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The newspaper of The Johns Hopkins University November 26, 2007 | Vol. 37 No. 12
In Brief


Expert to discuss immigration policy and economic impact

George Borjas, a professor of economics and social policy at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, will discuss "Immigration Policy and the Economic Impact of Immigration," at 4 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 29, in the third event in this year's Social Policy Seminar Series, presented by the Johns Hopkins Institute for Policy Studies, Department of Economics and Bloomberg School of Public Health.

The event will take place in Room 526 of the Wyman Park Building on the Homewood campus.

Borjas is also a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research. He has written extensively on labor market issues, and his research on the economic impact of immigration is widely perceived as playing a central role in the debate over immigration policy in the United States and abroad. His work appears regularly in publications including The Atlantic Monthly, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and Le Monde.


Brody to speak at meeting about medical device development

President William R. Brody will be the featured speaker this week at a meeting of Hopkins Medical Device Network, a student-run organization on the Homewood campus that aims to encourage medical device development.

The event, part of the Biodesign & Innovation Seminar Series, will take place at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 29, in the Charles Commons Ballroom.


Packard Center receives grant to screen 'old' FDA-approved drugs

The Robert Packard Center for ALS Research at Johns Hopkins has received a three-year $1.5 million grant from the Cinque Foundation to support the screening of thousands of drugs, already approved by the Food and Drug Administration and on the market, for their potential value in treating people with ALS.

ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease, is a progressive and fatal neurodegenerative disease marked by gradual and crippling paralysis that affects about 30,000 people in the United States. No cure exists, so treatment is currently limited to palliative care.

A team of researchers at Johns Hopkins, led by Packard Center Director Jeffrey Rothstein, says the value of hunting among already approved drugs is that they have undergone extensive safety testing and can be quickly used in clinical trials of ALS patients.

That strategy previously worked to identify ceftriaxone, an FDA-approved antibiotic commonly prescribed to treat pneumonia, bacterial meningitis and Lyme disease. Rothstein and his team demonstrated the drug's effectiveness on cell cultures or slices of spinal cord from rats that have an ALS-like disease.

The new experiments will add two additional twists to the search for drugs to treat ALS. First, rather than screening single drugs, the researchers will be working with millions of combinations of drugs to learn whether some pharmaceuticals are more potent against ALS when combined. Second, the team will be testing these drugs for the first time on human stem cell–derived brain cells called astrocytes, which are now known to be defective in ALS.


Slavic studies organization honors work by SAIS author

Charles Gati, senior adjunct professor of Russian and Eurasian studies at SAIS, is the winner of the 2007 Marshall Shulman Book Award for his book Failed Illusions: Moscow, Washington, Budapest and the 1956 Hungarian Revolt. The book was co-published in 2006 by Stanford University Press and the Woodrow Wilson Center Press and appeared in English, Hungarian, Russian, Polish and Slovak.

The prize, awarded annually by the American Association for the Advancement of Slavic Studies in cooperation with Columbia University's Harriman Institute, is for "an outstanding monograph dealing with the international relations, foreign policy or foreign policy decision-making of any of the states of the former Soviet Union or Eastern Europe." It was presented Nov. 17 at a ceremony in New Orleans.

Gati is the only scholar who has been awarded the prize twice. He received it two decades ago for Hungary and the Soviet Bloc (Duke University Press, 1986).


Heartfest set for Jan. 26; rock, soul, swing doc to be honored

Heartfest — an annual benefit for the Johns Hopkins Ciccarone Preventive Cardiology Center — beats on for the 18th year, from 7:30 p.m. to midnight on Saturday, Jan. 26, at Martin's West. The evening includes heart-healthy food prepared by top chefs and caterers, wine tasting by the Wine Merchant and dancing to the rock, soul and swing band Stevie V. & the Heart Attackers.

The celebrity honoree is Stephen Valenti, a cardiologist at Howard County General Hospital and founder of Stevie V. & the Heart Attackers; medical honorees are the world-renowned physicians Eric J. Topol and Peter O. Kwiterovich Jr.; and the community honoree is Brady Vontran, teenage heart patient and founder of Brady's Heart Foundation. Tickets are $100. For more information, call the Heartfest Helpline at 410-560-2230 or go to



A Nov. 12 story about Andre Levchenko's work on how bacteria organize to survive hostile environments incorrectly stated that test volumes in the chambers he is using are in the nanomolar range. It should have said nanoliter range.


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