Johns Hopkins Magazine -- February 2000
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Leadership changes at Arts & Sciences
Nobel laureate Daniel Nathans dies
Roca named to APL's top post
Record-setting seasons
Rape charges dropped
Off to an early start

Leadership changes at Arts & Sciences

In late November, Herbert L. Kessler surprised the Hopkins community by announcing his resignation as dean of the Krieger School of Arts & Sciences. Kessler, a longtime professor of art history at Hopkins who had been dean since June 1998, attributed his resignation to reasons both personal and professional. He will be on sabbatical until January 1, 2001.

On December 1, President William R. Brody announced the new appointee to the post: Professor of Biology Richard E. McCarty '60 (PhD '64). McCarty served on the faculty of Cornell University for 24 years before returning to Hopkins in 1990 to chair the Biology Department.

McCarty's administrative experience at Hopkins has allowed him to hit the ground running. He served as interim dean of Arts & Sciences in 1997 and 1998 and since that time has been senior advisor on faculty affairs in the dean's office.

"Dick McCarty was a respected and very successful department chair and did a terrific job as interim dean," said Brody. "Since then, he has been centrally involved in the Krieger School's strategic planning and its daily operations. He is the natural choice to lead the school now and to maintain and even accelerate its strong forward momentum."

McCarty will hold the James Barclay Knapp Deanship, an endowed position recently established by trustee J. Barclay Knapp Jr. to honor his father, a U.S. Air Force major general who was highly decorated.

Several of the school's most pressing issues are ones quite familiar to McCarty. He has been serving on a key master plan committee and been involved with related projects--including a new NMR imaging facility, renovations of Gilman Hall, and a planned new classroom building--since his time as interim dean. He is also well-grounded in ongoing efforts to diversify the faculty, effect new initiatives in the humanities, and raise money for such projects as the student recreation center and Gilman Hall renovations.

The 61-year-old McCarty did not pursue the permanent deanship when he served as interim dean. In explaining why he accepted the job this time around, he said, "It's clear this job could not afford another period of instability. Hopkins has been extraordinarily good to me. I thought I had to give something back." --Sue De Pasquale

Nathans in 1978, just after winning the Nobel.
Photo by Susie Fitzhugh
Nobel laureate Daniel Nathans dies

Daniel Nathans, who died on November 16 from leukemia, was a geneticist whose research on special enzymes that cut and paste DNA made possible the biotechnology industry and the mapping of the human genome. It was seminal work that earned Nathans a Nobel Prize.

But at Hopkins, the one-time interim president was known as a businesslike scientist who took great pride in helping junior colleagues launch their careers. During the 37 years he served on the School of Medicine faculty, 53 postdoctoral fellows and students were trained in his lab.

Nathans, who earned an MD from Washington University School of Medicine, came to Hopkins as an assistant professor of microbiology in 1962 and later served as director of the Department of Microbiology and of the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics.

In 1969, one of Nathans's colleagues, Hamilton Smith, told him that he had discovered a protein that cut DNA. Smith believed the protein was a site-specific restriction enzyme, which a Swiss biochemist named Werner Arber had theorized would cleave DNA at specific regions of its nucleotide sequence. Nathans, says Smith, immediately saw the possibilities.

"Dan clearly thought [restriction enzymes] would change biology and went about to show it," he says.

Nathans used the enzyme to cut the DNA of a tumor-causing virus, and then used those pieces to locate a gene involved in tumor production. Subsequent research identified dozens of other restriction enzymes. Scientists have used them to identify numerous genes and to develop genetically engineered products such as interferon and insulin.

For their work on DNA and restriction enzymes, Nathans, Smith, and Arber received the Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine in 1978.

Following this research, Nathans pursued work on how substances known as growth factors induce cells to grow and multiply. In 1995 he was temporarily called away from the lab to serve as Hopkins's interim president, following the resignation of President William C. Richardson. Colleagues who worked closely with him at that time credit Nathans for helping steer Hopkins, particularly the East Baltimore campus, on a steady course during a contentious time in healthcare. Administrators and trustees say he played a critical role in the founding of Johns Hopkins Medicine, which merged the School of Medicine with Hopkins Hospital and Health System under one CEO. "Dan, in a quiet, unassuming manner said we should be reasonable, measured, and treat everyone as a colleague," says dean of Medicine and CEO Ed Miller. "He had stability, wisdom, integrity--all those wonderful attributes."

Nathans was married to Joanne Gomberg Nathans. Their children are Eli, Ben, and Jeremy, who is a professor in the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics--the same department his father directed. --Melissa Hendricks

Roca named to APL's top post

Hopkins has lured AT&T executive Richard T. Roca, 55, to the top job at the university's Applied Physics Laboratory.

Roca, a mechanical engineer who started at AT&T straight out of Lehigh University 33 years ago, was most recently vice president of AT&T Labs, the company's research and development branch. At the front edge of the technology boom, Roca has led the mega-communications company's development of Internet-based services, including AT&T WorldNet, the nation's largest direct phone Internet access service with 1.8 million subscribers. Roca holds a PhD from MIT and has had corporate experience working with civilian agencies, including cabinet departments and the Social Security Administration.

"His unusual combination of hands-on R&D, senior management, and government experience makes him just the right person to maintain and even enhance APL's leadership in service to the nation," noted Hopkins president William R. Brody. --Joanne Cavanaugh Simpson

Chrissy Horan goes for the kill.
Photo by Bill Horan
Record-setting seasons

The 1999 Hopkins men's soccer team crowned a 15-3 season by winning the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Division III Mid-Atlantic tournament. Fourteen of the Jays' 15 victories came by shut-out, and the Hopkins defense did not concede a goal throughout the ECAC championship. The offense was just as potent, scoring a school-record 74 goals during the regular season. For the sixth straight year, Hopkins won at least 15 games and qualified for post-season play, a combination that no other Centennial Conference team has ever accomplished.

Two other Hopkins teams completed fine fall seasons. The women's soccer team tied a school record for wins on its way to a 15-5-2 record. The team placed second in the ECAC Division III tournament, taking champion Muhlenberg to overtime before losing on penalty kicks. The Jays' senior class, led by Sarah Parsons, Hartaj Gill, and Kate Cushman, proved to be the winningest in team history, finishing with a cumulative record of 53-17-4.

The women's volleyball team, under new head coach Chris Weidenborner, piled up 27 victories, second-most in team history. The Jays finished second in the ECAC South Region tournament. Senior Chrissy Horan became the first player in Hopkins history to record more than 1,000 kills, 1,000 digs, and 200 service aces in her college career. Michelle Dumler '00, despite suffering an ankle injury that prematurely concluded her season, finished as Hopkins's all-time leader in assists with more than 3,200. --Dale Keiger

Rape charges dropped

Rape charges brought in September against Hopkins All-America lacrosse goalie Brian J. Carcaterra '00 (see November issue) have been dropped by city prosecutors. "After a thorough look at the facts, we have decided there is insufficient evidence to proceed," said state's attorney office spokeswoman Francine Stokes.

Carcaterra was arrested September 20 and charged with second degree rape and second degree assault for an incident involving a female student at an off-campus apartment.

Said Steve Allen, Carcaterra's lawyer, "This was not a case of insufficient evidence. It was a case of no evidence."

Off to an early start

One Hopkins student chose to study brain biochemistry in children once exposed to cocaine; another is going back to a Holocaust-torn village in the Ukraine; a third will visit a leper colony in India.

These aren't graduate students or PhD candidates. They are Hopkins freshmen and sophomores--members of the first group of undergrads to win grants under the prestigious new Woodrow Wilson Fellowship Program.

Daniel Redman '03 wants to find out what happened to family members who once lived in Novogrod Vlinsk, Ukraine. This summer, he plans to research archives in the city's Holocaust museums, interview civic officials, and visit Jewish groups. "The Nazis went through that area and almost everyone was probably killed," says Redman. "I want to do research on what happened, as well as research on modern Ukrainian feelings about the Holocaust and about anti-Semitism."

The program was created by former Krieger School of Arts & Sciences Dean Herbert L. Kessler and Steven R. David, the school's associate dean for academic affairs. Grants of $10,000 are given to incoming freshmen and $7,500 to sophomores to pursue research projects during their undergrad years, with program seed money donated by trustee J. Barclay Knapp '79.

"This is consistent with Hopkins's mission," says David, who administers the program. "We are first and foremost a research institution. We feel there's a real benefit for freshmen to do research, not only for the good stuff, but the frustrations." --JCS