Tagged: Hopkins Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • richardmitnick 12:06 pm on January 13, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Hopkins, , Senator Barbara Mikulski   

    From Hopkins: ” Longtime Congresswoman Barbara Mikulski joins Johns Hopkins faculty” 

    Johns Hopkins
    Johns Hopkins University

    1.12.17
    Dennis O’Shea

    1
    Barbara Mikulski speaks at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory after the New Horizons Pluto flyby in July 2015. Image credit: NASA

    Please visit https://archive.stsci.edu/ to see Senator Mikulski’s contribution to space science.

    2
    This is a view of the many computers that are part of the Barbara A. Mikulski Archive for Space Telescopes (MAST), located at the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, Md. The archive is named in honor of the United States Senator from Maryland for her career-long achievements and for becoming the longest-serving woman in U.S. Congressional history. Senator Mikulski is at picture center, STScI Director Matt Mountain at her right, and STScI Deputy Director Kathryn Flanagan at her left. The plaque is a photo of Supernova Milkuski, an exploding star that the Hubble Space Telescope spotted on Jan. 25, 2012, named in honor of the Senator by Nobel Laureate Adam Riess and the supernova search team with which he is currently working. NASA.

    Barbara A. Mikulski, the longest-serving woman in the history of Congress and Maryland’s longest-tenured U.S. senator, will join the Johns Hopkins University next week as a professor of public policy and adviser to the university’s president.

    Mikulski, who retired from the Senate earlier this month after completing her fifth six-year term, will participate in lectures, seminars, and symposia across the university. She will organize gatherings featuring nationally known policymakers and other leaders.

    Though she will work with students and faculty members throughout Johns Hopkins, Mikulski will be based in the Department of Political Science and serve as a Homewood Professor, a title reserved for individuals of international distinction and major accomplishment in their fields. As presidential adviser, she will consult with leaders of the university and Johns Hopkins Medicine on public policy and other issues.

    “We are delighted to bring Sen. Mikulski into the Johns Hopkins family, as she has been a trailblazer for women and one of the most distinguished public servants in Maryland’s—and indeed, our nation’s—history,” said Ronald J. Daniels, president of the university. “With longstanding ties to Johns Hopkins from her earliest days of service in Baltimore, Sen. Mikulski will share her experience and perspective with all those invested in understanding and addressing the most significant issues of our time.”

    The former senator has also agreed to donate her congressional papers and records to the Sheridan Libraries at Johns Hopkins, where they will be catalogued and made available to scholars.

    “I’m proud to join the Johns Hopkins faculty and to share my expertise and experience in public policy,” Mikulski said. “I am excited to teach and encourage the next generation and to assist the leadership of this internationally recognized university.

    “Being at Johns Hopkins,” she added, “enables me to continue to play a role locally in shaping Baltimore’s future while promoting a national agenda of innovation, leadership, and service.”

    Mikulski, 80, was elected to the Senate in 1986 after five terms in the House of Representatives and service on the Baltimore City Council. The lifelong Baltimorean and former social worker, who first gained prominence in a successful fight to block a highway project from cleaving long-established Baltimore neighborhoods, rose to serve as chair and then as ranking member of the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee.

    Mikulski, a Democrat, focused on issues including civil rights, national security, space exploration, education, jobs, research and innovation, women’s health, cybersecurity, seniors, and veterans. She was primary sponsor of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, addressing salary discrimination against women; it was the first bill signed into law in 2009 by President Obama, just days after his first inauguration. Obama later awarded Mikulski the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

    Tenacious in pursuit of her policy goals and on Maryland-related issues such as the Chesapeake Bay, research and innovation, and funding for the National Institutes of Health and NASA, Mikulski was also acknowledged as a champion for and mentor of women in the Senate from both major parties.

    “With the arrival of Sen. Mikulski to Hopkins, our students will have a remarkable opportunity to learn from a public policy maven who also possesses expertise in areas such as research, civil rights, and political leadership, to name a few,” said Beverly Wendland, dean of the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences, which includes the Department of Political Science. “I am delighted that Sen. Mikulski will have a strong affinity with the Krieger School and its faculty and students, and I look forward to being inspired by her intellect and enthusiasm.”

    Mikulski’s gift of her papers to Johns Hopkins will make them available to researchers alongside documents from the careers of two other prominent Marylanders who also served in the House and as Senate committee chairs, Democrat Paul Sarbanes and Republican Charles “Mac” Mathias.

    The records comprise 1,317 boxes of paper and other physical material and 3.7 terabytes of digital material.

    “Sen. Mikulski’s archives document more than 50 years of extraordinary public service, encompassing everything from legislative memos to social media accounts,” said Winston Tabb, the Sheridan Dean of University Libraries.

    “This rich and varied collection will offer future scholars an invaluable insider’s view of history—of Baltimore, of Maryland, of the USA—and we are pleased to be stewards of these materials.”

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.
    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    Johns Hopkins Campus

    The Johns Hopkins University opened in 1876, with the inauguration of its first president, Daniel Coit Gilman. “What are we aiming at?” Gilman asked in his installation address. “The encouragement of research … and the advancement of individual scholars, who by their excellence will advance the sciences they pursue, and the society where they dwell.”

    The mission laid out by Gilman remains the university’s mission today, summed up in a simple but powerful restatement of Gilman’s own words: “Knowledge for the world.”

    What Gilman created was a research university, dedicated to advancing both students’ knowledge and the state of human knowledge through research and scholarship. Gilman believed that teaching and research are interdependent, that success in one depends on success in the other. A modern university, he believed, must do both well. The realization of Gilman’s philosophy at Johns Hopkins, and at other institutions that later attracted Johns Hopkins-trained scholars, revolutionized higher education in America, leading to the research university system as it exists today.

    Advertisements
     
  • richardmitnick 9:00 am on January 11, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Hopkins,   

    From Hopkins: “Johns Hopkins scientists zero in on how cancers resist immunotherapy treatment” 

    Johns Hopkins
    Johns Hopkins University

    Jan 6 2017
    Vanessa Wasta

    Results of an initial study of tumors from patients with certain cancers shed light on the widespread acquired resistance to immunotherapy drugs known as checkpoint inhibitors.

    The study, conducted by researchers on five patients at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center, suggests the resistance is due to the elimination of certain genetic mutations that enable the immune system to recognize and attack malignant cells. The results of their research is described online in Cancer Discovery.

    “Checkpoint inhibitors are one of the most exciting recent advances for cancers, but the mechanism by which most patients become resistant to these therapies has been a mystery,” says Victor E. Velculescu, program leader in the Bloomberg–Kimmel Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy at Johns Hopkins and professor of oncology.

    Checkpoint inhibitors help the immune system recognize cancer cells by revealing evidence of mutated proteins called neoantigens on the surface of cancer cells. Clinical trials have shown that nearly half of patients with lung cancers eventually develop resistance to this class of drugs for reasons that have been unclear.

    To investigate why checkpoint inhibitors so often stop working, Velculescu joined Valsamo Anagnostou, instructor of oncology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine; Kellie N. Smith, a cancer immunology research associate at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine; and their colleagues at the Bloomberg–Kimmel Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy.

    The team studied tumors of four patients with non-small cell lung cancer and one patient with head and neck cancer who developed resistance to two different checkpoint inhibitors: a drug called nivolumab that can be used alone or in combination with the second drug, ipilimumab.

    Using biopsies of the patients’ tumors collected before the start of treatment and at the time patients developed resistance, the researchers performed large-scale genomic analyses to search for mutations specific to the cancer cells in all of each patient’s 20,000 genes.

    The search uncovered genes that code for the production of antigens, which serve as a source of identification to the immune system. Cancer cells may contain mutations in genes that code for antigens, producing misshapen or otherwise altered antigens that scientists call neoantigens. Such neoantigens are foreign to the immune system, and thus, the cancer cell is flagged for destruction, usually with the help of immunotherapy drugs.

    The scientists found that after the patients developed resistance to immunotherapy, all of their tumors had shed between seven and 18 mutations in neoantigen-coding genes. By getting rid of those mutations, the tumor cells’ neoantigens look less foreign to the immune system and may go unrecognized, say the scientists.

    The researchers found that the tumors had lost these mutations by various means, including immune-mediated elimination of cancer cells containing these mutations, leaving behind cancer cells without the mutations, or by deleting large regions of their chromosomes in all cancer cells.

    “In some instances,” says Anagnostou, “we found that chromosomes in the cancer cells’ nuclei were missing an entire arm containing these mutated genes.”

    Between one and six of the eliminated neoantigens were shown to generate a specific immune cell response in each of the patients, researchers found.

    “Our findings offer evidence about how cancer cells evolve during immunotherapy,” Velculescu says. “When the cancer cells shed these mutations, they discard the evidence that would normally lead them to be recognized by the body’s protective immune cells.”

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.
    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    Johns Hopkins Campus

    The Johns Hopkins University opened in 1876, with the inauguration of its first president, Daniel Coit Gilman. “What are we aiming at?” Gilman asked in his installation address. “The encouragement of research … and the advancement of individual scholars, who by their excellence will advance the sciences they pursue, and the society where they dwell.”

    The mission laid out by Gilman remains the university’s mission today, summed up in a simple but powerful restatement of Gilman’s own words: “Knowledge for the world.”

    What Gilman created was a research university, dedicated to advancing both students’ knowledge and the state of human knowledge through research and scholarship. Gilman believed that teaching and research are interdependent, that success in one depends on success in the other. A modern university, he believed, must do both well. The realization of Gilman’s philosophy at Johns Hopkins, and at other institutions that later attracted Johns Hopkins-trained scholars, revolutionized higher education in America, leading to the research university system as it exists today.

     
  • richardmitnick 6:50 am on January 13, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Hopkins   

    From Hopkins: “Map of mysterious molecules in galaxy sheds new light on century-old puzzle” 

    Johns Hopkins
    Johns Hopkins University

    January 8
    Phil Sneiderman

    1
    Map of diffuse interstellar bands Image: T.W. Lan, G. Zasowski, B. Ménard, SDSS and 2MASS/UMass/IPAC-Caltech/NASA/NSF

    By analyzing the light of hundreds of thousands of celestial objects, Johns Hopkins astronomers from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey have created a unique map of enigmatic molecules in our galaxy that are responsible for puzzling features in the light from stars.

    Sloan Digital Sky Survey Telescope
    SSDS Telescope

    The map, which can be viewed online, was unveiled today at the 225th meeting of the American Astronomical Society in Seattle.

    “Seeing where these mysterious molecules are located is fascinating,” said Brice Ménard, a professor in the Department of Physics & Astronomy at Johns Hopkins University.

    Added Gail Zasowski, another Johns Hopkins astronomer who played a key role in the project: “This new map required analyzing huge amounts of data and using the power of statistical analyses.”

    These puzzling features in the light from stars, which astronomers call diffuse interstellar bands, or DIBs, have been a mystery ever since they were discovered by astronomer Mary Lea Heger of Lick Observatory in 1922. While analyzing the light from stars, she found unexpected lines that were created by something existing in the interstellar space between the stars and the Earth.

    Further research showed that these mysterious lines were caused by a variety of molecules. But exactly which of the many thousands of possible molecules are responsible for these features has remained a mystery for almost a century.

    This new map, based on Sloan Digital Sky Survey data that reveals the location of these enigmatic molecules, was compiled from two parallel studies.

    Zasowski, a postdoctoral fellow, led one team that focused on the densest parts of our galaxy. They used infrared observations that can cut through the dust clouds and reach previously obscured stars. Johns Hopkins graduate student Ting-Wen Lan led the other study, which used visible light to detect the mysterious molecules located above the plane of the galaxy, where their signatures are very weak and harder to measure.

    “We do not have a full map yet, but we can already see a lot of interesting patterns,” said Ménard, who worked on both teams.

    Lan’s team analyzed the light from more than half a million stars, galaxies, and quasars to detect the molecules’ features in the regions well above and beyond the Milky Way’s disk. In addition, the team was able to see the types of environments in which these molecules are more likely to be found. Some molecules like dense regions of gas and dust, while others prefer the lonelier spots far away from stars.

    “These results will guide researchers toward the best observations and laboratory experiments to pin down the properties and nature of these enigmatic molecules,” Lan said.

    To look toward the galactic plane, hidden behind thick clouds of cosmic dust, Zasowski’s team used data from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey’s APOGEE survey. APOGEE observations, which make use of infrared light, can easily see through interstellar dust and measure the properties of stars all over the galaxy.

    The team members detected some of the mysterious features in front of about 60,000 stars in a wide range of environments and were even able to measure the motion of these molecules.

    “For the first time, we can see how these mysterious molecules are moving around the galaxy,” Zasowski said. “This is extremely useful and brings in new connections between these molecules and the dynamics of the Milky Way.”

    All the recent findings concerning these mysterious features paint a picture of tough little molecules that can exist in a variety of environments all over the galaxy.

    “Almost a hundred years after their discovery, the exact nature of these molecules still remains a mystery, but we are getting one step closer to understanding what they are made of,” Ménard said. “The era of big data in astronomy allows us to look at the universe in new ways. There is so much to explore with these large datasets. This is just the beginning.”

    The researchers used data from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey. The work was supported by National Science Foundation funding.

    See the full article here.

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.
    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    Johns Hopkins Campus

    The Johns Hopkins University opened in 1876, with the inauguration of its first president, Daniel Coit Gilman. “What are we aiming at?” Gilman asked in his installation address. “The encouragement of research … and the advancement of individual scholars, who by their excellence will advance the sciences they pursue, and the society where they dwell.”

    The mission laid out by Gilman remains the university’s mission today, summed up in a simple but powerful restatement of Gilman’s own words: “Knowledge for the world.”

    What Gilman created was a research university, dedicated to advancing both students’ knowledge and the state of human knowledge through research and scholarship. Gilman believed that teaching and research are interdependent, that success in one depends on success in the other. A modern university, he believed, must do both well. The realization of Gilman’s philosophy at Johns Hopkins, and at other institutions that later attracted Johns Hopkins-trained scholars, revolutionized higher education in America, leading to the research university system as it exists today.

     
  • richardmitnick 5:55 am on January 13, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Hopkins,   

    From livescience: “Sound Mind and Sound Body? This Protein Helps Both” 

    Livescience

    January 12, 2015
    Christopher Wanjek

    A sound mind in a sound body: The Roman poet Juvenal wrote 2,000 years ago that it was worth praying for. And now, scientists at Johns Hopkins University have identified a single protein that indeed supports the health of both the brain and the heart.

    1

    The scientists have found that a nerve-growth factor called BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor) — which was already known to enhance memory, nourish blood vessels and nerves and act as natural antidepressant — also helps the heart beat properly.

    The finding may explain the association seen in recent years between depression and heart disease, and also lead to new treatments for heart failure, the researchers said.

    The results appear today (Jan.12) in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

    BDNF is produced in the brain and, as a growth factor, helps support the generation of new nerves and blood vessels throughout the nervous system. Numerous studies have shown how mice born without the ability to make BDNF die soon after birth from neurological disorders.

    Similarly, BDNF deficiencies in humans have been associated with depression, dementia, schizophrenia, compulsive disorders and neurodegenerative disorders such as Huntington’s disease. And a 2009 study found that increasing the levels of BDNF in rats that were given small amounts of heroin led to their addiction to the drug.

    Given that BDNF supports the growth of nerves serving the heart, a team led by Dr. Ning Feng, a cardiology fellow at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, decided to examine the protein’s effect on heart function. The team first isolated healthy heart muscle cells from mice and found that, when awash in BDNF, they began to contract and relax, as if the whole heart was beating.

    The researchers repeated the experiment with muscle cells from mice with weak hearts and found that, despite the presence of BDNF, the cells did not vigorously contract and relax. This implied that there was something the cells lacked that caused them not to react well to the BDNF.

    That something turns out to be a molecule on the cell surface called TrkB, which is a receptor that enables BDNF to enter into the muscle cell, and make it contract and relax. The mice with weak hearts had slightly modified TrkB receptors or related problems blocking the signaling between BDNF and TrkB.

    The researchers next found that mice bred to lack TrkB receptors in their heart cells developed impaired cardiac function. Their hearts contracted poorly, pumped blood less efficiently and took longer to relax after each beat.

    “Taken together, these findings show that any abnormality in the way BDNF communicates with its receptor and its associated intracardiac signaling appears to unlock a cascade of chemical glitches that eventually leads to poor cardiac function,” Feng said.

    Such disruption in BDNF communication may also drive the heart failure that happens in some cancer patients taking chemotherapy, said Dr. Nazareno Paolocci, senior author on the paper and an assistant professor of medicine at Hopkins. The patients’ chemo treatments may include chemicals that block many growth-factor receptors, TrkB among them, to halt tumor growth.

    Targeting the BDNF-TrkB pathway may open up new ways to treat certain kinds of heart disease, the researchers said. One drug that mimics BDNF already has shown benefit in treating people with stroke and other neurological disorders, and may help with heart disease under certain conditions, according to Paolocci.

    “BDNF deficiency may not cause full-blown disease, but it could be the proverbial straw that leads to a ‘broken heart,'” he said.

    Paolocci added that lifestyle factors such as a poor diet or lack of exercise perhaps reduce circulating BDNF or alter properly functioning TrkB receptors, crippling their ability to work with each other, “but we do not have any experimental evidence for that,” he said.

    See the full article here.

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

     
  • richardmitnick 4:50 pm on December 30, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Hopkins,   

    From Hopkins: “Johns Hopkins researchers aim to speed diagnoses by putting microscopes inside the body” 

    Johns Hopkins
    Johns Hopkins University

    December 23, 2014
    Andrew Myers

    Diagnosing cancer is no easy game. When a doctor detects a possible tumor, a biopsy is ordered. Biopsies, however, are invasive and not very precise, and the evaluation requires the sample be sent out, sliced, stained, and studied under a microscope.

    “We’re trying to put the microscope inside the body,” says Department of Biomedical Engineering professor and Electrical and Computer Engineering researcher Xingde Li. Li is on the trail of revolutionary technologies at the cross-section of medicine and imaging, a field known as biophotonics.

    “We created a very thin scanning fiber optic multiphoton microscope that goes inside the body, right to the place of interest, to help diagnose disease immediately, less invasively, and without any staining or processing,” Li says.

    mm
    multiphoton microscopy

    Li’s prototype is helping doctors do remarkable new things. In one of many dramatic examples, Li’s endo­micro­scope, as he calls it, is being used to assist in brain surgeries.

    e
    endo­micro­scope

    “When you’re removing a brain tumor, you want to take as little of the healthy tissue as possible and as much of the tumor tissue as possible,” Li says. “Our technology can help doctors see, in real time, where to cut and, more importantly, where not to cut.”

    Another exemplary application is to directly visualize the collagen fiber network in the cervix, from which the mechanical strength of the cervix—and thus the risk of preterm delivery—can be assessed.

    The endomicroscope’s optical fiber is the same sort used to transmit high-speed data. The fibers are anywhere between a half to two millimeters in diameter, and they are flexible so they can be guided to the exact spot needed. Light travels down the fiber, which acts as a sort of flashlight, illuminating the tissues inside the body. The light reflects off the tissues and is re-collected by the very same fiber, where it zips back through a computer to a waiting video monitor.

    “We do it all noninvasively with a single ultrathin and flexible fiber endomicroscope in real time,” Li says. “That’s the real beauty of it.”

    See the full article here.

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.
    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    Johns Hopkins Campus

    The Johns Hopkins University opened in 1876, with the inauguration of its first president, Daniel Coit Gilman. “What are we aiming at?” Gilman asked in his installation address. “The encouragement of research … and the advancement of individual scholars, who by their excellence will advance the sciences they pursue, and the society where they dwell.”

    The mission laid out by Gilman remains the university’s mission today, summed up in a simple but powerful restatement of Gilman’s own words: “Knowledge for the world.”

    What Gilman created was a research university, dedicated to advancing both students’ knowledge and the state of human knowledge through research and scholarship. Gilman believed that teaching and research are interdependent, that success in one depends on success in the other. A modern university, he believed, must do both well. The realization of Gilman’s philosophy at Johns Hopkins, and at other institutions that later attracted Johns Hopkins-trained scholars, revolutionized higher education in America, leading to the research university system as it exists today.

     
  • richardmitnick 2:14 pm on November 22, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Hopkins   

    Johns Hopkins University: “Deep-Earth Carbon Offers Clues About Origin of Life on Earth” 

    Johns Hopkins
    Johns Hopkins University

    Nov. 20, 2014
    Jill Rosen
    Office: 443-997-9906
    Cell: 443-547-8805
    jrosen@jhu.edu

    A Johns Hopkins-led team links new organic carbon species in deep fluids to the formation of diamonds — and life itself.

    New findings by a Johns Hopkins University-led team reveal long unknown details about carbon deep beneath the Earth’s surface and suggest ways this subterranean carbon might have influenced the history of life on the planet.

    The team also developed a new, related theory about how diamonds form in the Earth’s mantle.

    For decades scientists had little understanding of how carbon behaved deep below the Earth’s surface even as they learned more and more about the element’s vital role at the planet’s crust. Using a model created by Johns Hopkins geochemist Dimitri Sverjensky, Sverjensky, Vincenzo Stagno of the Carnegie Institution of Washington and Fang Huang, a Johns Hopkins graduate student, became the first to calculate how much carbon and what types of carbon exist in fluids at 100 miles below the Earth’s surface at temperatures up to 2,100 degrees F.

    ds
    Dimitri Sverjensky

    In an article published this week in the journal Nature Geoscience, Sverjensky and his team demonstrate that in addition to the carbon dioxide and methane already documented deep in subduction zones, there exists a rich variety of organic carbon species that could spark the formation of diamonds and perhaps even become food for microbial life.

    “It is a very exciting possibility that these deep fluids might transport building blocks for life into the shallow Earth,” said Sverjensky, a professor in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences. “This may be a key to the origin of life itself.”

    Sverjensky’s theoretical model, called the Deep Earth Water model, allowed the team to determine the chemical makeup of fluids in the Earth’s mantle, expelled from descending tectonic plates. Some of the fluids, those in equilibrium with mantle peridotite minerals, contained the expected carbon dioxide and methane. But others, those in equilibrium with diamonds and eclogitic minerals, contained dissolved organic carbon species including a vinegar-like acetic acid.

    These high concentrations of dissolved carbon species, previously unknown at great depth in the Earth, suggest they are helping to ferry large amounts of carbon from the subduction zone into the overlying mantle wedge where they are likely to alter the mantle and affect the cycling of elements back into the Earth’s atmosphere.

    The team also suggested that these mantle fluids with dissolved organic carbon species could be creating diamonds in a previously unknown way. Scientists have long believed diamond formation resulted through chemical reactions starting with either carbon dioxide or methane. The organic species offer a range of different starting materials, and an entirely new take on the creation of the gemstones.

    The research is part of a 10-year global project to further understanding of carbon on Earth called the Deep Carbon Observatory. The work is funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

    See the full article here.

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.
    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    Johns Hopkins Campus

    The Johns Hopkins University opened in 1876, with the inauguration of its first president, Daniel Coit Gilman. “What are we aiming at?” Gilman asked in his installation address. “The encouragement of research … and the advancement of individual scholars, who by their excellence will advance the sciences they pursue, and the society where they dwell.”

    The mission laid out by Gilman remains the university’s mission today, summed up in a simple but powerful restatement of Gilman’s own words: “Knowledge for the world.”

    What Gilman created was a research university, dedicated to advancing both students’ knowledge and the state of human knowledge through research and scholarship. Gilman believed that teaching and research are interdependent, that success in one depends on success in the other. A modern university, he believed, must do both well. The realization of Gilman’s philosophy at Johns Hopkins, and at other institutions that later attracted Johns Hopkins-trained scholars, revolutionized higher education in America, leading to the research university system as it exists today.

     
  • richardmitnick 10:50 pm on November 18, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , Hopkins,   

    From Johns Hopkins: “New Horizons Set to Wake Up for Pluto Encounter” 

    Johns Hopkins
    Johns Hopkins University

    November 13, 2014
    No Writer Credit

    NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft comes out of hibernation for the last time on Dec. 6. Between now and then, while the Pluto-bound probe enjoys three more weeks of electronic slumber, work on Earth is well under way to prepare the spacecraft for a six-month encounter with the dwarf planet that begins in January.

    NASA New Horizons spacecraft
    NASA/New Horizons

    “New Horizons is healthy and cruising quietly through deep space – nearly three billion miles from home – but its rest is nearly over,” says Alice Bowman, New Horizons mission operations manager at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, Md. “It’s time for New Horizons to wake up, get to work, and start making history.”

    Since launching in January 2006, New Horizons has spent 1,873 days in hibernation – about two-thirds of its flight time – spread over 18 separate hibernation periods from mid-2007 to late 2014 that ranged from 36 days to 202 days long.

    In hibernation mode much of the spacecraft is unpowered; the onboard flight computer monitors system health and broadcasts a weekly beacon-status tone back to Earth. On average, operators woke New Horizons just over twice each year to check out critical systems, calibrate instruments, gather science data, rehearse Pluto-encounter activities and perform course corrections when necessary.

    New Horizons pioneered routine cruise-flight hibernation for NASA. Not only has hibernation reduced wear and tear on the spacecraft’s electronics, it lowered operations costs and freed up NASA Deep Space Network tracking and communication resources for other missions.

    Ready to Go

    New Horizons team members will give an overview of pre-Pluto preparations, as well as the science plans for the Pluto encounter, on Thursday, Nov. 13, at the American Astronomical Society Division for Planetary Sciences (DPS) meeting in Tucson, Ariz. The 90-minute briefing starts at noon (MST) and will be posted shortly afterward on the DPS meeting site.

    Next month’s wake-up call was preprogrammed into New Horizons’ on-board computer in August, commanding it come out of hibernation at 3 p.m. EST on Dec. 6. About 90 minutes later New Horizons will transmit word to Earth that it’s in “active” mode; those signals, even traveling at light speed, will need four hours and 25 minutes to reach home. Confirmation should reach the mission operations team at APL around 9:30 p.m. EST. At the time New Horizons will be more than 2.9 billion miles from Earth, and just 162 million miles – less than twice the distance between Earth and the sun – from Pluto.

    After several days of collecting navigation-tracking data, downloading and analyzing the cruise science and spacecraft housekeeping data stored on New Horizons’ digital recorders, the mission team will begin activities that include conducting final tests on the spacecraft’s science instruments and operating systems, and building and testing the computer-command sequences that will guide New Horizons through its flight to and reconnaissance of the Pluto system. Tops on the mission’s science list are characterizing the global geology and topography of Pluto and its large moon Charon, mapping their surface compositions and temperatures, examining Pluto’s atmospheric composition and structure, studying Pluto’s smaller moons and searching for new moons and rings.

    New Horizons’ seven-instrument science payload, developed under direction of Southwest Research Institute, includes advanced imaging infrared and ultraviolet spectrometers, a compact multicolor camera, a high-resolution telescopic camera, two powerful particle spectrometers, a space-dust detector (designed and built by students at the University of Colorado) and two radio science experiments. The entire spacecraft, drawing electricity from a single radioisotope thermoelectric generator, operates on less power than a pair of 100-watt light bulbs.

    Distant observations of the Pluto system begin Jan. 15 and will continue until late July 2015; closest approach to Pluto is July 14.

    “We’ve worked years to prepare for this moment,” says Mark Holdridge, New Horizons encounter mission manager at APL. “New Horizons might have spent most of its cruise time across nearly three billion miles of space sleeping, but our team has done anything but, conducting a flawless flight past Jupiter just a year after launch, putting the spacecraft through annual workouts, plotting out each step of the Pluto flyby and even practicing the entire Pluto encounter on the spacecraft. We are ready to go.”

    “The final hibernation wake up Dec. 6 signifies the end of an historic cruise across the entirety of our planetary system,” added New Horizons Principal Investigator Alan Stern, of the Southwest Research Institute. “We are almost on Pluto’s doorstep!”

    The Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory manages the New Horizons mission for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate. Alan Stern, of the Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) is the principal investigator and leads the mission; SwRI leads the science team, payload operations, and encounter science planning. New Horizons is part of the New Frontiers Program managed by NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. APL designed, built and operates the New Horizons spacecraft.

    See the full article here.

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.
    STEM Icon
    Stem Education Coalition
    Johns Hopkins Campus

    The Johns Hopkins University opened in 1876, with the inauguration of its first president, Daniel Coit Gilman. “What are we aiming at?” Gilman asked in his installation address. “The encouragement of research … and the advancement of individual scholars, who by their excellence will advance the sciences they pursue, and the society where they dwell.”

    The mission laid out by Gilman remains the university’s mission today, summed up in a simple but powerful restatement of Gilman’s own words: “Knowledge for the world.”

    What Gilman created was a research university, dedicated to advancing both students’ knowledge and the state of human knowledge through research and scholarship. Gilman believed that teaching and research are interdependent, that success in one depends on success in the other. A modern university, he believed, must do both well. The realization of Gilman’s philosophy at Johns Hopkins, and at other institutions that later attracted Johns Hopkins-trained scholars, revolutionized higher education in America, leading to the research university system as it exists today.

    ScienceSprings relies on technology from

    MAINGEAR computers

    Lenovo
    Lenovo

    Dell
    Dell

     
  • richardmitnick 9:47 am on November 3, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Hopkins   

    From Johns Hopkins: “Device invented at Johns Hopkins provides up-close look at cancer on the move” 

    Johns Hopkins
    Johns Hopkins University

    October 30, 2014
    Phil Sneiderman

    Johns Hopkins engineers have invented a lab device to give cancer researchers an unprecedented microscopic look at metastasis, the complex way that tumor cells spread through the body, causing more than 90 percent of cancer-related deaths. By shedding light on precisely how tumor cells travel, the device could uncover new ways to keep cancer in check.

    two
    Andrew Wong, left, a materials science and engineering doctoral student, developed the metastasis research device with his faculty adviser, Peter Searson. Image: Will Kirk / Homewoodphoto.jhu.edu

    device
    No image Credit

    The inventors, from the university’s Whiting School of Engineering and its Institute for NanoBioTechnology, published details and images from their new system recently in the journal Cancer Research. Their article reported on successful tests that captured video of human breast cancer cells as they burrowed through reconstituted body tissue material and made their way into an artificial blood vessel.

    “There’s still so much we don’t know about exactly how tumor cells migrate through the body, partly because, even using our best imaging technology, we haven’t been able to see precisely how these individual cells move into blood vessels,” said Andrew D. Wong, a Department of Materials Science and Engineering doctoral student who was lead author of the journal article. “Our new tool gives us a clearer, close-up look at this process.”

    With this novel lab platform, Wong said, the researchers were able to record video of the movement of individual cancer cells as they crawled through a three-dimensional collagen matrix. This material resembles the human tissue that surrounds tumors when cancer cells break away and try to relocate elsewhere in the body. This process is called invasion.

    Wong, whose work has been supported by an INBT training grant, also collected video of single cancer cells prying and pushing their way through the wall of an artificial vessel lined with human endothelial cells, the same kind that line human blood vessels. By entering the bloodstream through this process, called intravasion, cancer cells are able to hitch a ride to other parts of the body and begin to form deadly new tumors.

    To view these important early stages of metastasis, Wong replicated these processes in a small transparent chip that incorporates the artificial blood vessel and the surrounding tissue material. A nutrient-rich solution flows through the artificial vessel, mimicking the properties of blood. The breast cancer cells, inserted individually and in clusters in the tissue near the vessel, are labeled with fluorescent tags, enabling their behavior to be seen, tracked and recorded via a microscopic viewing system.

    Wong’s doctoral adviser, Peter Searson, the Joseph R. and Lynn C. Reynolds Professor of Materials Science and Engineering and director of the INBT, said his graduate student took on this challenging project nearly five years ago—and ultimately produced impressive results.

    “Andrew was able to build a functional artificial blood vessel and a microenvironment that lets us capture the details of the metastatic process,” said Searson, who was the corresponding author of the Cancer Research article and is a member of the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center. “In the past it’s been virtually impossible to see the steps involved in this process with this level of clarity. We’ve taken a significant leap forward.”

    This improved view should give cancer researchers a much clearer look at the complex physical and biochemical interplay that takes place when cells leave a tumor, move through the surrounding tissue and approach a blood vessel. For example, the new lab device enabled the inventors to see detailed images of a cancer cell as it found a weak spot in the vessel wall, exerted pressure on it and squeezed through far enough so that the force of the passing current swept it into the circulating fluid.

    “Cancer cells would have a tough time leaving the original tumor site if it weren’t for their ability to enter our bloodstream and gain access to distant sites,” Wong said. “So it’s actually the entry of cancer cells into the bloodstream that allows the cancer to spread very quickly.”

    Knowing more about this process could unearth a key to thwarting metastasis.

    “This device allows us to look at the major steps of metastasis as well as to test different treatment strategies at a relatively fast pace,” Wong said. “If we can find a way to stop one of these steps in the metastatic cascade, we may be able to find a new strategy to slow down or even stop the spread of cancer.”

    Next, the researchers plan to use the device to try out various cancer-fighting drugs within this device to get a better look at how the medications perform and how they might be improved.

    The new lab device to study metastasis was supported by a grant from the National Institutes of Health and is protected by a provisional patent obtained through the Johns Hopkins Technology Transfer office.

    See the full article, with video, here.

    Johns Hopkins Campus

    The Johns Hopkins University opened in 1876, with the inauguration of its first president, Daniel Coit Gilman. “What are we aiming at?” Gilman asked in his installation address. “The encouragement of research … and the advancement of individual scholars, who by their excellence will advance the sciences they pursue, and the society where they dwell.”

    The mission laid out by Gilman remains the university’s mission today, summed up in a simple but powerful restatement of Gilman’s own words: “Knowledge for the world.”

    What Gilman created was a research university, dedicated to advancing both students’ knowledge and the state of human knowledge through research and scholarship. Gilman believed that teaching and research are interdependent, that success in one depends on success in the other. A modern university, he believed, must do both well. The realization of Gilman’s philosophy at Johns Hopkins, and at other institutions that later attracted Johns Hopkins-trained scholars, revolutionized higher education in America, leading to the research university system as it exists today.

    ScienceSprings relies on technology from

    MAINGEAR computers

    Lenovo
    Lenovo

    Dell
    Dell

     
  • richardmitnick 6:09 pm on October 16, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , Hopkins,   

    From Johns Hopkins: “Chemical derived from broccoli sprouts shows promise in treating autism” 

    Johns Hopkins
    Johns Hopkins University

    October 13, 2014
    Catherine Kolf

    Many trial participants who received daily dose of sulforaphane show improvements in social interaction, verbal communication, researchers say

    Results of a small clinical trial suggest that a chemical derived from broccoli sprouts—and best known for claims that it can help prevent certain cancers—may ease classic behavioral symptoms in those with autism spectrum disorders.

    bro

    The study, a joint effort by scientists at MassGeneral Hospital for Children and the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, involved 40 teenage boys and young men, ages 13 to 27, with moderate to severe autism.

    In a report published online in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the researchers say that many of those who received a daily dose of the chemical sulforaphane experienced substantial improvements in their social interaction and verbal communication, along with decreases in repetitive, ritualistic behaviors, compared to those who received a placebo.

    “We believe that this may be preliminary evidence for the first treatment for autism that improves symptoms by apparently correcting some of the underlying cellular problems,” says Paul Talalay, a professor of pharmacology and molecular sciences at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine who has researched these vegetable compounds for the past 25 years.

    “We are far from being able to declare a victory over autism, but this gives us important insights into what might help,” says co-investigator Andrew Zimmerman, a professor of pediatric neurology at UMass Memorial Medical Center.

    Autism experts estimate that the group of disorders affects 1 to 2 percent of the world’s population, with a much higher incidence in boys than in girls. Its behavioral symptoms, such as poor social interaction and verbal communication, are well known and were first described 70 years ago by Leo Kanner, the founder of pediatric psychiatry at Johns Hopkins University.

    Unfortunately, the root causes of autism remain elusive, though progress has been made, Talalay says, in describing some of the biochemical and molecular abnormalities that tend to accompany the disorders. Many of these are related to the efficiency of energy generation in cells. He says that studies show that the cells of those on the autism spectrum often have high levels of oxidative stress, the buildup of harmful, unintended byproducts from the cell’s use of oxygen that can cause inflammation, damage DNA, and lead to cancer and other chronic diseases.

    In 1992, Talalay’s research group discovered that sulforaphane has some ability to bolster the body’s natural defenses against oxidative stress, inflammation, and DNA damage. In addition, the chemical later turned out to improve the body’s heat-shock response—a cascade of events used to protect cells from the stress caused by high temperatures, including those experienced when people have fever.

    Intriguingly, he says, about 50% of parents report that their children’s autistic behavior improves noticeably when they have a fever, then reverts back when the fever is gone. In 2007, Zimmerman, a principal collaborator in the current study, tested this anecdotal trend clinically and found it to be true, though a mechanism for the fever effect was not identified.

    Because fevers, like sulforaphane, initiate the body’s heat-shock response, Zimmerman and Talalay wondered if sulforaphane could cause the same temporary improvement in autism that fevers do. The current study was designed to find out.

    Before the start of the trial, the patients’ caregivers and physicians filled out three standard behavioral assessments: the Aberrant Behavior Checklist (ABC), the Social Responsiveness Scale (SRS), and the Clinical Global Impressions-Improvement scale (CGI-I). The assessments measure sensory sensitivities, ability to relate to others, verbal communication skills, social interactions, and other behaviors related to autism.

    Twenty-six of the subjects were randomly selected to receive, based on their weight, 9 to 27 milligrams of sulforaphane daily, and 14 received placebos. Behavioral assessments were again completed at four, 10, and 18 weeks while treatment continued. A final assessment was completed for most of the participants four weeks after the treatment had stopped.

    Most of those who responded to sulforaphane showed significant improvements by the first measurement at four weeks and continued to improve during the rest of the treatment. After 18 weeks of treatment, the average ABC and SRS scores of those who received sulforaphane had decreased 34 and 17 percent, respectively, with improvements in bouts of irritability, lethargy, repetitive movements, hyperactivity, awareness, communication, motivation, and mannerisms.

    After 18 weeks of treatment, according to the CGI-I scale, sulforaphane recipients experienced noticeable improvements in social interaction (46%), aberrant behaviors (54%), and verbal communication (42%).

    Talalay notes that the scores of those who took sulforaphane trended back toward their original values after they stopped taking the chemical, just like what happens to those who experience improvements during a fever. “It seems like sulforaphane is temporarily helping cells to cope with their handicaps,” he says.

    Zimmerman adds that before they learned which subjects got the sulforaphane or placebo, the impressions of the clinical team—including parents—were that 13 of the participants noticeably improved. For example, some treated subjects looked them in the eye and shook their hands, which they had not done before. They found out later that all 13—half of the treatment group—had been taking sulforaphane.

    Talalay cautions that the levels of sulforaphane precursors present in different varieties of broccoli are highly variable. Furthermore, the capacity of individuals to convert these precursors to active sulforaphane also varies greatly. It would be very difficult to achieve the levels of sulforaphane used in this study by eating large amounts of broccoli or other cruciferous vegetables, he notes.

    See the full article here.

    Johns Hopkins Campus

    The Johns Hopkins University opened in 1876, with the inauguration of its first president, Daniel Coit Gilman. “What are we aiming at?” Gilman asked in his installation address. “The encouragement of research … and the advancement of individual scholars, who by their excellence will advance the sciences they pursue, and the society where they dwell.”

    The mission laid out by Gilman remains the university’s mission today, summed up in a simple but powerful restatement of Gilman’s own words: “Knowledge for the world.”

    What Gilman created was a research university, dedicated to advancing both students’ knowledge and the state of human knowledge through research and scholarship. Gilman believed that teaching and research are interdependent, that success in one depends on success in the other. A modern university, he believed, must do both well. The realization of Gilman’s philosophy at Johns Hopkins, and at other institutions that later attracted Johns Hopkins-trained scholars, revolutionized higher education in America, leading to the research university system as it exists today.

    ScienceSprings relies on technology from

    MAINGEAR computers

    Lenovo
    Lenovo

    Dell
    Dell

     
  • richardmitnick 4:32 pm on October 10, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , Hopkins   

    From Johns Hopkins: “Leaky, Star-Forming Galaxies Lead Johns Hopkins Researchers to Better Understand the Universe” 

    Johns Hopkins
    Johns Hopkins University

    October 10, 2014
    Hub staff report

    By focusing on large, star-forming galaxies in the universe, researchers at Johns Hopkins University were able to measure its radiation leaks in an effort to better understand how the universe evolved as the first stars were formed.

    sb
    Sanchayeeta Borthakur, an assistant research scientist in the university’s Department of Physics and Astronomy, reports in a paper published online Oct. 9 in the journal Science that an indicator used for studying star-forming galaxies that leak radiation is an effective measurement tool for other scientists to use.

    Borthakur wrote the paper with Timothy Heckman, professor and director of the Center for Astrophysical Sciences at Johns Hopkins, along with co-authors Claus Leitherer from the Space Telescope Science Institute and Roderik Overzier from the Observatorio Nacional in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

    The researchers, whose work was funded by a NASA grant, used the radiation leak measurement method to help find the ideal star-forming galaxy that contained holes in its cold gas cover. Studying the radiation that seeps through these holes has been a conundrum for scientists for years.

    The cover, which consists of thick, dense, cold gas, stretches across a galaxy like a blanket. While it is an effective tool for helping make stars, this cover presents a challenge for astrophysicists hoping to learn how the radiation that stars produce could be used in the ionization process. Scientists have been on a quest for decades to find just the right galaxy with this character trait.

    “It’s like the ozone layer, but in reverse,” Borthakur said. “The ozone layer protects us from the sun’s radiation but we want the gas cover the other way around. The star-forming regions in galaxies are covered with cold gases, so the radiation cannot come out. If we can find out how the radiation gets out of the galaxy, we can learn what mechanisms ionized the universe.”

    For star-gazers, reionization is central to the history of the cosmos, as it marks the birth of the very first stars and galaxies. Moments after the Big Bang, the hot, newly born universe began to expand and quickly cool. Several hundred thousand years later, free proton and electron particles in the universe began to connect to one another other and form neutral hydrogen atoms. The neutral gas began to collapse into the first stars and galaxies, which then began to radiate brightly.

    Using observations made with the Cosmic Origin Spectrograph onboard the Hubble Space Telescope, the research team found the right galaxy to study. In the study, the researchers credit a combination of unusually strong winds, intense radiation and a massive, highly star-forming galaxy for proving the validity of the indicator.

    NASA Hubble Telescope
    NASA Hubble schematic
    NASA Hubble

    This method first created by Heckman in 2001 can sort out what gas is present and also accurately measure the percentage of holes in the gas cover, Borthakur said.

    “The confirmation of the indicator is key,” she said. “The implications are now people can use this indicator to study distant galaxies at longer wavelengths.”

    See the full article here.

    Johns Hopkins Campus

    The Johns Hopkins University opened in 1876, with the inauguration of its first president, Daniel Coit Gilman. “What are we aiming at?” Gilman asked in his installation address. “The encouragement of research … and the advancement of individual scholars, who by their excellence will advance the sciences they pursue, and the society where they dwell.”

    The mission laid out by Gilman remains the university’s mission today, summed up in a simple but powerful restatement of Gilman’s own words: “Knowledge for the world.”

    What Gilman created was a research university, dedicated to advancing both students’ knowledge and the state of human knowledge through research and scholarship. Gilman believed that teaching and research are interdependent, that success in one depends on success in the other. A modern university, he believed, must do both well. The realization of Gilman’s philosophy at Johns Hopkins, and at other institutions that later attracted Johns Hopkins-trained scholars, revolutionized higher education in America, leading to the research university system as it exists today.

    ScienceSprings relies on technology from

    MAINGEAR computers

    Lenovo
    Lenovo

    Dell
    Dell

     
c
Compose new post
j
Next post/Next comment
k
Previous post/Previous comment
r
Reply
e
Edit
o
Show/Hide comments
t
Go to top
l
Go to login
h
Show/Hide help
shift + esc
Cancel
%d bloggers like this: