Tagged: JHU Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • richardmitnick 1:26 pm on June 26, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , JHU, ,   

    From Hopkins HUB: “As the APL-built solar probe begins its historic encounter with the sun, revolutionary technologies will power and cool the craft” 

    Johns Hopkins
    Johns Hopkins University

    June 23, 2017
    Geoffrey Brown

    1
    The solar panels are shown here on this artist rendering of Parker Solar Probe; they are the black squares with gray rectangles on the center of the spacecraft.
    Image credit: NASA/JHUAPL

    As NASA’s Parker Solar Probe spacecraft begins its first historic encounter with the sun’s corona in late 2018—flying closer to our star than any other mission in history—a revolutionary cooling system will keep its solar arrays at peak performance, even in extremely hostile conditions.

    Every instrument and system on board Parker Solar Probe (with the exception of four antennas and a special particle detector) will be hidden from the sun behind a breakthrough thermal protection system, or TPS—an eight-foot-diameter shield that the spacecraft uses to defend itself against the intense heat and energy of our star.

    Every system will be protected, that is, except for the two solar arrays that power the spacecraft. When the spacecraft is closest to the sun, the solar arrays will be receiving 25 times the solar energy they would while orbiting Earth, and the temperature on the TPS will reach more than 2,500 degrees Fahrenheit. The cooling system will keep the arrays at a nominal temperature of 320°F (160°C) or below.

    “Our solar arrays are going to operate in an extreme environment that other missions have never operated in before,” said Mary Kae Lockwood, the spacecraft system engineer for Parker Solar Probe at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab.

    New innovations to survive the inferno

    The very outermost edges of the solar arrays are bent upward, and when the spacecraft is closest to the sun, these small slivers of array will be extended beyond the protection of the TPS in order to produce enough power for the spacecraft’s systems.

    3
    The solar array cooling system for the Parker Solar Probe spacecraft is shown undergoing thermal testing at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, in late February. Image credit: NASA/JHUAPL .

    The incredible heat of our star would damage conventional spacecraft arrays. So, like many other technological advances created especially for this mission, a first-of-its-kind actively cooled solar array system was developed by APL, in partnership with United Technologies Aerospace Systems, which manufactured the cooling system, and SolAero Technologies, which produces the solar arrays.

    “This is all new,” Lockwood said of the innovations related to the actively cooled solar array system. “NASA funded a program for Parker Solar Probe that included technology development of the solar arrays and their cooling system. We worked closely with our partners at UTAS and SolAero to develop these new capabilities, and we came up with a very effective system.”


    Video: JHU Applied Physics Laboratory

    The Parker Solar Probe cooling system has several components: a heated accumulator tank that will hold the water during launch (“If water was in the system, it would freeze,” Lockwood said); two-speed pumps; and four radiators made of titanium tubes and sporting aluminum fins just two hundredths of an inch thick. As with all power on the spacecraft, the cooling system is powered by the solar arrays—the very arrays it needs to keep cool to ensure its operation. At nominal operating capacity, the system provides 6,000 watts of cooling capacity—enough to cool an average-sized living room.

    Somewhat surprisingly, the coolant used is nothing more than regular pressurized water—approximately five liters, deionized to remove minerals that could contaminate or harm the system. Analysis showed that during the mission, the coolant would need to operate between 50°F and 257°F—and few liquids can handle those ranges like water. “Part of the NASA technology demonstration funding was used by APL and our partners at UTAS to survey a variety of coolants,” said Lockwood. “But for the temperature range we required, and for the mass constraints, water was the solution.” The water will be pressurized, which will raise its boiling point above 257°F.

    The solar arrays feature their own technical innovations. “We learned a lot about solar array performance from the [APL-built] MESSENGER spacecraft, which was the first to study Mercury,” said Lockwood. “In particular, we learned how to design a panel that would mitigate degradation from ultraviolet light.”

    The cover glass on top of the photovoltaic cells is standard, but the way the heat is transferred from the cells into the substrate of the panel, the platen, is unique. A special ceramic carrier was created and soldered to the bottom of each cell, and then attached to the platen with a specially chosen thermally conductive adhesive to allow the best thermal conduction into the system while providing the needed electrical insulation.

    From ice to fire: Launch challenges

    While the extraordinary heat of the sun will be the spacecraft’s most intense challenge, the minutes immediately following launch are actually one of the spacecraft’s most critical early performance sequences.

    When Parker Solar Probe launches on board a ULA Delta IV Heavy rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida in summer 2018, the cooling system will undergo wide temperature swings. “There’s a lot to do to make sure the water doesn’t freeze,” said Lockwood.

    First, temperatures of the solar arrays and cooling system radiators will drop from that in the fairing (about 60°F) to temperatures ranging from –85°F to –220°F before they can be warmed by the sun. The pre-heated coolant tank will keep the water from freezing; the specially designed radiators—designed to reject heat and intense temperatures at the sun—will also survive this bitter cold, thanks to a new bonding process and design innovations.

    Less than 60 minutes later, the spacecraft will separate from the launch vehicle and begin the post-separation sequence. It will rotate itself to point at the sun; the solar arrays will release from their launch locks; the arrays will rotate to point to the sun; a latch valve will open to release the warm water into two of the four radiators and the solar arrays; the pump will turn on; the spacecraft will rotate back to a nominal pointing orientation, warming up the two coldest and unactivated radiators; and power from the cooled solar arrays will begin recharging the battery.

    In another first, this complex and critical series of tasks will be completed autonomously by the spacecraft, without any input from mission control.

    The water for the two unactivated radiators will remain in the storage tank for the first 40 days of flight; after that, the final two radiators will be activated.

    “One of the biggest challenges in testing this is those transitions from very cold to very hot in a short period of time,” Lockwood said. “But those tests, and other tests to show how the system works when under a fully heated TPS, correlated quite well to our models.”

    Thanks to testing and modeling, the team studied data and increased the thermal blanketing on the first two radiators to be activated, in order to balance maximizing their capacity at the end of the mission, and further reduce the risk of water freezing early in the mission.

    Keeping cool, autonomously

    When Parker Solar Probe is hurtling past the sun at some 450,000 miles an hour, it will be 90 million miles from mission controllers on Earth—too far for the team to “drive” the spacecraft. This means that adjustments to how the spacecraft is protecting itself with the TPS need to be handled by Parker Solar Probe’s onboard guidance and control systems. These systems use new and effective autonomous software to allow the spacecraft to instantly alter its pointing to maximize protection from the sun. This autonomous capability is critical to the operation of the spacecraft’s solar arrays, which must be constantly adjusted for optimal angle as Parker Solar Probe hurtles through the sun’s harsh, superheated corona.

    “During solar encounters, very small changes in the wing angle of the solar array can vastly change cooling capacity needed.” Lockwood said that a one degree change in the array angle of one wing would require 35 percent more cooling capacity.

    The constant challenge is to make sure the spacecraft and the arrays are staying cool.

    “There’s no way to make these adjustments from the ground, which means it has to guide itself,” Lockwood said. “APL developed a variety of systems—including wing angle control, guidance and control, electrical power system, avionics, fault management, autonomy and flight software—that are critical parts working with the solar array cooling system.”

    Added Lockwood: “This spacecraft probably is one of the most autonomous systems ever flown.”

    That autonomy, along with the new cooling system and pioneering solar array upgrades, will be crucial to ensuring that Parker Solar Probe can perform the never-before-possible science investigations at the sun that will answer questions scientists have had about our star and its corona. More details about the mission’s objectives are available online.

    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 9:55 am on December 7, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , JHU, Johns Hopkins leads U.S. universities in research spending for 37th consecutive year   

    From Hopkins: “Johns Hopkins leads U.S. universities in research spending for 37th consecutive year” 

    Johns Hopkins
    Johns Hopkins University

    12.7.16
    Dennis O’Shea

    Johns Hopkins University led U.S. universities in research and development spending for the 37th straight year in fiscal year 2015, putting a record $2.306 billion into projects to cure disease, promote human health, advance technology, and expand knowledge of the universe and ourselves.

    That total R&D expenditure in fiscal year 2015—the most recent year for which nationwide data is available—was 2.8 percent larger than Johns Hopkins’ research spending in 2014, according to the recently released annual National Science Foundation report on institutional R&D.

    The University of Michigan again ranked second in total R&D with $1.369 billion spent. Rounding out the rest of the top five were the University of Washington, Seattle, at $1.181 billion; the University of California, San Francisco, at $1.127 billion; and the University of California, San Diego, at $1.101 billion.

    1

    The NSF also again ranked Johns Hopkins first on its separate report on research expenditures that were paid for with federal dollars. The university spent $1.993 billion in 2015—also a record and up 2.2 percent—on projects that were sponsored by NSF, the National Institutes of Health, NASA, the Department of Defense, and other federal agencies.

    Federally sponsored research expenditure at Johns Hopkins grew last year from $1.950 billion in 2014, while the total of R&D backed by the federal government at all U.S. universities fell for the fourth straight year. From a high of $40.77 billion in fiscal 2011, federal support for higher education R&D was down to $37.88 billion in 2015.

    “Johns Hopkins researchers have more than held their own. They continue to win federal support for work that produces critical new knowledge,” said Denis Wirtz, the university’s vice provost for research and a professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering, pathology, and oncology. “Whether in health or engineering, the sciences, social sciences or humanities, the knowledge generated here ultimately benefits all of humankind. We’re proud at the same time to be supporting the economy in Baltimore and Maryland by doing so much of this work in our home city and state.”

    Johns Hopkins has led the NSF’s total research expenditure ranking each year since 1979, when the agency’s methodology changed to include spending by the university’s Applied Physics Laboratory—a research-focused division based in Howard County—in the university’s totals. APL reported $1.328 billion in total R&D expenditures in FY 2015, $1.283 billion of that federally funded.

    In fiscal year 2002, Johns Hopkins became the first university to reach the $1 billion mark on both the total and federal R&D spending lists, recording $1.4 billion in total research and $1 billion in federally sponsored work that year. The total funding ranking includes research support not only from federal agencies, but also from the state, foundations, corporations, and other sources.

    2

    Johns Hopkins research is also supported by the return on investment made in past discoveries. In fiscal year 2015, Johns Hopkins reported earning $17.9 million by licensing patented technology, a figure that more than tripled to $58 million in 2016. The university also spun off 16 new companies and received 112 new patents in 2015, figures that increased to 22 and 153, respectively, in the most recent fiscal year.

    The largest components of Johns Hopkins R&D spending in fiscal 2015 were in the fields of engineering, at $992 million; and the life sciences, at almost $868 million.

    Looking at all U.S. colleges and universities—905 were included in the survey—total research spending in 2015 rose slightly, to $68.808 billion in fiscal 2015 from $67.351 billion in 2014. The portion that came from federal agencies fell, however, for the fourth straight year to $37.877 billion, dipping just 0.22 percent from 2014 but nearly 7.1 percent since 2011. When adjusted for inflation, federal support for university science has fallen 13 percent in that time.

    The fiscal year 2015 NSF survey results and links to related data tables are available online.

    3

    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 12:56 pm on November 8, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , JHU, ,   

    From Hopkins: “Johns Hopkins receives $10M to expand research into Lyme disease cause, treatments” 

    Johns Hopkins
    Johns Hopkins University

    11.8.16
    Staff

    1
    Image credit: istock photo

    Grants from Steven and Alexandra Cohen Foundation support existing research on post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome, new therapies, vulnerable populations

    Johns Hopkins University has received a $10 million grant from the Steven and Alexandra Cohen Foundation to explore Lyme disease and develop potential new therapies to address the illness.

    The grant will be divided among three Johns Hopkins research teams led by John Aucott, Ying Zhang, and Brian Schwartz.

    Aucott, assistant professor of medicine and director of the Johns Hopkins Lyme Disease Research Center, and colleague Mark Soloski, professor of medicine, received a five-year grant for $6 million to support the continuation of the center’s Study of Lyme Disease Immunology and Clinical Events, a longitudinal effort that identifies patients at the onset of Lyme disease, initiates standard treatment, and follows them over a one-year period.

    The aim is to characterize those patients that develop post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome and analyze the immunological pathways triggered as the disease progresses in those patients.

    “This grant allows us to expand our research and gain a better understanding of the disease,” Aucott says. “It also allows for greater diversity among participants so we can get more substantive information that can inform future developments in the field of Lyme research and discovery.”

    Discovered more than four decades ago, Lyme disease has now spread rapidly throughout the East Coast and Midwest. It is estimated to afflict more than 300,000 people per year, making it the sixth most common reportable infectious disease in the U.S. However, little is understood about the complex pathogenesis of the disease, which costs the U.S. economy up to $1.3 billion per year in treatment costs alone.

    With support from the grant, Aucott plans to open a new research site each year of the grant. For year one, he has already begun expanding the Green Spring Station clinical research site in Lutherville, Maryland, nearly doubling the number of exam rooms. Aucott also plans to build a Lyme research clinic at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center. For the second year, he is looking to set up a site in Howard County, Maryland. For year three, he hopes to expand into Pennsylvania. His plans for years four and five will explore sites throughout the East Coast.

    “As Lyme cases continue to increase in the U.S., there is an increasing need to understand the disease and its outcomes,” Aucott says. “We have no way of predicting who will recover and who won’t. This grant will allow us to explore why post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome exists, the mechanisms behind the disease and the pathways through which it causes symptoms so that one day, we can use that information to develop ways to prevent the disease or develop more effective drugs. Currently, we don’t have a full understanding of the disease or the most effective ways to treat those it impacts.”

    Zhang, professor of molecular microbiology and immunology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, received $2.5 million from the foundation for a five-year grant that will allow him and his team to test potential new ways to treat Lyme disease. The grant will support Zhang’s efforts to develop optimal drug combinations to more effectively combat post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome, focusing on developing effective oral drug combination regimens.

    “This grant is very important for us because it provides stability to the Lyme research program here at Johns Hopkins,” Zhang says. “It will allow us to advance potential new and more effective therapies for this complex and intriguing disease.”

    Schwartz, professor in the Department of Environmental Health and Engineering at the Bloomberg School, received more than $1 million from the foundation to conduct a three-year, two-phase investigation of Lyme disease in Pennsylvania, one of the hardest-hit regions for the disease.

    In phase I, Schwartz and colleagues will conduct a large-scale, population-based study of the epidemiology of Lyme disease using data from electronic health records from the Geisinger Clinic. These data are available for over 500,000 patients from 2001 to present. Schwartz and colleagues will link that information to community data on land use and land cover—for example, agricultural land, forested land, and low-density suburban development.

    In addition, Schwartz will evaluate populations vulnerable to Lyme disease, delayed diagnosis, and treatment by looking at these features by age, sex, race/ethnicity, family socioeconomic status, community socioeconomic status, and a variety of other community and environmental variables.

    For phase II, a questionnaire-based study will be performed to assess vulnerabilities within the population. This will include aspects of individual, occupational and community risks, as well as an assessment of people’s knowledge, attitudes and practices regarding Lyme disease diagnosis, treatment and long-term prognosis. Investigators will also analyze who is getting Lyme disease and why, how long it takes until diagnosis, and appropriate treatment. This research will allow for the evaluation of Lyme disease risk, and assess diagnosis and treatment patterns, with a goal of identifying new management strategies to address Lyme disease.

    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 1:42 pm on August 31, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , JHU, , , Unravel bipolar disorder and schizophrenia   

    From Salk: “Johns Hopkins and Salk co-lead $15 million initiative to unravel bipolar disorder and schizophrenia” 

    Salk Institute bloc

    Salk Institute for Biological Studies

    August 31, 2016
    No writer credit found

    Partnership of government, academics and industry will develop new ways of studying and screening drugs for major psychiatric illnesses.

    The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and the Salk Institute for Biological Studies will co-lead a $15.4 million effort to develop new systems for quickly screening libraries of drugs for potential effectiveness against schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) has announced. The consortium, which includes four academic or nonprofit institutions and two industry partners, will be led by Hongjun Song, PhD, of Johns Hopkins and Rusty Gage, PhD, of Salk.

    Bipolar disorder affects more than 5 million Americans, and treatments often help only the depressive swings or the opposing manic swings, not both. And though schizophrenia is a devastating disease that affects about 3 million Americans and many more worldwide, scientists still know very little about its underlying causes—which cells in the brain are affected and how—and existing treatments target symptoms only.

    With the recent advance of induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) technology, researchers are able to use donated cells, such as skin cells, from a patient and convert them into any other cell type, such as neurons. Generating human neurons in a dish that are genetically similar to patients offers researchers a potent tool for studying these diseases and developing much-needed new therapies.

    A major aim of this collaboration is to improve the quality of iPSC technology, which has been limited in the past by a lack of standards in the field and inconsistent practices among different laboratories. “There has been a bottleneck in stem cell research,” says Song, a professor of neurology and neuroscience at Johns Hopkins. “Every lab uses different protocols and cells from different patients, so it’s really hard to compare results. This collaboration gathers the resources needed to create robust, reproducible tests that can be used to develop new drugs for mental health disorders.”

    “IPSCs are a powerful platform for studying the underlying mechanisms of disease,” says Gage, a professor of genetics at Salk. “Collaborations that bring together academic and industry partners, such as this one enabled by NIMH, will greatly facilitate the improvement of iPSC approaches for high-throughput diagnostic and drug discovery.”

    The teams will use iPSCs generated from more than 50 patients with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder so that a wide range of genetic differences is taken into account. By coaxing iPSCs to become four different types of brain cells, the teams will be able to see which types are most affected by specific genetic differences and when those effects may occur during development.

    First the researchers must figure out, at the cellular level, what features characterize a given illness in a given brain cell type. To do that, they will assess the cells’ shapes, connections, energy use, division and other properties. They will then develop a way of measuring those characteristics that works on a large scale, such as recording the activity of cells under hundreds of different conditions simultaneously.

    Once a reliable, scalable and reproducible test system has been developed, the industry partners will have the opportunity to use it to identify or develop drugs that might combat mental illness. “This exciting new research has great potential to expedite drug discovery by using human cells from individuals who suffer from these devastating illnesses. Starting with a deeper understanding of each disorder should enable the biopharmaceutical industry to design drug discovery strategies that are focused on molecular pathology,” says Husseini K. Manji, M.D., F.R.C.P.C., global therapeutic area head of neuroscience for Janssen Research & Development.

    The researchers also expect to develop a large body of data that will shed light on the molecular and genetic differences between bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. And, since other mental health disorders share some of the genetic variations found in schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, the data will likely inform the study of many illnesses.

    The National Cooperative Reprogrammed Cell Research Groups program, which is funding the research, was introduced by the National Institute of Mental Health in 2013 to overcome barriers to collaboration by creating precompetitive agreements that harness the unique strengths of academic and industry research. The federal-academic-industry collaboration will bring together leading experts in the fields of stem cells and neuropsychiatric disorders:

    Academic Partners:

    Hongjun Song, Professor, the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
    Rusty Gage, Professor, Laboratory of Genetics at the Salk Institute
    Sue O’Shea, Director, Michigan Pluripotent Stem Cell Core and Professor, University of Michigan
    Anne Bang, Director, Conrad Prebys Center for Chemical Genomics at the Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute

    Industry Partners:

    Guang Chen, Janssen fellow, Scientific Director of Neuroscience, Janssen Research & Development
    Jeffrey S. Nye, Vice President, Neuroscience Innovation and Partnership Strategy, Janssen Research & Development, J&J Innovation
    Husseini K. Manji, Global Therapeutic Area Head of Neuroscience, Janssen Research & Development
    Paul Doran, Strategic Alliance Manager, Cellular Dynamics International

    Funding Announcement: http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PAR-13-225.html
    Supported by NIMH Cooperative Agreement Number U19MH106434

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    Salk Institute Campus

    Every cure has a starting point. Like Dr. Jonas Salk when he conquered polio, Salk scientists are dedicated to innovative biological research. Exploring the molecular basis of diseases makes curing them more likely. In an outstanding and unique environment we gather the foremost scientific minds in the world and give them the freedom to work collaboratively and think creatively. For over 50 years this wide-ranging scientific inquiry has yielded life-changing discoveries impacting human health. We are home to Nobel Laureates and members of the National Academy of Sciences who train and mentor the next generation of international scientists. We lead biological research. We prize discovery. Salk is where cures begin.

     
  • richardmitnick 2:55 pm on August 29, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , JHU, , ,   

    From JHU: “Scientists screen existing drugs in hopes of fast-tracking Zika treatment” 

    Johns Hopkins
    Johns Hopkins University

    8.29.16
    Rachel Butch

    A specialized drug screen test using lab-grown human cells has revealed two classes of compounds already in the pharmaceutical arsenal that may work against mosquito-borne Zika virus infections, scientists say.

    1
    Zika virus infection in cell death in human forebrain organoids. Image credit: Xuyu Qian, Johns Hopkins University

    In a summary of their work, published today in Nature Medicine, the investigators say they screened 6,000 existing compounds currently in late-stage clinical trials or already approved for human use for other conditions. The screening process identified several compounds that showed the ability to hinder or halt the progress of the Zika virus in lab-grown human neural cells.

    The research collaboration includes teams from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, the National Institutes of Health, and Florida State University.

    “It takes years, if not decades, to develop a new drug,” says Hongjun Song, director of the Stem Cell Biology Program in the Institute of Cell Engineering at Johns Hopkins. “In this sort of global health emergency, we don’t have that kind of time.”

    Adds Guo-li Ming, professor of neurology at JHU’s School of Medicine: “Instead of using new drugs, we chose to screen existing drugs. In this way, we hope to create a therapy much more quickly.”

    The current outbreak of Zika, which began in South America last year, is known to be responsible for an increase in cases of microcephaly—a severe birth defect in which afflicted infants are born with underdeveloped brains. In the continental United States, there have been a total of 2,260 reported cases of Zika. Though most cases are associated with travel, 43 cases of local transmission have been reported in Florida, in the Miami area. In addition, Puerto Rico has reported 7,855 locally transmitted cases, spurring the Obama administration to declare a public health emergency in the territory on Aug. 12.

    The Zika virus is commonly transmitted from mosquito bites or from an infected person to an uninfected person through sexual contact. Despite the potential effects of infection, only one in four infected people will present symptoms if Zika infection, allowing the virus to spread rapidly in areas with local transmission. Because of this, the CDC recommends all pregnant women with ongoing risk of Zika infection, including residence or frequent travel to areas with active Zika virus transmission, receive screening throughout their pregnancy.

    Many research groups are fast tracking the development of vaccines, treatments, and mosquito-control measures to combat further spread of the virus.

    The new findings are an extension of previous work by the same research team, which found that Zika mainly targets specialized stem cells that give rise to neurons in the brain’s outer layer, the cortex. The researchers observed Zika’s effects in two- and three-dimensional cell cultures called “mini-brains,” which share structures with the human brain and allow researchers to study the effects of Zika in a more accurate model for human infection.

    In the current study, the research team exposed similar cell cultures to the Zika virus and the drugs one at a time, measuring for indicators of cell death, including caspase-3 activity, a chemical marker of cell death, and ATP, a molecule whose presence is indicative of cell vitality.

    Typically, after Zika infection, the damage done to neural cells is “dramatic and irreversible,” says Hengli Tang, professor of biological sciences at Florida State University. However, some of the compounds tested allowed the cells to survive longer and, in some cases, fully recover from infections.

    Further analysis of the surviving cells, Ming says, showed that the promising drugs could be divided into two classes: neuroprotective drugs, which prevent the activation of mechanisms that cause cell death; and antiviral drugs, which slow or stop viral infection or replication.

    Overall, Song says, three drugs showed robust enough results to warrant further study:

    PHA-690509, an investigational compound with antiviral properties
    emricasan, now in clinical trials to reduce liver damage from hepatitis C virus and shown to have neuroprotective effects
    niclosamide, a drug already used in humans and livestock to combat parasitic infections, which worked as an antiviral agent in these experiments

    Song cautioned that the three drugs “are very effective against Zika in the dish, but we don’t know if they can work in humans in the same way.” For example, he says, although niclosamide can safely treat parasites in the human gastrointestinal tract, scientists have not yet determined if the drug can even penetrate the central nervous system of adults or a fetus inside a carrier’s womb to treat the brain cells targeted by Zika.

    Nor, he says, do they know if the drugs would address the wide range of effects of Zika infection, which include microcephaly in fetuses and temporary paralysis from Guillain-Barre syndrome in adults.

    “To address these questions, additional studies need to be done in animal models as well as humans to demonstrate their ability to treat Zika infection,” Ming says. “So we could still be years away from finding a treatment that works.”

    The researchers say their next steps include testing the efficacy of these drugs in animal models to see if they have the ability to combat Zika in vivo.

    See the full article here .

    YOU CAN HELP FIND A CURE FOR THE ZIKA VIRUS.

    There is a new project at World Community Grid [WCG] called OpenZika.
    Zika
    Zika depiction. Image copyright John Liebler, http://www.ArtoftheCell.com
    Rutgers Open Zika

    WCG runs on your home computer or tablet on software from Berkeley Open Infrastructure for Network Computing [BOINC]. Many other scientific projects run on BOINC software.Visit WCG or BOINC, download and install the software, then at WCG attach to the OpenZika project. You will be joining tens of thousands of other “crunchers” processing computational data and saving the scientists literally thousands of hours of work at no real cost to you.

    This project is directed by Dr. Alexander Perryman a senior researcher in the Freundlich lab, with extensive training in developing and applying computational methods in drug discovery and in the biochemical mechanisms of multi-drug-resistance in infectious diseases. He is a member of the Center for Emerging & Re-emerging Pathogens, in the Department of Pharmacology, Physiology, and Neuroscience, at the Rutgers University, New Jersey Medical School. Previously, he was a Research Associate in Prof. Arthur J. Olson’s lab at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI), where he ran the day-to-day operations of the FightAIDS@Home project, the largest computational drug discovery project devoted to HIV/AIDS, which also runs on WCG. While in the Olson lab, he also designed, led, and ran the largest computational drug discovery project ever performed against malaria, the GO Fight Against Malaria project, also on WCG.

    Rutgers smaller

    WCGLarge
    WCG Logo New

    BOINCLarge
    BOINC WallPaper

    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 10:15 am on August 26, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , JHU, Johns Hopkins Wilmer Zika Center, ,   

    From JHU: “Johns Hopkins launches first-known multidisciplinary Zika virus center in the world” 

    Johns Hopkins
    Johns Hopkins University

    8.24.16
    Kim Polyniak

    Center team will provide comprehensive care to patients with mosquito-borne virus, conduct research

    As the number of patients with Zika virus grows worldwide, Johns Hopkins Medicine today announced the opening of the new Johns Hopkins Wilmer Zika Center dedicated primarily to caring for patients with the mosquito-borne and sexually transmitted virus.

    The center is composed of providers and staff from departments and divisions at Johns Hopkins Medicine and the Bloomberg School of Public Health, including epidemiology, infectious diseases, maternal-fetal medicine, ophthalmology, orthopaedics, pediatrics, physiotherapy, psychiatry, and social work. Medical experts from Brazil, a country greatly affected by Zika virus, are also members of the center.

    “Patients will no longer be required to travel to multiple centers for care relating to Zika virus,” says William May, associate professor of ophthalmology at the Johns Hopkins Wilmer Eye Institute. “Physicians and staff members in various departments at Johns Hopkins will be available to provide comprehensive care to patients within one institution.”

    Infections from Zika virus have reached epidemic proportions in parts of the world in the past year, with Brazil being the epicenter of the outbreak. Several non-travel-related cases have recently been reported in Florida, suggesting local transmission there. According to the World Health Organization, Zika may be responsible for thousands of babies being born with microcephaly, a severe birth defect that affects the brain, and for some adults experiencing neurological symptoms.

    The Wilmer Eye Institute led the development of what is believed to be the first such comprehensive and multidisciplinary Zika center. In addition to microcephaly, Zika is also reported to cause eye abnormalities in up to more than half of babies infected with the illness, according to a recent study in Brazil. The Wilmer Eye Institute is able to diagnose and, in many cases, treat eye concerns associated with Zika virus—including cataracts and other vision issues—with specialized technology.

    Adult and pediatric patients worldwide can be referred to the center by outside physicians or through Johns Hopkins departments and divisions, including emergency medicine and maternal-fetal medicine. Patients can also call the Wilmer Eye Institute to schedule an appointment. A case manager will work with patients to develop a care plan and identify specialists with whom the patient should follow up.

    “When a patient, particularly a pregnant woman, contracts Zika virus, it can be a tremendously alarming experience,” says Jeanne Sheffield, director of maternal-fetal medicine for the Johns Hopkins Hospital. “Our team will be able to coordinate our efforts to determine patients’ needs and provide the best care possible.”

    The Zika center team will also be involved in research to learn more about the virus, about which many unknowns still exist.

    “Our No. 1 priority will be focused on our patients,” May says, “but our hope is that our care will also lead to many new developments in the effort to fight this potentially devastating disease.”

    See the full article here .

    YOU CAN HELP FIND A CURE FOR THE ZIKA VIRUS.

    There is a new project at World Community Grid [WCG] called OpenZika.
    Zika
    Zika depiction. Image copyright John Liebler, http://www.ArtoftheCell.com
    Rutgers Open Zika

    WCG runs on your home computer or tablet on software from Berkeley Open Infrastructure for Network Computing [BOINC]. Many other scientific projects run on BOINC software.Visit WCG or BOINC, download and install the software, then at WCG attach to the OpenZika project. You will be joining tens of thousands of other “crunchers” processing computational data and saving the scientists literally thousands of hours of work at no real cost to you.

    This project is directed by Dr. Alexander Perryman a senior researcher in the Freundlich lab, with extensive training in developing and applying computational methods in drug discovery and in the biochemical mechanisms of multi-drug-resistance in infectious diseases. He is a member of the Center for Emerging & Re-emerging Pathogens, in the Department of Pharmacology, Physiology, and Neuroscience, at the Rutgers University, New Jersey Medical School. Previously, he was a Research Associate in Prof. Arthur J. Olson’s lab at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI), where he ran the day-to-day operations of the FightAIDS@Home project, the largest computational drug discovery project devoted to HIV/AIDS, which also runs on WCG. While in the Olson lab, he also designed, led, and ran the largest computational drug discovery project ever performed against malaria, the GO Fight Against Malaria project, also on WCG.

    Rutgers smaller

    WCGLarge
    WCG Logo New

    BOINCLarge
    BOINC WallPaper

    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 2:50 pm on August 25, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , JHU   

    From JHU: “Can one cosmic enigma help solve another? Johns Hopkins researchers think so” 

    Johns Hopkins
    Johns Hopkins University

    8.24.16
    Arthur Hirsch

    1
    Image credit: VectaRay

    2
    A massive cluster of yellowish galaxies, seemingly caught in a red and blue spider web of eerily distorted background galaxies, makes for a spellbinding picture from the new Advanced Camera for Surveys aboard NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope. To make this unprecedented image of the cosmos, Hubble peered straight through the center of one of the most massive galaxy clusters known, called Abell 1689. The gravity of the cluster’s trillion stars — plus dark matter — acts as a 2-million-light-year-wide lens in space. This gravitational lens bends and magnifies the light of the galaxies located far behind it. Some of the faintest objects in the picture are probably over 13 billion light-years away (redshift value 6). Strong gravitational lensing as observed by the Hubble Space Telescope in Abell 1689 indicates the presence of dark matter. Credit: NASA, N. Benitez (JHU), T. Broadhurst (Racah Institute of Physics/The Hebrew University), H. Ford (JHU), M. Clampin (STScI),G. Hartig (STScI), G. Illingworth (UCO/Lick Observatory), the ACS Science Team and ESA. phys.org.

    Astrophysicists from Johns Hopkins University have proposed a clever new way of shedding light on the mysterious dark matter believed to make up most of the universe. The irony is they want to try to pin down the nature of this unexplained phenomenon by using another obscure cosmic emanation known as “fast radio bursts.”

    In a paper published today in Physical Review Letters, the team of astrophysicists argues that these extremely bright and brief flashes of radio-frequency radiation can provide clues about whether certain black holes are dark matter.

    Julian Muñoz, a Johns Hopkins graduate student and the paper’s lead author, said fast radio bursts, or FRBs, provide a direct and specific way of detecting black holes of a specific mass, which are the suspect dark matter.

    FRB Fast Radio Bursts from NAOJ Subaru
    FRB Fast Radio Bursts from NAOJ Subaru, Mauna Key, Hawaii, USA

    Muñoz wrote the paper along with Ely D. Kovetz, a post-doctoral fellow; Marc Kamionkowski, a professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy; and Liang Dai, who completed his doctorate in astrophysics at Johns Hopkins last year. Dai is now a NASA Einstein Postdoctoral Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey.

    The paper builds on a hypothesis offered in a paper published this spring by Muñoz, Kovetz, and Kamionkowski, along with five Johns Hopkins colleagues. Also published in Physical Review Letters, that research made a speculative case that the collision of black holes detected early in the year by the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory, or LIGO, was actually dark matter, a substance that makes up 85 percent of the mass of the universe.

    Gravitational waves. Credit: MPI for Gravitational Physics/W.Benger-Zib
    Credit: MPI for Gravitational Physics/W.Benger-Zib
    LSC LIGO Scientific Collaboration
    Caltech/MIT Advanced aLigo Hanford, WA, USA installation
    Caltech/MIT Advanced aLigo Hanford, WA, USA installation
    Caltech/MIT Advanced aLigo detector installation Livingston, LA, USA
    Caltech/MIT Advanced aLigo detector installation Livingston, LA, USA

    The earlier paper made what Kamionkowski called a “plausibility argument” that LIGO found dark matter. The study took as a point of departure the fact that the objects detected by LIGO fit within the predicted range of mass of so-called “primordial” black holes. Unlike black holes that formed from imploded stars, primordial black holes are believed to have formed from the collapse of large expanses of gas during the birth of the universe.

    The existence of primordial black holes has not been established with certainty, but they have been suggested before as a possible solution to the riddle of dark matter. With so little evidence of them to examine, the hypothesis had not gained a large following among scientists.

    The earlier paper made what Kamionkowski called a “plausibility argument” that LIGO found dark matter. The study took as a point of departure the fact that the objects detected by LIGO fit within the predicted range of mass of so-called “primordial” black holes. Unlike black holes that formed from imploded stars, primordial black holes are believed to have formed from the collapse of large expanses of gas during the birth of the universe.

    The LIGO findings, however, raised the prospect anew, especially as the objects detected in that experiment conform to the mass predicted for dark matter.

    The Johns Hopkins team calculated how often these primordial black holes would form binary pairs, and eventually collide. Taking into account the size and elongated shape believed to characterize primordial black hole binary orbits, the team came up with a collision rate that conforms to the LIGO findings.

    Key to the argument is that the black holes that LIGO detected fall within a range of 29 to 36 solar masses, meaning they are that many times greater than the mass of the sun. The new paper considers the question of how to test the hypothesis that dark matter consists of black holes of roughly 30 solar masses.

    That’s where the fast radio bursts come in. First observed only a few years ago, these flashes of radio frequency radiation emit intense energy, but last only fractions of a second. Their origins are unknown but are believed to lie in galaxies outside the Milky Way.

    If the speculation about their origins is true, Kamionkowski said, the radio waves would travel great distances before they’re observed on Earth, perhaps passing a black hole. According to Einstein’s theory of general relativity, the ray would be deflected when it passes a black hole. If it passes close enough, it could be split into two rays shooting off in the same direction—creating two images from one source.

    The new study shows that if the black hole has 30 times the mass of the Sun, the two images will arrive a few milliseconds apart. If 30-solar-mass black holes make up the dark matter, there is a chance that any given fast radio burst will be deflected in this way and followed in a few milliseconds by an echo.

    “The echoing of FRBs is a very direct probe of dark matter,” Muñoz said. “While gravitational waves might ‘indicate’ that dark matter is made of black holes, there are other ways to produce very-massive black holes with regular astrophysics, so it would be hard to convince oneself that we are detecting dark matter. However, gravitational lensing of fast radio bursts has a very unique signature, with no other astrophysical phenomenon that could reproduce it.”

    Kaimonkowski said that while the probability for any such FRB echo is small, “it is expected that several of the thousands of FRBs to be detected in the next few years will have such echoes … if black holes make up the dark matter.”

    So far, only about 20 fast radio bursts have been detected and recorded since 2001. The very sensitive instruments needed to detect them can look at only very small slices of the sky at a time, limiting the rate at which the bursts can be found. A new telescope expected to go into operation this year that seems particularly promising for spotting radio bursts is the Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment. The joint project of the University of British Columbia, McGill University, the University of Toronto, and the Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory stands in British Columbia.

    “Once the thing is working up to their planned specifications, they should collect enough FRBs to begin the tests we propose,” said Kamionkowski, estimating results could be available in three to five years.

    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 8:44 am on August 15, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , DASH diet, JHU, Kidney health,   

    From Hopkins: “Popular diet known to lower blood pressure also has benefits for kidney health” 

    Johns Hopkins
    Johns Hopkins University

    8.12.16
    No writer credit

    It turns out the “DASH” diet, designed and proven to reduce blood pressure, is also good for your kidneys.

    A new study from Johns Hopkins University found that people whose diet aligned with DASH principles had significantly lower risk of developing chronic kidney disease over the course of more than two decades.

    DASH—short for “Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension”—emphasizes eating vegetables, fruits, nuts, whole grains, and low-fat dairy, while limiting sodium, sugary foods and drinks, and red and processed meats. Designed in response to tests by the National Institutes of Health, the diet is meant to provide key nutrients that play a role in reducing hypertension.

    Though past research has shown a number of positive outcomes from DASH beyond blood pressure benefits—such as preventing chronic cardiovascular disease—this new study from the Bloomberg School of Public Health is the first to focus on impacts to the kidneys. The findings were published Aug. 9 in the American Journal of Kidney Disease.

    “In addition to offering other health benefits, consuming a DASH-style diet could help reduce the risk of developing kidney disease,” says study leader Casey Rebholz, a professor in the Department of Epidemiology at the Bloomberg School. “The great thing about this finding is that we aren’t talking about a fad diet. This is something that many physicians already recommend to help prevent chronic disease.”

    Researchers estimate that kidney disease affects 10 percent of the U.S. population— more than 20 million people. However, less than one in five who have kidney disease are aware of their condition.

    The Hopkins research team found that study participants with the lowest DASH diet scores—those who ate few foods such as fruits, vegetables, and nuts, and consumed more red meat and sodium—were 16 percent more likely to develop kidney disease than those with the highest DASH scores—those who ate more of the healthier foods and less of the unhealthy items.

    The study followed a group of more than 15,700 adults for more than 20 years, starting in 1987. Although the DASH diet wasn’t studied and promoted until the 1990s, the participants’ reported diet habits were later categorized into a score based on DASH principles. Researchers also tracked whether these participants developed kidney disease over time.

    The study found that participants with the highest intake of red and processed meats were at a 22 percent higher risk of developing chronic kidney disease than those with the lowest intake of those foods. Those with the highest intake of nuts and legumes were at 9 percent lower risk of developing kidney disease than those with the lowest intake.

    Rebholz says the reason a DASH-style diet appears to align with kidney health may have to do with the known link between hypertension and kidney disease. Food acidity may also play a role—the foods that DASH promotes are low acid, while high dietary acid is thought to be connected to kidney disease.

    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.

     
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: