Hub http://hub.jhu.edu/science-technology Headlines from the Johns Hopkins news network http://hub.jhu.edu/theme/images/hub-logo-rss.png Hub http://hub.jhu.edu http://hub.jhu.edu/2016/05/23/data-visualization-course Mon, 23 May 2016 15:45:00 -0400 Johns Hopkins student teams develop health care solutions using data visualization <p>When a child is diagnosed with pneumonia—the leading infectious cause of death in children worldwide—the treatment depends on whether the pneumonia is viral or bacterial. Tests to differentiate between the two are both expensive and invasive.</p> <p>This spring, a team of Johns Hopkins University undergraduate students developed a web-based application that could help simplify the process. Their tool can help doctors predict the cause of pneumonia in an individual patient by comparing characteristics of that child's health with a data set of 1,000 pediatric pneumonia patients.</p> <p>When the physician enters the child's age, HIV status, and number of viruses and bacteria found in the patient's nasal swab or blood sample, a scatterplot graph appears showing the causes of the disease for similar patients. That allows the doctor to infer the most likely cause of that patient's pneumonia and tailor treatment accordingly.</p> <p>"It gives doctors quantitative data and evidence to add to their expertise," says <a href="http://www.jhsph.edu/departments/biostatistics/directory/postdoctoral-fellows/">Rebecca Yates Coley</a>, instructor for the course in which the students' tool was developed and a postdoctoral research fellow in the <a href="http://www.jhsph.edu/departments/biostatistics/">Department of Biostatistics</a> at the <a href="http://www.jhsph.edu/">Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health</a>.</p> <p>The course, "Data Analysis and Visualization Practicum for Individualized Health," introduces undergrads to two big ideas, says Coley. One is data visualization, or the art and science of graphically communicating statistics and research findings in meaningful ways. It's an important part of individualized health, allowing doctors not only to tell patients about the specific nature of an illness and/or its expected progression, but to show them.</p> <p><div class="pullquote"> "This course challenges students to think about health care in a new way." <div class="cite">Risha Zuckerman, program director, Hopkins inHealth</div> </div> </p> <p>"Data visualization is kind of an afterthought for lots of researchers, but it's actually a skill with best practices," Coley says.</p> <p>The second idea is the technical component—in this case, the app that serves as the interface for patients and physicians to enter data and get responses. Students devised the app using the open-source statistical software called R, along with app development software Shiny.</p> <p>"This course challenges students to think about health care in a new way," says Risha Zuckerman, program director for the <a href="http://hopkinsinhealth.jhu.edu">Johns Hopkins Individualized Health Initiative</a>, which aims to create and disseminate tools that individualize and improve health care and provided the data sets the students used. "Data visualization is a technique that allows physicians to communicate complex information to patients. It has tremendous potential to enhance the doctor-patient relationship and to develop innovative and individualized health care."</p> <p>Other student projects that came out of the class include a mental health app that predicts symptoms for patients with schizophrenia after several weeks on a particular medication, and a prostate cancer app to predict a patient's outcome using a surveillance approach versus treatment.</p> <p>"This was the class where I learned how to display data: by using art to graph the trends of data," says Audrey Garman, a public health and history of science double major who just completed her junior year.</p> <p>Addressing the challenges involved in creating a meaningful display of 1,000 data points gave Garman both marketable skills and experience.</p> <p>"I think being able to figure out what variables have the greatest impact statistically will be able to shape where policy is headed and how we try to fix these issues," she says.</p> <p>Zhenke Wu—like Coley, a postdoctoral research fellow in biostatistics and visualization enthusiast—gave the pneumonia team the simulated data set based on his own research and guided them as they analyzed it. Their final product succeeded in highlighting the information important to physicians seeking to individualize pneumonia treatment, he says.</p> <p>"Diagnosing a disease is not simple; it requires one to integrate multiple specimens of distinct clinical values, and to visualize all this information together in an effective way," Wu says. "The students did a good job of communicating the uncertainty."</p> http://hub.jhu.edu/2016/05/23/berman-institute-nih-grant-guide Mon, 23 May 2016 08:20:00 -0400 Johns Hopkins bioethics institute wins NIH grant to study genomics, infectious diseases <p>A program within the <a href="http://www.bioethicsinstitute.org">Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics</a> has won a grant of more than $4 million to advance its studies on the complex implications of genomic research.</p> <p>The National Institutes of Health grant continues the work of the three-year-old <a href="http://www.bioethicsinstitute.org/research/genomic-uses-in-infectious-diseases-and-epidemics-guide-project?doing_wp_cron=1463681832.2544369697570800781250">GUIDE program</a>, which follows the increasing use of genomics technology to prevent and treat infectious diseases and epidemics. The grant establishes this program as a specialized <a href="https://www.genome.gov/15014773/centers-of-excellence-in-elsi-research/">Center of Excellence</a> in studying the ethical, legal, and social implications of genomics—one of only eight such centers that exist in the country right now.</p> <p>The GUIDE program's multidisciplinary team is led by <a href="http://www.bioethicsinstitute.org/people/gail-geller-4">Gail Geller</a> and <a href="http://www.bioethicsinstitute.org/people/jeffrey-kahn-4">Jeffrey Kahn</a> of the Berman Institute.</p> <p>"Johns Hopkins is uniquely suited to examine the ethical, legal, social and policy issues at the intersection of genomics and infectious disease, with a deep bench of global leaders in all of the relevant disciplines," Geller says.</p> <p>With the grant from NIH's National Genome Research Institute, the program has funding to continue its research for the next four years.</p> <p>The project has three specific focuses:</p> <ul> <li>The research implications of discoveries of genetic variations in HIV and Hepatitis C transmission for at-risk urban groups </li> <li>The public health policy implications of advances in vaccinomics for preventing pandemics </li> <li>The clinical practice implications of using genomics to manage acute, high-consequence infectious diseases like Ebola and MRSA</li> </ul> <p>GUIDE, which stands for "Genomic Uses in Infectious Disease & Epidemics," was <a href="http://www.bioethicsinstitute.org/media/personal-genome-public-health?doing_wp_cron=1463686011.7296619415283203125000">first established</a> as an exploratory center in fall 2013.</p> http://hub.jhu.edu/2016/05/20/us-news-world-report-stem-conference-daniels Fri, 20 May 2016 14:40:00 -0400 STEM education can help boost Baltimore's economy, Johns Hopkins president says <p>Johns Hopkins University President <a href="http://president.jhu.edu/meet-president-daniels/">Ronald J. Daniels</a> was <a href="http://www.usnews.com/news/stem-solutions/articles/2016-05-19/can-stem-save-a-city">among the speakers Thursday</a> at the fifth annual <em>U.S. News & World Report</em> <a href="http://usnewsstemsolutions.com">STEM Solutions National Leadership Conference</a> in Baltimore.</p> <p>The three-day conference brought together leaders from academia, business, and government to contribute key insights into science, technology, engineering, and mathematics—or STEM—education. The summit focused on solutions and best practices to ensure that the nation's future workforce has the necessary skills and knowledge to thrive in a global economy.</p> <p>"If you look at where the future innovation is, it comes from STEM-related activities, and universities are the key laboratories for that," Daniels said. "What we're worried about is, are we seeing students from across a number of different strata of society at places like Hopkins?"</p> <p>Daniels discussed ways colleges and universities can bolster excitement about science and help prepare public school students for the rigors of STEM studies in higher education. He pointed to the recently established <a href="http://hub.jhu.edu/2015/11/11/barclay-engineering-elementary-middle-school">partnership between Johns Hopkins and nearby Barclay Elementary School</a>.</p> <p>"We have essentially made it a demonstration site for how we can, right from the get-go in the lowest grade levels, take a school, put in an engineering lab, and get kids excited [about STEM]," he said.</p> <p>"We've got to be able to have a significant shift in the way we do science education," Daniels added. "This is a national imperative, and you've got to start early and hope you can create a demand on the part of students and their parents."</p> <p>A <a href="http://www.usnews.com/news/stem-solutions/articles/2016-05-19/can-stem-save-a-city?src=usn_tw">full video of Daniels' talk can be found online</a>.</p> http://hub.jhu.edu/2016/05/19/hopkins-medicine-live-animals-training Thu, 19 May 2016 14:25:00 -0400 Johns Hopkins School of Medicine ends use of live animals for surgical training <p>The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine will end its use of live animals in medical education, school officials announced Wednesday.</p> <p>For many years, surgical procedures on live pigs have been part of the core clerkship in surgery for Hopkins medical students at Hopkins. But the School of Medicine is now joining the nationwide trend of switching entirely to computer simulations for such training.</p> <p>"Given that almost all medical schools have stopped using live animals in medical student education and that the experience is not essential, the School of Medicine has decided that the use of live animals in the surgical clerkship should stop," school officials wrote in a message sent to students Wednesday.</p> <p>"We did not come to this decision lightly," they added, describing the involved process by which the university arrived at the policy change, which goes into effect this quarter.</p> <p>Officials convened a task force last year to examine the practice of using live pigs, which many students felt added value to their education, but nonetheless remained "the most publicly controversial aspect of our medical school experience," officials said.</p> <p>As part of the curriculum, students have performed complex non-survival surgical procedures on pigs, working in teams under the supervision of surgical faculty and veterinary technicians.</p> <p>After months of research and surveys, the task force—composed of students and educators from both inside and outside of Johns Hopkins—ultimately concluded that the laboratory experience with live animals "is <em>not essential</em> to the professional development of a medical student."</p> <p>The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, which has fought against the use of animals in medical training for the past decade, yesterday <a href="http://www.pcrm.org/media/news/johns-hopkins-university-ends-animal-use-in-medical-education">cheered the move</a>. According to the committee, the decision leaves the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga as the only remaining medical school in the U.S. and Canada that uses live animals for training.</p> <p>When the committee first launched its campaign 10 years ago, 30 medical schools out of 197 polled in the U.S. and Canada still used live animals for training, <a href="http://www.baltimoresun.com/health/blog/bal-johns-hopkins-stops-training-with-animals-story.html"><em>The Baltimore Sun</em> reported</a>.</p> http://hub.jhu.edu/2016/05/19/class-telescope-first-light Thu, 19 May 2016 13:01:00 -0400 High-powered telescope peering into origins of universe receives 'first light' <p>High in the Andes Mountains of northern Chile, a unique Johns Hopkins University observatory has just achieved "first light," the first time the telescope has collected radiation from space.</p> <p>First light came with a series of observations of the moon used to verify the proper operation of the telescope. But the real goals of the <a href="http://sites.krieger.jhu.edu/class/">Cosmology Large Angular Scale Surveyor</a>, or CLASS, telescope are to make a precise determination of cosmic dawn—when the stars in the first galaxies formed—and to characterize what happened in the first trillionth of a second when the universe formed.</p> <p>To realize the goals, CLASS, which was built on Johns Hopkins' Homewood campus in Baltimore, will observe the oldest light in the universe. Initially appearing as high energy radiation, that light has cooled with the expansion of the universe and now appears in the microwave part of the electromagnetic spectrum.</p> <p>This ancient radiation—called the cosmic microwave background, or CMB—was first predicted by Ralph Alpher at the <a href="http://www.jhuapl.edu/">Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory</a> just after World War II. Its discovery in 1964 resulted in two Nobel Prizes. Three space missions have since been dedicated to the study of the CMB, resulting in two more Nobel Prizes. The CMB is important because it travels through space for 13.8 billion years, carrying with it an image of the infant universe.</p> <p>The most popular current theory of the origin of the universe is called "inflation theory." Inflation theory holds that the universe grew exponentially from quantum fluctuations to astronomical scales producing gravitational waves. Gravitational waves were discovered very recently from the merging of two black holes. Detecting the gravitational waves from inflation will require a very different kind of detector, one that nature itself has provided. Gravitational waves from the origin of the universe induce a specific kind of polarization, or directional pattern of the CMB. That pattern is what the CLASS telescope was designed to observe.</p> <p>The CLASS observatory consists of two 30-foot-tall towers, each holding two microwave instruments. The first of the two towers is now operating at the site in Chile, while the second is at the Homewood campus being prepared for deployment.</p> <p>The microwave instrument includes optics, a detector system that uses a device designed and recently patented by investigators at Johns Hopkins University and NASA, and a device that rapidly switches the polarization—a bit like switching the direction of polarized glasses.</p> <p>The telescope stands in one of the driest places on Earth—the Atacama Desert—considered one of the best places on the planet for astronomical observation. At 17,000 feet, Atacama's altitude allows researchers to get above much of the atmosphere, and its location near the equator makes possible a survey of 70% of the sky. The detectors are cryogenically cooled in a custom-designed helium refrigerator to only 0.1 degrees above absolute zero to enable collection of the faint CMB from across the universe.</p> <p>CLASS researchers will immediately start analyzing the information the instrument gathers and will have to collect data for at least a year before they have scientifically significant results. Any publication of results would follow at least six months later.</p> <p>CLASS is led by Hopkins faculty members <a href="http://physics-astronomy.jhu.edu/directory/tobias-marriage/">Tobias Marriage</a>, an assistant professor, and Bloomberg Distinguished Professor <a href="http://physics-astronomy.jhu.edu/directory/charles-l-bennett/">Charles L. Bennett</a>. Both are with JHU's <a href="http://physics-astronomy.jhu.edu/">Henry A. Rowland Department of Physics and Astronomy</a> in the <a href="http://krieger.jhu.edu/">Krieger School of Arts and Sciences</a>.</p> <p>The CLASS research to date at Johns Hopkins has engaged two faculty, seven postdocs, 10 graduate students, and 25 undergraduate students. Other team institutions are the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, University of British Columbia, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, NIST, Pontificia Universidad de Chile, Universidad de Chile, University of Michigan, and Villanova University.</p> <p>The National Science Foundation has provided several million dollars for the effort. NASA has funded technological component development grants and provided custom-designed detectors. NIST has provided cryogenic detector electronics. Generous private donors include Heather and Jim Murren, Matt Polk, and Michael Bloomberg. The Comisión Nacional de Investigación Científica y Tecnológica de Chile has facilitated the CLASS presence in Chile, and a Supreme Decree for CLASS was issued by Chilean President Michelle Bachelet.</p> http://hub.jhu.edu/2016/05/16/bandeen-roche-harvard-award Mon, 16 May 2016 14:15:00 -0400 Johns Hopkins biostatistician receives Harvard award <p>Johns Hopkins University biostatistician <a href="http://www.jhsph.edu/faculty/directory/profile/35/karen-bandeen-roche">Karen Bandeen-Roche</a> has been recognized with the <a href="http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/biostatistics/zelenaward/">2016 Marvin Zelen Leadership Award in Statistical Science</a> by the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.</p> <p>The award recognizes an individual in government, industry, or academia whose outstanding leadership has influenced the theory and practice of statistical science.</p> <p>Bandeen-Roche is the Frank Hurley and Catharine Dorrier Professor and Chair of Biostatistics in JHU's School of Public Health. Her primary area of research is the development, implementation, and application of models for underlying or unobservable processes, including problems like mixture models, measurement error models, and random effects models.</p> <p>Bandeen-Roche will deliver a lecture titled "The Flourishing Statistical Environment: How Can We Flourish?" at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health where she will also receive a citation and honorarium May 19.</p> http://hub.jhu.edu/2016/05/16/hopkins-baltimore-metrolab-partnership Mon, 16 May 2016 12:00:00 -0400 Johns Hopkins, Baltimore City join MetroLab network <p>Johns Hopkins University will join Baltimore City and the University of Baltimore in a partnership within <a href="http://metrolab.heinz.cmu.edu">MetroLab</a>, a network of city-university teams that incorporate data, analytics, and technology into local government programs around the country.</p> <p>Within each MetroLab city-university partnership, the university serves as a research and development arm, and the city serves as a test-bed for technologies and policies. Johns Hopkins will work on <a href="http://metrolab.heinz.cmu.edu/projects/baltimore/">three projects</a> that include tracking data to optimize health outcomes for elderly hospital patients, benchmarking Baltimore's access to broadband, and orienting the city's open data program towards meaningful and sustainable outcomes.</p> <p>"We are excited to partner with the city of Baltimore on these impactful projects," says Beth Bauer, executive director of the <a href="http://govex.jhu.edu">Center for Government Excellence</a> at Johns Hopkins University (GovEx), which will manage the projects. "Our university has a long tradition of supporting our city, and through the MetroLab network we aim to serve the Baltimore community in new and innovative ways."</p> <p>The MetroLab network was launched by 21 founding city-university pairings in September 2015 at the White House as part of the Obama Administration's Smart Cities Initiative. Johns Hopkins was among the 13 city-university partnerships announced by MetroLab on May 3.</p> <p>"We are thrilled to welcome a terrific set of cities and universities to our network," said Ben Levine, Interim Director of MetroLab Network. "The technologies and policies that they are developing will change the way cities address infrastructure needs, deploy public services, and achieve environmental goals."

</p> <p>The Center for Government Excellence is a 21st Century Cities Initiative and is funded by <a href="http://www.bloomberg.org">Bloomberg Philanthropies</a>. GovEx aims to accelerate and support the effective use of data by governments.</p> http://hub.jhu.edu/2016/05/13/space-at-hopkins-launches Fri, 13 May 2016 10:40:00 -0400 Space@Hopkins initiative launches with goal of bringing researchers together <p>Though Johns Hopkins University has a long history with space studies that dates to before the founding of NASA, <a href="http://cosmos.pha.jhu.edu/bennett/">Charles Bennett</a> couldn't help but notice how disconnected these research efforts have become across the institution.</p> <p>"We're a very major hub of space activity in this country, but the activities have been separate, and there's never been anything that ties them together," says Bennett, a professor of physics and astronomy and a <a href="http://hub.jhu.edu/2015/12/15/bloomberg-distinguished-professors-bennett-and-feinberg">Bloomberg Distinguished Professor</a> at Hopkins.</p> <p>Over the years, Bennett's conversations with colleagues have revealed a shared interest in somehow uniting these disparate activities—which span dozens of Hopkins divisions, from the <a href="http://www.jhuapl.edu/">Applied Physics Laboratory</a>'s space missions to physicists studying black holes.</p> <p>The new <a href="http://spacestudies.jhu.edu/">Space@Hopkins initiative</a> is an attempt to knit the threads together. The effort, which launched last month, includes a <a href="http://spacestudies.jhu.edu/seedgrants.php">call for collaborative seed grant research proposals</a>.</p> <p>The initiative's new website details Johns Hopkins' <a href="http://spacestudies.jhu.edu/history.html">rich history with space studies</a>, from Professor Henry Rowlands' 1883 invention of concave grating—which would become a basic tool for observations in space—to last year's <em>New Horizons</em> mission to Pluto led by the Applied Physics Lab. In the 1920s, then-President Jonathan Ames served as a founder of the organization that would become NASA, which later honored his name through its Ames Research Center.</p> <p>Today, space research takes many forms across Johns Hopkins, Bennett says, whether that's doctors focusing on astronaut health, engineers working on robotics that can be used in space, or undergraduates pursuing a <a href="http://spacestudies.jhu.edu/spaceminor.html">minor in space science and engineering</a>. Space-related work can also pop up in more unexpected places, Bennett says, noting a professor who recently used space imaging data to enhance an archaeological study.</p> <p>Space@Hopkins names eight example research fields that fall under its umbrella, including astrophysics, planetary science, and spacecraft engineering. The work includes collaborations with affiliates like the <a href="http://www.stsci.edu/portal/">Space Telescope Science Institute</a> and <a href="http://www.nasa.gov/goddard">NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center</a>.</p> <p> <div class="embedded-image force align-left size-square square has-caption"> <img src="//api.hub.jhu.edu/factory/sites/default/files/styles/square/public/spacestudies_shortcode450x450.jpg?itok=onLQnWEG" alt="A tree map featuring different types of space projects at Johns Hopkins: Earth Science, Solar Science, Sensors, Spacecraft Engineering, Planetary Science, Robotics, Astrophysics, and Astronaut Health" /> <p class="caption"> Eight of the areas of research Space@Hopkins intends to unite <b class="credit"><span class="prefix">Image: </span>Space@Hopkins</b> </p> </div> </p> <p>But it's still a work in progress to pinpoint all the research and specialty areas that might fit within the initiative's scope, Bennett says.</p> <p>"I'm pleased with all the people who have come forward so far," he says.</p> <p>In addition to creating a centralized public hub for these varied efforts, Space@Hopkins strives to foster collaborative research between people who otherwise might not work together.</p> <p>"We want to use our combination of knowledge to find that spark of extra creativity and collaboration," Bennett says.</p> <p>In the future, organizers are planning for social meet-ups and workshops to bring together different researchers. Assisting with research grants—whether publicizing opportunities or actually distributing seed funding—is also a big part of the mission.</p> <p>The <a href="http://spacestudies.jhu.edu/seedgrants.php">current round of annual seed grants</a> of up to $25,000—with a May 20 deadline for proposals—is available for interdisciplinary projects involving undergraduates with prospects of leading to external research.</p> <p>With Bennett as director, Space@Hopkins operates with an advisory board of professors and executives and two "space fellows": PhD students Erini Lambrides and Kirsten Hall. Questions and comments should be directed to <a href="mailto:spacestudies@jhu.edu">spacestudies@jhu.edu</a>.</p> http://hub.jhu.edu/2016/05/12/robotics-demos-whitcomb-2016 Thu, 12 May 2016 14:30:00 -0400 Robots fly, swim, fetch, drive at Johns Hopkins student project demos <p>It took a couple tries. At one point the robotic helicopter accelerated upwards, hitting the top of the net, then crashed abruptly to the floor.</p> <p>But later during the robotics demonstration at Johns Hopkins University's Krieger Hall, the small quadcopter successfully hovered over its target landing pad and settled safely.</p> <p>"If you never crash a robot, you're probably not pushing the envelope hard enough," said <a href="http://me.jhu.edu/faculty/louis-whitcomb/">Louis Whitcomb</a>, a Johns Hopkins professor of mechanical engineering whose students demonstrated their independent robotics projects at labs across the Homewood campus on Wednesday afternoon.</p> <p>In addition to the quadcopter that found its own target, there was another controlled remotely by human motions, via virtual-reality headgear and a myoelectric armband. One arm movement triggered the helicopter into a quick mid-air flip.</p> <p>Other demos by students in Whitcomb's graduate-level <a href="http://dscl.lcsr.jhu.edu/ME530707_2016">Robot Systems Programming course</a> included two small self-driving cars that could independently travel to pre-set destinations, avoiding obstacles like humans and trash cans along the way. Then there were two "turtlebots"—basic personal robots—one programmed to map out and reach a target, the other programmed to pick up and deliver an object by verbal command, such as "Fetch me the water bottle."</p> <p> <div class="embedded-image force align-left size-medium portrait"> <img src="//api.hub.jhu.edu/factory/sites/default/files/styles/hub_medium/public/robot2_051216.jpg?itok=SY8sHsyo" alt="" /> <p class="caption"> <b class="credit"><span class="prefix">Image: </span>Will Kirk / Homewood Photography</b> </p> </div> </p> <p>For another project, an aquatic robot navigated the depths of a giant water tank—designed for testing oceanographic underwater robots and instruments—that many people probably don't realize exists in the basement of Krieger Hall.</p> <p>Whitcomb's students spent the latter half of the semester working in teams to assemble and program their robots. They followed some fairly broad directives: The robots had to be able to perform two tasks, to operate both independently and autonomously, and to be equipped with at least two sensors.</p> <p>"It's an open-ended design problem," says Whitcomb, who chairs the <a href="http://me.jhu.edu/faculty/louis-whitcomb/">Department of Mechanical Engineering</a> at Hopkins. "They're not just memorizing knowledge—they define their own robotic system they want to construct with hardware and software."</p> <p>Whitcomb created this course three years ago, gearing it to grad students and advanced undergrads. He says he wanted to offer a robotics experience that's "not scripted, where everyone does the same project."</p> <p>The student teams choose the type of robot they want to work with, either using a model already available in the labs or ordering a new one. Next they add additional sensors, actuators, or human-interface devices to their robot systems. With the self-driving cars, for example, the teams used basic remote-control cars as their foundation, then added a computer, odometer, Lidar scanner (something like an optical radar), GPS, cameras, and a magnetic compass. Finally, the students use and write software that enables the robots to navigate and perform tasks.</p> <p>Whitcomb says he's seen students from his course continue with more advanced graduate studies in robotics, or go to work directly in the rapidly expanding robotics industry—in diverse areas such as medicine, oceanography, homeland security, and manufacturing.</p> <p>A full list of yesterday's demo projects:</p> <ul> <li>Preliminary control and navigation ROS package for the OpenROV 2.8 underwater robot vehicle, by Shahriar Sefati and Laughlin Barker </li> <li>Quadrotor autonomy, by Rodolfo Finocchi and Azwad Sabik </li> <li>Virtual reality control of drone quadrotor, by Zach Sabin and Dave Morra </li> <li>Control of autonomous model car, by Ryan Howarth and Rachel Hegeman </li> <li>Autonomous motion self-driving car, by Greg Langer, Stefan Reichenstein, and Ted Staley </li> <li>Turtlebot following human and picking up the ball, by Sipu Ruan and Zhe Kang </li> <li>Turtlebot autonomous map building and object delivery, by Hao Yuan and Bo Lei</li> </ul> http://hub.jhu.edu/2016/05/10/arrhythmia-3-d-imaging-heart Tue, 10 May 2016 11:00:00 -0400 Personalized virtual heart can predict the risk of sudden cardiac death <p>When electrical waves in the heart run amok, the results can be deadly. Current treatment for the condition, called arrhythmia, includes implanting a small defibrillator which senses the onset of arrhythmia and jolts the heart back to a normal rhythm. But a thorny question remains: How should doctors decide which patients truly need an invasive, costly electrical implant that is not without health risks of its own?</p> <p>To address this question, an interdisciplinary Johns Hopkins University team has developed a non-invasive, 3-D virtual heart assessment tool to help doctors determine whether a particular patient faces the highest risk of a life-threatening arrhythmia and would benefit most from a defibrillator implant. In a proof-of-concept study published today in the online journal <em>Nature Communications</em>, the team reported that its new digital approach yielded more accurate predictions than the imprecise blood pumping measurement now used by most physicians.</p> <p>"Our virtual heart test significantly outperformed several existing clinical metrics in predicting future arrhythmic events," says <a href="http://www.bme.jhu.edu/people/primary.php?id=674">Natalia Trayanova</a>, professor of biomedical engineering. "This non-invasive and personalized virtual heart-risk assessment could help prevent sudden cardiac deaths and allow patients who are not at risk to avoid unnecessary defibrillator implantations."</p> <p>Trayanova, a pioneer in developing personalized imaging-based computer models of the heart, supervised the research and was senior author of the journal article. She holds faculty appointments within Johns Hopkins' Whiting School of Engineering and its School of Medicine, and she is a core faculty member of the university's <a href="http://icm.jhu.edu/">Institute for Computational Medicine</a>. For this study, she joined forces with cardiologist and co-author <a href="http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/profiles/results/directory/profile/0007016/katherine-wu">Katherine Wu</a>, associate professor in the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, whose research has focused on magnetic resonance imaging approaches to improving cardiovascular risk prediction.</p> <p>Trayanova's team formed predictions using the distinctive MRI records of 41 patients who had survived a heart attack but were left with damaged cardiac tissue that predisposes the heart to arrhythmias. The team members would not know until afterward how closely their forecasts matched what happened to the patients in real life. Each of the patients had an ejection fraction—a measure of how much blood is being pumped out of the heart—of less than 35 percent. For patients with ejection fractions in this range, physicians typically recommend implantable defibrillators, and all 41 patients in the study received the implants.</p> <p>The Johns Hopkins team used MRI scans of the patients' hearts before they received the implanted defibrillator to build patient-specific digital replicas of the organs. Using computer-modeling techniques developed in Trayanova's lab, the geometrical replica of each patient's heart was brought to life by incorporating representations of the electrical processes in the cardiac cells and the communication among cells. In some cases, the virtual heart developed an arrhythmia, and in others it did not. The resulting technology was dubbed VARP, short for virtual-heart arrhythmia risk predictor. The method allows researchers to factor in the geometry of the patient's heart, the way electrical waves move through it, and the impact of scar tissue left by an earlier heart attack to gauge the risk of sudden cardiac death due to arrhythmia.</p> <p>Eventually, the VARP results were compared to the defibrillator recipients' post-implantation records to determine how well the technology predicted which patients would experience the life-threatening arrhythmias that were detected and halted by their implanted devices. Patients who tested positive for arrhythmia risk by VARP were four times more likely to develop arrhythmia than those who tested negative. Furthermore, VARP predicted arrhythmia occurrence in patients four to five times better than the ejection fraction and other existing clinical risk predictors, both non-invasive and invasive.</p> <p>"We demonstrated that VARP is better than any other arrhythmia prediction method that is out there," Trayanova says. "By accurately predicting which patients are at risk of sudden cardiac death, the VARP approach will provide the doctors with a tool to identify those patients who truly need the costly implantable device and those for whom the device would not provide any life-saving benefits."</p> <p>Wu agrees that these encouraging early results indicate that the more nuanced VARP technique could be a useful alternative to the one-size-fits-all ejection fraction score. She adds that an implantable defibrillator has risks of its own and that avoiding implantation of this device when it is not truly needed eliminates these risks. Implantable defibrillators, she says, require invasive access to the heart, frequent device checks and intermittent battery changes. Complications, she adds, can include infection, device malfunction and, in rare instances, heart or blood vessel damage.</p> <p>With the proof-of-concept study completed, the researchers next hope to conduct further tests involving larger groups of heart patients. The VARP technique is covered by patent protection obtained through the <a href="http://ventures.jhu.edu/">Johns Hopkins Technology Ventures</a> office.</p> <p>The first author of the <em>Nature Communications</em> article was Hermenegild J. Arevalo, who conducted the VARP simulations for the cohort of 41 patients. Arevalo earned his doctorate in Trayanova's lab, then served as a postdoctoral fellow, supervising the undergraduates who contributed to the virtual heart research. For his work on this project Arevalo won the 2016 Young Investigator Award at the Heart Rhythm Scientific Sessions. The co-lead author was Fijoy Vadakkumpadan, who also worked as a postdoctoral fellow in Trayanova's lab. Along with Trayanova and Wu, the co-authors were Eliseo Guallar, a professor of epidemiology in Johns Hopkins' Bloomberg School of Public Health; and Alexander Jebb and Peter Malamas, both Whiting School of Engineering undergraduates majoring in biomedical engineering.</p> http://hub.jhu.edu/2016/05/09/carol-greider-american-philosophical-society Mon, 09 May 2016 10:25:00 -0400 Hopkins molecular biologist Carol Greider elected to American Philosophical Society <p><a href="http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/profiles/results/directory/profile/6764749/carol-greider">Carol Greider</a>, a Nobel laureate and molecular biologist at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, has been elected to the American Philosophical Society, which recognizes academics for extraordinary intellectual accomplishments in their fields of expertise. She joins five other researchers elected this year from the biological sciences, in addition to 27 from other academic fields as varied as mathematics and the arts.</p> <p>Greider is a Bloomberg Distinguished Professor at Johns Hopkins and the Daniel Nathans Professor and Director of the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics in the <a href="http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/institute_basic_biomedical_sciences/">Johns Hopkins Institute for Basic Biomedical Sciences</a>. She shared the <a href="http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/news/media/releases/telomere_expert_carol_greider_shares_2009_nobel_prize_in_physiology_or_medicine">2009 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine</a> for her discovery in 1984 of telomerase, an enzyme that maintains protective "caps" on the ends of chromosomes. Over the years, she and her colleagues have uncovered how telomerase functions and is controlled.</p> <p>Today, Greider continues to study its role in DNA damage, cell death, cancer, and age-related disease. Greider and colleagues showed in mice that insufficient telomerase leads to age-related degenerative disease and the inability of stem cells to rejuvenate tissues, furthering the understanding of similar diseases in humans.</p> <p>Together with her colleague Mary Armanios, Greider established a Telomere Center at Johns Hopkins to study both the regulation of telomerase and the clinical aspects of diseases involving short telomeres, including bone marrow failure, pulmonary fibrosis, and other age-related diseases. The center bridges both basic and clinical science, and is at the forefront of understanding the consequences of short telomeres in human disease.</p> <p><a href="https://www.amphilsoc.org">The American Philosophical Society</a> is an academic organization founded by Benjamin Franklin in 1743 to promote "useful knowledge in the sciences and humanities through excellence in scholarly research, professional meetings, publications, library resources and community outreach." Today, the society acts as a forum for the exchange of interdisciplinary ideas, while supporting research and discovery through monetary awards and public education. New members are nominated and elected by current members of the society.</p> <p>In addition to Greider, <a href="https://www.amphilsoc.org/members/electedApril2016">the list of newly elected members in 2016</a> includes Allan C. Stradling, principal investigator at the Carnegie Institution for Science and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, and an adjunct professor of biology at Johns Hopkins University.</p> http://hub.jhu.edu/2016/05/06/kuka-germany-engineering-team-win Fri, 06 May 2016 14:20:00 -0400 Johns Hopkins team's task robot takes top prize at industrial technology trade fair in Germany <p>A student team from Johns Hopkins University took top honors last month at the world's leading trade fair for industrial technology, the <a href="http://www.hannovermesse.de/en/exhibition/facts-figures/">Hannover Messe</a>.</p> <p>Team members Andrew Hundt, Felix Jonathan, Chi Li, Christopher Paxton, Matthew Sheckells, and Kelleher Guerin came home from with the <a href="https://www.kuka.com/en-DE/Press/Event%20calendar/Hannover%20Fair%202016/kuka-innovation-award">KUKA Innovation Award, which honors outstanding innovation in robotics</a>.</p> <p>This year, the expo challenged participants to invent robotic applications for the realm of flexible manufacturing. The JHU team's device is the Collaborative System for Task Automation and Recognition, or CoSTAR, which is made up of an "intelligent industrial work assist," a personal computer with a touchscreen, and sensors. It is designed to be used by companies to customize—and adapt—programs for use in manufacturing.</p> <p>"CoSTAR makes it easy for manufacturers to retask a robot in a matter of minutes. As a result, users with no programming background can quickly and easily create complex task plans that readily adapt to new situations," said Paxton, the team leader. "The goal is to let ordinary people in a factory use capabilities offered by cutting-edge research to solve their own problems."</p> <p>Team CoSTAR was advised by <a href="http://www.cs.jhu.edu/faculty/gregory-hager/">Gregory D. Hager</a> from JHU's Department of Computer Science and <a href="http://me.jhu.edu/faculty/marin-kobilarov/">Marin Kobilarov</a> from the Department of Mechanical Engineering. Team members say that they also benefitted from the resources and talent available through the Whiting School of Engineering's Laboratory for Computational Sensing and Robotics.</p> <p>Team CoSTAR presented their design to a jury who judged their submission, along with those of six other finalists, over the course of four days.</p> <p>"The CoSTAR team had some early setbacks due to equipment failures and missing components," Hager said. "However, after some early glitches, the system performed beautifully and the demos and presentation just kept getting stronger. The ultimate 'secret weapon' was the interactive programming environment and general perception capabilities that allowed them to continually add and improve demos, sometimes at the suggestion of onlookers."</p> http://hub.jhu.edu/2016/05/06/squadz-booking-app-pick-up-sports Fri, 06 May 2016 13:45:00 -0400 Game on: Johns Hopkins student launches app for planning pick-up games, rec sports <p>In high school, Nikhil Panu played varsity basketball and tennis, but his appetite for competition didn't stop there. When not in uniform, the 6-foot-4 San Jose, California, native ferreted out neighborhood pick-up games—any sport would do. Panu and his friends would spontaneously trek down to area fields or gyms on weekends in hopes that a few similar-minded folks would show up to form equal teams for an hour or two of soccer or 5-on-5 basketball.</p> <p>But Panu discovered what many weekend recreation warriors know: the endeavor can be hit or miss. Sometimes the venue was vacant, or a friend would back out, leaving the group shorthanded. On other occasions, Panu arrived with "numbers," but the court or field would be jammed with bodies and games already under way. "We got next." Sure, but when?</p> <p>"It was frustrating," says Panu, now a junior at Johns Hopkins in the Department of Computer Science's <a href="http://engineering.jhu.edu/academics/combined-bachelors-masters/">combined bachelor's/master's degree program</a>, and a guard and co-captain for the Blue Jays men's basketball team. "I spent a lot of time and effort trying to figure out where and when I could play, with no assurance a game would actually happen when I got there."</p> <p><div class="pullquote"> The app, essentially a booking system, launched in February and is currently being piloted on JHU's Homewood campus and in the surrounding area. </div> </p> <p>Panu envisioned a virtual community bulletin board where someone could see where and when pick-up games were scheduled and who was available to play. He shelved the idea until he got to Johns Hopkins, and then the summer after his freshman year he began to design software that could help a person find a partner for a doubles tennis match or a fourth for golf, and above all take the guesswork out of pick-up game scheduling. The result is Squadz, a free app for <a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/squadz/id956170418?mt=8">iPhone</a> and <a href="https://play.google.com/store/apps/developer?id=Squadz+Inc.">Android</a> mobile devices that has the potential to be the OpenTable or Airbnb of recreational sports.</p> <p>The app, essentially a booking system, launched in February and is currently being piloted on JHU's Homewood campus and in the surrounding area.</p> <p>Like with most fitness and lifestyle apps, you first have to create an account with a username and password. The app's profile interface asks you to choose your favorite recreational sports and level of experience. Say, maybe you played tennis competitively in college, but now you're in the market for someone to run or shoot some hoops with. The app lists the traditional sports—baseball, football, golf, volleyball, soccer, etc.—but you can add others. Quidditch, anyone?</p> <p>The Squadz home screen displays a Google map and all user-scheduled pick-up games in the immediate area for today, tomorrow, or sometime in the near future. The app uses your phone's GPS to determine current location, but you can zoom out to see a larger area. The games appear as green (public) and red (in-session) pins, which you tap on to display basic details: what sport, where and when, who is showing up, and each player's general abilities. Still interested? Tap the details to reveal a screen with a more in-depth summary of the event and a "join" tab. There's also a message board where you can communicate with other participants and receive updates.</p> <p>Any Squadz user can create his or her own public game or a private one that only those invited will see. The user can filter by sport or see all scheduled games. You can also see what friends, dubbed "teammates," are doing, and who they became friends with. The app lets you easily add teammates from your phone's address book, an associated Facebook account, or by requesting friendships of existing users. In the near future, the app will likely include a group messaging feature so users can gauge interest before scheduling a game.</p> <p> <div class="embedded-image force align-left size-medium portrait has-caption"> <img src="//api.hub.jhu.edu/factory/sites/default/files/styles/hub_medium/public/iPhone_Squadz.jpg?itok=--fZlFDL" alt="A screenshot of the Squadz app with green pins showing open games" /> <p class="caption"> The Squadz app interface shows available public games </p> </div> </p> <p>The app's "locker" tab lists all your upcoming and past games, which Panu says comes in handy if you can't remember who passed you the ball for the winning bucket last week.</p> <p>"Maybe there is a person you liked playing with and want to invite him or her to an upcoming game," he says. "Or maybe there is a location you liked, but forget the name of it."</p> <p>The locker also features the app's settings gear, where you can change preferences, such as radius of the home map and level of notifications. In terms of privacy, Squadz lets you appear just as your username, or you can allow people to see your full name and contact info.</p> <p>Panu says the app already has hundreds of users, including members of the Johns Hopkins men's basketball team, who use Squadz for scheduling offseason activities.</p> <p>Teammates, Panu says, don't necessarily have to be close friends.</p> <p>"These are people you play with, or bond with on a recreational level," he says. "I think that's the next boundary to cross in terms of social networking. People do this all the time. They have their golf buddies or play in a recreational league. Moving forward, I want to give everyone the means to facilitate this spontaneous migration activity, whether it's pickup basketball at lunchtime or ultimate Frisbee in the park after class."</p> <p>This year, Panu brought on partners to further develop and market the product, including three of his basketball teammates: senior economics majors Austin Vasiliadis, Niko Kotoulas, and Sam Gordon. In terms of product awareness, Panu and friends have used word-of-mouth and done some door-to-door salesmanship at the O'Connor Recreation Center and JHU tennis courts. He also promoted the app at the recent Johns Hopkins-Maryland men's lacrosse game.</p> <p>Panu views Johns Hopkins as a testing ground to see what's working and what areas needed improvement. Early on, he realized it's a challenge to treat every sport the same, and categorizing skill levels is an inexact science. For example, someone might have run track and field in college but be less advanced now than a recreational runner.</p> <p>"There has to be some level of individualism," he says. "Everyone has their story with how they play their sport. Skill level is complicated, because people might think they are a lot better than they really are, or sell themselves short."</p> <p>This summer, the four classmates intend to travel to Panu's hometown to work on strategy, business development, and form partnerships with venues and gain a user base in the Bay area. Panu says he envisions Squadz being useful to venues like high school gyms, college recreation centers, and community centers that are often under-booked in terms of space rental.</p> <p>"This app can help them fill up their unused capacity," he says. "I can also see it useful to track the number of people going to parks, and when they're checking in."</p> <p>Currently, the only limitation of the app is the number of registered users. For this app to fulfill its potential, a robust user base is needed. And that's Panu's next hurdle to jump.</p> http://hub.jhu.edu/2016/05/06/robot-soft-tissue-surgery Fri, 06 May 2016 09:00:00 -0400 Johns Hopkins scientist programs robot to perform 'soft tissue' surgery <p>Not even the surest surgeon's hand is quite as steady and consistent as a robotic arm built of metal and plastic, programmed to perform the same motions over and over. And limited robotic automation is already used in surgeries involving rigid structures such as bones. But can a robot handle the slips and squirms of soft tissues during a surgery?</p> <p><a href="https://www.cs.jhu.edu/faculty/simon-leonard/">Simon Leonard</a>, a Johns Hopkins University computer scientist, is part of a team that has published research showing that a robot surgeon can indeed adjust to the subtle movement and deformation of soft tissue to execute precise and consistent suturing. The research, which <a href="http://stm.sciencemag.org/content/8/337/337ra64">was published earlier this week in the journal <em>Science Translational Medicine</em></a>, promises to improve results for patients and make the best surgical techniques more widely available.</p> <p>"There's a wide range of skills out there" among surgeons, says Leonard, an assistant research professor in JHU's <a href="http://engineering.jhu.edu">Whiting School of Engineering</a>. He has worked for four years to program the robotic arm to precisely stitch together pieces of soft tissue and says putting a robot to work in this form of surgery "really levels the playing field."</p> <p>Soft tissue can move and change shape in complex ways as stitching goes on, requiring a surgeon's skill to respond to these changes to keep suturing as tightly and evenly as possible. According to the researchers, more than 44.5 million soft-tissue surgeries are performed in the United States each year. The published results involve a procedure called anastomosis, which is the suturing of two structures, such as blood vessels. The procedure is performed more than a million times a year in the United States. According to the researchers, complications such as leakage along the seams occur nearly 20 percent of the time in colorectal surgery and 25 to 30 percent of the time in abdominal surgery.</p> <p>To perform the experiment, the researchers developed a robotic surgical system called the Smart Tissue Autonomous Robot, or Smart Tissue Automation Robot (STAR). It features a 3D imaging system and a near-infrared sensor to spot fluorescent markers along the edges of the tissue to keep the robotic suture needle on track. Unlike other robot-assisted surgical systems, it operates under the surgeon's supervision, but without hands-on guidance. A <a href="http://www.cs.jhu.edu/~sleonard/SZI_STAR_Promo_Video_10-30-2015.mp4">video of STAR in action is available online</a>.</p> <p>The STAR robotic sutures were compared with the work of five surgeons completing the same procedure using three methods: open surgery, laparoscopic, and robot assisted surgery. Researchers compared consistency of suture spacing, pressure at which the seam leaked, mistakes that required removing the needle from the tissue or restarting the robot, and completion time.</p> <p>The robot's time was longer than open and robot assisted surgery, but comparable to the laparoscopic procedure. The robotic procedure lasted 35 to 57 minutes, while the open surgery took eight minutes. By all other measures, the robot's performance was comparable or better than that of the surgeons.</p> <p>"No significant differences in erroneous needle placement were noted among all surgical techniques," the researchers write, "suggesting that STAR was as dexterous as expert surgeons in needle placement …." Robotic soft tissue surgery "promises substantial benefits through improved safety from reduction of human errors and increased efficiency due to procedure time reduction."</p> <p>It's not clear when the robotic system will be in use in operating rooms, but the researchers write that the intent is not to replace surgeons, but to "expand human capacity and capability."</p> <p>As Leonard put it, they're designing an advanced surgical tool, "the equivalent of a fancy sewing machine."</p> <p>Leonard worked with five co-authors affiliated with the Children's National Health System in Washington, D.C.: Azad Shademan, Justin D. Opfermann, Peter C.W. Kim, Johns Hopkins alum Axel Krieger, and Ryan S. Decker.</p> http://hub.jhu.edu/2016/05/05/cbid-design-day-student-healthcare-competition Thu, 05 May 2016 14:45:00 -0400 Johns Hopkins student team designs device to treat chronic sinus inflammation <p>A device to treat persistent and reoccurring sinus infections took the top award in the first-ever Student Healthcare Design Competition, which was held on Johns Hopkins University's East Baltimore campus on Tuesday and sponsored by the Johns Hopkins <a href="http://cbid.bme.jhu.edu">Center for Bioengineering Innovation and Design</a>.</p> <p>Unlike other business plan competitions at Johns Hopkins, the Student Healthcare Design Competition focused on the design and development of effective solutions to major healthcare problems. Forty-nine student teams from across the university submitted proposals, and 13 finalists competed in the event for $20,000 in prize money.</p> <p>Salient ENT took home the $4,000 top prize for its sinus infection solution.</p> <p>"We're thrilled to have received first place," says Elizabeth Lebling, one of the inventors of Salient ENT, who will graduate with her master's degree in May. "We're starting conversations now with outside individuals who have experience translating these types of devices to the marketplace to help real patients."</p> <p>Approximately one in eight Americans suffer from persistent nasal sinus inflammation, Lebling says, and patients incur roughly $8.6 billion in annual surgical costs without adequate relief.</p> <p>Under the clinical direction of Andrew Lane, director of the Johns Hopkins Sinus Center, Salient ENT developed the "Hana Catheter" that is placed in a patient's sinuses in a simple outpatient procedure. It can stay in place for up to 30 days, allowing the patient to connect an external rinse bottle to the catheter in order to deliver therapeutic fluids directly to inflamed tissue.</p> <p>A 2012 CBID team, under the direction of Lane, developed the broad concept, says CBID graduate student Scott Stanley, who plans to stay with Salient ENT through the startup phase.</p> <p>"We've advanced that concept and developed it into a functioning prototype," he said. "It's been through bench-top and cadaveric testing, and our next step is working with a manufacturer to have it made to spec for animal and human testing."</p> <p>In addition to Lebling and Stanley, the team included CBID master's students Amal Afroz Alam, Emily Eggert, and Demetri Monovoukas.</p> <p>Second place in the competition went to Mercury Patch, a low-cost monitoring system for pressure sores; and third place went to CricSpike, a handheld device for emergency procedures on the battlefield to open a soldier's blocked airway.</p> <p>Other teams that received honorable mentions included: Organ Donation, a smartphone App to increase live organ donation; and Kubanda, a new <a href="http://hub.jhu.edu/2016/05/03/design-day-breast-cancer-treatment-south-africa">breast cancer treatment device for low-resource settings</a>.</p> <p>A team called Grup, which offered a mobile platform aimed at providing peer support and group therapy for those with depression and anxiety, received the CBID-Technology Innovation Center's Digital Health Award.</p> <p>CBID operates within the Johns Hopkins Department of Biomedical Engineering, which is shared by the university's School of Medicine and its Whiting School of Engineering. The Student Healthcare Design Competition took place during the <a href="http://www.bme.jhu.edu">Department of Biomedical Engineering</a>'s annual Design Day, which features presentations, posters, and prototypes of dozens of medical innovations developed over the year by student-clinician teams. This year's Design Day was attended by more than 300 researchers, clinicians, industry sponsors, and students and featured a keynote address by SynapDx CEO Stan Lapidus, a serial entrepreneur and inventor who founded and led Cytyc, EXACT Sciences, and Helicos BioSciences, enterprises inspired in part by the work of Johns Hopkins Medicine's Bert Vogelstein, the Clayton Professor of Oncology and Pathology.</p> <p>"Stan's candid account of his experience was an inspiration," says Youseph Yazdi, CBID's executive director. "His innovations have saved millions of lives around the world, including here at Johns Hopkins. Today he gave a clear picture of the ups and downs, pivots and perseverance necessary to be successful in healthcare innovation. I have no doubt there are several future Stans in that Design Day audience. "</p> http://hub.jhu.edu/2016/05/04/rebecca-schulman-early-career-award Wed, 04 May 2016 10:00:00 -0400 Johns Hopkins researcher among recipients of U.S. Energy Department early career grant <p><a href="http://engineering.jhu.edu/chembe/faculty/rebecca-schulman/">Rebecca Schulman</a>, an assistant professor at Johns Hopkins University, is among 49 young scientists across the country to receive grants from the U.S. Energy Department's Office of Science under the agency's <a href="http://science.energy.gov/early-career/">Early Career Research Program</a>.</p> <p>Schulman, who teaches in the <a href="http://engineering.jhu.edu">Whiting School of Engineering</a>'s <a href="https://engineering.jhu.edu/chembe/">Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering</a>, will receive $750,000 over the next five years for work on designing hydrogels. These polymer materials are resilient to different types of damage. Such self-healing materials could function over long periods of time without the need for replacement, reducing manufacturing and installation costs and energy expenditures. Schulman's laboratory works on designing a range of materials that self-assemble and use molecular signals to adapt to their environment and recover from damage. The hydrogels developed as part of this project could be used in a range of applications, including for biology, medicine, and energy.</p> <p>"We invest in promising young researchers early in their careers to support lifelong discovery science to fuel the nation's innovation system," said Cherry Murray, director of DOE's Office of Science. "We are proud of the accomplishments these young scientists already have made, and look forward to following their achievements in years to come."</p> <p>The award, which is meant to pay for salaries and other laboratory expenses, specifically recognizes young scientists and untenured faculty members who have received their doctorate in the last 10 years. Scientists chosen in this year's round of annual awards are affiliated with 27 universities and 22 national laboratories across the country.</p> <p>Schulman joined Johns Hopkins in 2011 after completing a fellowship at the University of California, Berkeley. She earned her doctorate at the California Institute of Technology, completing her dissertation on DNA materials, and her bachelor's degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.</p> http://hub.jhu.edu/2016/05/03/design-day-breast-cancer-treatment-south-africa Tue, 03 May 2016 09:45:00 -0400 Johns Hopkins student team develops reusable cryotherapy device to help treat breast cancer in rural South Africa <p>When radiologist <a href="http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/profiles/results/directory/profile/0020449/susan-harvey">Susan Harvey</a>, director of breast imaging at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, was searching for ways to improve access to breast cancer diagnostics and therapeutics in South Africa, she turned to the Johns Hopkins <a href="http://cbid.bme.jhu.edu">Center for Bioengineering Innovation and Design</a>, which focuses on training the next generation of biomedical engineers.</p> <p>Monica Rex, a senior biomedical engineering and Spanish major from Orlando, Florida, and her five-member student design team jumped at the idea. Within a month of meeting last summer, Rex traveled with Harvey to Johannesburg and a rural area called Hoedspruit to investigate the needs firsthand.</p> <p>"It was incredible … to have the opportunity to travel to see the problems surrounding these communities and really see opportunities where our team could step in and engineer a solution," Rex says.</p> <p>What they discovered is "there's a kind of chicken-and-egg problem with breast cancer," says <a href="http://www.bme.jhu.edu/people/primary.php?id=1128">Nicholas Durr</a>, the director of undergraduate programs for CBID, which operates within JHU's <a href="http://www.bme.jhu.edu/">Department of Biomedical Engineering</a>.</p> <p>There are not a lot of therapeutic options for those diagnosed because treatment is generally only offered in cities, and it's too hard and expensive for those in rural areas to travel.</p> <p> <div class="embedded-image force align-left size-square square has-caption"> <img src="//api.hub.jhu.edu/factory/sites/default/files/styles/square/public/04_rex_harvey.jpg?itok=z2lVsJRz" alt="BME undergraducate senior Monica Rex and Dr. Susan Harvey" /> <p class="caption"> BME undergraducate senior Monica Rex and Dr. Susan Harvey </p> </div> </p> <p>"And because there are no good treatment options for many," Durr adds, "there's also no good incentive to provide diagnosis, because if you can't do anything once you find the breast cancer, what's the point?"</p> <p>The standard treatments used in South Africa are mastectomy and lumpectomy, which require a sterile environment and the assistance of an anesthesiologist. As such, they are only offered at regional hospitals, Rex says.</p> <p>Rex and Harvey explored cryotherapy, an established but lesser-used option in breast cancer management that uses extreme cold to kill cancer cells. A probe inserted through the skin to the tumor delivers liquid nitrogen or gas to cancer cells, freezing them.</p> <p>"Because the cold has a numbing effect, you don't need anesthesia, and because you can do it through a small needle, it's not a surgical procedure," Durr says.</p> <p>But standard cryotherapy equipment is expensive, Rex says. Disposable probes are $2,000 each. In addition, the technology uses gases like helium and argon, which are inaccessible in South Africa.</p> <p>Four more students joined Rex's team this semester to help consult with cryotherapy device manufacturers to design a less expensive probe that can be sterilized and reused, and that uses locally available resources. The team, named <em>Kubanda</em> (which means "cold" in Zulu), will showcase their prototype at the department's <a href="http://hub.jhu.edu/2016/05/02/engineering-design-days-2016">annual Design Day today</a>.</p> <p>"The trip to South Africa with Dr. Harvey helped me realize the importance of context in understanding the challenges that surround global health problems," Rex says. "Within a university setting, it's easy to tend toward solving problems within a vacuum. This experience has challenged my team and me to work toward a solution that will not only function in the lab but also within the context of rural clinics in South Africa."</p> http://hub.jhu.edu/2016/05/02/engineering-design-days-2016 Mon, 02 May 2016 08:15:00 -0400 Johns Hopkins students to show off creative solutions to real-world problems at annual Design Days <p>It's crunch time across the <a href="http://engineering.jhu.edu">Whiting School of Engineering</a>, as students labor—sometimes around the clock—in laboratories and design spaces to put the finishing touches on projects. Their creations range from a small hovering aircraft that can land in a tree branch as effortlessly as a bird to a hand-held device that enables breast cancer treatment in rural clinics.</p> <p>"If we haven't been here quite 24 hours a day, it sometimes feels like it," says David Levi, a senior mechanical engineering major, looking around the department's cluttered senior design space in the basement of the Wyman Park building, where he and teammates are refining their prototype. "It's lucky that we have this awesome area with couches, so we can crash if we get too tired. Design Day is almost here."</p> <p>Held annually in early May, the Whiting School's Engineering Design Days are a rite of passage: a chance for students in disciplines such as mechanical engineering, civil engineering, biomedical engineering, materials science, and electrical and computer engineering to prove that they can translate theoretical knowledge into creative, practical solutions to real-world problems.</p> <p><div class="pullquote"> "They have to apply everything they have learned in the classroom and lab to a problem that doesn't yet have a solution." <div class="cite">Nicholas Durr, CBID director of undergraduate programs</div> </div> </p> <p>During these events, which will take place on Tuesday, student teams make presentations about their designs to sponsors and mentors from industry and government, faculty members, clinicians, and fellow students. Presentations can include prototypes, posters, and demonstrations, or a combination thereof.</p> <p>"Each student design team focuses on solving a real-world clinical problem. In this process, they have to apply everything they have learned in the classroom and lab to a problem that doesn't yet have a solution," says <a href="http://www.bme.jhu.edu/people/primary.php?id=1128">Nicholas Durr</a>, assistant professor in the <a href="http://www.bme.jhu.edu/">Department of Biomedical Engineering</a> and director of undergraduate programs within the <a href="http://cbid.bme.jhu.edu">Center for Bioengineering Innovation and Design</a>. "In biomedical engineering, our mission is to educate future leaders who will make an impact on health care. Senior design is a critical part of this education."</p> <p>This year, BME will host two design events: its annual <a href="http://engineering.jhu.edu/events/bmecbid-design-day-2016/?instance_id=806#.VyN65WOe1os">BME Design Day</a>, in which undergraduate and graduate students showcase their creations, as well as a first-ever Student Healthcare Design Competition, open to student teams from across Johns Hopkins. Held on JHU's East Baltimore medical campus, both events run from 1-8 p.m.</p> <p>One finalist in the Student Healthcare Design Competition is a team led by senior BME major Monica Rex. The team's device—a small, hand-held probe that uses extreme cold to kill breast cancer cells—typifies the BME projects, which are created in response to a clinical need. Rex traveled last summer to rural South Africa and was inspired to develop the device after observing the lack of therapeutic options for women there diagnosed with breast cancer.</p> <p>"Our goal was to adapt a current technology used to treat cervical cancer so that it could be used to treat breast cancer," Rex explains.</p> <p>On the Homewood campus, students in the departments of civil engineering, mechanical engineering, materials science, and electrical and computer engineering also will be presenting their projects during Design Day:</p> <ul> <li><p><strong>The Department of Civil Engineering</strong> event runs from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. in Hackerman Hall B-17. There, student teams will present their plans for improvements to Frank Lloyd Wright's "Fallingwater" historic site in Mill Run, Pennsylvania.</p></li> <li><p><strong>The Department of Mechanical Engineering</strong> Design Day runs 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. in Hodson Hall 210 and adjacent foyer. Sixteen teams will present prototypes and plans for projects ranging from a prosthesis that enables female veterans to wear high heels to the development of advanced materials for use in athletic wear.</p></li> <li><p><strong>The Department of Materials Science and Engineering</strong> event runs from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Great Hall at Levering. Teams will present plans, designs, and prototypes for projects such as a vest that helps monitor the success of cystic fibrosis medications and a lab-on-a-chip assay for detection of a malaria biomarker in blood.</p></li> <li><p><strong>The Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering</strong> will hold its Design Day from noon to 5 p.m. in the Glass Pavilion. Projects to be presented include a "smart" coffee mug that keeps beverages at a sustained temperature, a new style of intercom system, and a cervical consistency diagnostic tool.</p></li> <li><p><strong>The Department of Geography and Environmental Engineering</strong> will hold its Senior Design Day at 4:30 p.m on Tuesday, May 10 in Gilman Hall 132. Student teams will present their plans for "Storm Water Management for Fort Meade" before professional partners from the Army Corps of Engineers, as well as department faculty and fellow students.</p></li> <li><p><strong>The Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering</strong>'s Design Day was held from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. on April 29 in the Mattin Center. Students presented project prototypes that included a hot drink temperature indicator, a disappearing dry erase marker, a post-surgery biodegradable chemotherapy implant, and a hydrophilic coating that prevents chewing gum from sticking to surfaces.</p></li> </ul> http://hub.jhu.edu/2016/04/29/financial-mathematics-degree-launch Fri, 29 Apr 2016 13:00:00 -0400 Johns Hopkins launches new online master's degree in financial mathematics <p><a href="https://ep.jhu.edu">Johns Hopkins Engineering for Professionals</a>, the division of Johns Hopkins University Whiting School of Engineering that administers online and part-time graduate programs, has launched a new financial mathematics master's degree program that can be completed online.</p> <p>"Today's world economy and global financial markets are increasingly sophisticated and extremely competitive," said David Audley, chair of the new <a href="https://ep.jhu.edu/programs-and-courses/programs/financial-mathematics">Financial Mathematics program</a>. "An advanced education has become a key enabler in reaching higher-level positions in portfolio management, risk management, and trading."</p> <p>Graduates of the new program will complete 10 online courses that develop advanced quantitative and managerial skills in finance, and examine the engineering-driven principles that power our international financial systems. Working with Johns Hopkins instructors who are also practicing engineers in the financial industry, students will have the opportunity to study real-world examples in subjects like financial derivatives, risk management, data analysis, Monte Carlo methods, and quantitative portfolio theory.</p> <p>"The global economy is not bound to any one location, and neither are we," said Associate Dean Dexter G. Smith of the Whiting School. "Johns Hopkins University is proud to expand its financial mathematics program to students around the world."</p> <p>To be considered for the online financial mathematics master's degree program, applicants must have earned a previous degree in mathematics or engineering, and have at least two years of relevant work experience. Johns Hopkins Engineering is accepting student applications for the summer 2016 term, which begins May 23, 2016. Interested students can attend <a href="https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/3532249647409114882">a free online information session</a> on Thursday, May 12, from 7 to 8 p.m.</p> <p>Johns Hopkins Engineering for Professionals gives working adults a convenient way to advance their education and competitiveness in 20 traditional and newly emerging fields. Building on the world-class reputation and dynamic resources of Johns Hopkins University, Johns Hopkins Engineering for Professionals offers online and on-site classes at times that complement the busy schedules of today's practicing engineers and scientists.</p> http://hub.jhu.edu/2016/04/28/graduate-consulting-club-case-competition Thu, 28 Apr 2016 12:04:00 -0400 Johns Hopkins Graduate Consulting Club hosts sixth annual biotech case competition <p>Teams from Johns Hopkins took second and third place in the sixth annual Biotech and Healthcare Case Competition earlier this month. The April 15 event was organized by the <a href="http://jhgcc.weebly.com">Johns Hopkins Graduate Consulting Club</a>.</p> <p>The competition gives participants an opportunity to develop problem-solving, teamwork, and presentation skills over the course of a week. The Johns Hopkins teams joined teams from seven other universities to develop strategic recommendations for <a href="http://respeq.com">respEQ</a>, a Hopkins-based healthcare technology startup interested in taking its respiratory disease monitoring device to market.</p> <p>The University of Pennsylvania team "Penn Insights" won the $3,000 first prize.</p> <p>Second place and $2,000 went to "Hermetic Solutions" from the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. Team members included Michael Ayars, Rosie Jiang, Samantha Semenkow, Alyssa Walker, and Bradley Waters.</p> <p>Third place and $1,000 went to "Gene-ius" from Johns Hopkins, consisting of team members Vasudha Aggarwal, Wendy Yang, Hani Bakhshaee, Jaishree Singh, and Mayriam Robles.</p> <p>The event opened with a keynote address by Jason Kirkness, assistant professor of Medicine and co-founder of respEQ. Sponsors included Boston Consulting Group, McKinsey & Company, ZS Associates, L.E.K. Consulting, Dean & Company, ClearView Healthcare Partners, Beghou Consulting, Navigant, CBPartners, PrepLounge, the Graduate Representative Organization and the Graduate Student Association.</p> <p>The Johns Hopkins Graduate Consulting Club is a graduate student-led group whose mission is to introduce the graduate students, medical students, staff, physicians, scientists, and post-doctoral fellows of Johns Hopkins University to management consulting.</p>