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The newspaper of The Johns Hopkins University March 24, 2008 | Vol. 37 No. 27
In Brief


Center for Metabolism, Obesity Research plans symposium

With the completion of the human genome project, researchers are engaged in studying thousands of genes in hopes of understanding their roles in human disease. But studies of genes alone do not provide a good overview of the status and health of a living organism. This insight resides in metabolism, the management of energy balance, the constant interplay of various biochemical processes that regulate saving and using energy. Disturbances in these pathways can lead to devastating diseases, including obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

The newly established Center for Metabolism and Obesity Research at Johns Hopkins brings together experts across many disciplines to advance understanding of the basic science of metabolism and speed discovery into the clinic.

To kick off this new collaboration, the center has invited leaders in the metabolism field to present their latest findings at a half-day symposium titled The Many Faces of Metabolism: Strategies from Basic Exploration to Intervention in Human Disease. It will take place on Thursday, April 3, on the East Baltimore campus. For details go to


Bloomberg center calls attention to Baltimore's homeless youth

The Bloomberg School's Center for Adolescent Health is calling attention to the plight of Baltimore's homeless youth, issuing a policy brief that outlines the scope of the problem and offering solutions for addressing the issue.

A 2007 Baltimore City Homeless Census estimated that 11 percent of the 3,002 homeless living in Baltimore are under the age of 18, but it does not distinguish between youth who are unaccompanied and those who are homeless with their families. A parallel count conducted by the Baltimore Homeless Youth Initiative, with technical assistance from the Center for Adolescent Health, estimated approximately 10 times the number. And school system estimates indicate that 2,289 students are homeless or displaced and lack a permanent home.

"The current estimates are widely diverging and use very different definitions and methods to get the numbers," said Vignetta Charles, an author of the brief. "Understanding the magnitude of youth homelessness is one of the critical steps in addressing the problem. Without a number, it's difficult to allocate resources. Undercounting minimizes our social responsibility to help this vulnerable population who are at risk for negative health outcomes that include depression, HIV and unwanted pregnancy."

Among the center's recommendations is a call for research to accurately determine the number of homeless youth. The current data, the researchers say, is best at assessing homeless persons who access shelters and soup kitchens, sites which young people are less likely to frequent. Other recommendations include the development of specific homeless services for youth and improved services for young people leaving foster care or the juvenile justice system.


JHU Athletic Hall of Fame to induct seven new members

Johns Hopkins will induct seven new members into its Athletic Hall of Fame in ceremonies scheduled for Saturday, March 29. The group will be honored at the Johns Hopkins-North Carolina men's lacrosse game (game time is 2 p.m.) with the induction ceremony to take place in Homewood's Hodson Hall later that evening.

The inductees are John Bielawski, athletic trainer; Charlie Coker, lacrosse, football and wrestling; Dave Emala, baseball and football; Frank Grzywacz, basketball; Brad McLam, lacrosse and football; Brian Piccola, lacrosse; and Terry Riordan, lacrosse. For details of their accomplishments, go to

Individuals interested in attending the induction ceremonies can contact Grant Kelly in the Blue Jays Unlimited office at 410-516-6132 or


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