Cheers: February 2017

Cheers is a monthly listing of appointments, promotions, and honors and awards received by faculty and staff. Submissions can be emailed to

Applied Physics Laboratory

Lisa Blodgett, head of APL's Force Projection Sector, has been named to the board of directors of the Naval Submarine League.

John Bigelow has been named managing executive for the Research and Exploratory Development Department. He will oversee the department's technical contributions to critical challenges in the mission areas of national health and of research and exploratory development, and will collaborate with cross-enterprise leadership and management groups.

Olukayode "Kami" Okusaga, of the Air and Missile Defense Sector, has received the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers. Established in 1996, PECASE is the government's highest honor for science and engineering professionals in the preliminary stages of their independent research careers.

Cleon Davis, of the Air and Missile Defense Sector, has been appointed vice program chair for the Electrical and Computer Engineering program within Johns Hopkins Engineering for Professionals. Ramsey Hourani, of the Space Exploration Sector, has been named program coordinator.

NASA honored the New Horizons Pluto mission team with its Group Achievement Award, presenting certificates to the nearly 200 team members from institutions across the country who gathered at APL on Jan. 19, the 11th anniversary of New Horizons' launch. With this group award NASA is honoring more than 600 people–nearly half of them from APL–for their work on New Horizons' historic flyby of Pluto in July 2015.


Paul Ferraro, a Bloomberg Distinguished Professor with appointments in the Carey Business School and the Whiting School of Engineering, has been recognized by Resource and Energy Economics for an article he published in that journal that is among its top-five most-cited articles of the last three years. Titled "Heterogeneous Treatment Effects and Mechanisms in Information-Based Environmental Policies: Evidence From a Large-Scale Field Experiment," the article examines the roots of success for a program that was designed to encourage voluntary water conservation during a severe drought in the southeastern United States.

Johns Hopkins Health System

Peter Hill, an associate professor of emergency medicine, has been appointed senior vice president of medical affairs for the Johns Hopkins Health System and vice president of medical affairs for the Johns Hopkins Hospital, effective March 2. An Emergency Department faculty member since 1998, Hill has had multiple leadership positions, including medical director of the Emergency Acute Care Unit, which he co-founded, and clinical director and then vice chair of clinical affairs for the department.


An article co-written by Ge Bai, an assistant professor in the Carey Business School, and Gerard Anderson, a professor in the Bloomberg School of Public Health, was among the top-10 most-read studies in the journal Health Affairs for 2016. Titled "A More Detailed Understanding of Factors Associated With Hospital Profitability," it appeared in the May 12 issue of the journal.

Haig Kazazian, a professor of pediatrics and of molecular biology and genetics, has been nominated by President Ronald J. Daniels to the Maryland Stem Cell Research Commission. By law, two bioethicists—one from Johns Hopkins and one from the University of Maryland—are always members of the commission. Kazazian succeeds Noel Rose, whose term expired in December. Rose is a professor in both the Department of Pathology in the School of Medicine and the W. Henry Feinstone Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology in the Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Peabody Institute

Denyce Graves, a faculty artist in the Opera Department, will portray the mother of Emile Griffith—the closeted gay boxer whose knockout of a homophobic rival in the early 1960s led to unexpected tragedy—in Champion, Terence Blanchard's "opera in jazz." The Washington National Opera production runs from March 4 to 18 at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.

Scott Metcalfe, director of Recording Arts and Sciences, is a co-author of Creating Sounds From Scratch: A Practical Guide to Music Synthesis for Producers and Composers. The book, newly released by Oxford University Press, is a practical, in-depth resource on the most common forms of music synthesis. It includes historical context, an overview of concepts in sound and hearing, and practical training examples to help sound designers and electronic music producers effectively manipulate presets and create new sounds.

Kevin Puts, Composition faculty artist, has received a commission from Opera Philadelphia to adapt Peter Ackroyd's gothic novel The Trial of Elizabeth Cree for the stage. Puts and Mark Campbell, the librettist for this commission, also collaborated on the opera Silent Night, which won a Pulitzer Prize in 2012.

Laurie Sokoloff, a faculty artist who plays flute and piccolo, will receive the National Flute Association's Lifetime Achievement Award at the annual National Flute Association convention on Aug. 12 in Minneapolis. Sokoloff recently retired from the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra as a solo piccoloist and has taught at Peabody since 2000.

School of Medicine

Xintong Dong, a research fellow in immunology, neuroscience, and genetics, has been awarded a 2017 Damon Runyon Fellowship from the Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation. She is among 16 recipients of the four-year, $231,000 fellowship, which will underwrite her studies of how injury and pathogen invasion trigger a chain of inflammatory and repair responses that restore damaged tissue.

Felicia Hill-Briggs, a professor of medicine and senior director of population health research and development for Johns Hopkins HealthCare, has been named president-elect of the American Diabetes Association. She will assume the presidency in 2018. Hill-Briggs also is a member of the Welch Center for Prevention, Epidemiology and Clinical Research, where she studies diabetes self-management, behavioral intervention trials, health disparities, neuropsychology, and functional impairment disability.

Daniel O'Connor, an assistant professor of neuroscience, is among 102 winners of Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers. The award is the highest honor bestowed by the federal government on science and engineering professionals in the early stages of their independent research careers.

Peter Pronovost, director of the Armstrong Institute for Patient Safety and Quality, senior vice president for patient safety and quality, and a professor of anesthesiology and critical care medicine, has been awarded an honorary doctor of medicine degree from Newcastle University in Newcastle, United Kingdom, for his outstanding work in critical care medicine.

Johns Hopkins Health Review, an article published in Hopkins Medicine Magazine, and @HopkinsMedNews 2016 have each been recognized by the Association of American Medical Colleges Group on Institutional Advancement with an Award for Excellence, and Dome with an honorable mention. JHHR, a collaboration of Johns Hopkins University and Medicine, published twice a year, was recognized in the Publications, External Audience Periodicals category; "Stuck in Despair," written for Hopkins Medicine Magazine, in the Robert G. Fenley Writing Awards, Solicited Articles category; and @HopkinsMedNews 2016 in the Electronic Communications, Social Media category. Dome was recognized in the Publications, Internal Audience Periodicals category.

Sheridan Libraries

Dawn Hale, head of Technical Services, received the ALCTS Outstanding Publications Award for Shared Collections: Collaborative Stewardship (Chicago: ALA Editions, 2016), which she edited. The award, given by the Association for Library Collections & Technical Services, honors the author of the year's outstanding monograph in the field of technical services. Hale will receive the award on June 24 at a ceremony during the American Library Association Conference in Chicago.

Robin Sinn, scholarly communications specialist, and Mark Cyzyk, scholarly communication architect, published an article along with Sue Woodson, associate director of User Services and Collection at the William H. Welch Medical Library, about the Johns Hopkins Libraries Open Access Promotion Fund in the January issue of College & Research Libraries News.

A chapter from The Empty Cabinet by Sue Waterman, an academic liaison librarian, has been published in an anthology of German essays, Sprachen des Sammelns: Literatur als Medium und Reflexionsform des Sammelns.

University Administration

President Ronald J. Daniels has been named a member of the Order of Canada for his achievements as a champion of community engagement and as a university leader. Read more on the Hub.

Kimberly Hewitt has been appointed vice provost for institutional equity. Among her responsibilities when she joins Johns Hopkins on March 6 are leading the university's affirmative action and equal opportunity compliance efforts, investigating discrimination and harassment complaints, and providing a central resource for people with disabilities. Hewitt comes to Johns Hopkins from the University of Minnesota. Read more on the Hub.

Whiting School of Engineering

Vladimir Braverman, an assistant professor in the Department of Computer Science**; Ciaran Harman, an assistant professor and the Russell Croft Faculty Scholar in the Department of Environmental Health and Engineering; and Michael Shields, an assistant professor in the Department of Civil Engineering, have each been selected by the National Science Foundation to receive a prestigious CAREER Award, which recognizes early-stage scholars with high levels of promise and excellence. Using his $500,000, five-year grant, Braverman plans to develop new streaming and sketching algorithms for applications ranging from networking and machine learning to astronomy and statistical inference. Harman's five-year grant of nearly $600,000 will support his research into the movement of water through the landscape from rainfall to streams. Shields was awarded a $500,000 grant over five years to study the influence of real, observable dynamic loads that are randomly varying in nature (e.g., wind velocity and pressure) on structures that exhibit complex behavior.

Rene Vidal, a professor of biomedical engineering, has been named a 2016 fellow of the International Association for Pattern Recognition, an association of nonprofit, scientific, and professional organizations concerned with pattern recognition, computer vision, and image processing. Every two years, the organization recognizes a small group of members for their distinguished contributions to the field of pattern recognition and to IAPR activities by naming them fellows. Vidal received the honor for his contributions to computer vision and pattern recognition. He directs the Vision, Dynamics and Learning Lab in the Center for Imaging Science and also is associated with the Institute for Computational Medicine.

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