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

Bottom Line

Last fall, Science Watch, a newsletter published by Thompson ISI, produced "Twenty Years of Citation Superstars," a list of the 50 scientists most often cited in other researchers' work over the past 20 years. Three Hopkins researchers made the cut.

1: Ranking of Bert Vogelstein, a Johns Hopkins professor who studies the molecular genetics of cancer, on Science Watch's top-50 list.

361: Number of Vogelstein's scientific papers that have been cited.

106,401: Number of Vogelstein citations.

68,889: Number of times the No. 2 researcher on the list, University College London pharmacologist Salvador Moncada, has been cited.

3: Ranking of Solomon H. Snyder, director of Hopkins' Department of Neuroscience in the top 50. He had 63,106 citations.

19: Ranking of Kenneth W. Kinzler, Hopkins professor of oncology, who had 48,277 citations.

26: Number of other Hopkins researchers listed as "Most Cited" in their field at, Thompson ISI's online database of the world's most-cited scientists. They range from Robert Moffitt, a professor in the Krieger School's Department of Economics, to Scott Zeger, chairman of the Bloomberg School of Public Health's Biostatistics Department.

Vital Signs

Brittle Bones for Teenage Moms

Pregnancy may put teenage girls at risk for osteoporosis, according to a recent study by researchers at the Bloomberg School of Public Health's Center for Human Nutrition.

The study, conducted with 13-to-18-year-old mothers, showed that one-third had a bone mass that meets the definitions of osteoporosis or osteopenia (the precursor to osteoporosis) shortly after pregnancy. During an adolescent's pregnancy, when she needs to be building bone mass, she must compete with her fetus for calcium, says Kimberly O'Brien, principal investigator for the study. "Our study showed that adolescent pregnancy may compromise a girl's ability to reach optimal bone growth and that she may need to consume more calcium than is currently recommended to offset bone loss."

The study was published in the December 2003 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

This Is Your Brain on Beer

A study by researchers at the Bloomberg School of Public Health< and other institutions has discovered a link between low-to-moderate alcohol consumption and a decrease in the brain size of middle-aged adults. Brain atrophy is associated with impaired cognition and motor functions. Researchers also found that low or moderate alcohol consumption did not reduce the risk of stroke-a contradiction of some previous studies that suggested it might. Says Jingzhong Ding, lead author of the study, "Our findings do not support the hypothesis that low or moderate alcohol intake offers any protection against cerebral abnormalities."

The study was published in the rapid access edition of Stroke: The Journal of the American Heart Association. — MB

Up & Comer

Name: Kevin Frick
Age: 34
Hopkins associate professor of
health policy and management in the Bloomberg School of Public Health, with joint appointments in economics, international health, the School of Nursing, and ophthalmology

Stats: BS '91 in health policy and administration from Penn State University, MA '94 in economics and PhD '96 in economics and health services organization and policy from the University of Michigan

Scouting Report: Frick's work addresses "how central cost-effectiveness is to policy-making decisions, both in government and the private sector," says Don Steinwachs (PhD '73), chair of the Department of Health Policy & Management at Public Health. Right now, Frick is "doing the work that feeds the information to the policy," he adds. "He'll be one of those people testifying to Congress in another five years."

Research: "I do research on the cost-effectiveness of 'stuff,'"says Frick — ranging from specific medical treatment done in a doctor's office to community-level interventions such as antibiotic distribution programs. Frick's recent research has included more broad-based studies such as one cost-benefit analysis of encouraging older adults to volunteer in elementary schools and another on intervention to help low-income women to breastfeed longer.

On Healthcare in the Future: "When the baby boomers start to hit Medicare and retirement age, and we're faced with paying much larger amounts of the federal budget for Medicare, I believe that the value for the money spent will become a lot more of a salient issue in this country."

Alternate Career: "I love cooking and I love music — so maybe a nightclub where I could feature my dishes and invite bands to play. But really, anything that isn't in academia hasn't been on my career path."

Forever Altered

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

"Very few people knew Phil Hartman's role in promoting the acceptance of minority students to the Biology Department's graduate program in the '60s and '70s. However, those of us who benefited from his vision and courage carry the lesson of his gentle audacity as a part of our mission in life.

"As a first-year graduate student, I visited his office — which had more books and papers than could be imagined in such a small place — to plan my semester. In the midst of this apparent chaos was a soft-spoken, gentle man who interacted with me as if he had all the time in the world. My course plan included advanced genetics. Phil stood up, reached into one of his overly full bookshelves, and handed me a slender book (on the booklist!): Gene Action, by Phil Hartman and Sigmund Suskind. That gesture signaled to me that the work of many civil rights advocates had borne fruit: The ability to earn a degree at Hopkins was now in my hands. His book, which opened the door to my talent and potential, sits on my office shelf to this day.

"Good mentors influence your career direction and choices; the great ones, like Phil Hartman, alter your destiny, challenge you to become the person you were meant to be, and remind you of your responsibility to be the change agent for others."

Valerie Petit Wilson '76 (PhD) was the first African-American woman to receive a PhD in biology from Johns Hopkins. Currently, she is the executive director of the Leadership Alliance, a consortium of 31 leading academic institutions dedicated to improving the participation of underrepresented students in graduate and PhD programs. She is also a clinical professor of community health at Brown University.


Robot Brain at the Bottom of the Sea

When a new undersea robot begins exploring the deepest parts of the ocean a few years hence, it will have a Hopkins brain on board. The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution is building a robotic submersible capable of operating at depths of 36,000 feet. The yet-to-be-named robot — scientists currently refer to it simply as an HROV, or hybrid remotely operated vehicle — will be guided by navigation and control systems designed by Louis Whitcomb, associate professor of mechanical engineering in the Whiting School. Whitcomb, working with a team of his students and Woods Hole researchers, will develop computer hardware and software to monitor the robot's exact position and guide it in precise maneuvers as it explores oceanic trenches, deep submerged geologic faults, and areas under the polar ice caps.

Switch Puts Bacteria into Feeding Mode

Crustaceans constantly slough off chitin, an insoluble material related to cellulose that is a major component of their shells. This detritus — 100 billion tons of it annually — would accumulate on ocean floors and disrupt the marine ecosystem were it not consumed by bacteria. In a study published in the Online Early Edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Science for the week of December 29, 2003, two Hopkins biologists found a genetic switch that triggers the biological reaction leading to chitin's consumption. Biology professor Saul Roseman and associate research scientist Xibing Li found that bacteria in sea water secrete an enzyme called chitinase. When chitinase encounters discarded chitin, it begins breaking it down, releasing a partially degraded soluble form of the material. Molecules of this partially dissolved chitin diffuse through the water. When they reach the bacteria, they bind with a protein that triggers a genetic switch to put the bacteria in feeding mode. The bacteria then follow the trail of the soluble chitin back to the discarded shell material and get down to the business of consuming it. —DK

Here and Abroad

In early January, Phil Zook Friesen, Hopkins' director of outdoor education, set out for Ecuador, home to some of the tallest peaks in the Western hemisphere. Together with climbing partner Tom Smith, Zook Friesen aimed to climb two (possibly three) Himalayan-size peaks (including Chimborazo, alt. 20,700 ft.) in 11 days. Zook Friesen planned to scout out the region for expeditions that will involve Hopkins student climbers beginning in winter 2005.

With just six doctorally trained nurses in all of China, officials at Peking Union Medical College are anxious to establish a PhD program in nursing, and they've turned to Martha Hill, dean of Hopkins' School of Nursing, for help. Last October, Hill and Victoria Mock, director of Hopkins' Center for Nursing Research, traveled to Peking to finalize plans for a collaboration (including possible student and faculty exchanges) between the two schools. The Peking/Hopkins connection isn't new: Anna D. Wolf, nursing superintendent at Hopkins from 1940 to 1955, was instrumental in starting the nursing school at Peking Union.

Last December, the Bloomberg School of Public Health's Center for International Emergency Disaster and Refugee Studies (CIEDRS) began training classes for its new MENTOR initiative. Led by Public Health's Richard Allan, MENTOR uses in-the-field technical assistance and support to train aid workers fighting malaria among refugees in Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Angola.

Johns Hopkins international patients now have access to round-the-clock interpretation through International Patient Service's 24-hour Call Center. The center assists patients at Hopkins, Bayview, and Howard County General hospitals, plus the Home Care Group and its community clinics. The center has also contracted with Browne Global Solutions, a service that can provide translations in 300 languages.


Jonathan A. Bagger and Adam Falk, Hopkins physics professors (Falk is also the Krieger School's vice dean of faculty), study particle physics. Physics, which is mathematical, is actually easy to understand, says Bagger. It's when you begin to apply English to the mathematical language that things get difficult.

Dark Matter: Just under 25 percent of the universe is made of dark matter, an unknown substance that attracts gravitationally like matter on earth, though it does not reflect or generate light.

Dark Energy: Most of the rest of the universe is made up of dark energy, a mysterious substance that repels gravitationally. Scientists had thought that gravity would cause the expansion of the universe to slow down; in fact, because of dark energy, it's accelerating.

Quark: A set of fundamental particles that bind together to form matter. Matter on earth is made up of two types of quarks ("up" and "down"). The other quarks ("charm," "strange," "top," and "bottom") don't exist today but were crucial to the creation of the universe.

Gluon: A particle that glues quarks together inside a proton. A collection of gluons is called a glueball.

Inflation: A period of incredibly fast growth in the early universe right after the Big Bang. Inflation caused the universe to become flat (much the way rumples in a sheet flatten out when stretched).

Neutrino: Ghostlike particles produced by the sun, by accelerators and cosmic rays, and by the Big Bang itself. Trillions of them pass through your body every second.

String Theory: A theory that views all fundamental particles as vibrations of tiny strings. Each particle corresponds to a musical note that could be played on a string. String theory is the only known framework that ties together quantum mechanics and general relativity, the twin pillars of 20th-century physics.


Course: Primate Behavior & Ecology

Instructor: Mark Teaford, Professor, Center for Functional Anatomy and Evolution, School of Medicine. For his research into the diet of our early ancestors, Teaford studies the teeth of human ancestors, museum collections of modern animals, and live primates in the wild.

Course Description: This course, offered on the Homewood campus, gives undergraduates a close look at mankind's closest living relatives. Topics include past and present distributions of primates, primate taxonomy, feeding and diet, reproduction, social organization, community relationships, and conservation.

Reading List:
Primates in Nature, Alison F. Richard (1985).

The Nonhuman Primates, Phyllis Dolhinow and Agustin Fuentes (1999).

Plus selections from:
The Human Career, 2nd ed., Richard G. Klein (1999).

This Is Biology: The Science of the Living World, Ernst Mayr (1997).

Sudden Origins: Fossils, Genes, and the Emergence of Species, Jeffrey H. Schwartz (1999).

Primate Behavioral Ecology, Karen B. Strier (1999).

In the Shadow of Man, Jane Goodall (1971).

Lucy's Legacy, Alison Jolly (1999).

How Monkeys See the World, Dorothy L. Cheney and Robert M. Seyfarth (1990).

The Song of the Dodo: Island Biogeography in an Age of Extinction, David Quammen (1996).


Peabody Institute anticipates the grand reopening of its facilities in April after extensive renovation. An extensive renovation of its Web site has already opened for business. The most striking feature of the institute's new digital digs is a set of profiles across the top of the opening page, which introduce visitors to pianist Leon Fleisher, percussionist Svet Stoyanov, and soprano Hyunah Yu. The site also maintains a calendar of musical performances and information on all aspects of the institute. —DK


Construction workers at Johns Hopkins' Peabody Institute were pulling up floorboards and tearing down walls late last summer in efforts to extend the conservatory's East Hall when they happened upon a dozen gallon jugs filled with home-brewed liquor. Neatly penned labels identified several of the brews ("Small White Grape" and "Wild Cherry"), with dates ranging from 1932 to 1946. The workers posited the mysterious moonshine in a corner of the Peabody Archives, where archivist Elizabeth Schaaf found them.

Photo by Will Kirk Schaaf says she suspected within seconds who the brewmaster might be: conductor and composer Gustav Strube, the German-born bon vivant who served on the Peabody faculty from 1916 until 1946. The first conductor of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Strube died in 1953 at the age of 85. Checking through the Strube papers, Schaaf says, "I turned up handwriting samples that were a match to the labels on these vintage bottles. There is no doubt that 'Papa Strube,' as he was affectionately known, had stashed a good supply of his home brew in Peabody's East Hall."

Strube was a member of journalist H.L. Mencken's Saturday Night Club, a bunch of musicians who met weekly to drink and play music. (The club included Max Brödel, founder of Hopkins' Department of Art as Applied to Medicine, as well as several Peabody faculty members.) "When Prohibition threatened to dry up their weekly get-togethers, Strube and Mencken took to producing their own brew," Schaaf says. According to family, Strube made moonshine with Brödel, a fellow German, using the anatomist's Hopkins lab. "So it is entirely possible," says Schaaf, "that the bottles were brewed in the Hopkins lab and then hidden away by Strube, who was about to retire, as a gift for future colleagues." —Sue De Pasquale

December 17, 2003

The Marburg Pavilion, Johns Hopkins Hospital's most luxurious unit, caters mostly to an international crowd. The cuisine is the stuff of fine restaurants, not hospital steam tables. Chef Richard Lindsay, a 30-year-veteran chef and one of three catering to the 10-patient unit, prepares dinner.

4 p.m. The first order comes in, and Lindsay, who's used to serving up baby lamb chops, does a double take. Though Marburg has a menu, clients sometimes make special requests. So a dietary assistant runs down to the hospital's Harborside Restaurant and brings back a cardboard box filled with fried chicken strips. Lindsay plates the take-out chicken tenders on china alongside plastic containers of ketchup and mustard.

5:02 p.m. A New York strip hits the broiler with a sizzle. Lindsay rustles up fresh green beans and a scoop of hand-whipped mashed potatoes to complete the order. Per hospital policy, no steaks are cooked rare.

5:34 p.m. A blender whirs in the tiny kitchen where Lindsay prepares about 10 dinners a night. He's pureeing Shitake mushrooms, red onion, and tarragon, filling an order for cream soup.

6:14 p.m. Dietary assistants dressed in black pants, white shirts, and black bowties drape their serving carts with burgundy tablecloths and top them with glass stemware, china plates, and cloth napkins. The carts are aligned in the kitchen and hallway, ready for the food. 6:30 p.m. Waiting to prepare the final order of the night, Lindsay recounts some of the unusual meals he's made over the years — cheese and raw onion sandwiches, baked potatoes with baked beans. He doesn't refuse special requests. "I don't like to say no," he says, smiling.

7:09 p.m. The last dinner order of the night — scrambled eggs, baked potato — has been served, and Lindsay begins cleaning up. He'll be back for the breakfast shift, featuring smoked salmon and hollandaise. —MB

Return to February 2004 Table of Contents

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