Cheers: July 2015

Academic and Cultural Centers

Wendy J. Queen has been appointed director of Project MUSE, a leading provider of digital humanities and social sciences content housed at Johns Hopkins University Press. Queen, who had served briefly as interim director, began her career with JHU Press and Project MUSE in 2000 as a Web developer, working on the platform as it expanded to include content from numerous not-for-profit presses and journals beyond JHUP.

Bloomberg School of Public Health

Keshia Pollack, an associate professor of health policy and management, will serve on the American Heart Association's Workplace Health Steering Committee. She also is one of 11 members of Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake's Bicycle Advisory Commission.

Henry Waxman, who represented California's 33rd Congressional District in the U.S. Congress until he retired last year, will join the Department of Health Policy and Management as its Centennial Policy Scholar. Waxman, considered one of the most accomplished legislators in the history of Congress, will share his insights and expertise with students, faculty, and staff for a year, beginning July 1.

Johns Hopkins Medicine

Mohan Chellappa, president of Johns Hopkins International's Global Ventures and a founding member of JHI, has been named executive vice president of the organization. As second in command, he will ensure that JHI continues to expand globally. He has been instrumental in developing JHI's consulting business since 1997 and has been key in establishing more than 50 mission-driven engagements around the world.

Robert A. Kasdin has been appointed to the newly created role of senior vice president and chief operating officer, effective July 1. He joins Johns Hopkins from Columbia University, where he had been senior executive vice president since 2002. He will be responsible for overall operations, including strategic direction, administration of existing programs, and development of new initiatives.

Krieger School of Arts and Sciences

Charles L. Bennett, the Alumni Centennial Professor of Physics and Astronomy and a Gilman Scholar, received the 2015 Caterina Tomassoni and Felice Pietro Chisesi Prize in June at Sapienza University of Rome. The prize committee chose Bennett for his "leadership in two experiments on the cosmic microwave background that literally changed our view of the universe: Cosmic Background Explorer, leading to the discovery of primordial spatial fluctuations in the CMB, and Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe, leading to precise measurements of the cosmological parameters and establishing the de facto Standard Cosmological Model." The prize consists of 50,000 euros, a Schola Physica Romana medal, and an allowance for travel to the award ceremony. With Tobias Marriage, an assistant professor of physics and astronomy, Bennett is currently building in Chile the Cosmology Large Angular Scale Surveyor, a telescope array designed to study the first trillionth of a trillionth of a second of the history of the universe.

Rebekka S. Klausen, an assistant professor in the Department of Chemistry, has been chosen to receive a grant from the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Science under the agency's Early Career Research Program. The award of $750,000 over the next five years will support her work on silicon, a chemical element used to produce the semiconductors that power computers and solar cells. A specialist in materials science, Klausen was among 44 young scientists across the country chosen from more than 600 proposals.

Andrew Nicklin has been named director of open data at the university's new Center for Government Excellence, which will advise at least 100 midsize cities on how to allow citizens to see and use more municipal data. Before coming to Johns Hopkins, Nicklin was director, since 2013, of Open NY, managing New York state's open data and transparency program, which now has more than 1,100 government data sources online and open to the public. Among other accomplishments aimed at improving government performance, early in his career in New York City he launched NYC OpenData, public engagement events such as hackathons and the NYC BigApps competitions, and other open government initiatives.


Four Johns Hopkins students have been awarded U.S. Department of State Critical Language Scholarships to study critical-needs languages this summer. Ryan Nielsen, a KSAS doctoral student in Sociology, will travel to Jaipur, India, to study Hindi. Isabel Evans, a KSAS sophomore majoring in public health studies, will study Chinese in Xi'an, China. SAIS student Susannah Powell will enroll in an intensive language institute in Tajikistan to study Persian, and Joshua Levkowitz, also of SAIS, will spend the summer in Tangier, Morocco, studying Arabic.

The Johns Hopkins Alumni Association this year honored 18 faculty members throughout the university who excel in the art of teaching. The nomination and selection methods for the Excellence in Teaching Awards differ by school, but students must be involved in the process; the award can be given to one or more teachers, or in different classifications. The honorees are, from the Bloomberg School, Alan Scott, a professor in Molecular Microbiology and Immunology, large class size; Larissa Jennings, an assistant professor in International Health, medium class size; Vicente Navarro, a professor in Health Policy and Management, small class size; and David Bishai, a professor in International Health, online class; from the Carey Business School, Brian Gunia, an assistant professor on the research track, and Yuval Bar-Or, an assistant professor on the practice track; from the Krieger School, Alison Papadakis, an associate teaching professor in Psychological and Brain Sciences, for undergraduate advising; Elizabeth Talbert, a graduate assistant in Sociology, for undergraduate teaching by a TA; Jonathan Flombaum, a professor in Psychological and Brain Sciences, for undergraduate teaching by a faculty member; and Michael Fried, a professor in the Humanities Center and in History of Art, for graduate teaching; from Peabody, Stanley Cornett, voice faculty; from SAIS, Sanam Vakil, an adjunct professor of Middle East studies at the Bologna Center; from the School of Education, Tamara Marder, an assistant professor, and Catherine C. Weber, an instructor; from the School of Medicine, John O. Clarke, an associate professor of medicine in the Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology; from the School of Nursing, Jeanne Alhusen, an assistant professor in Community-Public Health, and Andrea Parsons Schram, an assistant professor in Acute and Chronic Care; and from the Whiting School, Nathan Scott, a senior lecturer in Mechanical Engineering.

A wide range of Johns Hopkins communications vehicles have received 2015 Circle of Excellence Awards from CASE, the Council for Advancement and Support of Education. Produced by the Office of Communications, Johns Hopkins Magazine took top honors in the category of General Interest Magazines with circulations of 75,000 or more, winning a Grand Gold Award and also being named the Robert Sibley Magazine of the Year, and it received a Silver in Periodical Staff Writing, Districts I-IV; in the Visual Identity Systems category, the Johns Hopkins Athletics Identity System and the JHU Identity Initiative received the Gold and Silver awards, respectively; and in General Information Videos–Short, the university's 2014 Thank You Video was honored with a Gold Award. The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health Year in Review Annual Report 2014: Yearlook won Gold in the President's Reports and Annual Reports category, and the Johns Hopkins Public Health Magazine Website garnered a Bronze. In Annual Reports and Fund Reports, Eureka! The Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth 2014 Annual Report won a Bronze.

Peabody Institute

Judah Adashi, a Composition faculty member, has released a recording of his newly premiered piece Rise. The track can be streamed for free, but when bought for $1 or more, all proceeds go to the family of Freddie Gray to cover medical and burial costs.

Meng Su, a master's student of Manuel Barrueco's, won the gold medal in the fourth triennial Parkening International Guitar Competition on May 30 in Malibu, California, after a performance of the Concierto de Aranjuez by Joaquín Rodrigo in the final round of the competition. This is one of the world's foremost guitar competitions and has the largest prize purse, $30,000.

Jasmine Hogan, an Artist Diploma candidate, won the school's 2015 Presser Award, given to a student demonstrating excellence and outstanding promise for a distinguished career in the field of music. Hogan will use the $10,000 that comes with the award to commission a set of compositions based on the children's poems by Federico Garcia Lorca that were originally featured in George Crumb's Federico's Little Songs for Children, for Harp, Flute and Voice. Hogan will invite seven composers to collaborate on this project, one for each of the original Lorca poems. One of the composers will be faculty member David Smooke, who studied with Crumb.

Faculty artist Amit Peled has released Collage, a CD with pianist Noreen Cassidy-Polera, performing Rachmaninov's Cello Sonata in G minor, op. 19; David Popper's Tarantella, Op. 33; and a mid-20th-century cello sonata by the Georgian composer Sulkhan Tsintsadze.

Faculty artist Donald Sutherland, organ, and Peabody alum Mas Podgorny, double bass, play rare works on a newly released CD titled Organ and Double Bass, which was recorded in Peabody's Griswold Hall and mastered by Scott Metcalfe, Peabody's director of recording arts.


Matthias Matthijs, an assistant professor of international political economy and academic co-chair of the Bernard L. Schwartz Globalization Initiative, has published The Future of the Euro (Oxford University Press, 2015) with Mark Blyth.

School of Medicine

Aravinda Chakravarti is among 84 new members elected to the National Academy of Sciences, an honorary society that advises the government on scientific matters. A professor of medicine, pediatrics, molecular biology, and genetics in the School of Medicine, and of biostatistics in the Bloomberg School of Public Health, he is being recognized for his contributions to genomics. His team uses experimental and computational analysis of genetic information to understand the basis of complex human diseases, both rare and common, such as Hirschsprung's disease, autism, hypertension, and sudden cardiac death. Chakravarti was the inaugural director of the McKusick-Nathans Institute of Genetic Medicine and the Henry J. Knott Professor from 2000 to 2007. He has been instrumental in designing and contributing to the Human Genome Project, the International HapMap Project, and the 1000 Genomes Project.

Donald S. Coffey, the Catherine Iola and J. Smith Michael Distinguished Professor of Urology, was honored with the American Association for Cancer Research's ninth annual Margaret Foti Award for Leadership and Extraordinary Achievements in Cancer Research. He received the award at the AACR 2015 annual meeting on April 19 in Philadelphia.

Xinzhong Dong, a professor of neuroscience and neurosurgery, has been named a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator. The five-year renewable appointment will provide salary and benefits support for Dong and members of his lab. Dong had been an HHMI early career scientist since 2009. His research team is working to understand the mechanisms behind sensations such as pain, itch, and touch. They have developed new molecular tools to examine nerve cell circuitry and communication.

Kay Redfield Jamison, a psychiatry professor and a leading authority on bipolar disorder, has been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She is among 197 new members, who include novelist Tom Wolfe, Pulitzer Prize winner Holland Cotter, and Nike co-founder Philip Knight. Her election brings to 52 the number of current Hopkins faculty who are members of AAAS.

Geetha Jayaram, an associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the School of Medicine and Armstrong Institute for Patient Safety and Quality, is the 2014–2015 recipient of the Rotary Foundation Global Alumni Service to Humanity Award. She will be honored for her work over the past two decades for service to those in Baltimore who are poor and mentally ill, and for establishing a network of mental health clinics for women and children in her native India. She accepted this award June 8 at the Rotary International Convention in São Paulo, Brazil. The award was created to honor an outstanding individual whose career and activities illustrate the impact of Rotary's programs on the individual's service to humanity. It not only celebrates the individual's extraordinary achievements but also exemplifies the Rotary ideal of "service above self." Jayaram is a past Rotaractor and a recipient of a 2005–2006 Rotary Grant for University Teachers. She is a member of the Rotary Club of Howard West in Ellicott City. She also teaches at St. John's Medical College in Bangalore, India, and is a clinical professor at Cooper Medical School in New Jersey.

Julie Lange, an associate professor of surgery, oncology, and dermatology, and John Fetting, an associate professor of oncology and medicine, have been inducted into the Miller-Coulson Academy of Excellence. The program to recognize clinical excellence began in 2006 as part of the Center for Innovative Medicine at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center. Inductees are honored for their professionalism, communication skills, diagnostic prowess, depth of knowledge, ability to negotiate the health care system, passion for patient care, and service as a role model to medical trainees.

Bob Massof, a professor of ophthalmology and neuroscience and director of the Lions Vision Research and Rehabilitation Center at the Wilmer Eye Institute, is a co-recipient of the 2015 Helen Keller Prize for Vision Research. The award was jointly presented on May 5 by the Helen Keller Foundation for Research and Education and the BrightFocus Foundation, which supports research and education on diseases such as macular degeneration and glaucoma. Massof is known for multiple contributions to low-vision rehabilitation research, notably on outcomes assessment in low vision. He helped develop the first head-mounted system to aid the visually impaired and created the Activity Inventory, a rating scale to determine visual functioning that has been used in clinical studies throughout the world. He shares the award with Gordon Legge, of the University of Minnesota.

Bruce A. Perler, the Julius H. Jacobson II, M.D., Professor of Vascular Surgery, on June 20 became president of the Society for Vascular Surgery, the world's largest vascular surgery organization. He will continue as senior editor of the society's three peer-reviewed scientific journals.

Sahar Soleimanifard, a first-year medical student who received a PhD in electrical and computer engineering from the Whiting School in 2014, is among 30 graduate students awarded Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans. The fellowships are awarded annually to immigrants and children of immigrants in the United States. The fellows, selected this year from a pool of 1,200, are chosen for their potential to make significant contributions to U.S. society and culture, or to their academic field. Each receives up to $90,000 in funding over two years. Soleimanifard received her bachelor's degree with distinction in electrical engineering from Sharif University in Iran. She became a permanent resident of the United States in 2013 through the National Interest Waiver program.

The Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation has been selected to receive the 2015 Haim Ring Award in the institutional category. The International Society of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine gives the award biennially to one institution worldwide with an outstanding record of accomplishment in fostering international exchange and education in physical and rehabilitation medicine. Johns Hopkins was cited particularly for its distinguished record of hosting international visitors. The award was presented at the society's ninth World Congress, held June 19 to 23 in Berlin.

Whiting School of Engineering

Grace Brush, a professor in the Department of Geography and Environmental Engineering, has been named a fellow of the Ecological Society of America, the nation's largest professional society devoted to the science of ecology. This honor recognizes Brush's significant work on the pre- and post-Colonial ecology of the Chesapeake Bay and her groundbreaking studies that have helped scientists and geographers better understand the impact that extensive clearing of the forests surrounding the bay has on the ecosystem there.

Donald Geman, a professor in Applied Mathematics and Statistics, is among 84 new members elected to the National Academy of Sciences, an honorary society that advises the government on scientific matters. He is being recognized for his achievements in statistics, image analysis, and machine learning. He also holds faculty appointments within the university's Institute for Computational Medicine and Center for Imaging Science. His research group is trying to teach computers how to interpret images the way humans do in terms of identifying common objects, human activities, and interactions—a major goal of artificial intelligence. The group is also developing computer programs that analyze large amounts of biological and clinical data to discover new biomarkers for diagnosing cancer and new formulas for predicting a patient's prognosis and response to treatment.

Steve H. Hanke, a professor of applied economics in the Department of Geography and Environmental Engineering, was awarded a doctorate honoris causa on May 11 from the Varna Free University "Chernorizets Hrabar" at a ceremony in Sofia, Bulgaria. The degree was awarded "for his contribution to the development of modern economic theory and transfer of innovative practices to improve the economic and financial literacy of young people in Bulgaria." This was the fifth honorary doctorate Hanke has received, and the second from a Bulgarian institution. In 2013, the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences awarded him an honorary doctorate for his scholarship on currency boards. Hanke, who is known as the father of Bulgaria's currency board, is the author of three books on Bulgaria's money and banking system. He served as President Petar Stoyanov's chief adviser from 1997 to 2002. During this period, he designed and installed Bulgaria's currency board system, which immediately stopped hyperinflation and stabilized the economy.

Russ Taylor, the John C. Malone Professor of Computer Science and director of the Laboratory for Computational Sensing and Robotics, has received a Technical Achievement Award from the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society. He is being honored for his "contributions and leadership in the field of surgical robotics and computer-integrated interventional systems." The award, which is given to up to five recipients a year, recognizes outstanding achievements, contributions, and/or innovations in any area of bioengineering by an individual or group of individuals. Taylor, whose research includes medical robotics, medical imaging and modeling, and systems for surgical assistance and image-guided surgery, has pioneered development of surgical systems that integrate novel computer and human/machine interface technologies and that extend surgeons' abilities to achieve better outcomes at lower costs. He will receive the award in August at the organization's conference in Milan.