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Wholly Hopkins
Bottom Line
Here and Abroad
Forever Altered
Vital Signs
Up and Comer

Bottom Line

In the face of the nation's flagging economy, Johns Hopkins officials are pointing with a measure of pride to the amount of money Hopkins pumps into Maryland's state economy. The Johns Hopkins Institutions, already the state's largest private employer, have added more than 3,000 Maryland jobs to their payrolls over the past three years. That's not all...

41,028: Number of people employed in Maryland -- in teaching, research, patient care, and administrative and support jobs -- by the Johns Hopkins Institutions in fiscal year 2002.

8: Percent increase in number of Hopkins jobs in Maryland from 1999 to 2002.

4.5: Percent increase in total number of jobs in Maryland over that same three-year period.

85,410: Number of jobs in Maryland directly and indirectly attributed to Hopkins in FY 2002 (1 of every 29 jobs in the state's economy; includes non-Hopkins workers anywhere in state whose jobs depend on Hopkins-related spending).

45.500: Projected total of Hopkins jobs in Maryland by 2007, an increase over FY 2002 of 11 percent.

$3.07 billion: Estimated net new income spent in Maryland in FY 2002 by Hopkins, its affiliated institutions, students, out-of-state patients, and local retirees.

7 billion: Total Hopkins impact on Maryland economy in 2002, since most of the dollars above were spent at least once more before leaving the state. (More than doubles Hopkins' $3.3 billion impact recorded in 1990.)
-- Sue De Pasquale

SOURCE: The Bay Area Economics Report

Here and Abroad

The Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health received a $30 million, four-year grant from the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunizations for a vaccination program to protect children in developing nations from pneumococcal infections. The grant is expected to hasten by 10 years or more the development and distribution of vaccines against pneumonia, meningitis, and other diseases. Orin Levine, executive director of Public Health's Pneumococcal Accelerated Development and Introduction Plan, estimates that between 2006, when the first new vaccines could be licensed under the program, to 2020, 2 million children could be saved.

Another scourge, malaria, is the focus of a new field research center in Zambia. Established by the Hopkins Malaria Research Institute in partnership with the Zambian government, the center will study patterns of malarial infection, environmental effects, and the effectiveness of countermeasures such as screens treated with insecticides. Clive Shiff, associate professor at Hopkins' Bloomberg School of Public Health, notes that mosquitoes in the area have never been subjected to pesticides, making it a unique site for research into malaria and mosquito biology.

Diplomat and publisher Philip Merrill is giving Hopkins' Nitze School of Advanced International Studies $4 million to establish the Philip Merrill Center for Strategic Studies, which will examine the role of military force in world politics. "In so many trouble spots around the world, we're not at war, but we certainly aren't at peace," says Merrill. "Understanding how political and military affairs intersect is essential in dealing with today's ambiguous, shifting situations." -- Dale Keiger


Maps are so last century. Same goes for asking undergraduates for directions. At least, that's the word on Hopkins' Homewood campus: Last October, a new era began with the arrival of 12 school desk-sized, high-tech consoles. These interactive, touch screen-controlled "i-Sites," located along pathways around Homewood, direct visitors to campus buildings and keep the curious up to date on campus events with a few swipes of a finger.

For example, if you touch the "directory" listing on the screen, then choose "buildings," you can scroll through all the building names on campus. If you choose, say, "Gilman," a map pops up with a pathway marked from the i-Site you're standing at to Gilman, and if that's not enough, you can get written directions -- "turn right, walk up steps to the upper quad" -- as well. Handicap accessible directions are also available. Or choose "events" to see a list of what's happening on campus. On a recent evening, visitors could attend everything from a free talk titled "Damage to a Pile Foundation Due to Liquefied Ground Motion" to a free screening of Apocalypse Now.

An i-Site console awaits queries.
Photo by Will Kirk
Alas, not all the i-Site consoles are ready to serve. The problem, discovered after the unveiling last fall, is that the made-in-California screens don't function well in Baltimore's humidity. (Technology glitches, it seems, are so this century.) Alicia Campbell, campus information coordinator, says the process of replacing the high-tech but low-function consoles with fully operating systems should be complete in April.

In the meantime, disoriented visitors don't have to resort to paper maps: The consoles are all linked to the security office, where a real, live person is available to give information about everything from the athletic center schedule to academic department locations.

"People call and ask for directions," says Cheryl Sealy, security communications assistant. "Sometimes they call just testing it to see if it works. Sometimes I think they're shocked because they don't know somebody will actually answer."

So far, i-Site is getting good reviews, says Campbell. "Ninety-nine percent of the response I've gotten has been positive," she says. "Some students have said, 'Is my tuition going toward this? We already have a campus map online.' True, but most people don't walk around with wireless PDAs." -- SM


February 28, 2003

Budget time at the Maryland State House, and a trio of Hopkins doctors is set to testify before Maryland's House Appropriations Committee at the Cigarette Restitution Fund budget hearing. The Cigarette Restitution Fund, established in 2000, has funded the Statewide Academic Health Center grant, giving Hopkins and the University of Maryland money to conduct cancer research and public health outreach efforts. But the state's budget crisis is prompting a wave of cuts, and the grant is not unscathed: The governor has budgeted $4.59 million for 2004, significantly less than the $15 million requested, but nonetheless not a worst-case scenario, assuming all goes well today, and the Legislature doesn't cut the amount further.

For Sheila Higdon, the Hopkins government relations coordinator monitoring this particular grant, this rainy, wintery afternoon will mark the culmination of a year's worth of work.

Noon Hopkins doctors Martin Abeloff, Jean Ford, and John Groopman arrive in Annapolis. Over tuna, chicken, and ham sandwiches, Higdon coaches them on last-minute issues. "You never know what questions might be asked," she says. "They tend to ask some question that puts you on the spot, like: 'Why isn't a hospital in another part of the state getting money?' when we have no control over how the money is distributed."

1 p.m. Hearing starts. The state's Department of Budget Management is the first issue up.

2:45 p.m. Still budget management testimony. Higdon leans over to Abeloff and asks, "Are you having fun yet?"

2:50 p.m. Cigarette Restitution Fund hearing begins.

4:20 p.m. The Hopkins doctors are on; Higdon moves to the front row to watch them give their presentation.

4:26 p.m. "I'm pleased to say, we've hit our goals," says Abeloff to the legislators. "If you were to visit the cancer center at Hopkins, you'd see a lot of energy and a lot of commitment. I realize what the cold realities of budget deficits are, but the economic consequences of cancer in this state are enormous. There's a saying that all politics are local; well, the health of our citizens is also local." He praises the collaboration that exists between the state and the Kimmel Cancer Center at Hopkins.

5:05 p.m. The hearing is over; the Hopkins doctors weren't put on the hot seat during the Q&A. Although the final budget won't be approved by the Legislature until sometime in April, Higdon feels good about the reception from the legislators today. "It's a good thing I don't monitor my blood pressure during these things," jokes Abeloff. "I'm sure I get into life-threatening territory."

5:15 p.m. Higdon walks back to her Annapolis office, a few blocks from the Lowe House Office Building, where today's hearing was held. She writes a two-paragraph summary of the hearing, calling it a "success," and works on other bills.

8:30 p.m. Higdon goes home.
-- SM


Course: "Information Age Ethics"

Instructor: Dan Cohen, adjunct professor in Hopkins' Communication in Contemporary Society Program, and director of the September 11 Digital Archive at the Center for History and New Media at George Mason University.

Course Description: The course examines morality in the digital age, focusing on such topics as online identity, anonymity, and privacy; the collection and centralization of information; opinion, free speech, and the marketplace of ideas; copyright and intellectual property; and Internet abuses such as spam. The course compares evolving Internet ethics with classic texts such as John Stuart Mill's On Liberty. As Cohen points out: "We already have ethical codes, some written into law, others natural, others based on religious tenets. But how does digital technology alter those questions we already have in our minds?"

Republic.Com, Cass R. Sunstein (2002).

The Future of Ideas: The Fate of the Commons in a Connected World, Lawrence Lessig (2002).

Crypto: How the Code Rebels Beat the Government, Steven Levy (2001).

Online resources:
A premier discussion site for the technologically savvy that takes on ethics, rights, and policy.
A peer-reviewed journal on Internet issues.
An attempt to recast copyright, ownership, and sharing in the digital age.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation, an activist organization focusing on digital rights.


Treating Learning Deficits From Lead

Researchers at the Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health have found environmental enrichment that stimulates brain activity can reverse the long-term learning deficits caused by lead poisoning.

Tomas R. Guilarte, professor of environmental health sciences, designed an "enriched environment" for lab rats with multilevel rodent playlands, toys, a running wheel, a hammock, platforms, and tunnels. Both lead-treated rats and rats not exposed to lead were housed in these "fun cages" (unlucky litter-mates were housed in standard lab cages as a control group).

To measure the learning ability of rats in various groups, researchers designed a water maze. Each day, the scientists timed the rats to see how long they took to find a submerged platform. The team found that the lead-exposed rats living in enrichment cages did as well as their counterparts that had not been exposed to lead. After testing the brain chemistry of both groups, the scientists found that living in the enrichment cages had undone some of the damage caused by the lead.

The study -- published in the December 2002 Annals of Neurology -- is the first to show that lead poisoning effects on cognitive function are reversible, a significant finding for children living in the 34 million U.S. housing units that contain lead paint.

Unlocking the Structure of HER2

Scientists knew that the breast cancer-fighting drug Herceptin worked: The drug has been successfully used to treat thousands of breast cancer patients each year since it went on the market in 1998. But nobody knew how it worked. Now, a team from Johns Hopkins and the biotech company Genitope has unlocked the secret. The team was able to decipher the 3-D structure of the receptor that goes awry in 20 to 30 percent of breast cancers -- the same receptor, known as HER2, that interacts with the Herceptin antibody.

Says Dan Leahy of the Hopkins School of Medicine, "When you understand the properties of receptors and antibodies in terms of their structural interaction, you can begin to explain their effects and use the information to design better drugs." -- SM


Robert A. Dalrymple is a Hopkins professor of civil engineering with specialties in coastal engineering, water-wave mechanics, fluid mechanics, and littoral (as in shoreline) processes. We asked him to engage in a literal process by providing a mini-lexicon of professional terminology in the study of ocean waves. After noting that "bar bypassing" is not a form of temperance, but the way that sand passes by a tidal inlet at the coastline, he assembled a list of "S" words:

Spit: A sandy promontory created by the longshore movement of sand by waves.

Squat: A reduction of bottom clearance of a ship in shallow water due to hydrodynamic effects.

Swell: Wind-generated waves that have traveled out of their generation area.

Sea: Waves that are within the generation area; also, the usual sense of the word.

Spoil: Material (mud, sand, and unfortunately contaminants) that usually are discarded in dredging operations.

Shingle: A beach material coarser than gravel. Many beaches around the world are composed entirely of shingle.

Shoaling: A change in water wave characteristics due to changes in water depth.

Scarp: Steep slope on a beach due to wave erosion.

Swash: The water rushing up a dry beach from a breaking wave.

Asked to use the latter in a sentence, Dalrymple responded with a triple play: "The swash during the storm eroded the scarp into the shingle of Chesil Beach."
-- DK

Forever Altered

Mentor, hero, inspiration: Hopkins teachers who have left their mark

"When I arrived in Baltimore, I was in the midst of a major career change, having spent seven years in the aerospace industry. It was my intent to enhance my opportunities in my new career path of environmental engineering by getting a master's degree from Johns Hopkins. On my first day in the Department of Geography and Environmental Engineering, I was challenged by car troubles. We needed a mechanic! Without hesitation the people in the DOGEE office brought me to [M. Gordon] "Reds" Wolman (pictured at right). He immediately started asking me all sorts of questions regarding my background, goals, interests, etc. He exuded a genuineness and curiosity that were truly inspiring while making me feel very welcome. (He also recommended a great mechanic!)

"The overwhelmingly positive impression increased the next day when my first piece of departmental mail was from Reds -- an article about the aerospace industry. I was extremely flattered that this eminent scientist had intently listened to my story and was interested enough to send this article.

"The next spring I took Reds' course in geomorphology. When I think back on my DOGEE days, this is the course I always remember. Reds challenged us to think about the landforms around us and the processes that formed them. To this day, whether I'm looking at a new site in my work or I'm traveling for pleasure, I always wonder, 'How did this hill come to be here?' 'Why did this water course form in this way?' 'What's up with that meander?' The extensive knowledge gained from Reds continues to augment my capabilities in my second career."

John Tesner, PE, MS '94, is a project manager in the Hazardous Toxicological and Radiological Waste Branch of Baltimore District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. He directs the investigation and remediation of hazardous waste sites at Army installations in the mid-Atlantic.

Vital Signs

Targeting Hedgehog in Lung Cancer

Lung cancer is the leading cancer killer: Close to 172,000 cases are diagnosed each year. But new work by researchers at Johns Hopkins' Kimmel Cancer Center may one day allow doctors to halt the smoking-induced chain of cellular events that leads to 99 percent of all small-cell lung cancers.

The researchers found that a primitive cellular pathway, dubbed Sonic Hedgehog after the cartoon character, may provide the key to treatment in some lung cancers. Says Neil Watkins, lead author of the study in the March 5 issue of Nature, "The regular assault to the lungs by cigarettes causes the usually dormant [Hedgehog] pathway to be stuck in activation mode" as it attempts to repair cell damage in the lining of the lungs, ultimately resulting in cancer.

Investigators at the center are testing drugs on mice that block the Sonic Hedgehog pathway, and although human trials will probably not start for three to four years, the findings should move from the lab to the clinic fairly quickly.

High-Dose Chemo Treats Lupus

Researchers at Johns Hopkins report success in using high doses of the anti-cancer drug cyclophosphamide to treat patients with moderate and severe forms of lupus, a chronic and sometimes fatal autoimmune disease.

In lupus, a patient's immune cells react against tissues and organs, causing progressive damage. The Hopkins findings, published in the January 10 issue of Arthritis and Rheumatism, suggest that using high doses of cyclophosphamide is an effective way of "reprogramming" the immune system and thus treating the disease.

"The idea with this treatment is to blast the lupus once and wipe out the abnormal immune system," says Michelle Petri, professor of rheumatology at Johns Hopkins.

Standard therapy for moderate a severe lupus is a monthly lower dose of cyclophosphamide, but after six months, only about 25 percent of lupus patients fully respond, says Petri. -- SM

Up & Comer

Name: Tza-Huei "Jeff" Wang
Age: 33
Assistant professor in the Whiting School's
mechanical engineering department, secondary appointment in biomedical engineering

Stats: BS in mechanical engineering from National Taiwan University, PhD '02 from University of California, Los Angeles

Scouting Report: "Jeff brings to Hopkins cutting-edge techniques in molecular imaging. His ability to manipulate and detect at the single molecule level is most exciting," says Kam W. Leong of the School of Medicine's Department of Biomedical Engineering.

Research: Focuses on microfluidics, bioMEMS, and single molecule manipulation and detection, all entailing the engineering of astoundingly tiny technologies, such as microchips that can isolate and analyze DNA in nuclei. "We are trying to miniaturize the system," says Wang, who notes that such methods would be simpler, faster, less invasive for patients (since smaller blood samples are required), and would in the end cost less in equipment and labor.

The Goal: Saving lives by saving time. "Identifying the E. coli pathogen in food usually takes hours or days. We have shown we can finish the processing in a half hour."

How an Engineer Gets Into Medicine: "The life span of human beings has been extended from 50 or 60 years to 80 years because of improvements in lab sciences. My idea is that we should not just extend life, we should find out how you can improve the quality of life."

Mentor: Chih-Ming Ho, associate vice chancellor for research at UCLA, who earned his PhD at Hopkins in 1974. An expert in turbulence, Ho decided to shift to the emerging area of biotechnology. "I spent all my life with engineering but I wanted to work with lab science. I thought, 'Maybe I'm too old,'" says the barely 30-year-old Wang, who, like Ho, drummed up the courage to make a change. -- JCS


The Center for Civilian Biodefense Strategies has posted a simple Q&A about preparing for potential terrorist attacks that combines common sense with a healthy shot of realism. (If you want to believe duct tape and plastic sheeting will protect you, this site is not reassuring.) Under Guidelines for Public Preparedness, click on the "Frequently Asked Questions" for such hot topics as "Should I buy a gas mask?" (no) and a discussion of when a paper mask could be useful. Also featured: links to other preparedness sites. -- Mary Mashburn

If you're interested in modern Germany -- its politics, economy, culture, and society -- Hopkins' American Institute for Contemporary German Studies (AICGS) site is as rich as Schwarzwäat;lder Kirsch Torte (Black Forest Cake) with research and analysis, publications from fellows and study groups, databases, archives, and information about seminars and conferences. Founded 20 years ago, AICGS draws on an international network of scholars and specialists for in-depth, nonpartisan assessments of Germany's policy choices and developments and their impact on the transatlantic dialogue. -- JCS

Return to April 2003 Table of Contents

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