Johns Hopkins Gazette | December 17, 2007
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The newspaper of The Johns Hopkins University December 17, 2007 | Vol. 37 No. 15

For the Record: Cheers

Cheers is a monthly listing of honors and awards received by faculty, staff and students plus recent appointments and promotions. Contributions must be submitted in writing and be accompanied by a phone number.

Biology Chair Karen Beemon Wins Prestigious Retrovirology Prize

By Lisa De Nike

Karen Beemon, professor and chair of the Krieger School's Department of Biology, has won the third annual M. Jeang Retrovirology Prize, which recognizes outstanding midcareer retrovirologists, ages 45 to 60.

Supported by the Texas-based Ming K. Jeang Foundation, the prize comprises a $3,000 check and a crystal trophy, and is recognized with an interview, published last week, in the journal Retrovirology.

The winner is selected by the journal's editors from among nominations submitted by its editorial board.

Beemon was recognized for contributing greatly to the understanding of how retroviruses transform cells.

"Professor Beemon was instrumental in establishing that one of the important transformation mechanisms is the aberrant phosphorylation of cellular proteins on tyrosine residues," said Kuan-Teh Jeang, editor of Retrovirology.

Retroviruses are a class of viruses characterized by their ability to convert RNA to DNA during replication in the host cell, which is the reverse of the central dogma of molecular biology. Retroviruses are of interest because some of them cause HIV and cancer.

"I am very honored to receive the 2007 Retrovirology Prize. It is wonderful to be recognized by the Retrovirology community," Beemon said. "It is gratifying that this prize was awarded for basic research with chicken retroviruses, including Rous sarcoma virus."

That virus was discovered by Peyton Rous, who was both an undergraduate and a medical student at Johns Hopkins more than 100 years ago.

"I became fascinated with retroviruses as a graduate student and have studied them ever since," Beemon said. "I am amazed at how complex and elegant the simple retroviruses actually are and how much they have taught us about viral gene expression and mechanisms of oncogenesis. I am indebted to my mentors, students and collaborators who contributed to this research."

Beemon came to Johns Hopkins in 1981. She earned her bachelor's degree from the University of Michigan and her doctorate, in 1974, from the University of California, Berkeley and served postdoctoral fellowships at Berkeley and the Salk Institute.

Beemon was among the first to develop and apply molecular techniques to characterize the genomes of RNA viruses, describe recombination between viral genomes, characterize sarcoma- specific sequences and perform structure-function analysis of src proteins. Over the last two decades, Beemon has contributed significantly to the scientific community's understanding of the role of cis-acting regulatory elements in control of RNA splicing, polyadenylation, nuclear export and nonsense-mediated RNA decay.

In addition to the Retrovirology Prize, Beemon's honors in research recognition include the American Cancer Society's Faculty Research Award and the John E. Fogarty Senior International Fellowship. She has published nearly 80 peer-reviewed manuscripts and review articles in journals ranked in the top of their subject field. This year she was appointed a senior editor of the Journal of Virology.

Retrovirology is an open-access online journal published by BioMed Central. The journal publishes stringently peer-reviewed, high-impact articles on basic retrovirus research. For more information about the Retrovirology Prize, read the editorial at

Beemon's interview is online at


Bayview Medical Center

William B. Greenough III, professor of medicine and international health, has received the Outstanding Service Award from the Bangladesh-American Foundation. The award honors his work leading the Bangladesh Information Center in Washington, D.C., during Bangladesh's 1971 war of independence against Pakistan and his subsequent service to Bangladesh in assisting the country's reconstruction. He helped transform the Cholera Research Laboratory into the International Center for Diarrhoeal Diseases Research in Dhaka, Bangladesh, and served as its director.

Michelle Mielke, assistant professor of psychiatry, has been named one of 10 recipients of the International Junior Investigator Award given by the International College of Geriatric Psychoneuropharmacology. The prestigious citation recognizes her research to identify potential serum biomarkers for early diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease.

Bayview Medical Center has received the American Lung Association of Maryland's 2007 Above & Beyond Business Award for its longtime co-sponsorship of Camp Superkids, a weeklong camp that teaches children ages 7 to 12 about controlling and treating their asthma. The award recognizes a business or vendor that provides the association with a service or product it might otherwise be unable to obtain.


Bloomberg School of Public Health

Thomas Burke, professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management, was awarded the inaugural 2007 Faculty Award for Excellence in Academic Public Health Practice from the Association of Schools of Public Health and Pfizer Inc.'s Public Health and Government Group. The award recognizes graduate public health faculty for their teaching and practice excellence, and for serving as mentors to public health leaders of tomorrow. Burke received a plaque and $10,000 at ASPH's annual reception, held in November in conjunction with the American Public Health Association's annual meeting.


Carey Business School

Sondra Smith has been appointed inaugural director of admissions. Smith was most recently with the Kogod School of Business at American University, where, as senior director of enrollment management, she oversaw the admissions operation for the school's MBA and MS programs. At the Carey School, Smith will work closely with all administrative areas, the Marketing and Communications Office, the academic departments and the school's senior leadership.


School of Advanced International Studies

Michael G. Plummer, resident professor of economics at the Bologna Center, has been elected director of the American Committee on Asian Economic Studies for 2007 to 2011. The ACAES, an inter-university educational program, is a forum for sustained dialogue among economists engaged in studies of Asian economies.


School of Medicine

More than half the physicians cited in Baltimore magazine's annual Top Doctors list for 2007 were from Johns Hopkins. In a total of 56 categories — from addiction medicine to urology — physicians from The Johns Hopkins Hospital, Bayview Medical Center, Kennedy-Krieger Institute and Johns Hopkins at Green Spring Station accounted for 329 of the 554 physicians named. To develop the list, the magazine polls area physicians on their preferred practitioners in a wide array of specialties. Johns Hopkins physicians swept the field in 20 of the categories.

William Baumgartner, vice dean for clinical affairs, cardiac surgeon in charge at The Johns Hopkins Hospital and president of the Clinical Practice Association, has received the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the University of Kentucky Medical School. The award recognizes Baumgartner's three decades of outstanding achievements since he graduated in 1973.

Maria Garcia, a third-year medical student, has received the Association of American Medical Colleges' 2007 Herbert W. Nickens Award for community service. The prize recognizes her contributions to promoting justice in medical education and eliminating health care disparities.

Robert Getzenberg, director of research at the Brady Urological Institute, has been selected to lead the new STAR Program (Special Team Amplification of Research), an innovative research collaboration that will bring together an interdisciplinary team of prostate cancer researchers. Safeway and the Prostate Cancer Foundation will collectively donate $6 million to launch the program, whose other participants will be the University of Michigan Cancer Center and the University of British Columbia.

Jeffrey Janofsky, associate professor of psychiatry and director of the Psychiatry and Law program, has been installed as president of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law.

Srinivasa Raja, professor of anesthesiology and critical care medicine and director of Pain Research in the Division of Pain Medicine, will receive the 2008 Wilbert E. Fordyce Clinical Investigator Award from the American Pain Society at its annual meeting in May. The award recognizes individual excellence and achievements in clinical pain scholarship and is presented to a professional whose career achievements have made outstanding contributions to the field.

Ioann Terrovitis, a postdoctoral research fellow in cardiology, has received the American Heart Association's Melvin Judkins Young Clinical Investigator Award in cardiovascular radiology.

The Russell H. Morgan Department of Radiology and Radiological Science and Elliot Fishman, professor of radiology and oncology and director of Diagnostic Imaging and Body CT, have received Aunt Minnie awards for excellence from, the leading online community for radiology professionals. The department won the award for best radiology technologist training program, while Fishman was named the most effective radiology educator. Votes to select the winning candidates were cast by the Web site's more than 134,000 members.


School of Nursing

Linda Blankenship, registrar, has been chosen to serve as interim chairperson of the Essentials Steering Committee, the school's staff organization.

Maryann F. Fralic, professor in Health Systems and Outcomes, has been named interim chair of the department, following the recent death of the inaugural chair, Victoria Mock. An expert in health services administration and executive nurse practice, Fralic has served as an associate dean of the school and vice president for nursing at The Johns Hopkins Hospital. She is currently coordinator of the school's Business of Nursing graduate certificate program. Fralic also holds an academic appointment with the Bloomberg School of Public Health, serves as an executive adviser for the Nursing Executive Center of the Advisory Board Co. in Washington, D.C., and is a senior consultant for the Robert Wood Johnson Executive Nurse Fellows Program.


University Administration

Robin Ferrier, communications manager at the Montgomery County Campus, was named president of the Capital Communicators Group, an organization of more than 600 communications, public relations, public affairs and other media professionals in the Washington, D.C., area.

Joseph Smith, director of City Relations in the Office of Government, Community and Public Affairs, was honored Nov. 29 at the annual meeting of the Baltimore City Chamber of Commerce as one of the organization's past presidents. The meeting's theme was "Celebrating the Past While Redefining Our Future."

The Homewood campus's Safety and Security Department received two awards from Gov. Martin O'Malley at the 28th annual Governor's Crime Prevention Awards Luncheon on Dec. 11. The Award for Law Enforcement Agencies recognized the department's comprehensive crime-prevention program, and the Award for Outstanding Proactive Crime Prevention Programs in Maryland honored Hopkins Crime Watch, a collaborative effort with the Baltimore City Police Department.


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