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

Bottom Line

262: The number of points amassed by junior Mary Key, breaking the record for career scoring in Johns Hopkins Division I women's lacrosse. Her first goal in the Jays' game against Towson on May 2broke the previous record of 253, held by Jamie Larrimore, A&S '01. Key finished that contest with six goals, a typical day's work for her. Against Georgetown on May 6,she broke the all-time Hopkins record for points in a season, finishing with 101.

From Stevensville, Maryland, Key was a two-time high school all-American in lacrosse and an all-state selection in soccer at St. Mary's of Annapolis. Hopkins women's lacrosse head coach Janine Tucker watched Key play at St. Mary's, and says one thing was immediately apparent: "She was a pure finisher. The kid just knew how to score."

As a freshman in her first collegiate game Key scored five goals against Davidson. She has gone on to score in every game of her Hopkins career. In her freshman season, she led the Jays with 52 goals and 22 assists. The next year, she led the team again, with 55 goals and 32 assists, and was a candidate for the Tewaaraton Trophy, awarded each year to the nation's best male and female collegiate players. She ended the 2006 regular season with 60 goals and 41 assists and once more is on the list for the Tewaaraton. Says Tucker, "In almost every game this year, opponents have not been able to stop her. Nobody knows what to do with her. She's just breaking records all over the place."

Tucker has a ready list of what makes Key a great player: "Her competitive nature. Her work ethic. She's always looking to improve. We've worked on making her a more complete player, to become an exceptional feeder as well as a finisher, and to play better defense. I think the best is yet to come." — Dale Keiger

Kids' educational programming has always been a staple of public television — just think of Barney and Big Bird. Now public TV is taking education online., a collaboration between Maryland Public Television and the Johns Hopkins Center for Technology in Education, is an interactive site that, according to its mission statement, "aims to help teachers teach more effectively, inspire students to learn, build bridges between schools and homes, and fulfill Maryland Content Standards for education."

Thinkport hosts a "tech term encyclopedia," advice forums for new teachers, and a calendar of community events like library story hours, chess club meetings, and museum tours. But Thinkport's "online field trips" seem especially geared to get K-12 kids excited about learning.

One field trip, called Bayville, takes students through a virtual community dilemma — Would a mega mall hurt the Chesapeake Bay? — by teaching them how human development affects the water cycle. Another, called Knowing Poe, has street maps of Baltimore in Edgar Allan Poe's day, as well as three drafts of one of his early poems, "The Lake," to illustrate his perfectionism. Sense & Dollars teaches smart money management, with an interactive "Plan Your Own Dream Prom" that shows how to budget for attire (make a dress or buy designer?), transport (limo or parents' station wagon?), and extras (corsage? cufflinks?) for that memorable night. is funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Education. — Virginia Hughes, A&S '06 (MA)

Vital Signs

Beware the lawn mower

Lawn mowers send nearly 80,000 Americans to the hospital each year, according to new research from the Bloomberg School, and the number is increasing. Children under 15 and adults over 60 incur the most injuries. According to lead author David Bishai, associate professor of population and family health sciences, the most common culprit is flying debris. The study appeared in the April 2006 online edition of Annals of Emergency Medicine.

Nurses rank as top team players

Operating room nurses are better team players than surgeons, says a recent study led by Martin Makary, an assistant professor of surgery at the Hopkins School of Medicine. His team studied the results of the Safety Attitudes Questionnaire, which posed 65 questions about operating room safety. Eighty-five percent of respondents said that certified registered nurse anesthetists exhibited a high or very high level of teamwork; for general surgical nurses, the figure was 83.5 percent. Surgeons brought up the rear, with only 65 percent rated as team players. The study was published in the April issues of Annals of Surgery and Journal of the American College of Surgeons.

Gene offers clue to weight loss

Hopkins scientists have discovered a gene that protects laboratory mice against gaining weight from a high-fat diet. The gene, CPT1c, produces a protein in the hypothalamus that seems to allow the body to respond to fat levels in the bloodstream. When fed a high-fat diet of mouse chow and lard — yum — mice that lacked the gene ate less than normal mice, yet gained significant amounts of weight. One of the study's authors, Michael Wolfgang, a postdoc in biological chemistry at the School of Medicine, believes the new research has found a genetic weight-management pathway that will have implications for a genetic understanding of obesity. The research appeared online May 1 in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. — DK

Here and Abroad

In May, Johns Hopkins Medicine International (JHI) signed an affiliation agreement with Beacon Hospital, in Dublin, Ireland. JHI will provide educational consulting services related to performance improvement, patient safety, nursing training and management, and ambulatory care. Scheduled to open this fall, the 183-bed hospital is the first to be built in Ireland in more than two decades. Says Steven J. Thompson, senior vice president of Johns Hopkins Medicine and JHI's CEO, "It is this type of collaboration that allows Johns Hopkins to fulfill its mission to exchange knowledge while contributing to the improvement of global health care delivery."

... When India sends its first-ever spacecraft to the moon in 2007-2008, on board will be a miniature synthetic aperture imaging radar (Mini-SAR), jointly developed by Hopkins' Applied Physics Laboratory and the Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division in China Lake, CA. NASA administrator Michael Griffin, A&S '71, Engr '83 (MS), formerly head of APL's Space Department, signed the agreement with Indian Space Research Organisation's G. Madhavan Nair last month in Bangalore. The Mini-SAR was developed to map the shadowed areas of the lunar polar region and search for ice deposits there.

... The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health announced in April that it will lead a five-year initiative to strengthen the capacity of public health schools in East Africa, beginning with the Makerere University in Uganda and Muhimbili University College of Health Sciences in Tanzania. The program, funded by a $2 million grant from USAID, aims to create a network of trained public health professionals in the region. According to Gilbert Burnham, a Hopkins professor of international health and the initiative's director, as the region receives more global financial assistance, "there is a critical need for trained personnel who can provide leadership and develop innovative national policy." — Catherine Pierre

Forever Altered

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

"I was a freshman at Hopkins in the fall of 1948, and Marshall Turner was our freshman football coach.

"Marsh was a very quiet man, a real gentleman. But he was very much in control of our team. The team got a lot of respect for him when three of our starting players didn't show up for a Friday practice. Marsh had told us that we were required to be at every practice, but these three had gone to St. Paul's School [for high school] and had decided to go to their Friday home game instead of practice. On Monday, Marsh asked them where they had been. When they told him he said, 'I'm awfully sorry boys, but you're off the team. You're here to play for Hopkins, not to go back to St. Paul's.' That got our attention real fast.

"Marsh gave up coaching in 1950 when he became athletic director. He was a good judge of talent and hired some people to coach here who had outstanding careers after they left Hopkins. He was also president of the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics, the United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association, and the Mason Dixon Conference, and he served on the executive committee of the NCAA.

"During most, if not all, of his years as athletic director, Hopkins was on a shoestring budget. I found a 1949-50 budget for Hopkins intercollegiate athletics the other day. The total budget for our 12 teams — referees, equipment, and transportation — was $5,224. That's all. It's absolutely a night-and-day difference between then and now.

"Marsh was an extremely bright person and a man of high principles. He always treated people with respect. He was just such a fine person; his staff always held him in high regard."

Bob Scott spent 41 years as a Blue Jay athlete, coach, and athletic director before he retired in 1995.

Turner died in April at the age of 90.


Digging through the data

Advanced computational tools have become critical to new science because researchers have buried themselves in data. That is among the conclusions reached by Alexander Szalay, Krieger School professor of physics and astronomy, in his work with the 2020 Science Group, the 34 experts assembled to map the evolution of computing in research. In the March 23 issue of Nature, Szalay, writing with Jim Gray of Microsoft Research, cites forthcoming big-science projects like the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope that will generate petabytes of data: "One petabyte is equivalent to the text of one billion books." In the last year, he says, scientists have generated more data than in all previous years of scientific inquiry. Significant new science, Szalay argues, will arise from using computers to mine for discoveries lurking in vast databases that already exist.

Estrogen on the brain

Scientists have assumed that estrogen, as a hormone, required hours or even days to affect brain function. Gregory Ball, Krieger School professor of psychological and brain sciences, has studied estradiol, a form of estrogen, in the brains of quail, and found that it acts so fast, in regulating male sexual desire and the level at which pain is perceived, that it merits consideration as a neurotransmitter. Ball and his Belgian collaborator, Jacques Balthazart of the University of Liège, argue that estrogen displays functional characteristics of a neurotransmitter, such as being released at synapses and rapidly influencing neighboring brain cells. Says Ball, "How we categorize estradiol is of more than semantic interest. It influences how scientists conduct research, the kind of experiments we do, and even the way we design clinical interventions that involve actions of estrogen in the brain." Ball and Balthazart make their case in the May issue of Trends in Neuroscience. — DK


Signs are a huge part of the breezeway that runs between Krieger and Ames halls on the Homewood campus. Want to know when the tryouts are for "Hopkins Idol"? Or who's running for SGA president? Look no further.

Still, it was a bit of a surprise one recent spring day to discover a small sign, in front of an oval tulip bed, labeled "Maternity Ward."

"Please keep a respectful distance from this mother duck and her eggs," the sign stated. "Please do not feed or touch. Thank you!"

There amid the white pansies and tulips sat a mama mallard on her nest. It was an unusual sight for lots of reasons, the least of which being that the flower bed was surrounded by orange parking cones looped with yellow cording and swathed in plastic fencing.

Grounds crew manager Marcus Sherburne noticed the duck by the flower bed on April 17 and tried to shoo her away. By that afternoon, when the duck had laid several eggs, Security became concerned about the attention she was attracting. The fence went up on the following morning.

"People were still getting up into the tulip patch, even with the fence there," says Rob Ballou, maintenance shops coordinator in Hopkins' Plant Operations Department. "Someone even gave her a dish of water."

And so Plant Operations was called in to bring the cording and cones, and Design and Publications produced the "Maternity Ward" signs to ward off well-meaning curiosity seekers. The idea is to protect the duck from people — without making her too comfortable. "The last thing you want to do is get one duck this year, and a bunch of ducks laying eggs in the flower bed next year," Ballou says.

The ducklings were expected to make their appearance after 28 days' gestation, somewhere around press time. Their mother did not say whether she and her family planned to waddle over to Homewood Field for Commencement. — Maria Blackburn

Up & Comer

Name: Konstantinos Konstantopoulos
Age: 39

Position: Associate professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering

Stats: Diploma of Chemical Engineering '89, National Technical University of Athens; PhD '95, Rice University

Research: Works to integrate engineering fundamentals with concepts in biochemistry and molecular cell biology to better understand pathological processes — particularly cancer metastasis, inflammation/infection, and thrombosis, "three of the most important pathological processes affecting mankind."

Long-Term Goal: To provide insights that could ultimately lead to the development of "novel therapeutic strategies" to combat these disorders.

What He's Done Lately: Led the team that recently submitted a patent for a new chemical isolated from broccoli sprouts that appears to prevent inflammation and chondrocytic cell death; a potential alternative to Vioxx for treating arthritis.

On the Agenda: Shutting down cancer metastasis by targeting and eliminating cancer cells circulating in the vascular system. By identifying "earmarks" on tumor cells, Konstantopoulos and colleagues can develop nanoparticles loaded with chemotherapeutic agents that would selectively adhere to the tumor cells, release locally, and kill them.

Alternate Career: Economist or a political scientist in a university. "I love academia — conveying knowledge to other people. Teaching is very important to me."

Life Outside the Lab: Father of two energetic sons, ages 10 and 3


Course: Anthropology of the Patient

Instructor: Todd Meyers is a graduate student in the Krieger School's Department of Anthropology.

Course description: Offered during the summer session, this class will explore the way in which the patient emerges as a category of thought and analysis in anthropology. Readings and discussion will be drawn from ethnographic and theoretical texts, and films will emphasize the relationship of the patient to illness experience. Throughout the course, the question of how the patient is defined and understood — socially, culturally, politically, technologically — will guide discussions and readings. The course also will consider what it means to live with (and through) illness and how life comes to be mediated by social and medical intervention.


Epileptic, David B. (2005).

Under the Medical Gaze: Facts and Fictions of Chronic Pain, Susan Greenhalgh (2001).

Medicine, Rationality, and Experience, Byron J. Good (1994).

"Pain and Resistance: The Delegitimation and Relegitimation of Local Worlds," Arthur Kleinman, in Pain as Human Experience: An Anthropological Perspective (1992).

"Reification and the Consciousness of the Patient," Michael Taussig, in Social Science and Medicine (1980).

Écrits sur la médecine, Georges Canguilhem (2000).

L'Intrus (The Intruder), Jean-Luc Nancy (2000).


Ikiru (To Live), by Akira Kurosawa (1952).

Safe, by Todd Haynes (1995).

Return to June 2006 Table of Contents

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