Johns Hopkins Magazine -- June 1997
Johns Hopkins Magazine

JUNE 1997


J U N E    1 9 9 7

Alumni News
Editor: Billie Walker

Thomas Maren, Med '51: Discoverer of Glaucoma Treatment Shares Rewards
Honored for Service, Achievements: Thirteen to Receive Alumni Association Awards
Greater Homewood Briefing: Event Underscores Hopkins' Partnership with Community
Johns Hopkins Goes West
JHMI Student Social...
Alumni at Pompeii...
Conga Revisted...

Thomas Maren, Med '51
Discoverer of Glaucoma Treatment Shares Rewards

Seventy-eight years old, slightly stooped but with a calm and commanding presence, Thomas Maren, Med '51, has spent the past 40 summers working at the Mount Desert Island Biological Laboratory on the Maine coast. Work there complements his research at the University of Florida's medical school in Gainesville, where from 1956 to 1978 he served as the first chair of the pharmacology department and still is a graduate research professor. With his "old-fashioned chemical methods," Dr. Maren has spent 45 years tracking a single enzyme, carbonic anhydrase, that produces a variety of bodily fluids in animals ranging from skates to humans.

What Tom Maren probably will go down in history for, however, even he acknowledges, are not the years of meticulous research. Ironically, his most glamorous achievement to date came just as retirement seemed around the corner, when he established the principles for a drug that has improved treatment for millions of people worldwide threatened with blindness from the insidious disease glaucoma.

In 1995 Merck Pharmaceuticals introduced a revolutionary eyedrop called dorzolamide (marketed as Trusopt). Within a year, the new medication was the third most prescribed glaucoma drug in the country.

Part of Dr. Maren's share of the profits will go to basic science research and education. At the Maine lab, Dr. Maren established an annual grant to support investigators there. And at Hopkins, he has given $2 million to endow a chair in pharmacology, named to honor his long-ago Hopkins mentor, E. K. Marshall, and dedicated in ceremonies at the Medical Institutions in May.

Dr. Maren describes his route to science's most distinguished realms as "a series of accidents." As an undergraduate at Princeton he majored in chemistry, a marketable degree that also allowed him to take classes in history, literature, and architecture. In 1938 he took a job at Wallace Laboratory, where he engrossed himself with a chemical called thioglycollic acid and single-handedly came up with an odorless cream, the depilatory Nair.

He returned to Princeton as a graduate student in English, but after a year there he heard that his old friend, thioglycollic acid, had become crucial to wartime pharmacology as an ingredient in synthesizing drugs for tropical disease. Within weeks he was back at Wallace, experimenting with the compound.

Then, out of the blue in 1943, the respected parasitologist Gilbert F. Otto summoned the young scientist to the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health to become part of a Navy project studying tropical diseases. In 1946 E. K. Marshall, chair of pharmacology, who had gained eminence for proving that the kidney actively secretes chemicals, noticed the diligent chemist and handpicked him for a pilot drug-company-funded program that sent select basic scientists to medical school.

When Dr. Maren graduated from the Hopkins School of Medicine in 1951, he headed to industry. His first assignment in the chemotherapy division of the American Cyanamid Company set him on the trail of carbonic anhydrase, the enzyme that would occupy him for the rest of his career. His experiments led to the release of a drug called Diamox that Cyanamid brought out in 1954 as a diuretic for treating congestive heart failure. Diamox also proved effective in treating glaucoma.

Dr. Maren began studying the enzyme's function in the kidney, pancreas, liver, and eyes of creatures from dogs to dogfish-- research he continued when he became chair of pharmacology at the University of Florida in the mid-1950s. Today, what stands out about his collection of nearly 300 papers are the links he has forged among parts of the body as disparate as the pancreas and the eye. "People in science tend to stick to one system in their specialty, but carbonic anhydrase extends throughout all sorts of organs," he explains.

In 1979, Tom Maren's attention was directed back to the drug Diamox, which for years glaucoma sufferers had been taking orally to combat fluid buildup in the eye but which produced unpleasant side effects. Forging a collaboration with Merck, he developed a compound that worked just as well as the systemic medication and caused no side effects--the eyedrops that Merck named Trusopt.

"My friends say I deserve the success, which is nice of them," Dr. Maren smiles. "But I did it all because it was a challenge chemically."

This article is adapted from a profile of Dr. Maren by Kate Ledger in Hopkins Medical News, Fall 1996.

Honored for Service, Achievements
Thirteen to Receive Alumni Association Awards

Thirteen outstanding individuals have been tapped for honors this year by the Johns Hopkins Alumni Association.

The following two alumni have been selected to receive the Woodrow Wilson Award for outstanding government service.

Beatrice Aitchison
Beatrice Aitchison, A&S '29 (Ph.D. Math), who received both the original Federal Woman's Award and the federal Career Service Award, served first as

director of the transportation economics division of the Office of Transportation at the Commerce Department and then as director of transportation research and statistics for the U.S. Post Office. At her retirement in 1971, she was one of the highest ranking women in the federal service.

Theodore M. Schad, Engr '39, has had an illustrious career developing the nation's water resources policies, serving during the 1950s as budget examiner for all government water programs, including the TVA and Panama Canal. He later was executive director of the U.S. National Water Commission, and served ten years at the National Academy of Sciences, first as executive secretary of the Environmental Studies Board and then as deputy director of the Commission on Natural Resources.

Six honorees were chosen to receive the Heritage Award for outstanding service to the University.

George L. Bunting Jr.
George L. Bunting Jr., as chairman of the board of the Johns Hopkins Hospital and Health System and as a University trustee, was instrumental in the creation of Johns Hopkins Medicine, the structure that brings together the institutions' endeavors in medical research, teaching, patient care, and health care delivery.

Constance R. Caplan, A&S '78 (M.A. Poli Sci), serves on the boards of trustees of the University and Johns Hopkins Medicine. She is spearheading the drive to secure funding for the proposed student arts center on the Homewood campus.

Maravene Hamburger, Nurs '37, has long been a dedicated advocate of Johns Hopkins and a leader in helping to secure annual gifts for the School of Nursing.

Joseph J. Reynolds Jr., Engr '69, was instrumental in enhancing alumni involvement with the Whiting School by serving during 1992-96 as the first chair of the Society of Engineering Alumni.

Patricia Springer, Peab '59, president of the Peabody Alumni Association, for eight years has coordinated Peabody's Elderhostel program, which hosts 4,000 participants annually.

Jack J. Woods, SAIS '66, a member of the SAIS Advisory Council Steering Committee, has served as an annual giving volunteer, assisted the SAIS admissions office by interviewing prospective students, and helped many SAIS students through career counseling.

The following five alumni will be honored with the Distinguished Alumnus Award for outstanding personal, professional, or humanitarian achievements.

Martha N. Hill
Martha N. Hill, Nurs '64, has built a national reputation as an expert in hypertension and has recently been elected president of the American Heart Association--the first non-physician to hold the position. An associate professor and director of the Center for Nursing Research at the School of Nursing, Dr. Hill holds joint appointments at Medicine and Public Health. She is a fellow of the American Academy of Nursing.

Georgeanna Seegar Jones, Med '36, professor emeritus of gynecology and obstetrics, served from 1939 to 1978 as director of Hopkins' Laboratory of Reproductive Physiology and as head of the Hospital's Gynecological Endocrine Center. In 1983, she and her husband, Howard W. Jones Jr. (see below), founded the Jones Institute in Norfolk, Virginia, a world-renowned center for reproductive health and in vitro fertilization.

Howard W. Jones Jr., Med '35, professor emeritus of gynecology and obstetrics, served as acting chairman of that department from 1970 to 1976. With his wife, he was a pioneer in the field of in vitro fertilization and established the Jones Institute (see above).

Vernon B. Mountcastle, Med '42, University Professor emeritus of neuroscience, was director of the Department of Physiology at Johns Hopkins from 1964 to 1980. He is internationally recognized for his ground-breaking research into mechanisms of higher brain functions, resulting in the understanding of specific mechanisms whereby sensory information is integrated.

John Wennberg, SPH '67, who completed a medical residency in chronic diseases at the Hospital, pioneered a new field of investigation with his development of the "small area variation" concept, which demonstrated that physicians within adjacent geographical locations practice medicine very differently.

Greater Homewood Briefing
Event Underscores Hopkins' Partnership with Community

Hopkins has a long-standing tradition of community involvement, including the neighborhood meetings that President Milton Eisenhower and Homewood resident/water resource engineer Abel Wolman initiated in 1966. More recently, President

William Brody (who, as Dr. Eisenhower did, lives in Nichols House on the Homewood campus) reaffirmed in his inaugural address that Hopkins will share resources and build partnerships that extend "...across the street, across town, across the country, and around the world."

The Greater Homewood Community Briefing, hosted March 1 by the Baltimore Alumni Chapter and the Greater Homewood Community Corporation (GHCC), served as testament that community activism is alive and well in the neighborhood and on campus. It drew more than 120 alumni, community leaders, and campus representatives.

Jon Laria, A&S '85, vice president of the Baltimore Alumni Chapter, moderated a panel of eight Hopkins officials and neighborhood organizers, each of whom described ways in which community leaders and the University work together to enhance life in the Greater Homewood area.

Sandy Sparks, GHCC executive director, kicked off the discussion by highlighting how University and neighborhood volunteers are "creating an interesting and vibrant community." Some joint projects include the Neighborhood Walker program, designed to make Homewood streets cleaner and safer, and the resource mapping program, in which a comprehensive database of community resources is being developed. The success of GHCC, Ms. Sparks noted, is largely attributable to its nearly 350 volunteers, many of whom have Hopkins affiliations.

At the University, the Office of Volunteer Services was opened in 1992 largely to attend to the new projects and opportunities emanating from community and student leaders. According to Bill Tiefenwerth, director of the office, student activism has today reached an all-time high, with more than half the student body involved in community service.

Students often initiate projects for which they seek support from University offices and resources, including the Alumni Association's dues-funded Community Service Internship Program. One current effort in which students, faculty, and alumni are joined is a drive to revitalize the commercial life of nearby 3100-3300 St. Paul Street and make the section more appealing to students and residents alike.

A highlight of Hopkins' leadership in the Homewood community is the Safe and Smart Center on Greenmount Avenue, originated by Mr. Tiefenwerth in 1994 and first staffed by alumnus Matthew Boulay, A&S '93. Today it thrives under the leadership of Sylvia Eastman, the University's coordinator of city and community relations.

Sylvia Eastman, corrodinator of city and community relations for the University, and Bill Tiefenwerth, director of volunteer services, pose outside the Safe and Smart Center, a community resource center operated by Johns Hopkins near the Homewood campus.

Among the center's programs is the Community Mediation Project-- thought to be the only one in the country involving university students and community residents--which not only helps find peaceful solutions to neighborhood disputes but offers training in this kind of mediation. In another, student and neighborhood groups work together to provide one-on-one job training and employment services for area residents.

The progressive community spirit has attracted the support of numerous business and civic leaders, including former governor William Donald Schaefer, who is on the staff of the University's Institute for Policy Studies. Mr. Schaefer, who works with the Greater Homewood Renaissance Business Revitalization Committee, recently hired three interns to help support commercial revitalization efforts in Hampden.

During the briefing, Bob Schuerholz, University executive director of facilities and real estate, presented a slide show illustrating how Hopkins plans to develop the 26-acre Eastern High School site, east of the Homewood campus, which it is purchasing from the city. Rescuing the convenient and attractive property from becoming a strip mall, Hopkins is considering using the facility to house a high school for the Kennedy Krieger Institute, a community school, business incubator space, and Johns Hopkins-related uses.

Dean of Students Susan Boswell described other University plans, including the student arts center, to be built at Homewood near the Charles Street entrance. Through public performances and exhibits, the center has been envisioned as another link to the community.

A lively question-and-answer session prompted Jon Laria to pledge that the Baltimore Alumni Chapter will hold similar events in the future and will help spread news of opportunities for involvement. For further information, call Marguerite Ingalls Jones in the Alumni Relations Office, 410-516-0363.

Johns Hopkins Goes West

More than 400 guests attended Johns Hopkins convocations in San Francisco and Burbank in March, hearing from President William R. Brody and other outstanding faculty speakers about developments at Johns Hopkins. The Southern California convocation, held at the Walt Disney Studios, was hosted by University trustee John F. Cooke, Disney's executive vice president-corporate affairs.

After his computer music performance at the Southern California convocation, Peabody's Forrest Tobey is surrounded by admirers as he explains his use of arm gestures to trigger sounds stored in the synthesizer.

During the convocation luncheon at the Disney Commissary in Burbank, Oscar-nominated cinematographer Caleb Deschanel, A&S '66, at left, talks with Chris Aldrich, A&S '96. At right is James Neal, the Sheridan Director of Homewood's Eisenhower Library and one of the event speakers.

In Pasadena on the evening before the Southern California convocation, President Brody meets Los Angeles area alumni and friends at a dinner hosted by University trustee Charles D. Miller. Here he talks with Dr. and Mrs. J. Michael Criley, at left, and Dr. and Mrs. Richard Call.

JHMI Student Social...

With funding from the Alumni Association and other sponsors, the inaugural JHMI Student Social held February 1 was a huge success, bringing together nearly 300 students from the Schools of Nursing, Medicine, and Public Health. Hanging out are, from left, Vic Singh, Medicine; Tricia Oldershaw, Catherine Reyes, and Jennifer Murch, all Nursing; and SHerman Reeves, Medicine.

Alumni at Pompeii...

Ruth Bounds, left, and Peg Strutton explore the ruins of Pompeii during the Alumni Travel Program's February journey to Rome and outlying sites. Peg's husband, Bill Strutton, A&S '55, also made the trip.

Conga Revisted...

'Carmen Miranda' leads alumni in a conga line at the Baltimore Alumni Chapter's Mid-Winter Ball, held at the B&O Railroad Museum.