have taken specific and concrete action to increase the access and opportunities for African-Americans to achieve a measurable difference in wealth and health. These programs demonstrate a commitment to local hiring and procurement, and in doing so, increase the economic health of their communities.</p> <p><a href="">Ronald J. Daniels</a>, president of Johns Hopkins University; <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, received the award June 11 at the ABC Black and White Gala.</p> <p>"It is an honor for Johns Hopkins to be recognized by the Associated Black Charities, which has long been dedicated to building stronger community ties and promoting economic opportunities in Baltimore," Daniels said. "Through HopkinsLocal, we are committed to working with community partners to create transformative opportunities for our city and its residents."</p> <p>HopkinsLocal leverages Johns Hopkins' economic power to expand participation of local and minority-owned businesses in construction opportunities; increase the hiring of city residents, with a focus on neighborhoods in need of job opportunities; and enhance economic growth, employment, and investment in Baltimore through purchasing activities.</p> <p>The Population Health Workforce for Disadvantaged Areas program seeks to create hospital jobs that create employment opportunities in economically challenged areas as well as community-based jobs that can contribute to improving the community's health.</p> <p>Since its founding in 1985, the Associated Black Charities has been dedicated to creating strong, healthy, and economically viable communities in order to create a better life, especially for African-American children and families. Under the direction of President and CEO Diane Bell McKoy, ABC's signature mission platform "More in the Middle" aims to expand the assets of those with low income, the working poor, and the fragile middle class.</p> Fri, 17 Jun 2016 13:45:00 -0400 Theatre noir: JHU alum's one-act play explores human emotion, creativity <p>When the lights come on, one woman sits handcuffed in a chair and another stands forbiddingly behind her, back turned to the audience. A table and two chairs sit between them. Little else decorates the stage—a camera on a tripod, a series of mirrors flank the stage's wings—and a pair of musicians stands at the rear.</p> <p>The bassist, <a href="">Alexander Fournier</a>, bows a series of shivering notes while the trumpeter, Nicolas Sarbanes, gently blows a series of creepy textures from his instrument. Soon the musicians establish a mysterious groove, establishing the tone and texture for the one-act play that follows. The mood is a shadowy noir, the two women are enigmatic figures, and before the play's roughly one-hour running time expires, one of them will confess to the murder that brought them together in this interrogation room.</p> <p><div class="pullquote inline align-left"> With 'Framed Illusion,' López-González leaps right into the chaotic whorl that is human emotion and stays there. </div> </p> <p><em>Framed Illusion</em> is the final play in a trilogy exploring language, improvisation, and creativity that was written, conceived, and produced by Monica López-González, a Johns Hopkins alumna and <a href="">Peabody at Homewood</a> faculty member. Trained as a cognitive neuroscientist, López-Gonzalez specifically explores the neuroscience of creativity. The plays, films, and photography she creates fuse art and scientific research and experiments to explore the brain's decision-making process.</p> <p>Like her previous plays <a href=""><em>Ultima Partida (The Final Draw)</em></a> and <a href=""><em>In Session</em></a>, López-Gonzalez uses the stage as a laboratory: musicians Fournier and Sarbanes improvise the score for each performance, responding to the actors and the lines of dialog. Fournier and Sarbanes have certain cues when they know where to enter and what the dramatic content of a scene is, but what they end up playing is different every night. In an <a href="">interview about the play with Tom Hall on WYPR</a>, López-González said she's "very fascinated to see how different languages work with improvised music."</p> <p><em>Framed Illusion</em>, however, represents a marked jump in the overall theatricality of her productions. As intellectually rich as both <em>Partida</em> and <em>Session</em> were, they each felt at times more like robust cognitive thought experiments than dramatic performance. These are plays admittedly conceived to explore some aspect of the human brain, but onstage they occasionally felt as if they never left the brain to wrestle with the interpersonal messiness that is human interaction.</p> <p>With <em>Framed Illusion,</em> López-González leaps right into the chaotic whorl that is human emotion and stays there. Both the handcuffed suspect (Linda Bancroft) and the questioning detective (López-González) have come to the interrogation room from a posh book release party. The ostensible author of the book, an important if infamous man, is the murder victim. The suspect is the hired ghostwriter of his book. And the detective brazenly assumes the suspect killed him for any number of the transgressions men of power assume they can perpetrate against the women who work for them.</p> <p>Throughout their interrogation, Bancroft and López-González exchange lines with an impassioned energy, and Fournier and Sarbanes musically mimic, comment on, and interact with them. It helps that film noir, which López-González echoes stylistically with this play, is a genre rich with musical vocabulary, and the dazzling musicality during the play's tense exchanges feels familiar. When the suspect begins to turn the tables on the detective about halfway through the play, the music zigzags with the change in roles, tone, and character temperament. Imagine the film <em>My Dinner With André</em> turned into a philosophical reflection on the nature of crime paired with an enervating jazz score.</p> <p>As both the scientific and artistic director of her <a href="">La Petite Noiseuse Productions</a> that stages her plays, López-González records all the performances to study how musical elements—such as tone, tempo, and rhythm—interact with drama's emotional turns. Her previous research led to the paper <a href="">"Cognitive Psychology Meets Art: Exploring Creativity, Language, and Emotion Through Live Musical Improvisation in Film and Theatre"</a>, and it'll be interesting to see what this play trilogy reveals to her—both in terms of how music and language interact, and for her interdisciplinary approach to studying the neuroscience of creativity.</p> <p><em>Framed Illusion</em> runs June 17 and June 18 at the <a href="">Cabaret at Germanos</a>.</p> Fri, 17 Jun 2016 09:40:00 -0400 Johns Hopkins lights up gateway on Charles Street in solidarity with LGBTQ community <p>Red stands for life. Orange stands for healing. Yellow, for sunlight, and green, for nature.</p> <p>Indigo means harmony.</p> <p>And purple represents spirit.</p> <p>The colors of the pride flag, signifying solidarity with the LGBTQ community, will light up the Johns Hopkins University gateway on Charles Street through June 28.</p> <p>The color lighting comes in the wake of last week's attack on an Orlando nightclub—the deadliest mass shooting by a single gunman in American history, as well as the deadliest act of terrorism in the U.S. since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. The Johns Hopkins community has banded together to mourn the victims and show support for the LGBTQ community.</p> <p>"With pride, with empathy, and with hope for a better, safer, more humane future for all, Johns Hopkins University stands in solidarity with Orlando, the LGBTQ community, and all those affected by this senseless and devastating violence," says Johns Hopkins University <a href="">President Ronald J. Daniels</a>.</p> <p>Members of the faculty and staff have also offered their support. The Office of <a href="">LGBTQ Life</a> at Johns Hopkins hosted a healing session Thursday afternoon, welcoming Hopkins community members to Homewood Apartments for companionship and counseling, and to decorate a poster for next month's Baltimore Pride parade.</p> <p> <div class="image inline align-right image-landscape column"> <img src="//" alt="a poster reading 'We stand with Orlando' signed in rainbow-colored pens" /> <div class="caption"> <p class="credit"> Image <span class="visuallyhidden">credit</span>: Office of Communications </p> </div> </div> </p> <p>"The attack on what is historically a safe place for the LGBTQ community is devastating," says Demere Woolway, director of LGBTQ Life. "It's overwhelming to see the faces of those who lost their lives, so many of them young Latino men. Still, amidst this grief, it is affirming that so many of the Hopkins community have been asking what they can do to be supportive. They have reached out to me and to each other, and have participated in the larger Baltimore community. Even in this difficult time, we can come together as a community to support each other."</p> <p>Next week, rainbow flags will be raised at The Johns Hopkins Hospital, Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital, Howard County General Hospital, Sibley Memorial Hospital and Suburban Hospital. The flags will fly through the end of June in support of LGBT Pride Month and to honor those murdered and wounded in Orlando.</p> <p>In an email to his colleagues at the Whiting School of Engineering, Professor Michael Falk noted that faculty members are uniquely positioned to act as allies for students, particularly those who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer identifying, and who are likely to be assessing their safety in work and study environments following the attack.</p> <p>He urged faculty to take part in the <a href="">Safe Zone program</a>, which offers training in forming a safer and more supportive campus climate for sexual and gender minorities.</p> <p>Human Resources and Homewood Student Affairs compiled a list of resources for the university community:</p> <ul> <li><p>Faculty and staff who need emotional counseling or support can contact the <a href="">Faculty and Staff Assistance Program</a>. You can make an appointment at FASAP by calling 443-997-7000. After hours and on the weekends, master's-level professionals are on call.</p></li> <li><p>Students who would like emotional counseling, or are concerned about a friend, may contact the <a href="">Counseling Center</a> by calling 410-516-8278. Outside normal hours, the counselor on call may be reached through Security at 410-516-7777. The <a href="">Johns Hopkins Student Assistance Program</a> serves graduate students during challenging times. You may seek support for yourself or a friend by calling 443-287-7000. After hours and on the weekends, master's-level professionals are on call.</p></li> <li><p>Some additional sources of support for full-time students include the <a href="">Office of LGBTQ Life</a> (410-516-8208) and <a href="">Campus Ministries</a> (410-516-1880).</p></li> </ul> <p>The lights on the Johns Hopkins University gateway will remain through June 28, the 47th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots.</p> Thu, 16 Jun 2016 13:04:00 -0400 Barclay students visit Homewood campus for lab tour <p>While visiting Homewood campus on Wednesday, fifth-grader Levon Brown from nearby Barclay Elementary/Middle School struggled to take off one of the famous Johns Hopkins Ebola suits without letting the bright yellow exterior touch his unprotected skin.</p> <p>"It was hard," he said. Nearby, his friend, Yasmim Carter, danced in another Ebola Suit, and then struggled to get the garb off, too.</p> <p>"At first I thought I wasn't going to be able to breathe," Brown continued "But you can breathe through that big mask … We need the doctors to take the suit off that way so they will stay safe." Carter agreed: "They do it that way to protect the workers."</p> <p>This quick lesson in health care protective equipment, and the Ebola virus, was part of a daylong field trip for 25 Barclay students, who participated in STEM-enhancing activities ranging from trying on the Ebola suit to manufacturing with a 3-D printer to learning about the Hubble Space Telescope.</p> <p>Whiting School of Engineering Dean <a href="">Ed Schlesinger</a> greeted the students in Shaffer Hall: "I think that it is wonderful and so important that you are studying engineering because there are big problems out there that the world needs engineers to solve … The world needs more engineers and I want to encourage all of you to continue your engineering studies. I hope you all become engineers."</p> <p>In November, the Whiting School of Engineering and Baltimore City Public Schools partnered in a $10 million effort to designate Barclay as the city's first pre-K through eighth grade school dedicated to giving students a foundation in engineering and computer skills. The curriculum is supported by Whiting School educators and coordinated through the university's Center for Educational Outreach. A new STEM/computer laboratory, co-founded by JHU and city schools and outfitted with cutting-edge technology, opened at Barclay in the fall.</p> <p>The new partnership works hand-in-glove with "<a href="">STEM Achievement in Baltimore Elementary Schools</a>"—SABES for short—a National Science Foundation-funded collaboration between Baltimore City Public Schools and Johns Hopkins University, aimed at improving educational outcomes in STEM disciplines throughout Baltimore City's elementary schools.</p> <p>After meeting Dean Schlesinger, the students split into two groups—dividing their time between the Department of Biomedical Engineering's <a href="">Center for Bioengineering Innovation and Design</a> (CBID) and the Space Telescope Science Institute. On the way across campus, students played a form of BINGO that challenged them to locate various objects and places on campus, from a recycling bin and the Gilman clock tower to a residence hall and the JHU shield.</p> <p>At the Space Telescope Science Institute, educators Jessica Kinney and John Maple talked to the students about the Hubble Space Telescope, telling them it was the first major infrared-optical-ultraviolet telescope to orbit around the Earth from its perch 350 miles away. To demonstrate how Hubble "sees," Maple and Kinney trained a special heat-detecting video camera on the students. The students seemed fascinated by how warm spots (including their own bodies) appeared light orange on the monitor, and how cooler spots (including their hands, after they each held an ice cube) appeared in black.</p> <p>Meanwhile, over in the BME Design Studio, Chris Browne, senior laboratory coordinator, was teaching students how a 3-D printer layers materials to make a solid gadget. Nearby, Teaching Fellows Victory Yu and Aaron Chang were helping students into and out of the Ebola suits. At least one student, Carter, seemed intent on studying a STEM subject. "I'm going to start with math."</p> Thu, 16 Jun 2016 12:00:00 -0400 Two Baltimore high schools first to join P-TECH program in Maryland <p>Johns Hopkins University President <a href="">Ronald J. Daniels</a> joined Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan in announcing this week the first two schools that will join the P-TECH program in Maryland this fall.</p> <p>Paul Laurence Dunbar High School will partner with Johns Hopkins University, Johns Hopkins Hospital, Kaiser Permanente, and University of Maryland, Baltimore for the P-TECH program and will offer a health science degrees in areas of concentration such as health information technology, respiratory care, or surgical technology. Carver Vocational Technical High School will partner with IBM and offer a degree focus on cybersecurity and information technology.</p> <p>The <a href="">P-TECH program</a>—Pathways in Technology Early College High School—creates a school-to-industry pipeline for students in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields. The program also partners with Baltimore City Public Schools and Baltimore City Community College, and will begin enrolling students for the 2016-17 school year.</p> <p><div class="external-links inline align-left"> <h6>Also see</h6> <div class="article teaser force"> <div class="text"> <h5><a href="">STEM education key to city’s future</a></h5> <div class="summary"> <span class="source">/ Baltimore Business Journal</span> </div> </div> </div> </ul> </div> </p> <p>"The P-TECH model offers transformational opportunities for Baltimore's youth and a chance to prepare our city's workforce for the jobs and careers of the future," said Daniels. "We are delighted to expand our longstanding relationship with Dunbar High School, working with this important public-private partnership to bolster the future growth of Baltimore."</p> <p>Both sites were chosen by the Baltimore City school system, and each will receive $100,000 in grant funding from the state.</p> <p> <div class="image inline align-right image-landscape column has-caption"> <img src="//" alt="eight people stand in a line and pose for a photo" /> <div class="caption"> <p> <span class="visuallyhidden">Image caption:</span> From left: Radcliffe Saddler, P-TECH graduate and IBM employee; Maritha Gay; Marnell Cooper; Karen Salmon; Stanley Litow; Larry Hogan; Ronald J. Daniels; Jay Perman. </p> <p class="credit"> Image <span class="visuallyhidden">credit</span>: James VanRensselaer / </p> </div> </div> </p> <p>"Our administration is committed to thinking outside the box, and advocating for innovative solutions to ensure that every single child has the opportunity to get a world-class education, regardless of what neighborhood they happen to grow up in," said Hogan. "With the announcement of Maryland's first two P-TECH sites, students in Baltimore City will have the chance to gain in-demand skills that employers need for the 21st-century workforce, and employers here in Maryland will gain a steady pipeline to skilled professionals."</p> <p>The P-TECH program was developed in Brooklyn, NY, by tech giant IBM, the New York City Department of Education, and the New York City College of Technology. In addition to learning traditional core subjects, students receive two years of free college-level instruction and advanced training in STEM-based fields so that, upon graduation, they would be first in line for attractive jobs in the tech industry.</p> <p>Daniels and Hogan were joined at Tuesday's press conference by Stanley Litow, the president of the IBM International Foundation; Karen Salmon, the acting superintendent of the Maryland State Department of Education; Jay Perman, president of the University of Maryland, Baltimore; Maritha Gay, senior director of external affairs at Kaiser Permanente; Marnell Cooper, chair of the Baltimore City Board of School Commissioners; Catherine Pugh and Nathaniel McFadden, Maryland state senators; Rev. Todd Yeary, chair of the Board of Trustees for Baltimore City Community College; and the principals of Carver and Dunbar High Schools</p> Thu, 16 Jun 2016 11:45:00 -0400 Trailblazing Chinese-American grad program celebrates 30 years in Nanjing <p>Three decades ago, China was an intimidating frontier for any American student. Though the country was quickly emerging as a world power, at that time not a single American university had established a physical presence there.</p> <p>The first major breakthrough in that dynamic came in September 1986, when the <a href="">Hopkins-Nanjing Center</a> opened in China to a cohort of 64 graduate students. The class was a mix of Chinese and American students, brought together to live, study, and learn in each other's languages side by side.</p> <p>The trailblazing model had taken years to develop and many were skeptical of its prospects, but today the HNC is known as the premier institution for educating future leaders of Sino-American relations. Run jointly by JHU's <a href="">School of Advanced International Studies</a> and <a href="">Nanjing University</a>, and adjacent to the downtown campus of the latter, the center now counts more than 2,800 alumni—among them diplomats, professors, and heads of industry and nongovernmental organizations.</p> <p>In Nanjing this weekend, many of those alumni, along with other notables, will gather to mark a milestone: <a href="">the HNC's 30th anniversary</a>.</p> <p>The guests of honor at the June 18 anniversary dinner are former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and former Chinese Minister of Commerce Chen Deming, who now presides over the Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits. Both will deliver speeches and receive awards for their contributions to global understanding.</p> <p>Both also have Hopkins ties: Chen Deming was an HNC student, while Albright studied at SAIS.</p> <p>Madelyn Ross, who has directed the HNC's Washington D.C. office for the past year and a half, will also be in Nanjing to celebrate.</p> <p><a href="">Ross herself studied and taught in Shanghai</a> in the late 1970s, shortly after the U.S. and China normalized relations. It was a starkly different landscape then, she says, "with no academic exchange programs at all" between the two countries.</p> <p>Now, as a leader of the HNC, Ross says she is "constantly impressed by the rich academic offerings available to students" and even moreso by "their chance to participate in Chinese society" through co-curricular and social activities.</p> <p>The 2016 class at the HNC is about 175 graduate students strong—still a mix of Chinese and American citizens, along with some other international students. Nine international professors and about 30 Chinese professors teach courses, in both English and Chinese, on international law, politics, and other topics. Two years ago, the center added a specialization in Energy, Resources, and Environment that has become one of its fastest-growing programs.</p> <p>At the heart of the HNC is its research library—the first and still one of the only uncensored, open-stack libraries in China, featuring more than 120,000 volumes in both English and Chinese.</p> <p>This library had been a potential dealbreaker for the HNC when the collaboration was still in the discussion phase over 30 years ago. Despite the initial reluctance of Chinese officials, then-Hopkins president Steven Muller ultimately succeeded, insisting on the library as a key condition of the partnership.</p> <p>It was Muller who was the visionary behind the Hopkins-Nanjing Center, aspiring to build an equivalent model in China to the successful <a href="">SAIS Europe in Bologna, Italy</a>. Viewing China as a country of the future, he saw the need for the United States to plant roots for positive collaborations.</p> <p>His proposal made headway in 1979, when a delegate of Chinese university presidents visited the U.S.—among them, Kuang Yaming, then president of Nanjing University. Kuang's interest in meeting <a href="">Chinese-born Hopkins physics professor Chih-Yung Chien</a> made JHU the first stop on their tour. From there, the partnership was born.</p> <p>Notable moments from the HNC's historic 30-year journey include:</p> <ul> <li><p><strong>1989:</strong> In response to the nationwide protests in Tiananmen Square, the HNC's spring semester ended early and the center canceled its graduation ceremonies. Normal operations resumed in September, with the HNC hosting a conference in China on democracy at the year's end.</p></li> <li><p><strong>1999:</strong> Following protests in Nanjing over the NATO bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade, HNC students hosted a joint meeting to discuss the crisis and relieve tensions.</p></li> <li><p><strong>2003:</strong> In the wake of the SARS epidemic, the HNC relocated to the University of Hawaii for the fall semester.</p></li> <li><p><strong>2007:</strong> Former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger delivered the keynote address at the HNC's 20th anniversary celebration in Nanjing.</p></li> </ul> Thu, 16 Jun 2016 10:30:00 -0400 Did a gravitational wave detector find dark matter? <p>When an astronomical observatory in the United States this winter detected a whisper of two black holes colliding in deep space, scientists celebrated a successful effort to confirm Albert Einstein's prediction of gravitational waves. A team of Johns Hopkins University astrophysicists wondered about something else: Had the experiment found the "dark matter" that makes up most of the mass of the universe?</p> <p>The eight scientists from the Johns Hopkins <a href="">Henry A. Rowland Department of Physics and Astronomy</a> had already started making calculations when the discovery by the <a href="">Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory</a> (LIGO) was announced in February. <a href="">Their results were recently published in <em>Physical Review Letters</em></a> and unfold as a hypothesis suggesting a solution for an abiding mystery in astrophysics.</p> <p><div class="pullquote inline align-left"> "That the discovery of gravitational waves could be connected to dark matter" is creating lots of excitement among astrophysicists. <div class="cite"> Ely D. Kovetz, postdoctoral fellow</div> </div> </p> <p>"We consider the possibility that the black hole binary detected by LIGO may be a signature of dark matter," wrote the scientists in their summary, referring to the black hole pair as a "binary." What follows are five pages of annotated mathematical equations showing how the researchers considered the mass of the two objects LIGO detected as a point of departure, suggesting that these objects could be part of the mysterious substance known to make up about 85 percent of the mass of the universe.</p> <p>A matter of scientific speculation since the 1930s, dark matter has recently been studied with greater precision; more evidence has emerged since the 1970s, albeit always indirectly. While dark matter itself cannot yet be detected, its gravitational effects can be. For example, dark matter is believed to explain inconsistencies in the rotation of visible matter in galaxies.</p> <p>The Johns Hopkins team, led by postdoctoral fellow Simeon Bird, was struck by the mass of the black holes detected by LIGO, an observatory that consists of two expansive L-shaped detection systems anchored to the ground. One is in Louisiana and the other in Washington State.</p> <p>Black hole masses are measured in terms of multiples of our sun. The colliding objects that generated a gravity wave detected by LIGO—a joint project of the California Institute of Technology and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology—were 36 and 29 solar masses. Those are too large to fit predictions of the size of most stellar black holes, the ultra-dense structures that form when stars collapse. But they are also too small to fit the predictions of the size of supermassive black holes at the center of galaxies.</p> <p>The two LIGO-detected objects do, however, fit within the expected range of mass of "primordial" black holes.</p> <p>Primordial black holes are believed to have formed not from stars but from the collapse of large expanses of gas during the birth of the universe. While their existence has not been established with certainty, primordial black holes have in the past been suggested as a possible solution to the dark matter mystery. Because there's so little evidence of them, though, the primordial black hole-dark matter hypothesis has not gained a large following among scientists.</p> <p>The LIGO findings, however, raise the prospect anew, especially as the objects detected in that experiment conform to the mass predicted for dark matter. Predictions made by scientists in the past held that conditions at the birth of the universe would produce lots of these primordial black holes distributed fairly evenly in the universe, clustering in halos around galaxies. All this would make them good candidates for dark matter.</p> <p>The Johns Hopkins team calculated how often these primordial black holes would form binary pairs, and eventually collide. Taking into account the size and elongated shape believed to characterize primordial black hole binary orbits, the team came up with a collision rate that conforms to the LIGO findings.</p> <p>"We are not proposing this is the dark matter," said one of the authors, <a href="">Marc Kamionkowski</a>, the William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy. "We're not going to bet the house. It's a plausibility argument."</p> <p>More observations from LIGO and other evidence will be needed to support this hypothesis, including further detections like the one announced in February. That could suggest greater abundance of objects of that signature mass.</p> <p>"If you have a lot of 30-mass events, that begs an explanation," said co-author Ely D. Kovetz, a postdoctoral fellow in physics and astronomy. "That the discovery of gravitational waves could be connected to dark matter" is creating lots of excitement among astrophysicists, he said.</p> <p>"It's got a lot of potential," Kamionkowski said.</p> Wed, 15 Jun 2016 15:15:00 -0400 Johns Hopkins community grapples with Orlando shootings <p> <div class="image inline align-right image-square column has-caption"> <img src="//" alt="A candle in a paper cup at the Baltimore vigil for Orlando" /> <div class="caption"> <p> <span class="visuallyhidden">Image caption:</span> Baltimore's candlelight vigil for Orlando </p> <p class="credit"> Image <span class="visuallyhidden">credit</span>: Twitter </p> </div> </div> </p> <p>In response to last weekend's tragedy in Orlando, the LGBTQ community and others at Johns Hopkins have been looking for ways to band together—perhaps not to make sense of the violence, because that could prove impossible, but at least to process it in some way.</p> <p>Today in the late afternoon, the LGBTQ Life office will host an event it calls a <a href="">"healing session"</a> at Hopkins Square. There will be conversation, a quiet space, and a variety of craft supplies for making art, according to the <a href="">Facebook event listing</a>, which invites people to "come join your chosen family in community to do whatever signifies healing for you."</p> <p>"There's not a lot of things that can be done concretely other than coming together and sharing space," says Demere Woolway, who leads <a href="">LGBTQ Life at JHU</a>.</p> <p>One purpose for the art supplies is to create a sign of solidarity that Hopkins community members can carry next month at the <a href="">Baltimore Pride</a> parade.</p> <p>Woolway says she's been hearing all week from students and staff, "reaching out to share their sadness and frustration and anger" about the mass-shooting deaths of 49 victims at the Pulse gay nightclub in Orlando.</p> <p>On Facebook, she's been inviting people to visit her office if they "need a place to breathe."</p> <p>The <a href="">JHU Office of Residential Life</a> has offered the same. "We've opened our office spaces up into being safe space for students to hang out and chat," says director Allison Avolio.</p> <p>And on Monday evening, students and staff from Hopkins were among the hundreds in Baltimore who took part in <a href="">a vigil mourning the victims</a> at the Ynot Lot in Station North.</p> <p>The Residential Life office "helped rally people and bring them down," says Woolway. "That was great to participate among the greater Baltimore community."</p> <p>Osiris Mancera, a rising Hopkins sophomore who interns with JHU LGBTQ Life, attended the vigil.</p> <p>"We needed bodies to hug and people to cry with and leaders to hear," Mancera wrote in an email. "There were so many kinds of people, not just from the LGBTQ community. I saw faculty and staff from JHU, the mayor, strangers. I saw children and elderly people, from all walks of life. We were together in this moment of heartbreak."</p> <p>The mass-shooting at Pulse struck a personal note for Mancera, who grew up in Florida, identifies as queer latinx, and has many queer friends in Orlando. "It was horrifying not knowing what was happening, trying to contact everyone to make sure they were okay," Mancera wrote. "It was hard processing, it still is, because it feels like this community … is constantly hurting and healing from tragedies."</p> <p>Mancera also interns for <a href="">FreeState Legal</a>, an advocacy organization that works with Maryland LGBTQ residents and helped coordinate the Baltimore vigil.</p> <p>On the heels of the massive community event, Woolway says, "We didn't need to plan another a vigil, but we needed time to share thoughts and feelings."</p> <p>Today's healing session takes place at 3003 N. Charles St, Suite 100, from 4 to 6 p.m.</p>