Johns Hopkine Magazine The latest from Johns Hopkins Magazine. Johns Hopkine Magazine Fri, 11 Sep 2015 14:48:00 -0400 America's food waste problem is bigger than you think <p>Imagine the 92,542-seat Rose Bowl stadium as a giant serving bowl. Now imagine it filled to the brim with food—tomatoes, pork chops, milk, all kinds of edibles. Finally, imagine all that food being trucked straight to a landfill. This is one way to visualize how much food is wasted in the United States every day, says Roni Neff, program director at the Bloomberg School of Public Health's Center for a Livable Future and an assistant professor in the Department of Environmental Health Sciences. As much as 31 percent of our post-harvest food supply gets tossed instead of eaten, the U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates. "The numbers are just so staggering," says Neff, who studies how and why people waste food. (Staggering and cruel: Hunger charities report that one in six Americans struggles to get enough to eat; the USDA reported that 14.3 percent of households in 2013 did not have sufficient food.)</p> <p>Neff led a study recently published in the journal <em>PLOS One</em> that included a first-of-its-kind survey of more than 1,000 Americans about their awareness of food waste and their attitudes and behaviors regarding it. Over 60 percent of those surveyed said they were "very" or "fairly" knowledgeable about the issue of food waste, and over half said it bothered them "a lot" to throw out food. Neff sees this as encouraging, indicative that consumers would be receptive to interventions to reduce waste. "The United States might be on the cusp of having a real opportunity to move forward in addressing the issue," she says.</p> <p>But while they were aware that wasted food is a problem, those surveyed tended to blame others. Nearly three-quarters said they wasted less food than the average American, and 13 percent claimed they didn't waste any food at all. "Tossing food that spoiled in the refrigerator has become habitual behavior so that people don't necessarily see that as waste, because once something has spoiled it's not seen as food anymore," Neff says, offering one explanation for the underreporting.</p> <p>Worry over food poisoning was the most popular reason for discarding food, leading Neff to conclude that consumers could use additional guidance to explain factors beyond age that can make food unsafe to eat, such as contamination and improper storage. One policy change she suggests: Encode the sell-by dates on perishable food labels so that only grocers can read them. "In the survey, a fifth of the people said they threw out food—especially milk-based food—on the sell-by date, which we know has nothing to do with whether that milk is safe to drink," she says. Sell-by dates are merely the manufacturer's estimate of peak freshness, not deadlines for safe consumption. A desire to "eat only the freshest food" was the number two reason respondents gave for wasting food. One reason for this, Neff thinks, is a foodie culture fostered by celebrity chefs and cooking programs that has convinced many to seek only perfect, unblemished food.</p> <p>What motivates people the most to reduce food waste? Those surveyed said saving money, by a large margin. Reducing the environmental impact was least motivating. But those costs, too, can be staggering. Various estimates note that about one-third of fresh water, cropland, and fertilizer goes to growing food that ultimately will be wasted. "We do have to work to remind people the amount of money that's being thrown out along with the food," Neff says. "But at the same time, I'd like to see us build up our education efforts about these vast environmental impacts</p> Fri, 11 Sep 2015 14:48:00 -0400 Your memory of colors isn't as good as you think it is <p>Jonathan Flombaum brings up a scene re-enacted in hardware stores every weekend. Someone confidently selects a can of touch-up paint for a hallway or bedroom wall, returns home— and finds it doesn't match the wall. "If I look at the wall, I think, 'Oh, I know exactly what color that is,'" he says. "And then I walk into the store and suddenly realize that I'm screwed. I'm looking at 100 different paint chips, and I have no idea. It's a very salient experience when thinking doesn't work as perfectly as we might expect."</p> <p>Flombaum is a Johns Hopkins cognitive psychologist, and his interest in this scenario goes much deeper than interior decorating. He has studied how people remember color and what that says about how the brain works. In a recent series of experiments, he asked research subjects to examine a color wheel of 180 different hues. "Indicate what you think are the best examples of blue, pink, purple, orange, yellow, red, and green," he told them. Most people selected the same colors, which told Flombaum that people tend to have similar ideas about the most exemplary version of a color. There may be many tints, tones, and shades of blue, for example, but there is one <em>blue</em> blue.</p> <p>Then Flombaum's team set up a second test. With a new group of volunteers, the researchers flashed a single color on a computer screen, then later asked them to look at the same 180-hue color wheel and identify from memory the color they'd seen on the computer. Most participants did not point to the specific hue they'd actually viewed, but to colors that the first group had described as the "best" color for each category. The subjects had been shown turquoise but remembered basic blue, saw coral but remembered pink. This bias became stronger as more time elapsed between seeing the original color and choosing its match from memory.</p> <p>Flombaum says the human visual cortex may be perfectly capable of distinguishing a vast array of colors, differentiating sea green from viridian from shamrock. But it appears the brain is wired to remember specific colors—and possibly other sensory responses like smell, touch, and taste—by placing them in general categories, in this case "green." It's as if there were two languages: one very sharp in its distinctions of perceived color (what the brain makes of what the eyes see) and the other comparatively blunt in what it can store in memory. "The brain always wants to describe the world in both blunt terms and sharper, more detailed ones," he says. "When we retrieve information from memory, the brain tries to utilize both kinds of descriptions, though they may not always align perfectly."</p> <p>Flombaum hesitates to speculate why human brains evolved this way, but he does hypothesize that it's how we're programmed to deal with information based on previous experience—what statisticians refer to as a "prior." "Your brain uses a very good statistical trick to deal with the uncertainty that's inherent in perception," he says. "Your brain tends to think that things you've seen before are more likely." For example, imagine wandering in a field of strawberries. You expect them to be red. But, Flombaum says, "if I managed to make a strawberry that was at the boundary between red and purple and you saw it briefly and later I asked you what color it was, it would make sense that you would be drawn toward the red side of possibilities because it's unlikely that the strawberry was purple."</p> <p>Flombaum, who refers to his workspace as the Visual Thinking Lab, intends to investigate how people respond to being tasked with remembering multiple colors shown at the same time. "In general, we want to know in my lab what is it that makes thinking imperfect," says Flombaum. "I mean thinking in general, all mental computation. The perspective in my lab is that what we often associate with the difficulty of remembering something is not keeping it there, but [actually] the computational difficulty of finding the right information in your brain and doing the right computations with it." Or, as it says on his lab's home page, "Why is thinking hard?"</p> Fri, 11 Sep 2015 14:48:00 -0400 Why background checks for gun purchases have gun-owner support <p>Daniel Webster is getting ready to board a plane for Chicago, where he'll be speaking about guns in America.</p> <p>As the director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research, Webster is asked to give a lot of talks, all the time. He turns down most of them—he's too busy doing research—but today he anticipates an opportunity to talk about something contrary to the gun lobby's narrative: People who own guns actually favor stricter control over firearms. And not by a little, either.</p> <p>In a new survey conducted by Webster's research center and published online in <em>Preventive Medicine</em>, 85 percent of gun owners said there should be background checks for every individual seeking to buy a gun, regardless of who wants to sell the weapon or where the transaction takes place. That's 2 percentage points higher than for non-gun owners asked the same question. This echoes what Webster and his colleagues found two years ago, shortly after the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut that left 20 students and six teachers dead. "The idea that we want to keep guns from dangerous people is common sense, whether you are a lifetime member of the NRA and grew up with guns or you're a pacifist," says Webster.</p> <p>Currently under federal law, all licensed firearms dealers must do background checks on anyone seeking to buy a gun. But if a person buys a firearm through a private seller—either online, through a classified ad, or at a gun show—depending on where they live, there's a good chance they won't be subject to a check. Only six states require a background check for any purchase of a gun, regardless of the manner of sale.</p> <p>Emma McGinty, an assistant professor of health policy and management in the Bloomberg School of Public Health who worked on the survey, says she was surprised at how similar the results were in the 2013 and 2015 polls, even though she cautions against reading too much into a statistical comparison between the two because of survey sample variations. One reason this most recent survey was undertaken was in response to critics who argued that results from the first were skewed because the research had been conducted only two months after the Sandy Hook killings. "The criticism we always got was, 'You fielded this survey in this unique window in time, right after this horrific elementary school shooting, and those numbers were very misleading as a result,'" explains McGinty. "Really, that's not the case."</p> <p>In a separate study, Webster found that firearm-related homicides in Connecticut dropped 40 percent after the state adopted a 1995 law that required anyone seeking to buy a handgun to apply for a permit with the local police, complete at least eight hours of safety training, and be 21 years old. "I was impressed," Webster says about the study, which appeared in the <em>American Journal of Public Health</em>. "There's some variability around any point estimate, so [the effect] could have been slightly less, but unquestionably it seems as though the policy change translated into a fairly sizable number of lives saved." Just how many? On average, about 30 lives per year over the 10 years studied, he says. "Many states are strengthening their laws to keep guns from dangerous people, and I think that's a trend that will continue and eventually make it to the federal government," says Webster. "But it's not going to happen overnight, and it's not going to happen if we have the same mindset on and orientation to this issue that we've always had. Once we try to get over the cultural battle and understand the issue more from the middle rather than the extremes—what we agree upon—we'll save a lot of lives."</p> Fri, 11 Sep 2015 14:48:00 -0400 Could hydroponic rooftop farms feed Baltimore? <p>J.J. Reidy is a farmer in search of a roof. He came to the Carey Business School two years ago to learn how to bring to market his concept for vertical hydroponic rooftop farms—a system of vertical columns in which plants grow not in soil but in nutrient solutions. Reidy believes such farms could produce 300,000 pounds or more of greens and herbs for Baltimore each year, enough to feed a school system. He founded a company called Urban Pastoral and has set his sights on beginning construction of a commercial-scale urban vertical farm within a year. All he needs now is that roof.</p> <p>A career connecting food, agriculture, and technology was always the plan for Reidy, Bus '15. The summer before coming to Johns Hopkins, he spent about three months working on an organic farm in Vermont. He read about sustainable urban farming in places like Montreal, Vancouver, and New York City, where vertical rooftop farms used hydroponics to produce high crop yields in restricted space without generating agricultural waste such as pesticide and fertilizer runoff.</p> <p>Ninety-seven percent of produce sold in Baltimore comes from outside Maryland, Reidy says, citing statistics from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the California Department of Food and Agriculture. He believes Urban Pastoral could help the city sustainably produce more of its own food to feed its own people. "I came to Johns Hopkins knowing this is what I was meant to do—applying principles of agriculture to an urban environment," he says. And Baltimore is just the place, he believes, for rooftop farming, with its dense urban population, local demand for produce, and scores of abandoned buildings.</p> <p>He needs to show that his company can execute his scheme on a small scale before building bigger facilities. So this fall, Urban Pastoral will launch a proof-of-concept project, BoxUP, a growing facility in a shipping container located on the campus of the Baltimore Food Hub, a nonprofit urban food project meant to help build the regional food economy. The greenhouse will supply produce to local restaurateurs and the food services contractor Bon Appétit, which manages some food services at the Johns Hopkins Homewood campus. The shipping container concept will use the same vertical hydroponic system as the larger- scale version, allowing Reidy and crew to push product to market, interact with locals, and start sales. "It's the general idea of demonstrating to the community the degree of impact we can create with just 320 square feet, and then saying, 'Imagine what we can do with 20,000 or 40,000 square feet.'"</p> <p>In coming months, Reidy says he expects to close a land agreement with Green Street Academy, a public charter school in West Baltimore that recently renovated 145,000 square feet of space at the former Gwynns Falls Junior High School. "What's really attractive about that space is the school's focus on agriculture," he notes. The curriculum inspires students to make the world greener while preparing them for high-demand jobs in green industries. Students are already learning principles of hydroponics, aquaponics (a combination of hydroponics and fish farming), business management, and more. The new 8.75-acre property has a rain garden, chicken coop, and outdoor classrooms. Reidy plans to build a 40,000-square-foot hydroponic vertical farm, where Urban Pastoral can grow produce while teaching students about agriculture and nurturing future farmers. "Our farm would not only feed the school year-round, but we could integrate it into their agricultural technology curriculum and provide opportunities for the next generation of workforce development," Reidy says. "We are very excited by the opportunity for such a unique collaboration."</p> Fri, 11 Sep 2015 14:48:00 -0400 Student engineers have designed a device for portable Parkinson's therapy <p>In summer 2014, Johns Hopkins biomedical engineering graduate student David Blumenstyk observed deep brain stimulation surgery performed on a Parkinson's patient at Johns Hopkins Hospital. Often a last resort for sufferers of the degenerative disorder, the procedure involves making a small hole in the skull to implant leads, mostly in the subthalamic nucleus area. The leads are connected to a pulse generator— a sort of brain pacemaker placed under the skin—that sends electrical signals to block abnormal firing of neurons and reduce the disorder's trademark symptoms: tremors, rigidity, slowness of movement, lack of sleep, and depression. Blumenstyk and his student colleagues were at the hospital in search of a worthwhile medical design project. They were struck by the invasiveness of the DBS procedure, which can take 10 to 15 hours to complete and risks side effects ranging from infection and speech impairment to loss of some cognitive function. They wondered if there might be a safer, less invasive way to provide a similar level of treatment.</p> <p>Johns Hopkins neurosurgeon William Anderson referred the students to Yousef Salimpour, now a research associate in the functional neurosurgery lab of the School of Medicine's neurosurgery department. Salimpour has looked into noninvasive Parkinson's therapies. One promising therapy is transcranial direct current stimulation, a painless treatment in which a low-level current is passed through two electrodes placed over the head to tweak the electrical activity in specific areas of the brain. The technique can be used to excite or inhibit cortical activities. "We know if we stimulate the deep structure of the brain, we can reduce Parkinson's symptoms," Salimpour says. "But we also know the source of the symptoms is not the deep structure; it's mostly in the motor cortex, the site of the tremor. So the idea was: Why don't we stimulate this part of the network? The motor cortex is more accessible than the deep structure, and the procedure [would be] less invasive."</p> <p>Reduce Parkinson's symptoms without medications and without cracking a hole in the skull? That's a therapy worth pursuing.</p> <p>The concept of electrical stimulation to affect nerves and muscles is centuries old and might have provided the inspiration for Mary Shelley's <em>Frankenstein</em>. But in 2000, scientists found a way to evaluate the efficacy of electrical brain stimulation that made this approach a prime target for neurological disease therapy. In a recent study, set to be published in <em>The Journal of Neuroscience</em>, a cohort of 40 Parkinson's patients who presented symptoms on their right sides were given either a 20-minute transcranial stimulation once per day or a placebo "sham shock." The researchers measured symptoms before and after, and they found that those who were given the actual stimulation reported significantly reduced motor symptoms for up to one full day, with no side effects aside from a slight tingling on the skin at the start of the treatment. "It's like an effective daily medication. We notice reduced tremors and positive changes to rigidity," Salimpour says. "But it's temporary. We don't do a permanent change in the brain."</p> <p>Promising results, but to date treatment has been lab-based and confined to those in the study. The transcranial direct current stimulation device used is a clunky rectangular box that needs to be operated by trained technicians. The engineering student design team—Blumenstyk, Ian Graham, Melody Tan, Erin Reisfeld, and Shruthi Rajan—proposed to Salimpour an easy-to-use, home-based device and developed a prototype as part of a yearlong master's project. The result was a battery-powered, headband-shaped device dubbed STIMband. It features two spongey electrodes that deliver two milliamps of stimulation to regions of neural motor activity on the left and right side of the brain. One electrode is positively charged and the other negatively charged in order to induce a change in the target cortex. The patient would activate treatment by touching a large "on" button, then undergo 20 to 30 minutes of stimulation, viewed as a safe window of exposure. "We wanted to make this therapy mobile," says Graham, who has since graduated and is now working with St. Jude Medical, a medical device company. "The patients didn't want to come in every day to get the treatment, and many don't live in Baltimore. So we wanted to design something that could be used in a home setting for not just those who required [DBS], but those with moderate and early onset symptoms."</p> <p>Although the device has not yet been tested on humans, the functional part of the system is identical to the lab-based transcranial stimulation device. Why it is effective remains a mystery. "We don't have a good reason why this technique works, and the same goes for the deep brain stimulation," says Salimpour. "But if it's successful for the person with Parkinson's, you don't care. At this moment, we have no cure and we can't stop the progression of the disease. So the point is, can we find ways to bring the quality of life back?" Salimpour says the next steps are optimization and long-term human studies, which the team hopes to begin soon. They need to determine the optimal placement of the device, the current (intensity) level, and the right duration of stimulation. "Maybe we boost the power. Maybe they get stimulated for 40 minutes. We just don't know," he says. He's optimistic about the device's potential. "This is not a miracle. This is not a solution for everything. But if we can improve this system and get it to market, I have faith that a patient's quality of life can improve."</p> Fri, 11 Sep 2015 14:48:00 -0400 New book examines 1922 silent film that billed itself as a "documentary of witchcraft" <p>Anthropologist Richard Baxstrom smiles when he talks about how a nearly century-old film freaks people out today. For the past five years, he and colleague Todd Meyers have studied the 1922 silent film <em>Häxan</em>, which Benjamin Christensen, the film's Danish director, billed as a documentary of witchcraft. In the decades since its limited release, it has become an obscure oddity, known more for its wild imagery—women under Satan's spell, a ritualistic orgy, Satan churning butter in a scene of blatant onanistic excess—than for its content. And Baxstrom likes to watch how his students, who assure him that there's nothing they haven't seen, react when he screens it in class. "The heebie-jeebies come to them unexpectedly," Baxstrom says. "And then they divide. Half of them are absolutely excited and the whole rest of the course pales by comparison. And the others are just happy to leave it behind. But nobody's neutral. I've never seen anyone be like, <em>meh</em>."</p> <p><em>Häxan</em> has flummoxed audiences since its first showing. An excerpt of a 1922 <em>Variety</em> review says ma ny of its scenes are "unadulterated horror," before adding that "wonderful though this picture is, it is absolutely unfit for public exhibition." British film critic Jonathan Romney, writing in <em>The Guardian</em> in 1994, calls the film a "delirious mix of historical tableau and lantern lecture," and says Christensen "lays on the hobble and bubble and leering Bosch demons." The film was banned in the United States, though in 1968 an edited version was released featuring a jazz score and narration from William Burroughs, which amplified the film's weird status. It remained infrequently seen and written about until it was restored and rereleased on DVD in 2001 by the Criterion Collection, whose press materials claim, "The film itself is far from serious—instead it's a witches' brew of the scary, gross, and darkly humorous."</p> <p>Baxstrom, A&S '06 (PhD), and Meyers, A&S '07 (MA), '09 (PhD), who have collaborated on writing projects since grad school, believe otherwise. The film left them speechless at first, but they wanted to get past the initial shock. That's what anthropologists do: confront something outside their ken, but open their minds to the probability that there's a logic to what seems initially foreign. "So we were trying to figure out, What was Christensen trying to do?" Meyers says.</p> <p>Their answer to that question appears in their new book, <em>Realizing the Witch: Science, Cinema, and the Mastery of the Invisible</em>, out October 31 from Fordham University Press. Baxstrom is a sociocultural anthropologist and University of Edinburgh lecturer, and Meyers is a medical anthropologist and Wayne State University associate professor. <em>Häxan</em> offered them a chance to take a deep dive into a singular film and director. They quickly learned that <em>Häxan</em>'s intellectual pool was much deeper than they had imagined.</p> <p>In the film's original program notes, Christensen included a bibliography of more than 60 sources he consulted to create the images and narratives. They ranged from 15th- and 16th-century texts about witchcraft (such as the church inquisitor's handbook <em>Malleus Maleficarum</em>) to late 19th- and early 20th-century writing about psychology and neu­rology (including Sigmund Freud, Carl Jung, and French neurologist Jean-Martin Charcot).</p> <p>Baxstrom and Meyers followed Christensen's research, trying to trace how he translated what he read into a visual language. They began to note where certain compositions in the film allude to depictions of demons in medieval art. And they started to put Christensen's research into the context of Europe reeling from the psychological devastation of the era. "It's really in the wake of the First World War that [Christensen is] collecting and analyzing his source material," Meyers says, adding that during this time, two different understandings of hysteria had been popularized. One was the long-standing catchall for an emotional condition that afflicts women. The other was the fugue state that befell soldiers traumatized by their war experiences. Neither had been adequately addressed by medical science. "We don't talk about it a lot [in the book], but some of Christensen's source material comes from people we now would call 'spiritualists.' It was a world hungry for explanation."</p> <p>The scholars began to see <em>Häxan</em> as Christensen envisioned it: a cinematic argument that what the church had called witchcraft was really undiagnosed hysteria. It's a point of view that positions <em>Häxan</em> less as a cinematic oddity and more as part of a continuum of expressive ethnographic films that extends from the mid-20th-century works of Jean Rouch up to the immersive 2012 deep-sea fishing documentary <em>Leviathan</em> produced by Harvard University's Sensory Ethnography Lab. "On first view, Christensen's claim that this is a nonfiction film feels completely insane," Baxstrom says. "We took that claim seriously, and I think that what's happening nowadays is people are taking seriously the idea that film makes possible a different kind of knowledge production."</p> <p>At 273 pages, <em>Witch</em> carves a dense path from <em>Häxan</em> to contemporary thoughts on epistemology. At first it feels like a familiar kind of film book—a heady exploration of a filmmaker through his most infamous film—but Baxstrom and Meyers soon veer into explorations of documentary film language, discuss the idea of evidence in the modern social sciences, and even locate common intellectual ground between medieval church inquisitors and anthropological fieldwork today. And if that means their book is a bit vexing at first, that's OK. The movie inspired the ambition they put into it. "[<em>Häxan</em>'s] reviews at the time seemed to be struggling with just what this thing is," Baxstrom says with a laugh. "I hope we captured that spirit of the film in the book. I mean, yes, I hope the book gets a good reception. You want more people to engage with the film and like it. But if at some point somebody doesn't say, 'What the hell are these guys on?' I'll be a little disappointed, to</p> Fri, 11 Sep 2015 14:48:00 -0400 Message <p>The principle of academic freedom is no academic exercise.</p> <p>From Johns Hopkins' founding, this idea has undergirded the freedom of inquiry and expression essential to our enterprise, fueling our greatest discoveries and emboldening our most insightful debates. Daniel Coit Gilman championed it as the sine qua non of America's first research university, and Hopkins philosopher Arthur Lovejoy co-founded the American Association of University Professors, which remains to this day the nation's leading guardian of academic freedom.</p> <p>In the succeeding years, we have not always walked a clear or easy path on issues of academic freedom.</p> <p>Indeed, many alumni saw the university grapple with this principle in practice. In the 1950s, hundreds of students, faculty, and staff rallied in Levering Hall to support Owen Lattimore, Hopkins professor and renowned China scholar. Accused by Senator Joseph McCarthy of spying for the Soviet Union, Lattimore was eventually placed on paid leave as he struggled to clear his name. More than a decade later, as the Vietnam War ignited contentious debate, the administration suspended the editors of the <em>News-Letter</em> when they published a satirical article nominating both President Lyndon Johnson and mass-murderer Richard Speck for "Man-of-the-Year." More recently, our community has wrestled with other challenges, ranging from the recognition of student groups to the invitation of commencement speakers, and from the use of social media to the protection of academic freedom ideals on our Nanjing campus.</p> <p>Given our history, it is striking that Johns Hopkins has never had a formal statement of principles on academic freedom, one that would capture our core commitment to this principle and serve as a touchstone to guide us in the decades to come. With this in mind last year, Provost Rob Lieberman and I charged a task force of faculty and students with creating a statement. Over the ensuing months, they deliberated extensively and submitted to us their recommended draft. We shared their recommendation broadly with our community, incorporating further feedback into a final version. I hope you'll read the final statement in full <a href="">here</a>.</p> <p>It is fitting that the announcement of this milestone comes as we welcome a new class of Hopkins students to Homewood. In their intellectual exploration, dynamic debate, and pathbreaking discovery, they will exercise to the fullest the values that academic freedom protects, as our university renews its dedication to holding aloft the lantern of free expression. As the statement reminds us, "Each of us, in our time as members of this community of scholars, bears a responsibility for nurturing its flame, and passing it on to those who will follow."</p> Fri, 11 Sep 2015 14:48:00 -0400 Contributors <p><strong>Sarah Richards</strong> ("<a href="">Pro Gun and Pro Checks</a>," "<a href="">City of Contrasts</a>," "<a href="">SEARCH Mission</a>,") is a Canadian writer and radio producer living in Baltimore. She has covered a wide range of topics, from alligator hunting in Louisiana to the last executioner in France to operate the guillotine. <div class='magazine-section-break'></div> <strong>Marina Muun</strong> ("<a href="">Rooftop Crops</a>," illustration) is a London–based illustrator whose work has appeared in <em>Wired</em>, <em>The Washington Post</em>, <em>The New York Times</em>, and <em>Smithsonian</em> magazine. <div class='magazine-section-break'></div> <strong>Jon Han</strong> ("<a href="">Fortunate Encounter</a>," illustration), a graduate of Art Center College of Design, is an award-winning artist. His work has been published in <em>The New York Times</em>, <em>The New Yorker</em>, <em>GQ</em>, and <em>The Atlantic</em>, among others. <div class='magazine-section-break'></div> <strong>Edwin Tse</strong> ("<a href="">Dean of Fine Arts</a>," photography) specializes in shooting fashion, portraits, and landscapes. Past clients for the Brooklyn–based photographer include <em>Fast Company</em>, <em>Maxim</em>, <em>The Economist</em>, and <em>Town & Country</em>. <div class='magazine-section-break'></div> <strong>Gary Lambrecht</strong> ("<a href="">Ruler of the Roost</a>") is a freelance writer in northern Baltimore County. He spent 21 years covering high school, collegiate, and professional sports for <em>The Baltimore Sun</em>. <div class='magazine-section-break'></div> <strong>Heather Salerno</strong> ("<a href="">Staying Power</a>") is a freelance writer based in the Greater New York City area. Her work has appeared in <em>USA Today</em>, <em>The Washington Post</em>, <em>Family Circle</em>, <em>Woman's World</em>, and People. <div class='magazine-section-break'></div></p> <h3>On the Cover</h3> <p>Lisa Shires spent five years working in defense contracting before making a career change to professional photography. Her current gig involves fewer office meetings and more adventures— like <a href="">this issue's cover shoot</a>, which brought her to the Chesapeake Bay's Calvert Cliffs and the Calvert Marine Museum with pro-am fossil hunter Aaron Alford, SPH '08 (PhD). While at the museum, Shires captured a hodgepodge of Miocene teeth from snaggletooth, tiger, and gray sharks. Her work can also be seen in publications like National Geographic, What's Up Annapolis, and Baltimore magazine.</p> Fri, 11 Sep 2015 14:48:00 -0400 Note <p><strong>I remember watching John Glenn blast off.</strong></p> <p>Glenn's three-orbit flight in 1962 was the nascent U.S. space program's first manned orbital mission. I was in the second grade, watching on a portable television that our kind teacher had brought to class for the occasion. Rockets and astronauts and outer space consumed me. I watched every launch I could and for years maintained a scrapbook of newspaper clippings about space exploration. So imagine my delight when I found myself at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory in July watching the New Horizons spacecraft's rendezvous with Pluto. Nearly a decade earlier, I had been afforded the chance to see the craft before it was shipped to Florida for launch. In July, I watched as the New Horizons team accomplished its mission ("Moment of Truth") and the 61-year-old man that I am gave way to the 8-year-old who had watched John Glenn. I could not have been happier.</p> <p>It would be hard to exaggerate the triumph of the engineers and scientists at APL and its mission partner, the Southwest Research Institute. When you work at Johns Hopkins, you get used to brilliance. Nobel laureates, MacArthur fellows, National Book Award winners—this place is chockablock with hyperintelligent overachievers. I'm used to it after 23 years. But I can still be dazzled.</p> <p>While we're speaking of superb teams, I could not be happier to announce that the Council for Advancement and Support of Education recently conferred the 2015 Robert Sibley Award on <em>Johns Hopkins Magazine</em>, recognizing it as the best university magazine in the country. We believe our magazine is the one Johns Hopkins University—and you, our readers—deserve.</p> Fri, 11 Sep 2015 14:48:00 -0400 Dialogue <h3>Past Time</h3> <p>The article <a href="">"From Ashes to Amity" [Summer 2015]</a> states, "After World War II, Germany faced the need to reconcile with its enemies; other nations could learn from how it did so." German Chancellor Angela Merkel described how her country rehabilitated its international reputation after World War II by reconciling with victims of Nazis and acknowledging the atrocities Germany had committed.</p> <p>Israel is one of the countries that could learn from this. For nearly 50 years, Israel has brutally occupied and oppressed the Palestinians, including land and water theft, home demolitions, mass arrests, humiliating roadblocks and checkpoints, and a strangulation blockade on the civilian population of Gaza. According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, Israel massacred 2,200 Palestinians in Gaza last summer, roughly three-quarters of whom were civilians, including 500 children. It is past time for Israel to be held accountable by the world community for the many atrocities that it has committed and continues to commit against the suffering Palestinian people.</p> <p><strong>Ray Gordon, A&S '66</strong><br /> Bel Air, Maryland</p> <p><div class='magazine-section-break'></div></p> <h3>Take Heed</h3> <p><a href="">"From Ashes to Amity"</a> in the summer issue was particularly thought-provoking in light of current events in American cities like Ferguson, Baltimore, and Charleston, which have undertones of long-festering divisions. Lily Gardner Feldman's insights with regard to Germany's approach to reconciliation should be taken to heart at home to help avoid future domestic incidents; Japan's denial shows that the opposite approach is counterproductive.</p> <p><strong>Bob Wright, SAIS '73</strong><br /> Leesburg, Virginia</p> <p><div class='magazine-section-break'></div></p> <h3>What Works</h3> <p><a href="">"Burned Out" [Summer 2015]</a>, about nursing ethics, very clearly describes a phenomenon that has long plagued the health care field. The emphasis on the ethical dimensions of this issue and the educational and institutional remedies suggested are very appropriate and thoughtful. However, it would be helpful to practicing clinicians if specific interventions (preferably evidence-based) might also be suggested.</p> <p>I would like to briefly describe one such intervention that I and Dr. Martin Abeloff, the former director of the Kimmel Cancer Center who died in 2007, instituted in the Hopkins Oncology Clinic in the early 1970s. At the request of Dr. Abeloff, who had observed impending staff burnout in the clinic, I led a support group every two weeks that included all nonphysician staff of the clinic (nurses, social workers, aides, secretaries, etc.) to address issues they found stressful. Needless to say, ethical issues were frequently discussed and are recounted in a September 1973 <em>International Journal of Psychiatry in Medicine</em> article I wrote describing the program. This support group proved to be beneficial to the participants and could be an adjunct to the very helpful suggestions in the current article.</p> <p><strong>Thomas J. Craig, SPH '67, HS '68</strong><br /> Springfield, Virginia <div class='magazine-section-break'></div></p> <h3>Shared Pain</h3> <p>I had to chuckle reading Luke Kelly-Clyne's piece, <a href="">"Unforgivable Offense" [Afterwords, Summer]</a>. I feel your pain, bro. I guess my destiny was to attend Johns Hopkins with a name like Ingram Roberts. For my entire life, I've been addressed as "Robert Ingram," "Bob Ingram," or "Mr. Ingram" (or even "Dr. Ingram"). My wife usually tells me, "Just use your middle name, Mark; don't even mention your first name." I'm one of those two-last-name guys, just like the original big guy, Johns Hopkins.</p> <p>However, when someone screws up my name or the name of my alma mater, I always correct him or her immediately, no matter who says it. Syracuse lacrosse fans have made an art of "Blue Jay baiting" over the years, referring to us collectively as "John Hopkins." The rumor was that former Syracuse coach Roy Simmons used to say this on purpose just to "get our goat."</p> <p>The most egregious example of political John(s) incorrectness in recent memory occurred when the Blue Jays visited the White House in 2005 after winning the NCAA lacrosse championship and were referred to by President George W. Bush as the team from "John Hopkins."</p> <p>So for you, Luke, and all my fellow alumni: To quote former JHU basketball coach Jim Valvano, "Don't give up; don't ever give up." Continue to call out those with inattention to detail who just can't ever get it right—even if they're the president of the United States.</p> <p><strong>Ingram Roberts, A&S '72, Med '76</strong><br /> Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania <div class='magazine-section-break'></div></p> <h3>Facepalm</h3> <p>Worse still than Luke Kelly-Clyne's <a href="">"Unforgivable Offense" [Summer 2015]</a> was sportscaster Howard Cosell's commencement address at our son's graduation in 1987, during which he thanked John Hopkins for inviting him to speak.</p> <p><strong>Sam Wasson, A&S '62</strong><br /> Berwyn, Pennsylvania <div class='magazine-section-break'></div></p> <blockquote>Connect with us. Send your letters to</blockquote> <h3>The Man, the Legend</h3> <p>Colleagues have referred me to the <a href="">Harvey Noyes letter [Dialogue, Summer 2015]</a> about Hopkins' W.H. Gantt, who worked with Ivan Pavlov. They asked that I notify readers that the legend of W. Horsley Gantt continues to grow and thrive in the Alan Mason Chesney Medical Archives. <a href="">Follow this link to the Horsley Gantt Collection</a>.</p> <p>Moreover, the collection continues to expand with the addition of 57.6 cubic feet of new materials donated by the Gantt family. Chris Ponticas, who serves as a volunteer in the archives, has been steadily working to process these additional materials. Ponticas, the former director of medical staff services for Johns Hopkins Hospital, has even had to refresh her shorthand skills in order to decode Gantt's notes. Several generous gifts have enabled the Medical Archives to digitize more than 3,000 photos from the Gantt Collection, which will soon be available in the catalog of the collection. Many of these images document the period during which Gantt served as a health officer in Russia with the American Relief Administration; his years with Pavlov; and his time at the Pavlovian Laboratory at Johns Hopkins. Thanks to recent grants, the films in the collection have also been restored and digitized.</p> <p>We look forward to completion of the processing and cataloging projects within the next few months. The Gantt Collection, with the incorporation of new content and the digitization of visual materials, will serve as a remarkably rich resource for research of Pavlovian principles and investigative practices. It will be accessible worldwide via the Medical Archives website.</p> <p><strong>Nancy McCall</strong><br /> Archivist, the Alan Mason Chesney Medical Archives of the Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions <div class='magazine-section-break'></div></p> <h4>DUMBEST THING WE DID LAST ISSUE:</h4> <p><a href="">"Muslim Sci-Fi" [Forefront, Summer 2015]</a> mistakenly said Saladin Ahmed's <em>Throne of the Crescent Moon</em> won the 2013 Hugo Award. It was a nominee, not the winner.</p> Fri, 11 Sep 2015 14:48:00 -0400 How one alum is working to improve women-focused microfinance programs <p><em>Microfinance programs in Asia and the Americas have garnered public approval in the United States and other industrialized countries. For the most part, though, these systems of providing very small loans to low-income people fail to move women—the most common recipients of microfinance lending—into opportunities that provide more than small, supplemental forms of income and foster more sophisticated involvement with banks. Mara Bolis, Bus '05 (MBA), a senior adviser at Oxfam America, observes, "Microfinances have gotten cash into women's hands, but they haven't always attended to the side-by-side training: how to understand interest rates, et cetera."</em></p> <p><em>Bolis says the program she is designing with Oxfam in Guatemala, Women in Small Enterprise, is different because it works to change the system. Along with providing financial training to loan recipients, the Oxfam program works to counter entrenched, machismo-based views of women—starting with the banking establishment and the women themselves. Oxfam began researching WISE in 2012, and Bolis started her work there in January 2014.</em></p> <h3>Context</h3> <p>Bolis says Oxfam launched the WISE program in Guatemala because it saw an opportunity to make an especially large impact, partly because most commercial banking loans there still go to large companies, not individuals. The organization raised funds from U.S. investors who were interested in investing in programs aimed at women. That fund totals just under $1 million—money that will be used to guarantee 50 percent of each loan awarded to a woman in WISE's program. WISE also includes training for bank employees in gender sensitivity and education in small-enterprise investment. For instance, program members talked with commercial bank employees about hiring a female loan officer because for women in a traditional society it can be bad for their reputation to be seen having a private meeting with a male loan officer. For loan recipients who are accepted as trainees, WISE provides training to build financial literacy while informing about women's rights, such as the right to leave the house and to run a business.</p> <h3>Data</h3> <p>A 2012 World Bank survey found that women-run small businesses were asked to put up almost twice the collateral required of male borrowers. Antagonism to women's potential for work outside the home runs deep: An April 2015 CNN article quoted María Machicado Terán, Guatemala's regional executive director of UN Women, as saying, "Eighty percent of men [in Guatemala] believe that women need permission to leave the house, and 70 percent of women surveyed agreed." WISE says it has seen good results in its short history. One loan recipient now runs a driver training school. Another, Carmen María Can Pixabaj, involved in a traditional vocation of selling chickens, has expanded her business and now sells to stores—an area of commerce she feared approaching before the training. She plans to continue expanding and says that what she learned about recordkeeping and reinvestment of profits has been key to her business growth.</p> <h3>Upshot</h3> <p>The WISE program is a further development of Oxfam microsavings program Savings for Change, which showed groups of trainees how to put aside savings. Because many women emerge from that program with nest eggs but don't have a clear business path going forward, Oxfam wanted to expand their prospects. "There's a percentage of those women who want to grow their businesses, but there's no ladder for them out of that earlier state of having very little financial training and lacking a clear path into commercial banks," notes Bolis.</p> <h3>Conclusion</h3> <p>New income generated from women's microenterprises is often first invested in children's education, particularly benefiting girls, according to the International Labour Office in Geneva. For this reason, and because studies show that a higher proportion of women's than men's incremental income goes back to the family, "putting money into women's hands has huge societal benefits," says Bolis. "Change is what we're expecting at multiple levels."</p> Fri, 11 Sep 2015 14:48:00 -0400 Edgy work Fri, 11 Sep 2015 14:48:00 -0400 How pancreatic cancer spreads <p>Pancreatic cancer is deadly all by itself, but like so many cancers it can metastasize, becoming even deadlier. The mechanism by which the cancer spreads is not well understood, but a group of Johns Hopkins researchers recently made progress. A team at the Kimmel Cancer Center identified a molecular partnership, a sort of deadly teamwork between two proteins that is implicated in the metastasis.</p> <p>The first protein, annexin A2, is involved in a number of cellular processes within the body, including cell motility and what is called exocytosis—the movement of proteins from within cell walls to outside them. In regard to pancreatic cancer, annexin A2 seems to help the second protein in the partnership, semaphorin 3D, exit pancreatic cancer cells.</p> <p>Once Sema3D is outside the malignant cells, the real mischief begins. Pancreatic cancer is neurotropic, meaning it tends to invade nerve cells. Sema3D may help the cancer do this by tracking and surrounding nerves in order to put the cancer cells on a neural highway, so to speak, facilitating their spread. The presence of Sema3D has also been implicated in the recurrence of cancer after primary pancreatic tumors have been surgically removed.</p> <p>Exactly how annexin A2 encourages pancreatic cancer cells to release Sema3D has not been determined. It may act as a sort of bodyguard, sheltering and guiding the protein as it makes its way toward an exit point at the cell's surface.</p> <p>Two of the paper's authors, Lei Zheng and Elizabeth M. Jaffee, both oncologists in the School of Medicine, hold a patent on annexin A2 as a target for cancer therapy. They plan to conduct clinical trials on a vaccine targeting the protein, and they're also hunting for a molecule that might inhibit Sema3D.</p> Fri, 11 Sep 2015 14:48:00 -0400 New Horizons' moment of truth <p>A crowd of several hundred people were having a very good time, cheering and clapping and gaily waving little American flags. They had gathered at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland, early on the morning of July 14 to witness an exceptional scientific accomplishment. After an epic voyage of nearly 10 years and more than 3 billion miles, New Horizons, a robotic spacecraft the size of a Steinway concert piano, had reached its destination—Pluto and its system of (at least) five moons. The exuberant audience counted down the last 10 seconds to 7:50 Eastern Daylight Time, the instant when New Horizons was supposed to fly closest to Pluto's surface. Wound-up space bloggers and science journalists and video personalities from around the world broadcast the same bulletin: New Horizons had done it.</p> <p>Alice Bowman watched the celebration with a characteristic smile that did not reveal how tense and tired she had to be after another night without sleep. Bowman is the New Horizons mission operations manager. She is extraordinarily popular with the mission team, some of whom seem to enjoy calling her by her job's acronym, MOM. As the cheering continued, Bowman knew something that most of those in the excited crowd did not: Their celebration was paradoxically a bit behind actual events yet possibly premature. She had the insider's knowledge that New Horizons had sailed past Pluto 72 seconds before its 7:50 a.m. EDT target time—if it had sailed past Pluto at all. The media event at APL notwithstanding, at the time no one knew if the spacecraft had survived its encounter with the Pluto system. Because New Horizons could not point its instruments at Pluto and its antenna at Earth simultaneously, neither Bowman nor anyone else had heard from it in eight hours, and nearly 13 more hours would elapse before mission control got telemetry from the craft confirming that it had not smashed into a piece of Plutonian debris. That it had not inexplicably shut itself down. That its instruments had gathered scientific data. The scientists and engineers had every reason to believe they had succeeded. But for all their faith, they could not be certain that 15 years of work and $720 million of taxpayers' money had not become a piece of high-velocity space junk. And they wouldn't be certain until a huge antenna from NASA's Deep Space Network locked on to the spacecraft's signal later that night.</p> <blockquote>They could not be certain that 15 years of work and $720 million of taxpayers' money had not become a piece of high-velocity space junk.</blockquote> <p>Before she'd left for a 7 a.m. appearance on NASA television and a subsequent press conference, Bowman had deflated the air mattress laid out on the floor of her office. After the press conference, she reinflated it and took a half-hour nap. Then, she checked the sequence of commands sent to New Horizons "once, twice, three times, a hundred times," she says. "And then I sort of stressed. I sort of freaked out waiting for that signal to come in." Thirteen hours can be a long, long time to wait for a spacecraft to radio answers to the questions: <em>Did it get there? Did it work?</em> The world knows the answers now. But in July Bowman and the rest of the New Horizons team were working in Pluto Standard Time, where a radio transmission at lightspeed took four and a half hours from spacecraft to Earth, where events were celebrated half-a-day before anyone was certain nothing disastrous had happened, where success required pinpoint timing after 3,463 days of flight toward a moving target.</p> <p><div class='magazine-section-break'></div> In 2001, NASA issued a challenge to the nation's space contractors: come up with a lean, inexpensive mission to Pluto that could be bolted together in time to launch in about five years. Stamatios Krimigis, then head of APL's Space Department and a man who had already been part of missions to explore every other planet in the solar system, thought the lab could pull off such a challenge, and he knew whom he wanted as principal investigator—a planetary scientist named Alan Stern. Employed by the private Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colorado, Stern could not remember a time when he had wanted to do anything other than study outer space. (His father told <em>Science</em> magazine that the first word spoken by his infant son was "moon.") He had been talking up a Pluto mission as far back as 1989, and after Krimigis' call he seized the chance to partner with APL.</p> <p>He and an APL team designed and built a triangular platform, which they referred to as the bus, to ferry seven scientific instruments across the solar system. If they survived the rigors of interplanetary space, the instruments would take pictures of the planet—or dwarf planet, a sore spot with some New Horizons scientists—and its largest moon, Charon, and pursue about 30 science objectives, including detailed photographic mapping, analyzing the surfaces and atmospheres of the pair (Pluto and Charon are so similar in size, scientists consider them a double-planet system), and measuring the solar wind in that part of the cosmos. Almost all the crucial observations would be made during a nine-day flyby, and there would be only one chance to get it right. All the instruments had to work, the onboard computer processor had to work, the tiny plutonium reactor that powered the craft had to work, and the communications system had to work—after nine and a half years traversing 3 billion miles of freezing, irradiated vacuum. What could go wrong? <div class='magazine-section-break'></div></p> <p>The New Horizons team pondered that question a lot. They imagined every possible problem, from glitches to disasters, and created dozens of contingency plans. After New Horizons was well on its way, the Hubble Space Telescope began finding new moons in the Pluto system, four in all. Hal Weaver, mission project scientist at APL, recalls, "We thought it was really cool when they discovered one more moon after Charon. Then when they discovered another one shortly after that, pretty cool. When they got to the third, everyone was kind of, 'Oh no, are we going to hit something?'" By the fourth new moon, scientists began to worry that the spacecraft might encounter a debris field, even a ring that could not be observed from Earth. The spacecraft would be barreling along at about 33,000 miles per hour, the fastest man-made object in history, and at that speed hitting something no bigger than a bead could be ruinous. So for seven weeks in 2011 the team used LORRI, the spacecraft's long-range camera, to search for other moons or smaller debris that Hubble might have missed. The science and mission teams created alternate flight paths through the Pluto system that would not be optimal for science but might preserve the craft if mission ops learned there were too many hazards on the planned course.</p> <p>There were other concerns. Any computer network can be hacked, and the team had to consider the possibility of malicious vandals attempting to take the mission control center down. APL set up independent security teams in two separate buildings to guard against hackers. Natural disasters—tornadoes, hurricanes, long-term power outages—had to be planned for. So the primary Mission Operations Center at APL had a mirror MOC across the road from the main campus, a backup that could take over if the primary MOC were to go down. The mission team also set up a remote MOC at the California Institute of Technology's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Were a natural disaster to threaten the APL campus and close nearby airports, the plan was for a team of three flight controllers to jump into a van with two drivers who were on 24-hour standby and head for JPL. "We figured that with two drivers around the clock, they could get there in three days," Bowman says.</p> <p>The team rehearsed everything over and over and over. Stern even had them practice writing press releases under tight deadline. He knew what kind of media coverage they would face in July 2015, and he was intent on maximizing the opportunity to tell the world of their accomplishment and, he hoped, re-excite people about space exploration and frontier science. That is, if New Horizons got there and the instruments worked. <div class='magazine-section-break'></div></p> <p>The mission's navigation team was tasked with putting the spacecraft where it had to be to conduct its scientific mission. That meant hitting both a temporal and a spatial target: Within 150 seconds of 7:50 a.m. EDT on July 14, 2015, New Horizons had to arrive at a point in space within a margin of error—inside a box 100 kilometers by 150 kilometers. Fifteen thousand square kilometers may sound like a pretty big bull's-eye, but before New Horizons launched, Andy Cheng, one of the lead scientists on the project, likened the challenge to firing an arrow 100 miles and hitting a dime. Were New Horizons to swing too low over Pluto's surface, the rapid changing of angular perspective would ruin the images, "smear the data" in the scientists' parlance. Arrive too soon or too late and the preloaded, precisely timed command sequence for the observations might point the spacecraft to empty space instead of toward Pluto. Furthermore, the scientists wanted to take advantage of an occultation—Pluto and Charon both passing between the spacecraft and the sun, affording a unique opportunity to study their atmospheres. All of this meant putting New Horizons in just the right place at just the right time.</p> <p>There was a unique complication to the navigation team's work. When New Horizons lifted off the launch pad in 2006, the nav team was not all that sure where Pluto would be in 10 years. That is, not with the precision they needed to conduct the mission's science. Pluto is so far away, even Hubble could only be approximate in pinpointing the planet's location at any given time. Estimates of where Pluto would be when New Horizons reached its cosmic neighborhood were made imprecise by the fact that from Pluto's discovery in 1930, astronomers had been able to observe only about one-third of its elliptical 248-year orbit, which made it harder to plot where that orbit would place the planet at the time of the flyby.</p> <p>At launch, the team estimated the "axis of greatest uncertainty" at around 800 to 10,000 kilometers. For the mission to succeed, they could not be off by that much. So as the flight proceeded, two separate navigation teams, using different software, monitored the data and projected where New Horizons was headed. As anticipated, the two software packages produced different answers, and by comparing the projections and resolving those differences, mission ops could plot the best course. Every day Mark Holdridge, the encounter mission manager, would say, "Where are we, guys?" He adds, "They'd put their points up on the plot. It was kind of interesting because they started quite a bit apart, but as the mission progressed they started to come together. Within the last two days they were within one second and 10 kilometers of the aim point."</p> <p>Month by month, as the operations team got more and better data about where Pluto was and where it was headed, they fired the spacecraft's thrusters in a series of course corrections and speed adjustments. The first occurred in January 2006, a 4:36 burn of the thrusters to change New Horizons' velocity by about 5 meters per second. By July 2010, the nav team had figured out that the craft needed another correction, and for a remarkable reason: Its power source, the little plutonium reactor, emitted thermal photons, and those photons bounced off the back side of New Horizons' high-gain antenna with enough force to hold back the craft and require a 35.6- second burn to speed it up by about 1 mph.</p> <p>The final approach had begun by January 25, 2015, when LORRI, the long-range camera, made some optical observations to re-evaluate the trajectory. The navigation teams ran the numbers and concluded that now New Horizons was going too fast—they would be off-target by several thousand kilometers and would arrive about 13 and a half minutes too soon. So they put on the brakes, firing the thrusters in mid-March to slow the craft by about 1.5 meters per second.</p> <p>On the morning of the big July 14 celebration at APL, Holdridge already knew the spacecraft would arrive about 70 seconds before 7:50. "I was at my house watching," he says, grinning, "and I applauded at the right time." <div class='magazine-section-break'></div></p> <p>To get to its destination by 2015, New Horizons needed to fly close enough to Jupiter for that planet's gravity to fling it toward Pluto at much greater speed. (Without that gravity boost, New Horizons would not arrive until 2018.) The Jovian flyby took place in February 2007 and gave scientists an opportunity to power up the instruments and make some observations. This was not only to conduct some planetary science but to test how the instruments performed after a year in space. They performed flawlessly—in one respect better than flawlessly: The ultraviolet spectrometer, named ALICE, turned out to be a far more sensitive particle detector than the scientists had expected. It was supposed to pick up ultraviolet photons, but it turned out to be sensitive to energetic electrons, as well. Four years later, mission ops put the spacecraft through a nine-day simulation of the Pluto flyby, running the full command sequence, testing navigation, guidance, control, the scientific instruments, all the craft's capabilities. Once more, all appeared to be in great shape, which made everyone happy. "Engineers like it to be boring, everything following the prescribed plan," Weaver says. "No drama."</p> <blockquote>When New Horizons lifted off the launch pad in 2006, the nav team was not all that sure where Pluto would be in 10 years.</blockquote> <p>But drama came only a month later in March 2007. Mission ops was monitoring the craft, getting telemetry, watching the MOC's computer monitors as the data scrolled by colored green—situation normal. Space missions must reserve time on the Deep Space Network antennae, and on this day everything seemed so routine and nominal, the New Horizons crew offered their last 20 minutes on the dish to the Voyager mission. Voyager declined, which was a good thing because suddenly the telemetry numbers on the MOC screens began to turn red, indicating "rule firings," a sequence of actions taken by the spacecraft's autonomy system when it senses something is wrong. The ops crew monitoring the mission recognized this set of firings—New Horizons was resetting its computer for some reason and going into safe mode, which meant it was pointing its antenna toward Earth and shutting down to await further instruction.</p> <p>Ground control got the craft back to normal functioning, but this would not be the last time New Horizons' main processor reset itself and put the spacecraft into safe mode, requiring mission ops to restart it. Engineers eventually figured out that some of the resets were the result of a bug in the operating system, which was corrected by a new upload in January 2013. Some of the other resets, which continued until days before the Pluto encounter, still mystify them. Some were probably caused by radiation. Neutron stars and other celestial bodies emit high-energy charged particles that bombard anything in their path, and at various times some of these particles zipped through New Horizons. If they happened to hit the onboard processors in the right spots, they could actually change bits—change 0s to 1s or 1s to 0s. If a bit reset in only one place, an error-detection system on the spacecraft could correct it, but if two bits reset at the same time, the autonomy system would shut down the craft and signal mission ops that something was awry.</p> <blockquote>At 3:11 p.m., the word everyone wanted to see flashed on the monitors: LOCKED.</blockquote> <p>Alan Stern has a vivid memory of another episode, this one in 2010. For most of the eight years from Jupiter to Pluto, New Horizons was deliberately powered down in hibernation mode, to preserve its power plant and its instruments. Every Monday, the craft would send telemetry to Earth, a tiny health report that let mission ops know it was still asleep but OK. "One Monday, I got a call from Glen Fountain," Stern recalls. Fountain is New Horizons' project manager. "I wasn't able to take the call because I was at the podium of a big scientific meeting in front of several hundred people. I did manage to put on my little earpiece and listen to his message, and he'd said, 'We didn't hear from the spacecraft.' That had never happened before. I was stuck at that podium for an hour and a half, unable to return the call and get any details. That was a very hard hour and a half to sit through." As soon as he could, Stern raced from the room to call Fountain. "As it turned out, the DSN tracking antenna had pointed to the wrong place. They'd used the wrong list of positions for that day. The spacecraft had reported just fine but we didn't get anything because we had the antenna pointed the wrong way." <div class='magazine-section-break'></div></p> <p>On July 4, New Horizons had begun its close observations of the Pluto system when some of the mission principals took a few hours off to have holiday lunch with their families. The craft was doing its work when, at 1:54 p.m., a computer monitor in the missions operations center suddenly displayed OUT OF LOCK. That meant the Deep Space Network station had lost contact with the spacecraft. The line had gone dead.</p> <p>Bowman by now had developed a sixth sense for whether a problem was in the DSN receiving station or on the spacecraft, and she was pretty sure this one was on the craft. She called in Holdridge, and Gabe Rogers, the systems guidance and control engineer, and Christopher Hersman, the mission systems engineer. She called in Fountain, the project manager, who found himself wondering if New Horizons had hit something, even though they had finally concluded that the risk of that was only one or two in 10,000. Stern raced in. If the craft had shut down its main processor for some reason and now was operating on the backup processor, it would be transmitting at an emergency rate and on a different frequency and signal polarity. So mission ops instructed the DSN dish in Canberra, Australia, to reconfigure and search with new radio frequency parameters. Stern put out word on Twitter: "New Horizons in safe mode. We're working it, folks."</p> <p>At 3:11 p.m., the word everyone wanted to see flashed on the monitors: LOCKED. Canberra had locked on the signal from New Horizons' backup processor. The spacecraft was intact, at least. By 4 p.m., the mission's Anomaly Review Board had convened to be briefed on what had transpired and to discuss the best way forward. Midway through the spacecraft's recovery, they determined there was no fault in the hardware or software. But there had been a conflict when the spacecraft tried to commit to flash memory the complete command sequence for the nine days of the flyby, which it had just received from Earth, while at the same time compressing science data that had been gathered by its instruments. All that simultaneous activity had triggered an overload of the main computer, prompting the autonomy software to switch to the backup processor, point New Horizons toward Earth, and put the craft into safe mode. An estimated 30 observations were lost. But a much bigger concern was getting the craft out of safe mode and the main processor back online in time to begin the command sequence crucial to the flyby. That had to be done by July 7. Bowman did not go home for two days, getting by with naps on the floor of her office. Engineering and mission ops sorted out the processor and got the spacecraft back to normal operations with only four hours to spare. It turned out to be the most harrowing episode of the mission. <div class='magazine-section-break'></div></p> <p>Nearly 13 hours after the morning's flyby celebration, Bowman and mission ops team member Karl Whittenburg intently watched two monitors and a laptop in the MOC, and hundreds of people in an APL auditorium watched them on a live video feed. This would be the first moment of truth, when mission ops learned whether the Deep Space Network ground station in Madrid had received a signal from New Horizons that told them the spacecraft was functioning. Whittenburg appeared to take a deep breath as Bowman listened to something over her communications headset, then said, "In lock with signal." Seconds later, another team member behind them pumped his fist as Whittenburg leaned back and smiled and Bowman announced, "Copy that. We're in lock with telemetry with the spacecraft." The room erupted with cheers and handshakes, and in the auditorium the crowd delivered a standing, flag-waving, 55-second ovation. New Horizons was alive.</p> <p>Now Bowman waited for word that all the various components of the craft were healthy and had done their jobs. "Subsystems, please report your status as you get enough data," she instructed. On the video feed, viewers saw her exhale, releasing tension, then heard a voice off-camera, "MOM, this is RF on Pluto One." (RF is "radio frequency.") "Go ahead, RF," Bowman responded. "RF is reporting nominal carrier power, nominal signal-to-noise ratio for the telemetry. RF is nominal." Then came another report: "MOM, Autonomy is very happy to report nominal status. No rules have fired." That brought a big smile to Bowman's face and more cheering, as did news from Command and Data Handling that New Horizons' solid-state recorders contained the anticipated amount of data. One after another, the subsystems checked in. "MOM, this is Propulsion." "MOM, this is Power." "MOM, this is Thermal." Then, Bowman stood up, turned to face Stern, the principal investigator, who was waiting just outside the MOC and watching through the door. "P.I., MOM on Pluto One. We have a healthy spacecraft. We've recorded data from the Pluto system and we're outbound from Pluto." An exultant Stern strode into the MOC, arms raised in triumph, and crushed Bowman in a hug. Not long after, the mission principals entered the auditorium for a press conference. As they were introduced one by one, Stern got a huge ovation and Bowman looked teary-eyed when APL staffers in the audience began to chant her name.</p> <blockquote>"P.I., MOM on Pluto One. We have a healthy spacecraft. We've recorded data from the Pluto system and we're outbound from Pluto."</blockquote> <p>By the next day's press conference, Stern and some of the mission scientists already had news. They had found evidence on Charon of recent geological activity, and the moon appeared to be riven by a canyon four to six miles deep. Some areas of Pluto's surface showed a remarkable lack of impact craters, indicating recent geological activity there, too. (Activity like volcanism covers old craters with lava flows, for example.) Pluto's atmosphere appeared to extend tens of thousands of miles behind the planet, driven by the solar wind. And one of the images revealed mountains of water ice on the surface, estimated to be 11,000 feet high. Asked by a reporter how it felt to get such remarkable early results, Stern deadpanned, "It feels terrible. There's a lot of depression in the science team. We're all thinking about catching flights out." After the laughter subsided he said, "I don't think any of us could imagine it would be such a toy store."</p> <p>It will take the next 14 months for New Horizons to empty its recorders of all the scientific data it has collected, all the images and readings and measurements, and beam them to Earth in a stream of 0s and 1s traversing billions of miles of space and striking DSN dishes in Spain, Australia, and California. The scientists have years of work ahead of them, trying to make sense of it all. At the press conference, one look at their faces told you they could not wait to get started.</p> Fri, 11 Sep 2015 14:48:00 -0400 Fortunate encounter <p>Mary Armanios still remembers meeting the patient who set the direction of her career. David Matushik, 21, had been diagnosed at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania with aplastic anemia, a potentially fatal failure of his bone marrow to produce blood cells. In fall 2003, he came to a Johns Hopkins outpatient clinic for a second opinion. "You could spot him in the waiting room," Armanios recalls. Matushik was not much past adolescence, but a shock of gray hair sprang from his forehead. He was unnervingly skinny; Armanios later learned that he had tried eating a 6,000-calorie diet to gain weight with no success. He had liver fibrosis and osteoporosis and would soon develop idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, diseases that rarely strike before middle age. Because of the anemia, he required frequent transfusions. With too few white blood cells, his immune system had become a punching bag and he suffered constant infections.</p> <p>By training, Armanios was an oncologist and pediatrician. (She is now an associate professor of oncology at the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center.) She would not normally have seen a patient like Matushik. But a colleague in Hematology had done a chromosome analysis and noticed that one of Matushik's genes was reversed, and he asked Armanios to take a look. This abnormal gene is named TERT, and it provides instructions for making one component of a critical enzyme called telomerase. In regard to Matushik's illness, the abnormality turned out to be incidental. But Armanios was studying a population of lab mice that had been genetically engineered to lack telomerase, and, like Matushik, they were becoming old before their time. Intrigued by a possible connection, Armanios invited Matushik for a visit. Once she talked with him, she realized that besides the genetic abnormality, he had an assortment of other symptoms similar to what she had observed in her mice.</p> <blockquote>Every time a cell divides, its chromosomes divide and the telomeres capping them shorten. When the protective caps become too short, the cell dies.</blockquote> <p>If Matushik's condition was genetic, then some of his relatives should exhibit similar symptoms, Armanios reasoned. She began contacting family members. With their permission, she traveled to Delaware and interviewed and collected blood from as many of Matushik's relatives as she could. She found a family history riddled with sickness. Three months after Armanios first met Matushik, his father died of liver disease at 49. An aunt and uncle both suffered pulmonary fibrosis, and both would die in their 50s. Eventually, Armanios pieced together a genetic history, tracing through three generations the same abnormality in the TERT gene and its consequences. Family members in all three generations, including David, had a rare inherited disorder called dyskeratosis congenita. They also exhibited a shortening of their telomeres, the caps at the end of each strand of DNA that protect chromosomes and regulate cellular aging. The Matushiks' symptoms seemed to start earlier and become more severe with each subsequent generation, a pattern known as genetic anticipation.</p> <p>What Armanios learned resulted in a paper published in the <em>Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences</em> that for the first time linked dyskeratosis congenita, mutations in the TERT gene, and shortened telomeres. For Armanios it was only the beginning—the start of a decade of work that has produced new understanding of the role of telomere syndromes in diseases of the bone marrow, lungs, liver, and gastrointestinal tract, and links between abnormal telomeres and gene mutations. She has established the Telomere Clinic at the Kimmel Cancer Center, to help patients like David Matushik manage their conditions. He died in 2013, but Armanios believes the research findings helped extend his life by 10 years past what his prognosis had been on their initial meeting, and the research he sparked may lead to new understanding of diseases that annually kill tens of thousands of people.</p> <p>Prior to meeting David Matushik in 2003, Armanios had joined Carol Greider's laboratory as a research fellow. In the early 1980s, Greider, now a Nobel laureate and professor of molecular biology and genetics at the School of Medicine, had been a young scientist at the University of California, Berkeley, trying to solve a central mystery about telomeres. Every time a cell divides, its chromosomes divide and the telomeres capping them shorten. When the protective caps become too short, the cell dies. This is a natural process. But cells have to divide a lot to develop and sustain a healthy body, so scientists knew there had to be a mechanism for repairing telomeres each time they divide. Greider identified a molecule called telomerase that rebuilds the telomeres at the end of a dividing chromosome. She shared the 2009 Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine for the discovery.</p> <p>Around the turn of the millennium, scientists at UC Berkeley and Imperial College London discovered independently that people with dyskeratosis congenita often have a mutated form of a protein called dyskerin. The researchers soon realized that dyskerin was part of the telomerase enzyme. This was the first time anyone had discovered a connection between a telomerase-related gene and a clinical condition. DKC patients frequently develop aplastic anemia, and people with aplastic anemia often die from infections that the body would normally fight off easily. The only known treatment is a bone marrow transplant, but doctors had for some time noted that patients suffering DKC in addition to the anemia almost invariably died after transplantation, usually from lung disease.</p> <p>Armanios was taking care of the Greider lab's telomerase-free mice when she met David Matushik. Greider had told her about the connection between telomerase and DKC, but a disease so obscure that it didn't even appear in medical textbooks did not excite her. "I said, 'I've never heard of that; I don't want to study that,'" she recalls. But a seriously ill patient with abnormalities in one of his telomerase genes—now that was interesting. Armanios recognized that even though Matushik lacked the classic DKC symptoms, he had the same underlying condition. That told her DKC needed to be reclassified. It was not, as doctors had thought for almost a century, a disease of the skin, nails, and tongue. It was in fact a disease of the genes—specifically the TERT telomerase gene.</p> <p>In the 2005 paper, Armanios observed that many DKC patients develop idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. Matushik had been diagnosed with the lung disease in 2004, soon after he met Armanios. His grandmother, aunt, and uncle also had suffered from it. Pulmonary fibrosis causes lung tissue to thicken and develop honeycomb-shaped scars. Patients cough incessantly and their breath becomes raspy; under a stethoscope it sounds like Velcro being ripped apart. Eventually sufferers can no longer breathe at all, and unless they receive a new lung, they die.</p> <p>Pulmonary fibrosis advocates assert that IPF kills 30,000 to 40,000 yearly. Yet the disease is little known to the public, and research funding devoted to it is a small fraction of that available for many equally or less deadly conditions. The term "idiopathic" means "cause unknown." Armanios suspected that some cases of IPF could be traced to faulty telomere genes. The pattern of genetic anticipation she had seen in the Matushiks resembled what she had observed in mice and led her to think that telomerase and short telomeres may be important in IPF genetics.</p> <p>Armanios was still a fellow in Greider's lab, but convinced she was on to something she reached out to Vanderbilt University's Jim Loyd, one of the nation's premier IPF researchers. She asked him for DNA samples of familial IPF patients, which she intended to screen for telomerase mutations. She found that 8 percent of the patients in Loyd's database had telomerase gene mutations. Eight percent is a small fraction, but far larger than would be expected by chance. Armanios recalls calling Loyd's colleague John Phillips: "I told him, 'I found mutations in your families,' and he said, 'Who are you?'" Evidently Loyd's team had thought it was so unlikely that Armanios would find a genetic cause for IPF that he had forgotten he had even given her samples.</p> <p>Armanios and Loyd, along with Greider and others, published a paper in <em>The New England Journal of Medicine</em> in 2007 laying out their findings. It was only the second time in more than a century of research that anyone had identified a cause for idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. Loyd says the link to telomerase is "the most important advance ever for understanding IPF."</p> <p><div class='magazine-section-break'></div> After completing a second two-year fellowship in Greider's lab, Armanios in 2007 set up her own lab down the hall in the Preclinical Teaching Building at the Johns Hopkins medical campus in East Baltimore, and she began piecing together a story about how telomerase gene mutations could cause the diverse set of conditions that researchers kept uncovering. The thinking ran like this: DKC affects nails and skin—high-turnover tissues that the body has to replace often. To replace tissues, our bodies need a special class of cells­—stem cells. Although each cell in your body has a complete copy of your entire genome, most cells use only the genes needed to do one specialized task—be a white blood cell, for example, or a skin cell or a lung cell. Stem cells, by contrast, are generalists that retain the ability to differentiate into many specialized tissue types depending on what the body needs.</p> <p>Since stem cells must typically divide multiple times in the process of differentiating, the ability to maintain telomere length is critical. If the telomeres shorten too quickly, the stem cells will die before the differentiation is complete. Scientists have long known that stem cells in bone marrow are essential for producing the highly specialized white blood cells of the immune system, so a connection between telomerase and aplastic anemia seemed natural. By the same token, telomerase should be important in the gut, another organ with a high turnover in cells. Indeed, Matushik had digestive problems and an inability to keep on weight. But what of Matushik's problems with his lungs and liver? Those are not high-turnover organs. Nevertheless, experts now agree there is reason to think both need to replenish their cells: They are on the front lines of exposure to environmental toxins. Toxins damage lung, liver, and gut cells and those cells need to be replaced—again, by stem cells.</p> <p>Armanios set up a registry and began to collect samples from as many people as she could with telomerase gene mutations. That has allowed her and others to identify six telomere genes involved in families with pulmonary fibrosis, and she suspects there are at least as many remaining to be discovered. If any of these genes has a mutation, telomerase will not work properly, telomeres will shorten, and people will get sick. Researchers have found that around 15 percent of familial IPF sufferers have telomerase mutations. This finding is the first major chink in the armor of a disease that had previously repelled nearly all attempts to understand it. Ultimately the condition called IPF will probably be replaced by more precise diagnoses that reflect actual mechanisms of disease, predicts Johns Hopkins geneticist David Valle. "A fog of pseudoknowledge has been lifted to expose real biology." <div class='magazine-section-break'></div> In 2011, Armanios and some of her colleagues noticed that in one of their families with telomere syndromes, two sisters had developed at early ages another devastating lung disease: emphysema. The first patient they studied was a 55-year-old woman who had been diagnosed at age 44. Her sister was diagnosed even younger, at 34, with both emphysema and pulmonary fibrosis; she died at 46. In an unrelated experiment, the researchers found that lab mice with short telomeres exposed to cigarette smoke often developed emphysema. So Armanios began a study of an NIH database that contained the genomes of 292 emphysema patients. She and her team reported earlier this year that around 1 percent had mutations in the TERT gene—as with IPF, a fraction that is small yet far larger than would be expected by chance.</p> <p>Emphysema damages air sacs in the lungs and reduces the amount of oxygen that makes it from the lungs into the blood. Along with chronic bronchitis it forms chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, COPD, the third-leading cause of death in the United States. Because it is so strongly associated with smoking, people often assume that emphysema is the victim's fault, but there is more to the disease than exposure to tobacco smoke. Women get emphysema far more than men; no one knows why. And about 1 percent of emphysema sufferers have a mutation in a gene for a protein called alpha-1 antitrypsin. In just the last four years, thanks largely to Armanios' work, TERT has joined alpha-1 antitrypsin as the only known genetic risk factors for emphysema. Armanios expects that as researchers test the full set of telomerase-related genes, the fraction of emphysema cases that can be traced to them will increase.</p> <p>She also suspects that telomeres play a role in susceptibility to emphysema even for people without genetic mutations. One of Greider's major early discoveries was that telomeres shorten as people age. For example, an average person starts with around 1,600 of the nucleotide units that form telomeres for the chromosomes in white blood cells; by age 80 this number will have fallen by almost half. Autopsies show that anyone who lives long enough will begin to develop pulmonary fibrosis—Armanios calls the disease "the hair graying of the lung"—but this isn't usually clinically relevant because most people die of something else first. People in the bottom 1 percent of the telomere length distribution may be at increased risk of the same conditions that people with telomerase mutations get routinely. Since telomere length is rarely measured, that risk is almost never recognized. But Armanios thinks telomere length could explain much of why some people smoke like a chimney for decades and die at an advanced age of something other than lung disease, while others smoke much less yet end up on oxygen and die young.</p> <p>That hypothesis "makes perfect sense," says Norman Sharpless, chair of the Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Sharpless edits the journal in which Armanios' paper was published. He says the initial finding was based on a relatively small sample size and needs to be replicated by other researchers, but if it holds up, "it could go on to be one of the most important discoveries in telomere biology ever."</p> <p><div class='magazine-section-break'></div> Last November, Armanios got a call from a geneticist at the University of South Florida. He told her, "I might have a patient for you." That patient turned out to be Bethany Matushik, David's half sister, who had come in to get a genetic workup and learn what the future held for her as a carrier of risky genes. Armanios invited Bethany to visit her at Johns Hopkins and told her what scientists had learned about telomere diseases and how Bethany could keep herself healthy. (Inspired, Bethany says she hopes to attend Johns Hopkins and study genetics.)</p> <p>In the years since he had influenced the direction of Armanios' career, David had graduated from the University of Delaware and helped found and run Green Delaware Recycling, an organization that advised businesses in Delaware on sustainable practices. But his telomeres continued to deteriorate and his lung problems were probably exacerbated by smoking, which Armanios thinks he may have taken up to cope with the stress of chronic illness. He continued to get sick and ultimately died in 2013 of a staph infection.</p> <blockquote>"A fog of pseudoknowledge has been lifted to expose real biology." —David Valle </blockquote> <p>Nevertheless, Armanios says, his case shows how the basic research she and Greider do can translate into patient therapies. Armed with their novel understanding of telomere syndromes, Armanios recommended that Matushik receive a bone marrow transplant but without the common immunosuppressant drug Busulfan, which is known to be toxic to the lungs. Matushik had the operation at the University of Pennsylvania, and his condition improved markedly. "If he had not had this [telomere syndrome] diagnosis, he would have been transplanted with a regimen that would have killed him within a year, she says. "But he lived 10 years." <div class='magazine-section-break'></div> At the Kimmel Cancer Center's Telomere Clinic, Armanios often gets one request a day for a screening or consultation; inquiries come from around the world. She and Greider and their team have also established use of an assay to determine telomere length based on a blood sample, which could help clinicians recommend, for example, specific screenings for adverse effects of medications for patients with short or long telomeres. She continues to meet with families. Over a weekend in early June, Armanios, along with several of her graduate students and a genetic counselor, drove to another state to meet a large family they had found with telomere syndromes. Like David Matushik, many in the family had gone gray at an early age, and many had died young from IPF and other diseases. The news that their mysterious medical history finally had an explanation was not welcomed by all, Armanios says. Older family members in particular said they didn't want to know what the researchers found. But the younger generation? They wanted to know everything.</p> <p><em>Johns Hopkins Magazine thanks the Matushik family for permitting the use of their names and medical histories.</em></p> Fri, 11 Sep 2015 14:48:00 -0400 For alum Aaron Alford, fossil hunting is much more than a hobby <p>On a thin and rocky stretch of beach beneath a towering expanse of the Calvert Cliffs in southern Maryland, Aaron Alford pauses to pick up what looks like a black rock but is actually a piece of shark poop, 12 to 15 million years old. He smiles as if he'd just uncovered a gemstone. Most humans would have walked over the nondescript fossilized excrement, but the 40-year-old Alford, SPH '08 (PhD), has a preternatural eye when it comes to the remains—and fossilized feces—of long-dead fauna. He also can't resist a science lesson. "I don't mean to be crude, but if you look at a turd, you can see the rings of the intestine on it. See the nice little wrinkles there?" he says, before bagging the specimen. "Awesome stuff, right?"</p> <p>Alford organized this summer morning excursion to show me what his off-days are like and how rewarding this stretch of shore can be for a fossil hunter like him. Dressed in khaki shorts and a nautical blue button-down shirt, Alford looks like Paul Rudd portraying an earnest nature guide. Like the actor, Alford possesses a doe-eyed and cheery-faced youthfulness. But Alford's no fumbling comic, especially on a fossil hunt. On this day, before and after the shark droppings, Alford would discover the ribs of a Miocene-epoch whale sticking out of the cliffs, the centrum of a 12-million-year-old adult whale vertebra, and a handful of ancient mako and snaggletooth shark teeth. While not dismissing the plunder's significance or cool factor, Alford says his real prey rests 30 feet or so out in the waters of the Chesapeake Bay, a five-foot whale skull that might be intact, half submerged in the choppy waters and trapped in a concretion formed when the calcium from ancient sea life concentrated into calcite. A colleague spotted the specimen at low tide, and Alford is keen to excavate the several-hundred-pound formation using some proprietary tools he is developing. But there's no guarantee the fossil will be suitable for exhibit in a museum. The unexposed portion of the skull might be damaged. Or the species could turn out to be of the garden-variety sort that already crowds archive shelves. None of that deters Alford. "It's out there just waiting for us," he says. "This could be nothing, or it could be wildly interesting. We don't know. But I want to find out."</p> <blockquote>He's lost count of how many bones he's uncovered, although he guesses more than 100,000, including some from rare marine and animal life.</blockquote> <p>Let's get one thing out of the way. Alford is not a paleontologist, at least not the academically certified version. A psychiatric epidemiologist by training, he has spent the past seven years analyzing data and scientific methods, most recently as director of research and evaluation at the National Network of Public Health Institutes, a nonprofit association committed to improving public health through innovation. Exploring cliffs, shorelines, and blackwater rivers up and down the East Coast in search of fossils is Alford's hobby.</p> <p>He's lost count of how many bones he's uncovered, although he guesses more than 100,000, including some from rare marine and animal life. He located the first evidence in Virginia of extinct protocetid whales, precursors to modern whales that walked and gave birth on land. He's found baleen whale fossils from the lower portion of the Calvert formation that predate any known specimens by nearly 5 million years. He was part of a team that discovered and described two extinct seal species, and a species of ghost shark he uncovered has been named after him, <em>Callorhinchus alfordi</em>. Some of his favorite discoveries never walked or swam, including a collection of Civil War–era bullets that soldiers used as sinkers to fish along the shoreline and a fossilized 60-million-year-old coconut from the time Maryland resembled the Bahamas in vegetation and climate. "I love that coconut," he says. "It's just so weird and random." He keeps some of his smaller treasures but donates the lion's share to museums for research purposes and to schools as teaching aids. He lent some finds to the Smithsonian. Most are on display or stored in archives at the Calvert Marine Museum in Solomons, Maryland.</p> <p>Not one to hog all the fun, Alford has co-founded two citizen science organizations focused on paleontology, to inspire a love of science and discovery in others and to foster a militia of young fossil hunters. "Part of why I'm doing this is to help tell the story of this time long ago," he says. "To find out how one species evolved or split off into another species, and how one set of critters came into being. But to do that you need a detailed fossil record and a density of information. It can't be just me or a handful of people doing the work; you need many to comb and sift through what we find."</p> <p><div class='magazine-section-break'></div> Alford grew up in an "empty town" of 18 in rural Grant County, Kentucky, located halfway between Lexington and Cincinnati. His father was a telecommunications technician and later executive, and his mother was a homemaker for him and his three younger sisters. He describes his family as middle class but they literally lived off the land. "We hunted and fished, and we ate what we caught and what we grew. Ours was a religious household and we were [taught] to respect everything, which included valuing the outdoors as a way of life," he says. "I remember freezers full of deer meat." Alford had thousands of acres to play in and traces his interest in paleontology to the stone walls he would come across that were chock full of fossils from an ancient ocean floor. "I'd start digging in between these rocks, open some up and find sea shells and think, This doesn't seem quite right in the middle of Kentucky."</p> <p>In middle school, he became interested in medicine, which led him to major in health promotion at the University of Kentucky. He would go on to earn a Master of Public Health in epidemiology from George Washington University and a PhD in mental health from the Bloomberg School of Public Health. Alford refers to himself as a psychiatric epidemiologist by training and a research methodologist by profession. He specializes in evaluation methods, with interests in risk factors associated with substance abuse and anti-social behavior. Before joining the National Network of Public Health Institutes, he worked for six years as a health research scientist at the Center for Analytics and Public Health at the Battelle Memorial Institute, an applied science and technology development company headquartered in Columbus, Ohio.</p> <p>Alford says his paleontological hobby started in 2001, on a commute to classes at Johns Hopkins' medical campus in East Baltimore from his home in McLean, Virginia. Crawling through traffic, he had ample time for contemplation and started to think about ways he could relieve the pressure of graduate school. He had competed in marathons and triathlons in his 20s, but running and working out were no longer cutting it. He had recently watched a video on fossil hunting and now thought, <em>Why not?</em> He researched good nearby spots and opted to poke around a beach on the northern tip of the Calvert Cliffs, massive rock faces that dominate the shoreline of the Chesapeake Bay for roughly 24 miles in Calvert County. They were formed over 10 to 20 million years ago when a warm, shallow sea covered all of southern Maryland. When the sea receded, the cliffs were exposed and began eroding. Today, these multishaded rock walls, each layer representing a different time period, reveal the remains of prehistoric species including sharks, whales, rays, tree sloths, and monstrous seabirds with 20-foot wingspans. More than 600 species of fossils from the Miocene epoch have been identified in the cliffs. "Just think, this was all ocean bottom at one point," Alford says, pointing up to the cliffs. "Each one of those rings is a layer in time, representing different ocean environments. This area gives us unique access to fossils, as you have a chance to see the story unfold. So on my first trip, I just went down to one of the beaches down there and ran into some folks doing just what I was looking to do. Before too long, I find out there is this whole amateur paleontology community out there."</p> <blockquote>"What sets Aaron apart from other amateur scientists is that he's so careful documenting where all his discoveries come from. Context is everything." —Bretton Kent</blockquote> <p>Around this time, Alford met kindred spirit Jason Osborne, a machinist by day who in his spare time liked to hunt for fossils. The pair would go on to co-found Paleo Quest, a nonprofit organization with the mission to advance paleontology and geology through material contributions to museum collections, field exploration, publication, and the advancement of science, technology, engineering, and math education. The organization aims to promote citizen science, establish a coalition of researchers to work on large-scale projects, and increase the number of fossil specimens from the Atlantic coastal plain housed in museum collections. "Jason and I were collectors, but from the onset we always wanted more," Alford says. "We wanted to be more efficient, find more interesting things, and fill in the gaps of what museums wanted. That's why we started Paleo Quest. You can do more with more."</p> <p>The two would later co-found SharkFinder, a STEM education program run through a National Geographic Society affiliate called JASON Learning, aimed at finding fossilized shark, skate, and ray remains in the Atlantic coastal plain of Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina, and South Carolina. The SharkFinder program allows K–12 students and amateur scientists to search through highly concentrated fossil-bearing media to find, sort, and report shark fossils, which are then sent to the lab of Bretton Kent in the Department of Entomology at the University of Maryland, College Park, to examine and publish any findings. Many of the fossils are minuscule, including microteeth no bigger than a grain of sand. All participating schools are acknowledged in the resulting professional publication, and anyone who finds distinctive fossils is acknowledged by name. After publication, the fossils are donated to the Calvert Marine Museum.</p> <p>Kent says that SharkFinder, which has enlisted the participation of thousands of elementary and middle school students from the mid-Atlantic area, has helped increase the number of known Miocene-epoch shark and ray species from 16 to 31. "It has helped us pull back the curtain on that whole fossil record, and we've been able to see an explosive diversification in shark and ray species from that time period," says Kent, who credits Alford's involvement. "What sets Aaron apart from other amateur scientists is that he's so careful documenting where all his discoveries come from. Context is everything." Scientists need to know, Kent adds, whether a fossil was found at a certain spot on Bed 1 in the Calvert formation, for example, as they can then narrow down how many years ago this creature was swimming in the ocean. "Aaron has a very high level of expertise when it comes to this stuff, and he's very good at the systematic aspects of [paleontology]," Kent says.</p> <p>Credit should also be given to the participating students, says Alford, who serves as a host researcher for JASON Learning, doing paid public speaking and serving as the organization's ambassador to school superintendents and corporate leaders to promote STEM education.</p> <p>"I love talking in front of kids, bringing all these old bones and my scuba gear. It's not hard to get their interest by bringing in shark teeth or shark poop. But if you can actually have them do the science, and then reap the rewards? Then they're hooked. I love watching that light go on."</p> <p>Sean Smith, the chief operating officer of JASON Learning, says that Alford has a special set of talents and is equally adept at the science and communicating its wonders. "Aaron is great at switching gears depending on the audience he's talking to," says Smith, who has known Alford for more than four years. "He has this infectious enthusiasm and clearly connects with others on what is possible. And he gets people nerded out, like we are, by the idea of citizen science."</p> <p>Smith says Alford also has a fearlessness and a restless inner drive. "He's put quite a bit of work into this 'hobby' of his," Smith says. "I don't know how he does it all. He's somehow been able to find an extra 24 hours in a day that's been hiding from everyone else." <div class='magazine-section-break'></div> When talking about his fossil-hunting exploits, Alford prefers to refer to himself as a "pro-am." He's self-taught, amassing his knowledge from books, online sources, experts, and other amateurs—but mostly by doing. The work carries its share of inherent risks, particularly the underwater fossil hunting he does in murky blackwater rivers, the slow-moving channels that flow through forested swamps and wetlands in the southern United States. These waters can be full of snakes, bull sharks, underwater caves, alligators, ornery catfish the size of dogs, and twisted nests of cypress roots that can snag even an expert diver and affect currents that bounce him around and leave him disoriented. "The work I do in these places is dangerous," he says. "It's prohibitive and keeps most other people out. But you end up finding stuff you can't find anywhere else. You trade risk for opportunity, and I like risks, or should I say, controlling risks." His gear is designed for self-rescue. On a routine dive, he'll outfit himself with the three breathing devices, line cutters, multiple knives, and a set of lights. Everything is rigged in such a way that he can quickly eject the gear and rocket to the surface. "I go over my rig again and again before I head down into water, and I always bring a buddy."</p> <p>There was the time he hadn't connected a hose properly and realized his air supply was dangerously low. This particular blackwater was thick as pudding, and he came up slower than usual, like through quicksand. Alford says his heart rate skyrocketed, and for a couple of seconds he thought he would not reach the surface. He managed to fix the hose connection by touch while still buried in the muck, and then swam up to reach safety. "That day taught me a good lesson. I was scared, but I didn't panic. When you're scuba diving, it's easy to get claustrophobic and it doesn't take much to push you over the edge. People have literally drowned themselves just from the fear. I knew this, so in my head I was like, 'Don't kill yourself.'" Alford has also nearly been hit by falling cliff rocks on several occasions, been impaled by a garden hoe, dealt with hypothermia more times than he cares to share, been poisoned by bad tank air, and come face-to-face with a catfish that could swallow his head. He's had that head kicked by fellow divers and has more cuts than he can count from tripping and falling over rocks and shells.</p> <blockquote>"I love talking in front of kids, bringing all these old bones and my scuba gear. If you can actually have them do the science, and then reap the rewards? Then they're hooked. I love watching that light go on." —Aaron Alford</blockquote> <p>Stephen Godfrey, curator of paleontology at the Calvert Marine Museum and a frequent fossil-hunting partner, says one of his favorite Alford stories is the whistle pig incident. Alford and John Nance, the assistant curator of paleontology at the museum, were fossil hunting on a tiny beach on the Potomac River one hot day, and Alford found himself caught in a snarl of trees while crawling through a cutout in the cliffs. He heard a screeching noise just before an adolescent groundhog scrambled out of the notch and jumped at him. "This groundhog is screaming bloody murder and I'm tangled, and John is running back into the water," says Alford, reveling in the story. Godfrey interjects. "The part of the story he's leaving out is that all the screeching and screaming was coming from him, not the groundhog."</p> <p>Alford admits he's gotten more careful and cautious with age. He recently remarried, turned 40, and is now trying to start a family. "That has changed my perspective a bit," he says. "I don't dive anymore in the winter and early spring. I have gone out in those conditions, but that is risky—bordering on suicidal—being in that deep freeze with all the other dangers present."</p> <p><img src="" onclick="this.src=this.src" caption="Click to play clip"> <em>Aaron Alford discovers a fossilized shark's tooth</em></p> <h4>Click image to play clip</h4> <p><div class='magazine-section-break'></div></p> <p>Alford is vague when referring to his hunting sites. One section of river he's working on now, with a trove of marine species (whales, dolphins, seals, walruses, and large fish of various kinds), is "near Richmond." A five-foot whale skull is just out in the water somewhere. Even when he publishes findings, he often uses code numbers to refer to exact locations. "If another scientist needs to know exactly where, I can give them the key to the code. Otherwise, I don't want people to know where all this stuff is." Alford says he doesn't advertise his sites because he worries about fossil pirates, people who are less interested in science than in claiming a prize for their mantle. Some of these people do more harm than good, he says, damaging fossils in their eagerness to extract, often breaking off a piece and leaving the rest behind. They also put themselves and a cluster of fossils at risk, as they might cause a landslide or otherwise disrupt the surrounding area. Nance says that most amateur fossil hunters are well-intentioned, responsible collectors who are in it for the love of science. "But there's a handful of people who will go out and ruin it for everyone else. They will mess stuff up," he says. And when it's gone, it's gone.</p> <p>Alford says he's seen people stalk his boats when he's out hunting, so they can come back after he's left and plunder a site. "They take a screwdriver to skulls just to rip some teeth out. Stupid stuff like that," he says. "They just want a piece, a prize, and they don't care about the ramifications."</p> <p>His brand of paleontology is a race against time. Get the fossils before the pirates get them, or nature destroys them or sweeps the remnants to harder-to-reach places. To speed the process, Alford has created a set of modified tools, including a pneumatic, scuba tank–powered drill that can delicately make short work of cutting through thick, hard rock on a cliffside and even underwater. He's also developing a new type of field jacket, a casting material that can set quickly underwater in order to protect larger specimens as they're being excavated and transported. He's hesitant to give away too many details about the equipment, since he plans to document their use and publish his techniques in scientific papers. He's currently testing the new tools and hopes to use them this summer or fall for extracting that massive whale skull from the Chesapeake Bay floor.</p> <p>The stumbling blocks are time and money. Finding time for his hobby is not as easy as it used to be. Earlier this year, he severed ties with Paleo Quest and SharkFinder, partly due to a difference in philosophy but mostly so he could free himself up for new challenges. His expeditions are paid for mostly out-of-pocket and with money from speaking engagements. "The rest I beg, borrow, and steal for, and I partner with a dive shop that sponsors some of my work. I get by. I'm not independently wealthy. It's science on a shoestring, really. I like to say, 'If research is not either sexy or for medicine, getting funding is hard.'" The trip to recover the whale skull will truly challenge Alford's ingenuity, as it will require new techniques, many man-hours, and multiple people using boats not much bigger than the 14-foot inflatable Zodiac he uses now for his water-based work. "The idea is to make the methods accessible to the typical underfunded paleo department or group," he says.</p> <p>So this particular fossil will remain stuck off shore. He's hoping nobody gets to it before then. Alford has dibs.</p> Fri, 11 Sep 2015 14:48:00 -0400 Former Krieger School Dean Daniel Weiss is the new president of the Met <p>Daniel Weiss wasn't looking for a new job. He certainly wasn't expecting this one. He had made art history and higher education his métier since returning to Johns Hopkins University to earn his doctorate in the late 1980s. But when the Metropolitan Museum of Art wants to talk, you listen. "I have been in higher education now for 26 years," Weiss says. "I love this life and this world. It's a great privilege to be doing this work, but I have always had this interest in museums. And then out of the blue I got a call asking if I would be interested in being president of the Met. I had no idea it was coming, and I'll never forget the call. For me it's like somebody who loves baseball being asked, Do you want to be manager of the Yankees?"</p> <p>Weiss, A&S '82 (MA), '92 (PhD), lets out a little smile, as if the prospect of joining the Met still tickles him. It's mid-April, about a month since the Met announced Weiss' appointment as the successor to President Emily K. Rafferty, who retired. He's sitting in his office at Haverford College outside Philadelphia, where he's been president since 2013. And while, yes, he's spent the past quarter-century in the academic world—Weiss joined the Johns Hopkins faculty in 1993 and served as dean of the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences from 2002 to 2005 before becoming president first of Lafayette College and then of Haverford—he initially saw himself working in museums.</p> <p>An early job at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., impressed on him that administrative competence is important for arts institutions to thrive. He decided to pursue an MBA at Yale's School of Management in the 1980s, where he organized an independent study of museum leadership during his second year that took him around the country. He figured his art history background and business training would allow him to pursue a museum career. "That was exactly why I went to Yale to get an MBA," he says, "with the idea that I would somehow combine these interests."</p> <p>As president, which he started in July, Weiss reports to Met Director and CEO Thomas P. Campbell, and oversees the museum's day-to-day operations and its 1,500 employees in various administrative areas: facilities and construction, development and membership, finance and investments, information technology, legal affairs, visitor services, human resources, marketing and external relations, the Met shops, and government relations. He joins the institution during an ambitious and busy era. In spring 2014, the museum began a mammoth ongoing digital initiative, which includes putting high-resolution images of its collections online for open-access scholarly use. (The museum's digital department recently released a smartphone app that helps navigate its impressive online presence.) The museum is soon to begin a multiyear renovation of its contemporary galleries at its Fifth Avenue home. And in spring 2016, the Met will expand its modern and contemporary art program when it opens the Met Breuer in the former home of the Whitney Museum of American Art at East 75th Street and Madison Avenue.</p> <p>In conversation, Weiss is eloquently thoughtful and comfortably human. Johns Hopkins Magazine had the chance to sit down with him prior to his move to New York to talk about the museum, the role cultural institutions play in the cities they call home, and his long way around to a museum career. "It took me 30 years to get it sorted out," Weiss says. "But I did eventually get around to it."</p> <p><div class='magazine-section-break'></div></p> <h4>I imagine the mid-1980s was an interesting time to be looking at museums—the 1980s and early 1990s seem to be when museums started realizing they needed to evolve from civic institutions into businesses. I imagine there are similarities in the trajectories of cultural institutions and universities in that respect. Is that a fair statement?</h4> <p>It is, although I would say there were two issues in the 1980s that were the center of those conversations. One was an interest in blockbusters as a way of generating audience, following the great success of the [Treasures of] Tutankhamun exhibit that [Director] Tom Hoving had at the Met in the late 1970s. There was this flurry of interest in blockbusters, and museums were trying to outdo each other in figuring out how to generate larger audiences. That led to a migration away from some of the traditional exhibition plans that museums had.</p> <p>The other was in the same context of hypercompetitiveness. Museums were expanding but they didn't have the resources to sustain those investments in capital. So many had budget problems because they couldn't afford to air-condition the wing they just built. That spoke to me again about the need for comprehensive management planning and not just visionary execution. Those are parallel to higher education—increased levels of competitiveness around getting students and more and more physical constraints.</p> <h4>What made you go back and pursue academic work after business school?</h4> <p>I ended up getting a job as a consultant at Booz Allen Hamilton, a strategic management consulting firm in New York. Although I was not sure that this was a good fit for me long term, I knew that it was a great way to develop some skills and to learn more about a side of the world I hadn't experienced. I worked in New York for four years, doing consulting mostly in financial services but also in the insurance industry and manufacturing. I learned a great deal about how organizations function, what makes them successful, but I also learned that my love for the arts and for a career in something connected to arts and education was something I couldn't shake. So I went back to graduate school at Hopkins to get a PhD. Then I ended up staying at Hopkins for 16 years.</p> <h4>On YouTube, I saw a lecture you gave at Lafayette where you start off saying that at first you hated medieval art, which was one of the reasons you decided to study it. Why?</h4> <p>I had this provincial and limited understanding of medieval art as a kind of tedious parade of religious images executed by a culture that lacked imagination and a view of the world beyond its own parochial concerns. But I had a really inspiring college teacher, and then I had a brilliant PhD adviser at Hopkins named Herbert Kessler, and my eyes were opened more and more to how interesting this culture was. What I really loved, as a scholar and as a teacher, was the idea that you could take this material, which seemed intractable and inaccessible, and help students or the reader see that it's so much more interesting. And, indeed, the same kinds of concerns that were behind the creation of those images are the concerns we live with today. I found medieval art to be quite revelatory in how interesting it was when, at first instance, I had thought it was really boring.</p> <h4>I wanted to ask about that because I wanted to know if you think museums should serve that function, of being able to provide some spark of revelation. When a number of American art institutions, the Met in particular, started in the 19th century, education was part of their mission. Are museums still doing that?</h4> <p>I think museums have several core responsibilities. One of them is, in addition to conserving and maintaining these objects of cultural heritage, to provide opportunities for education about what's in their collections and about our own cultural history. But if we are utterly indifferent to the interests of the public, we can produce exhibitions that nobody's going to come and see. So finding that balance between producing exhibitions and permanent collections that speak to ideas and values that resonate with all of us, at the same time doing it in ways that excite the interests of people who may not have a deep understanding of this material—that's the art of doing this sort of work brilliantly.</p> <h4>Do you remember an early museum experience that did that in some way for you?</h4> <p>I can think of two early experiences with art that were very meaningful to me. My parents got divorced when I was very little, and my father lived for much of my childhood in Puerto Rico, and I used to visit him there. He became a painter—a quite good painter. It was just a hobby, but hanging on the walls of his apartment were some paintings that I really loved. I associated them with a very happy time in my life—I was in Puerto Rico, I was with my dad, and on the wall were his paintings. When I was named president of Lafayette, he gave them to me, and ever since they have hung on the walls of my office. So I have that in my life—that was the first art that I ever fell in love with, and I was 6 years old.</p> <p>The other experience was in high school. I grew up on Long Island in New York and I took a course in the humanities. I'm pretty sure we went on a field trip to the Met because I had a high school experience there and I remember thinking it was the most extraordinary place in the world. It's so big and so rich, and my teacher took us through it. That was 1974, and I dare say I've been going there for 40 years routinely. Every single undergraduate class I have ever taught in three institutions—at Hopkins, at Lafayette, and here [at Haverford]—I've always taken the class to the Met. That experience, particularly a museum that rich and that large and that stimulating, can change the lives of people who are open to it. And I want them to have that experience at least once, and then they can take it with them.</p> <h4>As you just pointed out, people will come to New York just to go to the Met. How important is it for the Met to be a New York institution, to be a place for people from Staten Island and the Bronx to think of as "ours"?</h4> <p>The Met is one of the most comprehensive collections of art in the world, comparable to the Louvre and very few others in terms of its quality and depth of collections. Its scholarly and scientific resources are unparalleled in terms of its curatorial work and conservation. But it is also a civic institution that has an obligation to New York. New York City owns the building. The museum was founded in 1870 in partnership with the city to create a resource that could serve the New York area. So our strategic objectives in the next few years will include doing all that we can to make the museum more accessible to everyone who wants to come, so that it's their museum.</p> <p>[Since being named president] I have heard from hundreds of people I know who told me how special the museum is to them. But there are sectors of the population that don't feel as comfortable going up those magnificent steps. The boroughs of Staten Island, Queens, and the Bronx and other parts of New York don't have as many people coming to the museum as Manhattan does. So we're looking at what can we do to help people feel like it's their museum. Because I think right at the center of the museum's identity is that it is a New York City institution as well as a national and international one.</p> <h4>Why is that important? Museums sometimes find it challenging to articulate why they're reaching out to the diverse members of their community to make sure there's something to offer them.</h4> <p>It can be, particularly for people who are not accustomed to finding inspiration or comfort in art—it's just not something they're used to. As you know, there is a long-standing relationship between art and the upper end of the socioeconomic continuum. But there's no reason why everybody can't find value and joy in art. So we continue to find ways to help people feel like it's not intimidating to come into the museum, that you're welcome there. It's a little bit like walking into a really fancy store—you always wonder if they want you there. We want you here, but we want to make sure you feel comfortable. That's true at every museum.</p> <h4>What about other challenges for institutions that don't have the Met's resources—does the Met have a responsibility to know what's going on in the museum world? What made me wonder about this is when [Director and CEO Thomas] Campbell responded to the destruction of objects at the Mosul Museum in Baghdad. It seems obvious that a cultural institution would comment on that destruction, but museum leadership doesn't always do that.</h4> <p>I think the Met has a platform because of its size, its success, its resources, to be a world leader in helping to guide the way we think about the development and place of art in our society. So I thought Tom Campbell's comments about what's happening in Mosul were on point, and he was right to make them. Our fundamental first responsibility as a museum is to protect the cultural heritage of our civilization. If we can't keep the objects safe and they're destroyed, they're lost forever. But we're not the only ones. Every museum ought to be participating strenuously in those discussions. The Met has a special privilege because of its place in the world, but I think we who do this work every day have a special obligation to contribute to that discussion.</p> <h4>I think that's one thing large cultural institutions in America—museums, symphonies, theater companies, even universities—have learned: to be better advocates for themselves. They've realized they have to remind their employees, students, and audiences that part of their purpose is to remind people why they're important.</h4> <p>A very good example of that in Baltimore was when Bob Bergman was hired to be director of the Walters. That was in the early 1980s. He was brought in to open up an institution that was of superb quality but was not vital in the community. No one was ever in the museum; it was a kind of sleepy, stodgy, scholarly place. And Bob felt very strongly that you can be a world-class scholarly educational institution and also one that is vitally important to the community. And he opened the doors of that place. He reinstalled exhibitions. He created a whole new program with the city that advocated for its importance and centrality to the life of Baltimore. And they haven't looked back since then, and that was 35 years ago.</p> <h4>You alluded to the extensive collections that the Met has. I think we could ask anybody who has gone there over the years any number of times, "What is the Met famous for?" And several things would come to mind—the Vermeers, Sargent's Portrait of Madame X, the armor, Washington Crossing the Delaware. What are some of the lesser-known works that you personally like?</h4> <p>I am most drawn to the art of classical Greece and one of the most extraordinary objects in the museum and in the world is a little bronze statue often called the Baker Dancer, because it was given by a man named Walter Baker. It's a little bronze image of a woman completely veiled and dancing. It's utterly three-dimensional because there's no front, no back, she's swirling in space. And it gives you a sense of how dynamic great sculpture can be in the hands of a master. That is in a small gallery that is often bypassed and people don't know it's there.</p> <p>I think the depth of the painting collection is so extraordinary that in almost any gallery you enter you can see great masterpieces. The room full of Turners, for example, it's sort of in a corner. And unless you're looking for Turner, you're not going to see them. I love to go there and see those. And I am a great fan of Vermeer, and there are five of them. There are 35 in the world and there are five at the Met. That's kind of remarkable.</p> <h4>Same with collections—I think you're right; the painting collection is the one that comes to mind when people think of the Met. What else?</h4> <p>Musical instruments. Violins—I once tried to learn how to play the violin and was a dismal failure. But I love the instrument, I love to hear it performed, and I love to see it. It's a beautiful object. The Met has several by Stradivari, it has Amatis, it has some of the greatest violins in the world. They're just there in the gallery.</p> <h4>What have been some of your intellectual interests recently? I ask because after I watched the Lafayette lecture on YouTube, I watched one you gave about writing about the Vietnam War, and I saw last fall that you did a symposium here about poetry and the Vietnam War.</h4> <p>I became interested in war poetry through this project that I'm doing now on a Vietnam War poet named Michael O'Donnell, who wrote a very powerful poem. He was a helicopter pilot, and right after he wrote the poem, his helicopter was shot down and he was listed as missing in action. When I came across the story, his remains had just been identified and buried. So in the year 2000 or 2001, I went down to Arlington cemetery and I saw a fresh grave of a man killed in 1970 but only buried six months before. The poem that he wrote is actually very well known—it's about not forgetting the gentle heroes we left behind, and then he himself became a gentle hero we left behind—so I'm writing a book about him that is maybe a third done. Given my administrative responsibilities, I've had a hard time moving it along, but I have gathered all the scholarly materials associated with his life. His family has allowed us to use his archives, including the letter from Richard Nixon sending regrets to the family when Michael was declared missing and the letter from Jimmy Carter sending regrets eight years later when he had been declared legally dead.</p> <h4>What struck you first? The poem or the story of the man who wrote it?</h4> <p>The poem blew me away and the story deeply intrigued me. I first came across this in a book called The American Century by Harold Evans, which was published 17 years ago. There's a picture of this young man and the poem. The poem is very moving, and underneath, it says, "This poem was written by Michael O'Donnell, a helicopter pilot. He was shot down in March 1970 and he is listed as missing in action." I wanted to know under what circumstances he wrote the poem. I found out that he wrote it as a letter to his best friend, so I found his best friend, who is a retired schoolteacher in Milwaukee, and I went there to meet him.</p> <p>We became good friends and we decided to do this project together. He is now one of my closest friends, and he came to the symposium in November. This is a really powerful personal story in some ways, but at the same time, this young man's experience was emblematic of the American experience of the 1960s and people who went to war. He didn't come back, and there were 58,000 Americans who didn't come back, and millions of Vietnamese who were killed as well. So it's a story about America in the '60s through the experiences of this guy who was a brilliant songwriter and a poet. He never fired a shot in Vietnam but he died a hero. So if I didn't have to go to this new job, I could write this book. I've made some progress, but I need to make some more.</p> Fri, 11 Sep 2015 14:48:00 -0400 Book review: Shots on the Bridge <p>Six days after Hurricane Katrina ravaged the Gulf Coast, two families that stayed behind in New Orleans crossed the city's Danziger Bridge on foot. Lance Madison, 49, remained because his brother Ronald, a mentally disabled 40-year-old, refused to leave without his dogs. The other, Susan Bartholomew and her large family, didn't leave because they all wouldn't fit in their lone van. And around 9 a.m. on the morning of September 4, 2005, the Madisons were heading east, and six members of the Bartholomews—Susan, her husband Leonard Sr., her 17-year-old daughter Lesha, her 14-year-old son Leonard, her 19-year-old nephew Jose Holmes, and Holmes' 17-year-old friend James Brissette—were heading west toward Winn-Dixie when a speeding Budget rental van rushed toward the bridge. When it came to a halt, a group of heavily armed men began filing out of the back. And they started shooting.</p> <p>Associated Press investigative reporter Ronnie Greene, A&S '13 (MA), doesn't simply re-create the calamitous seconds that follow in <em>Shots on the Bridge</em> (Beacon Press). He performs a patient feat of forensic journalism by following the incident's devastating aftermath. Those armed men were members of the New Orleans Police Department responding to an officer-in-danger radio call. They were armed with police-issued Glocks and personal AK-47s, shotguns, and an M4 assault rifle. They didn't identify themselves as law enforcement. And after they finished firing, they realized the civilians weren't armed. Ronald Madison and Brissette were dead. Six were seriously injured. And the officers on the bridge, and a few of their supervisors, immediately started covering up the massacre.</p> <p>Subtitled <em>Police Violence and Cover-Up in the Wake of Katrina</em>, Greene's <em>Shots</em> is a poignant excavation of this case. Greene sifted through nearly 6,000 pages of trial transcripts, federal case trials, police reports, Senate reports on Katrina, previous NOPD brutality and corruption cases, and his own reporting and interviews to deliver a harrowingly taut 228-page book that bracingly covers what happened before, during, and after the shooting—such as local indictments against the officers and a dismissal and a federal investigation, trial, and jury conviction vacated by the presiding judge (the case remains unresolved)—to illustrate how difficult it is for victims of police malfeasance to seek justice.</p> Fri, 11 Sep 2015 14:48:00 -0400 Book review: The Beast Side <p>"The easiest thing to do in this country as a black man is to be arrested or die or both," writes D. Watkins, Ed '11 (MEd), in his debut essay collection, The Beast Side, and its matter-of-fact agitation is what makes the book so potent. Subtitled <em>Living and Dying While Black in America</em>, the book is the inaugural release of former CEO/editor David Talbot's new Skyhorse Publishing imprint and combines a few of Watkins' more celebrated essays—the essay "Fuck the National Anthem," the <em>New York Times</em> editorial "In Baltimore, We're All Freddie Gray"—with new ones that showcase his ability to swirl memory and anecdote around political fire. His righteousness is what draws eyeballs to his words; his devastating vulnerability sears them into the brain.</p> Fri, 11 Sep 2015 14:48:00 -0400 Book review: The Language of the Dead <p>German bombs falling on the United Kingdom aren't the only dark forces troubling detective chief inspector Thomas Lamb in the summer of 1940. He's tasked with investigating a farmhand found with a scythe in his chest in the rural southern England village of Quimby, where rumors of the occult stretch back decades—and a second murder and the encroaching Blitz cranks up the townsfolks' anxieties. <em>Dead</em> (Pegasus) is the debut novel of veteran journalist Kelly, A&S '99 (MA), and it's full of a reporter's attention to everyday details, narrative drive, and human foibles, lending the book the engrossing confidence of Caleb Carr's historical page turners.</p> Fri, 11 Sep 2015 14:48:00 -0400 Abbreviated <p>Four cross-disciplinary scholars joined Johns Hopkins as Bloomberg Distinguished Professors, bringing to 14 the total number of BDPs. They are <strong>Jessica Fanzo</strong>, the first Bloomberg Distinguished Associate Professor, who has appointments in the Berman Institute of Bioethics and <strong>SAIS</strong>. Biophysicist <strong>Taekjip Ha</strong> has appointments in the <strong>School of Medicine</strong>, the <strong>Krieger School of Arts and Sciences</strong>, and the <strong>Whiting School of Engineering</strong>. <strong>Rong Li</strong> is a cell biologist, who will be part of the <strong>School of Medicine</strong> and the <strong>Whiting School of Engineering</strong>. Mathematician and computer scientist <strong>Alan Yuille</strong> has appointments in the Krieger and Whiting schools.</p> <p><div class='magazine-section-break'></div></p> <p>Former Rep. <strong>Henry Waxman</strong>, who represented California's 33rd Congressional District for 40 years, joined the <strong>Bloomberg School of Public Health</strong>'s Department of Health Policy and Management as its Centennial Policy Scholar, where he will host a seminar series. <div class='magazine-section-break'></div></p> <p><strong>Ron Peterson</strong>, president of the <strong>Johns Hopkins Hospital and Health System</strong>, received the 2015 Lifetime Achievement Award from Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Greater Chesapeake in recognition of his commitment to youth mentoring programs in Maryland. <div class='magazine-section-break'></div></p> <p><strong>Christian Kaiser</strong>, assistant professor in the Department of Biology of the <strong>Krieger School</strong>, has received a four-year, $240,000 grant from the Pew Charitable Trusts for his research on protein biogenesis. <div class='magazine-section-break'></div></p> <p><strong>Laurie deBettencourt</strong>, professor of special education in the <strong>School of Education</strong>, began her term as president of the Division of Learning Disabilities, part of the Council for Exceptional Children, on July 1. <div class='magazine-section-break'></div></p> <p>At Commencement 2015, a new school song made its debut, the result of a contest announced in September 2014. The winner was <strong>Peabody</strong> alum <strong>Erik Meyer</strong>, who was selected from a group of five finalists. His song, "Truth Guide Our University—The Spirit of JHU" (, is a modern take on "The Johns Hopkins Ode," the former school song. <div class='magazine-section-break'></div></p> <p><strong>Charles Bennett</strong>, professor of physics and astronomy and a Gilman Scholar in the <strong>Krieger School</strong>, received the 2015 Caterina Tomassoni and Felice Pietro Chisesi Prize at Sapienza University of Rome in recognition of his "leadership in two experiments on the cosmic microwave background that literally changed our view of the universe." <div class='magazine-section-break'></div></p> <p><strong>Jonathan Lewin</strong>, professor and director of <strong>Medicine</strong>'s Department of Radiology and Radiological Science, has been elected president of the American Roentgen Ray Society. <div class='magazine-section-break'></div></p> <p><strong>Andrew Nicklin</strong> has been appointed director of open data at the <strong>Krieger School</strong>'s new Center for Government Excellence, which will advise midsize cities on how to allow citizens to see and use more municipal data. Nicklin was previously director of Open NY, where he managed New York state's open data and transparency program. <div class='magazine-section-break'></div></p> <p>Johns Hopkins Magazine was named Robert Sibley Magazine of the Year, the most prestigious honor an alumni magazine can receive. It was also awarded a Grand Gold distinction in the category of General Interest Magazines with circulations of 75,000 or more. Stories by editor <strong>Dale Keiger</strong> and senior writer <strong>Bret McCabe</strong> earned the magazine a silver award in Periodical Staff Writing. The magazine is produced by the Office of Communications, which also earned a gold in Visual Identity Systems for the Athletics identity system, a gold in General Information–Short Videos for the Thank You video, and a silver for the implementation of a university logo. The <strong>School of Public Health</strong>'s Yearlook annual report won a gold in Presidents and Annual Reports (Digital) and a bronze in Digital Magazines. The Center for Talented Youth received a bronze in Annual Reports and Fund Reports for its 2014 annual report, "Eureka!" <div class='magazine-section-break'></div></p> <p>The Indispensable Role of Blacks at Johns Hopkins traveling exhibit added four new members at the Juneteenth Celebration of the Black Faculty and Staff Association. The new inductees are <strong>Janine Clayton</strong>, deputy director of the Office of Women's Health at NIH and a Johns Hopkins graduate who did her fellowship training at Wilmer Eye Institute; <strong>Robert Clayton</strong>, former president of the Johns Hopkins Society of Black Alumni and a family law attorney in Los Angeles; <strong>Ronald Owens</strong>, former assistant director of Admissions at Hopkins who was responsible for admitting many African-American students in the 1970s; and <strong>Clifford Smith</strong>, an engineer and former chancellor of the University of Wisconsin– Milwaukee, who earned both his master's degree in environmental engineering and his PhD in radiological science from Johns Hopkins. <div class='magazine-section-break'></div></p> <p>Bert Vogelstein, professor of oncology and pathology and director of the Ludwig Center for Cancer Genetics and Therapeutics at the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center, has been awarded Johnson & Johnson's 2015 Dr. Paul Jansen Award for Biomedical Research. The $200,000 award recognizes Vogelstein's two decades of breakthroughs in oncology research, which has examined the genetic and biochemical events that initiate the development of tumors. <div class='magazine-section-break'></div></p> <p><strong>Kit H. Bowen</strong>, professor in the <strong>Krieger School</strong>'s Department of Chemistry, is principal investigator on a project that won a five-year Department of Defense $7.5 million award. Seven teams from five institutions are working on the project, with the goal of finding ways to turn atom clusters into materials that would be useful in practical ways. <div class='magazine-section-break'></div></p> <p><strong>Gul Dolen</strong>, assistant professor of neuroscience in the <strong>School of Medicine</strong>, and <strong>Eili Klein</strong>, assistant professor of emergency medicine, have received 2014 Individual Biomedical Research Awards from the Hartwell Foundation. Each award will provide research support for three years at $100,000 per year. <div class='magazine-section-break'></div></p> <p><strong>J. Tilak Ratnanather</strong>, associate research professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering, is the recipient of the Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing's Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring. An expert in mapping the brains of patients with neurodevelopmental and neurodegenerative disorders, Ratnanather has recruited into science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields an unprecedented number of individuals who are deaf and hard of hearing.</p> <p><div class='magazine-section-break'></div></p> <p><strong>Piero Gleijeses</strong>, professor of American foreign policy at <strong>SAIS</strong>, was awarded the American Historical Association's Friedrich Katz Prize for his book Visions of Freedom: Havana, Washington, Pretoria, and the Struggle for Southern Africa, 1976–1991 (University of North Carolina Press). The prize is awarded annually to the best book published in English focusing on Latin America, including the Caribbean. <div class='magazine-section-break'></div></p> <p><strong>James Harris</strong>, professor in the <strong>School of Medicine</strong>'s Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, has received the American Psychiatric Association's 2015 Frank J. Menolascino Award for Services to Persons With Intellectual Development Disorders and Developmental Disabilities.</p> Fri, 11 Sep 2015 14:48:00 -0400 Remembering pioneers <p>The Johns Hopkins community is mourning the recent losses of four giants in medicine.</p> <p><div class='magazine-section-break'></div></p> <p>Howard W. Jones Jr., a pioneer in reproductive medicine who oversaw the 1965 Johns Hopkins research that resulted in the world's first successful fertilization of a human egg outside the body, then collaborated with his wife—gynecologic endocrinologist Georgeanna Seegar Jones—to oversee the 1981 birth of the first "test tube" baby in the United States, died July 31 in Virginia. He was 104.</p> <p>Jones had published his most recent book, <em>In Vitro Fertilization Comes to America: Memoir of a Medical Breakthrough</em>, just last year. In recent years, Jones also became known for having been the first physician at Johns Hopkins to examine Henrietta Lacks, the 1951 African-American patient with cervical cancer whose tumor cells were the first human cell line to reproduce continuously in the laboratory, becoming the basis for studies that have led to some of the most crucial medical advances of the past 65 years.</p> <p><div class='magazine-section-break'></div></p> <p>James Jude, who helped pioneer the lifesaving technique for cardiopulmonary resuscitation while he was a resident at Johns Hopkins Hospital in the late 1950s, died July 28 in Coral Gables, Florida. He was 87.</p> <p>CPR has been in practice in the United States since 1960, when Johns Hopkins researchers William Kouwenhoven, Guy Knickerbocker, and Jude published in the <em>Journal of the American Medical Association</em> the first data on the benefits of what was then called "cardiac massage." The trio's research eventually demonstrated that regular, rhythmic chest compressions raised blood pressure enough to keep sufficient blood flowing to the brain and other key organs, buying enough time to get a defibrillator to the patient and restart his heart.</p> <p><div class='magazine-section-break'></div></p> <p>Richard Ross, former dean of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, vice president for medicine of Johns Hopkins University, and a renowned cardiologist who served as president of the American Heart Association, died August 11. He was 91.</p> <p>Ross was dean of the School of Medicine from 1975 to 1990. Under his leadership, the school doubled its space devoted to research, consistently was among the nation's top recipients of federal research funding, and undertook educational reforms and initiatives that stimulated a continued flow of top-notch, diverse applicants to Johns Hopkins.</p> <p><div class='magazine-section-break'></div></p> <p>Levi Watkins Jr., a pioneer in both cardiac surgery and civil rights who implanted the first automatic heart defibrillator in a patient and was instrumental in recruiting minority students to the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, died April 11 of complications from a stroke. He was 70.</p> <p>Watkins came to Johns Hopkins in 1970 as a general surgery intern and gained renown in 1980 for implanting the first automatic heart defibrillator in a patient suffering from repeated, life-threating episodes of ventricular fibrillation, or irregular heartbeats. Such a procedure now is commonplace, saving untold lives annually.</p> Fri, 11 Sep 2015 14:48:00 -0400 Catalyst/Discovery <p>As traditional sources of research funds continue to decline, faculty researchers received a much-needed boost with the announcement of the first recipients of two Johns Hopkins programs: the Discovery and Catalyst awards. The programs were announced earlier this year by Johns Hopkins President Ronald J. Daniels, Provost Robert C. Lieberman, and the deans and directors of the academic divisions as part of a $15 million commitment to cross-university, faculty-led research over three years.</p> <p>The Discovery Awards will provide research funding to 23 teams, each with members spanning at least two university divisions. (Teams could apply for up to $100,000 to explore a new area of collaborative work, or request up to $150,000 in project planning funds if they are preparing for an externally funded large-scale grant or cooperative agreement.) The financial support will allow scholars to bridge medicine and engineering to create artificial lymph nodes; pair music and pharmacology to better understand treatments for depression and anxiety; and combine archaeology and materials science to understand artifacts from the ancient past. Three projects involve collaborators from the Applied Physics Laboratory.</p> <p>At the same time, 37 early-career Johns Hopkins faculty members have been chosen to receive up to $75,000 each from the university's Catalyst Awards program. The scholars—more than half of whom are assistant professors—are pursuing research on medical issues that include cancer, HIV, melanoma, sleep disorders, and quality nursing care, as well as projects in astrophysics, climate change, economics, and politics.</p> <p>"The university's leadership is excited to make a substantial investment in these scholars and scientists at a critical moment in their careers when startup funds and external support can be challenging to secure," Daniels says. See the full list of recipients <a href="">here</a>.</p> Fri, 11 Sep 2015 14:48:00 -0400 Graduate climate control <p>Johns Hopkins University leaders are moving the annual commencement 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 at 4 p.m. on May 18, the universitywide commencement will be held at Baltimore's Royal Farms Arena, President Ronald J. Daniels and Provost Robert C. Lieberman announced in a message to the university community. Several divisional ceremonies will be held at the arena 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>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 year's 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><a href="">Click here for more information on next year's commencement</a>; details will be updated throughout the year.</p> Fri, 11 Sep 2015 14:48:00 -0400 Music to our ears <p>The Shriver Hall Concert Series celebrates its 50th season this year with a new director and new commissions. Founded in 1965 by Ernest Bueding—a Johns Hopkins researcher celebrated for his work in parasitology, pharmacology, and biochemistry, as well as his support of chamber music—the series became an independent nonprofit in 1970 but maintained Homewood as its home base.</p> <p>Catherine Cochran, who was an executive producer and the director of music programming at New York City's 92nd Street Y, joins the series for its golden anniversary as the new executive director, overseeing a season that celebrates its Baltimore roots. Baltimore-based composers James Lee III and Jonathan Leshnoff have new works in the lineup (as does New York–based Timo Andres, an emerging talent), and the series presents three free concerts around the city to reach new audiences. <a href="">Click for details.</a></p> Fri, 11 Sep 2015 14:48:00 -0400 Major development <p>After 30 years with the U.S. Navy, Robert McLean has settled into civilian life as the new vice president for facilities and real estate, overseeing the school's property portfolio.</p> <p>Most recently, McLean served as commanding officer for the Naval Facilities Engineering Command that covers Europe, Africa, and Southwest Asia. The job involved frequent travel, with McLean taking care of real estate deals, developments, and facilities across 30 countries. McLean says this experience can translate well to the university setting. As head of Real Estate at Hopkins, he'll be shepherding projects in the university's 20 million square feet of property throughout Maryland and D.C.</p> <p>McLean will also oversee Hopkins' ongoing major development projects, such as the new mixed-use building at 3200 St. Paul St. in Charles Village, and he will help create a strategy to expand development on the university's Montgomery County Campus.</p> Fri, 11 Sep 2015 14:48:00 -0400 A century of saving lives <p>The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health was born 100 years ago from a surprise announcement. Back on June 13, 1916—with Woodrow Wilson in the White House and World War I raging across Europe—the university held its commencement ceremonies. William Henry Welch, dean of the School of Medicine and a pathology professor, took to the stage to announce that the Rockefeller Foundation had chosen Johns Hopkins to receive a grant funding the creation of the world's first school of hygiene and public health.</p> <p>Today, the renamed Bloomberg School of Public Health is not only the oldest such institution but also the largest and most prominent, topping the U.S. News & World Report rankings of public health schools every year since the category's inception in 1994. Presently, it enrolls some 2,250 students from more than 80 countries.</p> <p>In its first 100 years, the school helped eradicate smallpox, make water safe to drink, improve child survival through better nutrition, reduce the spread of HIV, and uncover the dangers of tobacco smoke. The school's mission is distilled thusly: Protecting Health, Saving Lives—Millions at a Time.</p> <p>"As the first independent graduate school of public health, our faculty, staff, and alumni have been at the vanguard of public health efforts," says Michael J. Klag, dean of the school. "We've had an incredible impact. The work that goes on in the Bloomberg School's labs, classrooms, and field sites around the world each day is awe-inspiring. The cumulative impact of a century of such dedication is incredible. This coming year, we're looking forward to recognizing and celebrating what a remarkable institution this is."</p> <p>The school is celebrating its centennial with a year of festivities, including exhibits, alumni dinners, and a finale birthday bash. <a href="">Click here for more information</a>.</p> Fri, 11 Sep 2015 14:48:00 -0400 Assistant coach fund honors the late coach Wilson Fewster <p>When the news broke last year that Johns Hopkins University had lost one of its finest, Al Freeland knew he had to do something besides mourn the passing of Wilson Fewster.</p> <p>During his nine seasons (1957–65) as head football coach at Hopkins, Fewster, A&S '50, made an indelible impression on Freeland, one of the Blue Jays' top players during Fewster's most successful years on the sidelines. Before he became a successful hand surgeon, Freeland, A&S '61, HS '68, '69, Med '70 (PGF), was a starting tight end and linebacker on the Hopkins teams that won back-to-back Mid-Atlantic Conference titles in 1959 and 1960 and a Mason Dixon championship in 1959.</p> <p>"Coach Fewster didn't get too close to his players," Freeland recalls. "But a year after I graduated, he called me and invited me to dinner. From there, we stayed in touch over the years. He'd come to team reunions. I sent him holiday cheese every Christmas. When he passed, I really wanted to do something to honor him."</p> <p>Freeland consulted current Johns Hopkins football coach Jim Margraff and Athletics Director Tom Calder. They agreed the most fitting way to make Fewster's name live on at Homewood would be to invest in the program's future coaches. So during the summer of 2014, Freeland wrote 350 letters seeking donations from alums, including his Class of '61 teammates. The goal was to raise $250,000 and establish the Fewster Assistant Coaching Fund, which each year would support a young Hopkins coach breaking into the business.</p> <p>By July of 2015, nearly $200,000 had been raised. "We've gotten contributions from nearly 100 former players," says Freeland, who has been retired as a surgeon for 10 years. "That shows you what people thought of [Fewster]. I called him Fewster the Rooster, since he was king of the barnyard. What a shrewd tactician. He was a very confident, humble, and modest guy, a straight-up role model."</p> <p>"I was overwhelmed by the alumni support," says Grant Kelly, director of development for Johns Hopkins Athletics. "Al Freeland's leadership sparked an outpouring of support among his former teammates, and they have created something very special for Hopkins football."</p> <p>The Fewster Assistant Coaching Fund named its first recipient shortly before the 2015 football season.</p> <p>Dan Wodicka, Engr '14, the former Blue Jay wide receiver who is the school's all-time leader in career receptions (260), will receive $10,000 as he enters his second year coaching receivers under Margraff. The least-experienced assistant on Margraff's eight-man coaching staff, Wodicka will be able to defray living expenses as a result of the fund's first disbursement.</p> <p>"Coach Margraff sat me down last year and told me this is the [low-paying] lifestyle of a young coach," says Wodicka, who earned a degree in biomedical engineering but quickly gravitated back to his favorite sport. "This is what I want to do more than anything else. I am excited and honored by this."</p> <p>"You need to struggle early to see if coaching is what you really want to do," says Margraff, who tended bar at night to pay bills during his rookie year as an assistant at the University at Albany in 1985. "Al Freeland wanted to do something nice in Coach Fewster's name," Margraff adds. "What a great idea to help a young guy get his foot in the coaching world."</p> <p>Fewster, who died on June 11, 2014, at age 87, made a huge impact at Johns Hopkins in football and lacrosse as a coach, and in lacrosse as a player. He was a three-time All-American in lacrosse and a member of the Class of 1950 lacrosse team. That class went undefeated over four years against collegiate opponents while winning four U.S. Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association National Championships. Fewster was inducted into the National Lacrosse Hall of Fame in 1980 and to the Johns Hopkins Athletic Hall of Fame in 1998. Fewster was also the Blue Jays' head lacrosse coach in 1952 and 1953. He assisted the legendary Bob Scott when Hopkins won national titles in 1957 and 1959.</p> <p>Jim Greenwood, Engr '61, one of Freeland's former teammates, was a two-sport athlete under Fewster—a wingback and cornerback in football and a two-time All-American goalie in lacrosse. Greenwood fondly recalls spending lots of one-on-one time with Fewster after lacrosse practice doing extra work in the goal. "Wils was a born leader and tough guy," Greenwood says. "He'd also spend 45 minutes with me after practice every day. He made it fun working with you. He made me what I was. When Al stood up and said let's do something for football and for Wils, I got right on board with it."</p> Fri, 11 Sep 2015 14:48:00 -0400 Alumnus Francesco Clark's spinal cord injury led to an unexpected career: beauty entrepreneur <p>Francesco Clark, A&S '00, was 24 when he suffered a paralyzing spinal cord injury. That tragedy in 2002 launched an unexpected career—as a beauty entrepreneur—after his impaired nervous system triggered severe skin problems. Six years later, he founded <a href="">Clark's Botanicals</a>, a natural skin care line now sold at 180 stores worldwide, on QVC and, and through the popular Birchbox subscription service. His products are a hit with celebrities, with A-list fans ranging from Madonna to Michelle Obama. Clark donates a percentage of proceeds to the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation, where he serves as a national ambassador to raise awareness and give hope to others with disabilities.</p> <h4>What drove you to start making skin care products?</h4> <p>I was working at <em>Harper's Bazaar</em> and had a summer share house in Long Island. As soon as I dove in the pool there, I realized that I dove into the shallow end instead of the deep end. My chin hit the bottom with such force that I shattered my C3 and C4 vertebrae. I was helicoptered to the hospital, and the doctors said I had less than a 20 percent chance of surviving not only that night but in general. After the surgery to stabilize my spine, which lasted almost an entire night, the prognosis was the same. By that time, my parents were there. My mother said to me, "Move something." So I twitched my shoulder. She looked at the surgeon and said, "You don't know my son."</p> <p>One side effect of my injury was that I lost the ability to sweat, which means my skin can't release toxins. I developed acne and rosacea. It was oily but dry in some areas. It just looked like it was aging more quickly. I turned to my dad, a medical doctor trained in homeopathy, to help me. I'd tried everything— anything you could buy at CVS or Barneys, from creams and serums to prescription lotions and pills— and nothing worked. We went through 78 formulations until we found jasmine absolute, a mixture of botanical extracts and essential oils from the jasmine bloom, which is in all of our products. It helps to rebalance the skin naturally. It also has antibacterial properties. It made my skin look normal again, and I had felt anything but normal up until that point.</p> <h4>When did it turn into an actual business?</h4> <p>My ex-boss, Glenda Bailey, editor-in-chief of <em>Harper's Bazaar</em>, called me in to see how I was doing. She said, "Your skin might look better now than when you worked here." By chance, I had this ugly glass vial of what has become our signature product—the Smoothing Marine Cream—and gave it to her. I got a call three weeks later from the beauty director at <em>Bazaar</em>, who said, "OK, we're going to shoot this product in the March issue." I said, "But we're not sold in stores, we don't have a factory, and it's not packaged." She said they'd give me five months to find two reputable retailers and make it look good. So we launched at C.O. Bigelow in New York City and Fred Segal in L.A. We started to grow in the most organic, slow, and steady way.</p> <h4>Most new ventures fail. Why has yours prospered?</h4> <p>I met Martha Stewart when we won her American Made Award in 2014. She said sometimes it's better to take things slowly and learn from your mistakes and not be a flash in the pan. I think the concept of time gets lost in the shuffle when new businesses are starting. They say they want to be at $100 million in two years. It didn't really matter to me if we were there in two years or 10 years. My life had just changed in the blink of an eye in the bottom of a pool, so my perspective had shifted. I wasn't afraid to move slowly. In doing so, I was willing to take risks because we were starting small.</p> <h4>What was one of those risks?</h4> <p>The first time I went on QVC three years ago, they gave me 15 minutes of airtime. We had to make our Smoothing Marine Cream and Cellular Lifting Serum for them. If we didn't sell it, that meant we had to pay for all this product that was just sitting there. We sold out in seven and a half minutes. It doesn't happen often that a brand sells out on their channel. I have to say, I started crying. That was a big risk for us. But it's really propelled our business to the next level. It's impossible for me to visit every store we're in because of my physical disability. QVC gives me the ability to speak directly to our customers and show them how they're going to look better when they buy the product. That message goes to 44 million viewers. The opportunity we got from them was such a seal of approval.</p> <h4>What's been the biggest lesson you've learned along the way?</h4> <p>It's always important to understand when a mistake has been made and how to correct it. At first, our cleansers were in pump containers. They turned out to be incredibly annoying for our customers. Sometimes you're thinking more about how packaging will look instead of about actual day-to-day use. So we moved it into a tube that turned out to be better ecologically because it's made from recycled material. The customers really appreciated that we changed it because of their concerns. They saw that we listen and their voices matter to us.</p> Fri, 11 Sep 2015 14:48:00 -0400 Best first date <p>David Boyter, A&S '64, and his wife, Angie, Engr '68 (MS), '74 (MSE), went to the 1962 Hopkins homecoming lacrosse game as part of their first date. Just don't ask them what the final score was, or even what team the Blue Jays played that spring day. Those pesky details are lost. "But it was absolutely the best first date I ever had," Angie says, sitting beside David on the porch of the Ellicott City, Maryland, home they've shared for over 45 years.</p> <p>She was going to Goucher College at the time and the pair had met through the Gouchkin Hoppers, a square dance club that united students from then all-male Johns Hopkins (undergrad, at least) and then all-female Goucher. David recalls finding himself dateless as the school's big spring dance, the al fresco Starlighter, drew near. A friend suggested he ask Angie. Another friend quickly shot down that idea, retorting, "Oh, she'd never go out with you." When Angie heard about this quick dismissal of the pairing, it made her determined. "I was to go to that Starlighter with him if it was the last thing I did," she recalls.</p> <p>As first dates go, it was a marathon. David played trumpet in the marching band, and all the musicians and their dates were invited to an alumni crab cake lunch. Then came the game, where the band entertained (and the record shows that the Jays lost to Maryland, 16-15). Next, dinner at a Chinese restaurant and, finally, dancing beneath the stars.</p> <p>"I had on a beautiful, blue strapless dress—do you remember that?" Angie asks. David nods. The night ended with the pair zipping north in David's MG convertible to get Angie back to her campus before curfew. With time to spare for a goodnight kiss. Or two.</p> <p>Once she started dating David, a physics major, Angie added some physics and math classes to her English major's schedule. After graduating in '64, she was hired by the National Security Agency because she had tested so well in math (and with the agency's support, she later attended Johns Hopkins to earn her two graduate degrees). Both Boyters ended up with long careers at the NSA, retiring early to enjoy travel and robust civic engagement in Howard County affairs.</p> <p>The pair was back at Homewood last year for alumni weekend and David's 50th reunion. "I was asked if I could bring my trumpet—but, oh God, I haven't played in so many years," David says. It's a whole different academic and social world on campus these days, but Angie takes the changes in stride: "I like to think that it's not that our Hopkins traditions are gone but that the students have got new ones."</p> Fri, 11 Sep 2015 14:48:00 -0400 The alumni guide to Los Angeles <p>Where else in the world could the raw beauty of nature be so intricately blended with the man-made than Los Angeles? Even the legendary sign proclaiming the city the motion picture capital of the world—HOLLYWOOD—looks down from a rustic 4,000-acre park. "Los Angeles is a place where you can enjoy the outdoors by skiing in the morning, surfing in the afternoon, and having a world-class open air meal later that night," says attorney Emery Laiw, A&S '95, president of Hopkins Los Angeles, an alumni chapter boasting more than 2,400 members. "That's the versatility of the city." Laiw and fellow chapter member Bijan Olia, a film and television composer, Peab '11, '12 (MM), offer up these suggestions for those looking to take advantage of both the natural beauty and engineered excitement of L.A.</p> <p>Plunge into California's coastal life with an introduction to surfing at El Porto Beach, one of the most popular areas to ride waves and near several surf schools. If the water's too chilly, head north to hike trails that offer stunning views of both the city and coastline at Temescal Gateway Park.</p> <p>Afterward, hit the Venice Canals, a peculiar housing district built in 1905 that mimics the original Italian channels. With footpaths and bridges spanning individual canals, it's an easy walk that rewards with scenic homes and gardens. Spice things up with dinner in L.A.'s Thai Town—Los Angeles is home to more people from Thailand than any other city outside that country, and Olia recommends Ruen Pair for its coconut chicken soup, pad thai, and papaya salad.</p> <p>Top off the evening with live music and drinks overlooking the city at the rooftop lounge Perch; Laiw says it offers impressive views of the downtown skyscrapers.</p> <p>While visiting, don't miss the chance to attend a concert at the Frank Gehry–designed Walt Disney Concert Hall, a stainless steel wonder of sound and design that looks like a pile of wind-blown loose-leaf papers. "The pomp and circumstance and the power and the presence of the music make this an unforgettable experience," says Olia.</p> Fri, 11 Sep 2015 14:48:00 -0400 Reunion weekend brings Blue Jays back to the nest <p>What was once just a tailgate and lacrosse game now encompasses more than 130 events, and overall attendance at Johns Hopkins University's Alumni Weekend has never been higher. The 2015 event, held in April, brought back close to 6,500 alumni and guests for two days of dinners, lacrosse, lectures, and reunions. In the last five years, attendance has increased a whopping 37 percent, with more young alumni and families attending than ever before.</p> <p>Pat Conklin, senior associate director of reunion and home­coming, attributes the jump to improved outreach. Social media posts and contests like Fantasy Reunion (a spinoff on Fantasy Football, where players are encouraged to get people in their class to register) generate buzz and excitement, but nothing compares to receiving a personal invite from a former class member or planning committee member. "It's the law of multiplication," Conklin says. If 20 alumni reach out to five friends each, that's 100 new alumni on the radar; momentum continues to build as more alumni are contacted. "I could reach out," Conklin says, "but I'm not their classmate or friend. Personalization and excitement from classmates are what get people back on campus."</p> <p>This approach worked for Mindy Farber, A&S '74, a Rockville, Maryland–based attorney who chaired her 40-year class reunion in 2014, a record-breaker for largest class reunion participation in gift giving and in attendance. Her class was a historic one—the first coed class at Johns Hopkins, with the largest number of African-American students to date. Fifty-eight alumni joined Farber's planning committee, encouraging their friends and classmates to come back, give back, and celebrate their part in such a historic time for the university. "Once we said that, people felt proud to have graduated that year," Farber says. "It brought back a lot of pride and nostalgia. Our reunion was like no other."</p> <p>Next year's event promises to be another one for the books. Forever favorites like the lacrosse game and crab cake luncheon are on, plus a few newer events to the overall weekend like the Hullabalooza dance party, an a cappella concert, and a food truck event on the Beach at Homewood. Conklin and crew are working on more family-friendly events too, with plans in the works to host a family robotics contest and the Blue Jay Birthday Bash.</p> <p>"There's nothing like that feeling of walking back on Homewood campus and seeing the faces of families and individuals connecting and having fun," Conklin says. For information on the upcoming Alumni Weekend, set for April 8–10, 2016, <a href="">click here.</a></p> Fri, 11 Sep 2015 14:48:00 -0400 Class notes <h4>1943</h4> <p><strong>Vincent A. Maggio, Engr '43</strong>, a retired engineer for Shell Oil, was featured in the <em>Houston Chronicle</em> in 2014 for service to his community. He has had more than 100 of his letters to the editor published and earned the 2014 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Houston chapter of the United Nations Association.</p> <h4>1947</h4> <p><strong>Jack L. Paradise, Med '47</strong>, retired from the Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh and the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine pediatric faculty a decade ago but continues to participate in research planning and reporting from his home in Belmont, Massachusetts.</p> <h4>1960</h4> <p><strong>Robert L. Bowers, Engr '60</strong>, closed Flameless Heating Supply of Hagerstown, Maryland, a business his grandparents founded five decades ago, in October 2012. He lost his wife, Virginia, on May 12, 2014, to pancreatic cancer.</p> <p><strong>James E. Cross, Engr '60</strong>, is retired but in addition to traveling continues to teach electrical engineering courses at Southern University and A&M College and religious history courses at Christian Bible College of Baton Rouge. He also serves on the board of directors for the Baton Rouge Council on Human Relations and the Louisiana Council on Human Relations as well as on the Municipal Fire and Police Civil Service Board for the city of Baker, Louisiana.</p> <p><strong>Edward M. Dudley Jr., A&S '60</strong>, was inducted in 2014 into the American Hall of Distinguished Audit Practitioners by the North American Board of the Institute of Internal Auditors.</p> <p><strong>Jerome P. Reichmister, A&S '60</strong>, currently serves as chief of orthopedics at Sinai Hospital of Baltimore and as medical director of the Maryland Workers' Compensation Commission after 44 years in private orthopedics practice.</p> <h4>1961</h4> <p><strong>Frederick K. Merkel, Med '61</strong>, is an associate professor emeritus and past director of the transplant section at Rush University Medical Center. He also lectures at the University of Illinois at Chicago and abroad. In 2014 he received a Distinguished Alumni Award from the McMicken College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Cincinnati, where he received his bachelor's degree.</p> <h4>1963</h4> <p><strong>M. Louise Fitzpatrick, Nurs '63 (Dipl)</strong>, earned the honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters from Villanova University in May. She is the Connelly Endowed Dean and Professor of Nursing at Villanova's College of Nursing.</p> <h4>1964</h4> <p><strong>Michael R. Bloomberg, Engr '64</strong>, former mayor of New York City, was elected in May to the American Philosophical Society, founded in 1743 by Benjamin Franklin. Bloomberg is the founder, president, and CEO of Bloomberg L.P.</p> <h4>1965</h4> <p><strong>Kenneth M. Grundfast, A&S '65</strong>, received a 2014 award from the Society for Ear, Nose and Throat Advances in Children for lifetime humanitarian advances in the field and has been named by <em>Boston</em> magazine for the past 10 years as one of Boston's best doctors. He chairs the Department of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery at the Boston University School of Medicine.</p> <blockquote>Share your news with</blockquote> <p><strong>Richard M. Owens, A&S '65</strong>, completed passage in 2013 from San Francisco to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, through the Panama Canal aboard a 54-foot sailboat named <em>Meredith</em>.</p> <p><strong>Indulal K. Rughani, A&S '65</strong>, practices pulmonary and critical care medicine and is the medical director of the intensive care unit at Sacred Heart Medical Center at RiverBend in Springfield, Oregon.</p> <h4>1966</h4> <p><strong>Jonathan Harlow, A&S '66</strong>, celebrated the birth of his first grandchild, Russell Harlow, in February 2013.</p> <p><strong>Nan M. Phifer, A&S '66 (MLA)</strong>, author and teacher of writing, led a workshop at the annual convention for the National Council of Teachers of English in June. She also led summer writing workshops for Far Horizons Camp, a retreat center in Sequoia National Monument in California.</p> <h4>1970</h4> <p><strong>Manfred Rothstein, A&S '70</strong>, is a consulting associate in the Department of Dermatology at Duke University School of Medicine and is in the <em>Guinness Book of World Records</em> for the world's largest collection of back scratchers, numbering more than 800 from more than 83 countries.</p> <p><strong>Charles M. Seeger III, A&S '70</strong>, president of Financial Markets International, received honorable mention for the USAID's Office of Science and Technology Pioneers Prize for his work implementing the agency's Electronic System for Comprehensive Information Disclosure in Ukraine.</p> <h4>1972</h4> <p><strong>Jerry Doctrow, A&S '72</strong>, retired after a 27-year career as a real estate market and financial analyst specializing in senior housing and health care real estate. He launched a blog at and continues to support Johns Hopkins' Baltimore Scholars Program.</p> <h4>1974</h4> <p><strong>Bert Vogelstein, Med '74</strong>, professor of oncology and pathology and co-director of the Ludwig Center for cancer research at Johns Hopkins, received the 2014 Warren Triennial Prize from Massachusetts General Hospital for outstanding contributions to medicine.</p> <h4>1975</h4> <p><strong>J. Thalia Farnol Cunningham, A&S '75</strong>, is an emergency physician and a playwright. Her first commissioned play, called <em>Child Soldier</em>, explores Liberia's civil war and Ebola crisis. The play was performed by student actors at Siena College in Loudonville, New York, in November 2014.</p> <p><strong>Randy Datsko, A&S '75</strong>, is mayor of his hometown of Ebensburg, Pennsylvania.</p> <p><strong>Robert Lein Yin, A&S '75, SPH '77</strong>, became a gastroenterologist at OSF St. Francis Hospital & Medical Group in the South Central Upper Peninsula of Michigan in 2014.</p> <h4>1977</h4> <p><strong>S.C. Gwynne, A&S '77 (MA)</strong>, is a Pulitzer Prize finalist and <em>New York Times</em> best-selling author whose 2014 <em>Rebel Yell</em>, a biography of Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson, was shortlisted for a 2015 PEN Literary Award.</p> <h4>1978</h4> <p><strong>Glen R. Grell, A&S '78</strong>, became the executive director of the Public School Employees' Retirement System in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, on May 1. He previously served as state representative for the 87th District in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives and as the House Republican caucus's representative from the retirement system's board of trustees.</p> <p><strong>Cameron P. Munter, A&S '78 (MA), '84 (PhD)</strong>, former U.S. ambassador to Pakistan, was named president and CEO of the EastWest Institute, which seeks to reduce international conflict.</p> <h4>1979</h4> <p><strong>Vincent DeMarco, A&S '79, '83 (MA)</strong>, <strong>Len Lucchi, A&S '80</strong>, <strong>Bernard Philip Horn, A&S '78</strong>, and <strong>Joel Jacobson, A&S '78</strong>, have worked for more than 25 years advocating for firearm safety in Maryland. In 2015, Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh defended Maryland's Firearm Safety Act of 2013 on appeal. DeMarco, who is now president of Marylanders to Prevent Handgun Violence, pressed for passage of the bill in 2013; Lucchi was the organization's lobbyist; and Horn wrote a brief that was quoted in the trial judge's opinion. Lucchi now serves as president of the Maryland Government Relations Association.</p> <h4>1980</h4> <p><strong>L. Michael Brunt, Med '80</strong>, was elected president of the Society of American Gastrointestinal and Endoscopic Surgeons. He is a professor of surgery and section chief of Minimally Invasive Surgery at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.</p> <p><strong>Kathy J. Ogren, A&S '80 (MA), '86 (PhD)</strong>, was named the new provost at the University of Redlands in California.</p> <p><strong>Rosanna Warren, A&S '80 (MA)</strong>, was elected in May to the American Philosophical Society, founded in 1743 by Benjamin Franklin. She is a poet and the Hanna Holborn Gray Distinguished Service Professor in the John U. Nef Committee on Social Thought at the University of Chicago.</p> <h4>1985</h4> <p><strong>David S. Biderman, A&S '85</strong>, became executive director and CEO of the Solid Waste Association of North America on May 1.</p> <p><strong>Sharon Patricia Crockett, A&S '85</strong>, founded a luxury interior design firm based in New York called haus. by bjc. This work follows a 20-year career in finance on Wall Street.</p> <h4>1987</h4> <p><strong>James Hildreth, Med '87</strong>, was named president of Meharry Medical College, the nation's largest private, independent, historically black academic health sciences center.</p> <p><strong>Alan W. Partin, Med '87, '89 (PhD)</strong>, director of the James Buchanan Brady Urological Institute at Johns Hopkins Hospital, was named the inaugural Jakurski Family Professor and Director of the institute. He has headed the Brady Institute, which is celebrating 100 years, for the past decade.</p> <h4>1988</h4> <p><strong>Denise Rollins, SAIS '88</strong>, retired from the U.S. Foreign Service in 2014 after 27 years. She returned this year to serve as senior coordinator of the Africa Ebola Unit for the U.S. Agency for International Development.</p> <h4>1989</h4> <p><strong>Thomas Koenig, Med '89, '94 (PGF/HS)</strong>, an assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences and associate dean for student affairs in the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, was elected vice chair of the Association of American Medical Colleges' Group on Student Affairs.</p> <h4>1990</h4> <p><strong>Michael Falk, A&S '90, Engr '91 (MS)</strong>, is a Johns Hopkins professor of materials science and engineering who also serves as an adviser to the undergraduate Diverse Sexuality and Gender Alliance.</p> <p><strong>Kelli Garber, Nurs '90</strong>, and her family recently moved to Charleston, South Carolina, where she works for the Center for Telehealth at the Medical University of South Carolina. As a school-based provider, she treats children across the state through high-definition visual and audio equipment.</p> <p><strong>David J. Longaker, Engr '90, '96 (MS)</strong>, was appointed chief revenue officer of Rovi Corporation in March. Rovi offers personalized digital entertainment solutions for service providers and consumers.</p> <p><strong>Jeffrey H. Withey, A&S '90</strong>, was selected as a Fulbright U.S. Scholar in 2014 and spent five months in Kolkata, India, studying cholera. He is an associate professor of immunology and microbiology at Wayne State University School of Medicine in Detroit.</p> <h4>1991</h4> <p><strong>Todd Dorman, HS '91, Bus '03 (Cert)</strong>, professor and vice chair for critical care services in the Johns Hopkins Department of Anesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine and senior associate dean for education coordination, was named president-elect of the Society of Critical Care Medicine.</p> <p><strong>Glenn Treisman, HS '91</strong>, director of the Johns Hopkins AIDS Psychiatry Service, was named the Eugene Meyer III Professor of Psychiatry and Medicine.</p> <h4>1993</h4> <p><strong>Charles N. Curlett Jr., A&S '93</strong>, a founding member and managing partner of Levin & Curlett, was elected chair of the criminal law section of the Federal Bar Association in April.</p> <p><strong>Theresa J. Rice, SAIS Bol '93 (Dipl), SAIS '94</strong>, founded Out Loud Communications Consultants after more than 20 years as a journalist and communications executive. The Miami-based strategic communications firm specializes in technology, tourism, and investment promotion.</p> <p><strong>Zack E. Sullivan, A&S '93</strong>, was promoted in 2014 to associate professor of physics at the Illinois Institute of Technology. He and his wife, <strong>Vivian Slager Sullivan, A&S '93</strong>, along with their children, James and Katherine, have earned second-degree black belts in Songahm Taekwondo.</p> <h4>1995</h4> <p><strong>Gabriella Burman, A&S '95</strong>, is the 2015 Michigan Writers Cooperative Press chapbook contest winner in the creative nonfiction category. She and her husband, Adam Kaplan, welcomed their fourth daughter, Ilanit Adar Kaplan, on February 26.</p> <p><strong>Joseph Cofrancesco Jr., SPH '95, Med '97 (PGF)</strong>, was named the inaugural recipient of the Johns Hopkins Institute for Excellence in Education Professorship in Medicine.</p> <p><strong>Africa N. Stewart, A&S '95</strong>, is a physician and a Doctors Without Borders field surgeon who has completed assignments in Sudan, South Sudan, and Nigeria.</p> <p><strong>Matthew R. Witten, A&S '95</strong>, is co-founder of a radiation therapy solutions firm called Witten Clancy Partners and an adjunct associate professor of physics at Hofstra University in New York. He also serves on the Johns Hopkins Physics and Astronomy Advisory Council.</p> <h4>1996</h4> <p><strong>Josh Siegel, A&S '96</strong>, was co-producer and line producer for the independent film <em>Any Day</em>, released on May 1.</p> <h4>1998</h4> <p><strong>Jessica Dunne, Engr '98</strong>, and her husband, Chris Washburn, welcomed their third child, Bryson Richard Washburn, on February 27. He joins big brother Logan and big sister Ivy Rose.</p> <p><strong>Louis Charles Keiler III, Engr '98</strong>, is director of research in the Radiation Oncology Department at Kettering Medical Center in Ohio. He and his wife, Sara, welcomed their second child, Louis Charles Keiler IV, on January 6.</p> <h4>1999</h4> <p><strong>Shashi K. Murthy, Engr '99</strong>, was promoted to full professor of chemical engineering at Northeastern University, where he continues to direct the Michael J. and Ann Sherman Center for Engineering Entrepreneurship Education and perform research in bioanalytical and medical device technologies.</p> <p><strong>Seth Sanders, A&S '99 (PhD)</strong>, was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship to support his research and writing as a biblical scholar. He is an associate professor of religion at Trinity College in Connecticut.</p> <h4>2000</h4> <p><strong>Adam Baer, A&S '00</strong>, a journalist living in Los Angeles, published "Beyond the Boundary Principle," an opinion piece about cancer-related psychotherapy, in <em>The New York Times</em> in April.</p> <p><strong>Kurt G. Erler, Engr '00</strong>, recently returned to Maryland to serve as area sales manager for Brainlab, a medical technology company.</p> <blockquote>Share your news with</blockquote> <p><strong>Beth McFadden, A&S '00</strong>, and <strong>Shanon Levenherz, Engr '00</strong>, married on May 31, 2014.</p> <p><strong>Christine Yung Yusi, A&S '00</strong>, joined McGregor & Associates as corporate counsel. She lives with her husband, Greg, and their 2-year-old son, Oliver, in San Diego.</p> <h4>2001</h4> <p><strong>Xiaoxing He, SPH '01</strong>, is a postdoctoral research associate at the College of Public Health at Kent State University.</p> <h4>2003</h4> <p><strong>Stephen B. Brauerman, A&S '03</strong>, a director at Bayard law firm in Delaware, was recognized by the 2015 <em>Chambers USA</em> guide for his work in corporate and intellectual property litigation.</p> <p><strong>Khoi D. Than, A&S '03, Med '07</strong>, completed a clinical fellowship with the Department of Neurological Surgery at the University of California, San Francisco, in June. He is currently an assistant professor of neurological surgery at Oregon Health & Science University.</p> <h4>2005</h4> <p><strong>Vicki J. Coombs, Nurs '05 (PhD)</strong>, was honored as one of the top 50 nurses in the region by <em>Baltimore</em> magazine's Excellence in Nursing 2015. She is senior vice president of Spectrum Clinical Research in Towson, Maryland.</p> <p><strong>Nitish Dogra, SPH '05</strong>, returned to Johns Hopkins as a visiting faculty member and Fulbright-Nehru Environmental Leadership Program Fellow studying climate science in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences. In India, he helped establish the Johns Hopkins Alumni India Club.</p> <p><strong>Joseph Selba, A&S '05</strong>, along with his family, celebrated the arrival of his second son, Luke Selba, on March 26, 2014.</p> <h4>2007</h4> <p><strong>Ernesto Perez-Chanona, A&S '07, '08 (MS)</strong>, works for the National Cancer Institute at the National Institutes of Health where he researches how bacteria on the skin and in the gut affect tumor development.</p> <p><strong>Xiao-Bo Yuan, A&S '07</strong>, received a 2015 Charlotte W. Newcombe Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship, the nation's largest award for doctoral candidates in the humanities and social sciences addressing questions of ethical and religious values. Her dissertation, at the University of Chicago, is titled "Reform and Purification: The Politics and Practices of Ethical Cultivation in Chinese Christianities."</p> <h4>2008</h4> <p><strong>William B. McNulty, A&S '08 (MAG)</strong>, received the 2015 Heinz Award for the Human Condition for his work in founding Team Rubicon, a nonprofit that deploys military veterans and medical professionals to deliver international disaster aid. He shares the honor and $250,000 prize with co-founder Jake Wood.</p> <h4>2010</h4> <p><strong>Daniel Ingram, A&S '10</strong>, serves as chair of the Junior State of America Alumni Association and is pursuing an MBA at the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School.</p> <p><strong>Meredith N. Larson, SPH '10</strong>, joined the Baltimore law office of Ober Kaler as an associate. She practices in the firm's Health Law Group.</p> <p><strong>Caity Stuhan, A&S '10</strong>, works as a senior analyst for the Advisory Board Company, a global research, technology, and consulting firm for health care and higher education. While pursuing her master's degree at Harvard University, she worked with the National Alliance on Mental Illness of Massachusetts.</p> <h4>2011</h4> <p><strong>Danielle K. Beharie, A&S '11</strong>, married <strong>Brandon J. Demory, Engr '11</strong>, on May 24, 2015, in Boca Raton, Florida.</p> <p><strong>Mary Claire Kozlowski, A&S '11</strong>, married <strong>Casey M. Blythe, A&S '11</strong>, in Charleston, South Carolina. <strong>James Kozlowski, A&S '72</strong>, the bride's father, was among the many Johns Hopkins alumni at the event.</p> <h4>2014</h4> <p><strong>David C. Mitchell, A&S '14 (MS)</strong>, became vice president of global regulatory affairs and quality assurance for Aquinox Pharmaceuticals in Vancouver, British Columbia, in December 2014.</p> Fri, 11 Sep 2015 14:48:00 -0400 SEARCH Mission <p>Long before winning accolades for their work, it was clear that husband-and-wife physicians Abhay and Rani Bang, both SPH '83, were devoted to helping the less fortunate. After graduation, they returned to India to improve health care in rural areas. They founded the nonprofit Society for Education, Action, and Research in Community Health, or SEARCH, and discovered that training local villagers in neonatal care basics was an effective way to keep babies and their mothers alive.</p> <p>Abhay Bang wrote a study on this in 1990; the first person he sought comments from was Department of International Health founder Carl Taylor. He still recalls Taylor's handwritten note on the draft. "He wrote: 'Abhay, this will be the most important work that you will ever do in your life,'" says Bang.</p> <p>Twenty-five years later, the Bangs' neonatal care methods have been adopted across India and in several other countries, including Pakistan and Tanzania. They were recently honored with a lifetime achievement award from <em>The Times of India</em>, which rewards those who have made a major social impact across India.</p> Fri, 11 Sep 2015 14:48:00 -0400 Earn, Jane, Earn <p>The Dick and Jane books taught generations to read. Kelly Keenan Trumpbour, Bus '04 (MBA), launched her See Jane Invest initiative as a playful nod to these vintage primers, though with a different educational aim: showing women how to invest in women-owned businesses. "If women want to see more women running businesses, they have to step up and fund them," Trumpbour says. "See Jane Invest is me modeling that."</p> <p>Women are underrepresented among entrepreneurs and the venture capital and angel investors who seed their success. Trumpbour addresses this issue through her website, speaking engagements, mentoring, and, of course, investing. Women-run companies she's supported include the educational software firm Allovue and Hip Chick Farms, which makes organic chicken nuggets. "I only back companies that I think have a shot of returning something to me," Trumpbour adds. "It's important for people to see that women have fantastic ideas but that they are not as well represented in the marketplace."</p> Fri, 11 Sep 2015 14:48:00 -0400 In memoriam <p><strong>Marjorie Riblet Swift, Nurs '39 (Dipl)</strong>, March 2, Elkhart, Indiana.</p> <p><strong>Roger L. Greif, Med '41, '47 (PGF), HS '42</strong>, April 6, New York.</p> <p><strong>Anne Fulcher Hunter, Med '41, HS '42</strong>, November 24, 2014, Charlottesville, Virginia.</p> <p><strong>John Clagett Nuttle, Engr '42</strong>, December 31, 2014, Towson, Maryland.</p> <p><strong>Roth G. Zahn, Engr '42</strong>, February 4, Parkville, Maryland.</p> <p><strong>James B. Thomas, Med '43</strong>, April 11, Easton, Maryland.</p> <p><strong>Hugh D. Verner, Med '43</strong>, March 24, Asheville, North Carolina.</p> <p><strong>Leonard F. Rosenzweig, A&S '44, Med '46, HS '51</strong>, December 13, 2014, Wyomissing, Pennsylvania.</p> <p><strong>Marcus B. Bergh, Med '45</strong>, January 24, Jacksonville, Florida.</p> <p><strong>Susan P. Tippett, Nurs '46 (Dipl)</strong>, February 10, Baltimore.</p> <p><strong>Leo Subotnik, A&S '47</strong>, November 7, 2014, Nevada City, California.</p> <p><strong>Charles J. Summers, Engr '47</strong>, March 30, Scottsdale, Arizona.</p> <p><strong>John M. Carter, Engr '48 (MSE)</strong>, December 6, 2014, Atherton, California.</p> <p><strong>Samuel W. Deisher, A&S '48</strong>, April 5, York, Pennsylvania.</p> <p><strong>William R. Schillhammer Jr., Med '48</strong>, April 3, Montpelier, Vermont.</p> <p>**Jane Bailey Baum, Nurs '49, January 23, Schenectady, New York.</p> <p><strong>Douglas D. Feaver, A&S '49 (MA), '51 (PhD)</strong>, April 6, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.</p> <p><strong>Samuel Lyles Freeland, A&S '50</strong>, March 2, Easton, Maryland.</p> <p><strong>Anna Clair Junkin, Nurs '50</strong>, April 17, Timonium, Maryland.</p> <p><strong>Alfred G. Mower, A&S '51 (MA)</strong>, January 12, Bellefonte, Pennsylvania.</p> <p><strong>John M. Zinkand, A&S '51 (MA)</strong>, February 6, Rochester, New York.</p> <p><strong>Zoe Anne V. Horowicz, Nurs '52 (Dipl), '53</strong>, January 1, Pittsford, New York.</p> <p><strong>Thomas R. Snell, HS '52</strong>, January 3, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina.</p> <p><strong>Fredric Raichlen, Engr '53</strong>, December 13, 2014, Pasadena, California.</p> <p><strong>C. Maxson Greenland, A&S '54</strong>, May 12, Cockeysville, Maryland.</p> <p><strong>Frederick Steinmann, A&S '54</strong>, March 27, Mays Chapel, Maryland.</p> <p><strong>Joseph S. Crane, A&S '55</strong>, January 7, Williamsburg, Virginia.</p> <p><strong>Jerome A. Motto, HS '55</strong>, January 4, San Mateo, California.</p> <p><strong>John W. Baldwin, A&S '56 (PhD)</strong>, February 8, Baltimore.</p> <p><strong>Alfred R. Stumpe, SPH '57</strong>, March 31, Montgomery, Alabama.</p> <p><strong>James A. Sansonetti, Engr '58</strong>, March 23, Sykesville, Maryland.</p> <p><strong>Barton B. Skeen Jr., A&S '58</strong>, February 1, Wayland, Massachusetts.</p> <p><strong>Scott J. Wilkinson II, Med '59</strong>, March 12, Oxford, Ohio.</p> <p><strong>LeRoy D. Dickson, Engr '60, '62 (MS), '68 (PhD)</strong>, January 11, Leeds, Utah.</p> <p><strong>Jerald R. Izatt, A&S '60 (PhD)</strong>, January 2, Salt Lake City.</p> <p><strong>G. Brenton Woessner, A&S '60</strong>, March 31, Cockeysville, Maryland.</p> <p><strong>Patricia H. Fulton, Ed '61 (MEd)</strong>, February 20, Towson, Maryland.</p> <p><strong>Patricia A. Innis, Bus '61</strong>, February 24, Allentown, Pennsylvania.</p> <p><strong>Frank T. Barranco Sr., HS '62</strong>, March 21, Parkville, Maryland.</p> <p><strong>Hugh F. Biller, Med '62 (PGF), HS '67</strong>, February 22, Wells, Maine.</p> <p><strong>Jerome A. Halperin, SPH '62</strong>, February 10, Silver Spring, Maryland.</p> <p><strong>Arnold J. Slovis, Med '62 (PGF)</strong>, January 20, New York.</p> <p><strong>Thomas H. Benton, A&S '63</strong>, March 26, East Orleans, Massachusetts.</p> <p><strong>George W. Grayson Jr., SAIS Bol '63 (Dipl), SAIS '63, '67 (PhD)</strong>, March 4, Williamsburg, Virginia.</p> <p><strong>Robert T. Morgan, HS '63</strong>, March 8, Adel, Georgia.</p> <p><strong>Patrick O. Prendergast Sr., Engr '63, A&S '73 (MS)</strong>, February 1, Glen Burnie, Maryland.</p> <p><strong>Sandra J. Elliott, A&S '65 (MA)</strong>, March 1, Rockford, Illinois.</p> <p><strong>Robert L. Hackmann, Engr '65</strong>, January 30, Easton, Maryland.</p> <p><strong>Stephen Parks Strickland, A&S '66 (MA), '71 (PhD)</strong>, April 9, Washington, D.C.</p> <p><strong>David K. Loughran, A&S '67 (MA), '69 (PhD)</strong>, February 25, Florence, Montana.</p> <p><strong>Nicholas K. Moore, Med '67 (PGF)</strong>, April 7, Columbia, Maryland.</p> <p><strong>Gilbert L. Watson III, A&S '67 (MA)</strong>, January 10, Chestertown, Maryland.</p> <p><strong>Timothy L. O'Hare, A&S '68</strong>, April 13, Bel Air, Maryland.</p> <p><strong>John E. Treat, SAIS Bol '68 (Dipl), SAIS '69</strong>, January 17, San Rafael, California.</p> <p><strong>James A. Held, Bus '70</strong>, February 23, Towson, Maryland.</p> <p><strong>Paula M. Pitha-Rowe, Med '71 (PGF)</strong>, March 5, Baltimore.</p> <p><strong>Joseph J. Challmes, Bus '72</strong>, February 9, Baltimore.</p> <p><strong>Russell W. Chesney, HS '73</strong>, April 2, Memphis, Tennessee.</p> <p><strong>Levi Watkins Jr., Med '73 (PGF), HS '84</strong>, April 10, Baltimore.</p> <p><strong>John L. Dorn, Bus '75</strong>, March 7, Ewing, New Jersey.</p> <p><strong>Michael A. Yerkes, Engr '75 (MS)</strong>, February 7, Medford, New Jersey.</p> <p><strong>Elena Goulding, Ed '76 (MEd)</strong>, April 7, Aston, Pennsylvania.</p> <p><strong>Merritt F. Garland Jr., SPH '77</strong>, January 1, Greenfield, Massachusetts.</p> <p><strong>Walter W. Flamer, Ed '79 (MS)</strong>, March 3, Glen Burnie, Maryland.</p> <p><strong>John C. DeLabio, Ed '79 (Cert)</strong>, May 28, Timonium, Maryland.</p> <p><strong>Tepper Koga, A&S '80</strong>, February 12, El Dorado Springs, Colorado.</p> <p><strong>Cheryl L. Polansky-Baraty, SPH '80</strong>, April 30, 2014, Boynton Beach, Florida.</p> <p><strong>Ronald Eugene Bradshaw, Bus '81</strong>, March 25, Hanover, Pennsylvania.</p> <p><strong>William Paul Marberg, Engr '81 (MS)</strong>, December 19, 2014, Bethesda, Maryland.</p> <p><strong>Dorothy Jean Dixon, Ed '83 (MS)</strong>, February 19, Dover, Delaware.</p> <p><strong>Thomas F. Huff, Med '83 (PGF)</strong>, February 1, Richmond, Virginia.</p> <p><strong>Carolyn J. Traynor, A&S '84</strong>, January 27, Bridgewater, Massachusetts.</p> <p><strong>Catherine B. Doehler, A&S '87 (MLA)</strong>, January 12, Timonium, Maryland.</p> <p><strong>Joni N. Gawlikowski, SPH '96</strong>, March 13, New Brunswick, New Jersey.</p> <p><strong>Jennifer W. McFarland, A&S '96 (MLA)</strong>, February 23, Severna Park, Maryland.</p> <p><strong>Benjamin Taylor, A&S '02</strong>, March 25, Hartford, Maine.</p> Fri, 11 Sep 2015 14:48:00 -0400 On the road <p>"Which is your child?"</p> <p>I'm asked that fairly often as I sit in the stands watching Johns Hopkins athletes participate in the NCAA postseason tournaments. When I respond that I don't have a child in the competition, the expression on the questioner's face turns to surprise, almost astonishment.</p> <p>For the past three years, I've traveled from Massachusetts to California and Michigan to Texas following Johns Hopkins athletes as they compete in football, soccer, basketball, swimming, and tennis. No, this isn't big-time college sports played in huge stadiums and arenas. There are no assigned seats, and the majority of Hopkins attendees are parents cheering on their children. But I go because it's my school and the teams represent it. Just as I take special pride in the university's academic achievements, I am also proud of our athletic successes.</p> <p>In my younger days, Johns Hopkins rarely had teams good enough to get into postseason play (except lacrosse). Oftentimes, we had really crummy teams. When I attended the university in the mid-'60s, the football team won three games—in four years.</p> <p>I've found a certain intimacy and shared experience in cheering on the Blue Jays. When I go to the games and events, I sit in the stands with the other Johns Hopkins fans. Even though I don't know anyone at first, I begin talking to those seated around me and, soon, I'm part of the Hopkins family.</p> <p>This past March, I attended the NCAA Division III Swimming and Diving Championships near Houston. After the last day of competition, one of the parents, Robert, invited me to join everyone at the team dinner that evening. He introduced me to the men's and women's teams, saying, "This is Stuart Dorfman, Hopkins Class of '67, who drove 13 hours from Atlanta to watch you compete." I told the team members how much I enjoyed watching them swim over the past four days and how much I've seen Hopkins sports improve over the years. The swimmers gave me a (sitting) ovation. Afterward, Robert said he would send me the Swimming T-shirt the team parents had specially made to wear at meets. This summer, I've been wearing it proudly.</p> <p>I wonder what's in store for me this coming year. Will I see another heroic feat like the one in 2014? In the deciding singles match of the team quarterfinals of the NCAA Women's Tennis Championship, Johns Hopkins player Jody Law developed severe leg cramps; somehow she came from behind in the last set to take the match, sending the Jays into the semifinals. As a fan and alumnus, I couldn't ask for a more splendid and exciting finish.</p> <p>Of one thing I'm certain: Wherever Hopkins goes, I'll be there.</p>