Johns Hopkins Magazine
Johns Hopkins Magazine Current Issue Past Issues Search Get In Touch
Wholly Hopkins
Bottom Line
Vital Signs
Forever Altered
Here and Abroad
Up and Comer

Bottom Line

When students returned to the Homewood campus this fall, they found Levering Food Court fully made over, from bright colors on the walls, to over-stuffed sofas and chairs, to updated food offerings. Here's a look at the new Levering, by the numbers:

1,3: Millions, in dollars, spent on the Levering renovation.

7: Number of paint colors used in the redecoration (including Outrageous Orange, Grape Gum, Blue Danube, and Dill Pickle).

10,000: People served in the new Levering Food Court per week.

310: Seats available for dining (up from 286 pre-renovation).

1,200: Approximate number of slices of pizza consumed each week.

1,500: Approximate number of burritos made-to-order each week.

500: Pounds of steak used in the burritos.

500: Pounds of tomatoes that go into the fresh salsas — that's salsa fresca, salsa verde, ancho chile, and chipotle salsa — each week.

300: Apples served per week.
Catherine Pierre

Vital Signs

Women, Take Heart

In a national study led by Hopkins researchers, treadmill tests were found to more accurately predict female heart disease than EKGs. Looking at exercise tests of nearly 3,000 women, the researchers found that women below the median for peak exercise capacity and heart rate recovery were at greater risk for death than those above the median. The study also showed that the EKG readings used to detect hidden heart disease in men did not accurately identify women with the disease.

"There is great public health interest in cost-effective and readily available tests that can predict cardiovascular risk in asymptomatic women, since nearly two- thirds of women who die suddenly have no previous symptoms," said Roger S. Blumenthal '81, senior study author and Hopkins' director of preventive cardiology.

The study was published in the September 24 issue of JAMA.CP

The Roots of Mental Illness

Researchers at the Johns Hopkins Children's Center have found the first hard evidence that schizophrenia and bipolar disorder may have similar genetic roots.

The study, reported in the September 6 issue of The Lancet, was done in conjunction with researchers at the University of Cambridge and the Stanley Medical Research Institute. The researchers traced the disorders to reduced expression of the genes, known as oligodendrocytes, responsible for myelin development in brain cells. Composed mostly of fats and proteins, myelin sheaths insulate nerve cells, enabling them to safely conduct electric signals between the brain and other parts of the body.

While schizophrenia and bipolar disorder differ in their presentation, there is some overlap of symptoms, and some medications have been used to treat both illnesses, said study co-author Robert Yolken, a neurovirologist at the Children's Center. This study suggests there are similar mechanisms involved in both disorders and that they may be more closely related than previously thought, he added. — Maria Blackburn

Forever Altered

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

"While I was working toward my master of administrative science degree in management at the School of Continuing Studies, I had an empowering professor, Barry Whitman. On the first day of his class, Evolution of Management, Barry told us an amazing story about how, as a POW during the Korean War, he had escaped from a manhole. He taught us that life was a gift and that we should aim high when making goals. Our assignment was to write a paper about how we planned to make major changes in our lives.

"At the time I was working as an assistant vice president of training and communications at T. Rowe Price and seeking ways to expand my career. As a result of Barry's encouragement, I applied to the White House Fellowship Program, which is extremely competitive. (Colin Powell was a White House Fellow.) While I did not get into this program, Barry told me that even if I did not get selected, the journey of applying would be worth it.

"A few years later, when I was laid off from my third dot.bomb in Los Angeles, I thought back to Barry's 'think outside the box' advice and decided to write a dating book. I had no publishing experience, although I had written for years in different corporate roles. Not only has the journey been the most positive and empowering experience in my life, but I am doing what I always wanted to do — making a positive impact on people's lives."

Liz (Heuisler) Kelly (MAS '94) is the author of SMART Man Hunting: How to Get Out There, Get Dates and Get Mr. Right. Kelly and her book have appeared on Dick Clark's The Other Half and Lifetime's Speaking of Women's Health and been featured in Glamour, Smart Woman, MSN Money, and Cosmopolitan.


A Puzzling Solution to Pollution

A new method for remediating one of the most common and persistent environmental pollutants, organohalides, has chemist Gerald Meyer puzzled in a good way. "It's safe to say that we don't fully understand why this approach works so well, but we'll take it and develop it and figure out the details as we go," says the chemistry professor.

Organohalides, a class of compounds used in pesticides, pharmaceuticals, and manufacturing, are tough to break down. Chemists have known for about 15 years that a group of naturally occurring compounds known as hemes can do the trick, but they oxidize after extraction from their natural environment. To maintain hemes' reactivity, Sherine Obare, a postdoc in Meyer's lab, used titanium dioxide, a compound known to promote chemical reactions when exposed to light. When she anchored a heme compound to titanium dioxide and exposed the system to ultraviolet light, the combination broke down organohalides much faster and more effectively than either compound could alone. Scientists may someday be able to insert a similar system in drinking water and power the removal of organohalides with sunlight. — Michael Purdy

Student Inventors Deliver

The concern over how much force an obstetrician should use while delivering a baby could be better addressed with the recent invention of a wireless electromyographic device by four biomedical engineering undergraduates at Johns Hopkins.

The EMG device can measure changes in muscle impulses that are detected by electrodes attached to the arm of a doctor during delivery.

The student inventors — Yen Shi Hoe '04, William Tam '03, I-Jean Khoo '03, and Stanley Huang '03 — have been named finalists in the undergraduate category of the National Inventors Hall of Fame's annual Collegiate Inventors Competition. The Hopkins team was one of six finalists selected from 155 entries, and they stand to win one of two $15,000 prizes or a $50,000 grand prize. Winners were slated to be announced in late October. — MB

Photo by John Dean Vignette

Talk to Maynard Hill about flying a model airplane, and you forget you're talking about a toy. The 77-year-old retired Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) engineer has spent the better part of a century perfecting his avocation: building radio-controlled model planes and launching them into the sky. Among his achievements are records for altitude (26,919 feet) and for speed on a closed course (151 miles an hour in a half kilometer squared) and dozens of others on the books with the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale, the hobby's governing board. But the real triumph came this summer when the model plane he designed and built was the first ever to make it all the way across the Atlantic Ocean.

"I dreamed of that distance for 20 years," Hill says, "but I got serious only recently." Though macular degeneration was robbing him of his eyesight, he spent five years developing the 11-pound, balsa-and-Mylar aircraft in a shed in his Silver Spring, Maryland, backyard. He built 28 versions, streamlining the fuselage, optimizing the engine, and trimming drag from the wings. Technologically souped up by his team of flight enthusiasts (including a National Geographic programmer, a NASA engineer, and a high school student who joined Hill while working as an APL intern), the models included a global positioning system and a computerized autopilot. Though the group had tested the planes for distance, last year three trans-Atlantic attempts ended when the models crashed into the ocean.

In July, Hill and his wife drove to St. Johns, Newfoundland, for another launch. Then, for a nerve-wracking 33 hours, he and his crew tracked the aircraft by computer, hoping to hear from the reception team that waited on a grassy butte in Ireland. "I slept during that time, but not soundly," Hill recalls. When the call came in that the plane had survived its 1,888-mile journey, Hill cried and hugged his wife.

Originally a metallurgist with APL, Hill developed a fancy for flight that led to his being recruited by the military to work on unmanned aircraft; his expertise led to the development of the Dragon Drone, used in the Gulf War. He still consults as an engineer, but it's the work in balsa wood that continues to lead the way. "The flow of information has always gone from my hobby into what I've done [with real planes], not the other way around," he says. — Kate Ledger

August 29, 2003

Susan and Thomas Gomes of Rhode Island arrive with their only child, Andrea, for her first day as a Hopkins freshman.

8:30 a.m. The Gomeses wake up at the Doubletree hotel and ready for the busy day.

9 a.m. The family eats breakfast at the hotel. Andrea's cell phone rings — it's Vijay, a friend she made during JHU's summer programs at the Center for Talented Youth. He will be moving into the same dorm later that day. They make plans to meet.

10:30 a.m. The car, jammed with clothes and supplies, heads to campus.

11 a.m. As soon as the car pulls up to the dorms, student orientation leaders take over. Andrea is whisked away to get her J-Card while students put her belongings in large rolling bins and scoot them to the courtyard in front of Andrea's dorm.

Noon Dad parks the car and swings by a Parent's Reception in Garland Hall before heading to the IT office to ask about hooking up his daughter's computer.

12:15 p.m. Mom sits in the hot sun on the grass outside Building A filling out last minute insurance forms.

12:30 p.m. Andrea returns with her new J-Card, a Johns Hopkins Compendium, and several course catalogs. She flops on the grass next to her mom. They flip through the material and talk about Andrea's plans to major in the humanities.

1:30 p.m. Student movers start taking Andrea's things up to her room.

3:15 p.m. After unpacking, the trio walks over to a reception at the Glass Pavilion, where they have sodas and turkey sandwiches and talk with a sophomore from Arizona about her first-year experiences at JHU.

5:45 p.m. Vijay, accompanied by his two roommates and a junior from Hopkins, visits Andrea's room and helps with her computer set-up.

6:15 p.m. The entire group walks across campus and through Charles Village to have dinner at Rocky Run, a bustling neighborhood restaurant. Mom and Dad opt to sit at a separate table so the students can get to know one another.

8:45 p.m. Back in her dorm room, Andrea writes her new roommate a note explaining that she will see her in the morning. She has decided to spend one last night with her parents.
Elizabeth Evitts


Course: Architecture in the United States, 1860-1930

Instructor: W. Barksdale Maynard, lecturer, Department of the History of Art at Johns Hopkins, also at Goucher College and the University of Delaware

Course Description: American architecture underwent astonishing changes during these years. Students are introduced to the leading architects: Frank Furness, Henry Hobson Richardson, Louis Sullivan, Frank Lloyd Wright, along with the firm of McKim, Mead and White. They also visit Evergreen and Homewood houses, which sponsor the course. Among the questions addressed are: What was Europe's role in America's architectural transformation? Does the early skyscraper belong to New York or Chicago? How did Modernism supplant historicism, and what was gained and lost in this epochal shift?

Reading List:

A History of American Architecture: Buildings in Their Cultural and Technological Context, Mark Gelernter (1999).

Frank Furness: Architecture and the Violent Mind, Michael J. Lewis (2001).

Cheap, Quick, & Easy: Imitative Architectural Materials, 1870-1930, Pamela H. Simpson (1999).

Living Architecture: A Biography of H. H. Richardson, James F. O'Gorman (1997).

McKim, Mead & White, Architects, Leland M. Roth (1983).

The Architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright, Neil Levine (1996).

Rise of the New York Skyscraper, 1865-1913, Sarah Bradford Landau (1996).

Here and Abroad

In the days following September 11, Khalid Itum '02 (MA '03), a Jordanian citizen who was then a master's degree candidate at Hopkins' Nitze School of Advanced International Studies, was bothered by Americans' perception of the Middle East. So last June, after raising $65,000 in sponsorships from Royal Jordanian Airlines and other Jordanian businesses and a $15,000 grant from SAIS, Itum led 17 SAIS students on a 17-day trip to Jordan, where they met with high-level government officials, former members of Parliament, and representatives from such non-governmental agencies as the Jordan Forum for Business and Professional Women. They also traveled throughout Jordan. "If anything, people who went now have a much better understanding of the Middle East mentality," says Itum. "They learned about the culture and what the place had to offer."

A study by Johns Hopkins and Ugandan researchers, published in the September 13 issue of The Lancet, has found that nevirapine, a safe and inexpensive drug, can reduce the transmission of HIV from mothers to babies. The study of more than 600 women in Uganda found that giving one dose of the drug to the mother during labor and one dose to the baby within three days of birth reduced HIV transmission by 41 percent — a better result than the more common, multi-dose regimen of zidovudine (AZT).

In September, surgeons from the Johns Hopkins Children's Center successfully separated 2-month-old conjoined twins from Nigeria. Faithful and Favour Sobowale-Davies were joined at the abdomen and sternum, and their livers were fused together. Their family brought the twins to Baltimore, where Hopkins surgeons Paul Colombani and Henry Lau led a medical team of 17 through a one-hour surgery to separate them, followed by separate hour-long surgeries to close the girls' incisions. "The next step for the twins is normal life," said Colombani. "They will grow and develop into healthy little girls."


It's been 50 years since The Johns Hopkins Science Review wowed television audiences with its quirky brand of educational programming. The program, which aired on ABC and highlighted everything at Hopkins from its film and video collections to the life and work of Edgar Allan Poe, was the first nationally televised educational series. Now it's back on the air via television and the Web. At 9 p.m. on November 7, 14, and 21, the Research Channel will re-broadcast episodes of the 30-minute program, including "The Usefulness of Useless Knowledge," "The Master Glass Blower," and "A Visit to Our Studio." The episodes feature introductions by actor and director John Astin '52, who is now a visiting professor in the Writing Seminars.

The Research Channel is a 24-hour cable station formed by a consortium of research universities including Johns Hopkins. It is available via satellite and as a live streaming broadcast on the Internet. — MB

Up & Comer

Name: Mavis G. Sanders
Age: 38
Associate professor in the Graduate Division of Education at the
School of Professional Studies in Business and Education; research scientist at Hopkins' Center for Research on the Education of Children Placed at Risk (CRESPAR)

Stats: BA in urban affairs/political science from Barnard College, MA in sociology from Stanford, PhD '02 in education from Stanford; Peace Corps volunteer in Papua, New Guinea

Scouting Report: Says Joyce Epstein, director of Hopkins' Center on School, Family and Community Partnerships: "By addressing new and difficult questions with quantitative and qualitative methods, Mavis' research has advanced the field of school, family, and community partnerships."

Research: Currently compiling five years of research on how schools (suburban, rural, and urban) can identify potential community partners to achieve goals for student learning and school improvement. Includes everything from having a local florist donate flowers for student appreciation day to establishing volunteer tutoring programs. "Schools used to be a more integral part of the community. What we're trying to do is figure out ways we can bring some of the cohesion back and help the community to understand that the school cannot educate students alone."

Her Take on the No Child Left Behind Act: "The goal is laudable, but I don't believe that punitive testing without support is the way to accomplish it. We can't implement best practices without the resources to do so."

Recommended Reading: Teaching Through the Storm: A Journal of Hope, by Karen Hale Hankins. "This book captures the soul of teaching and learning." — Sue De Pasquale


Yes, Hopkins has cheerleaders. And they're a dedicated bunch: 15 undergraduate women who offer their non-academic hours to supporting Blue Jays football, men's lacrosse, and men's and women's basketball. It's no wonder they use a lot of catchphrases — in the heat of battle, there's just no time for "one cheerleader steps into two other cheerleaders' hands and is lifted up to another's shoulders." It's much easier to say

Base: The cheerleader(s) supporting the weight of another cheerleader during a stunt.

Flyer: The one who goes up in the stunt.

Basket Toss: A stunt in which at least three bases throw a flyer into the air, and the flyer executes a skill (toe touch, pike, twist, tuck, or kick) before landing in the arms of her base(s).

Liberty (or "Lib"): A stunt in which the flyer stands on one leg in the bases' hands and extends her other leg, knee bent.

Pinch a Penny: When a flyer on top of a stunt squeezes her legs together so that they don't spread and push the bases apart.

"Peanut Butter, Jelly, Spread Out": A song (usually sung at cheerleading camp) that reminds cheerleaders to give themselves enough room to move around.

Clean: Describes a stunt executed perfectly, or a cheerleader standing with hands by her sides and feet together.

Donut Holes: When a cheerleader makes fists, "donut holes" means the larger side (the thumb and index finger) should face the crowd.

Cheerios: The opposite of donut holes — "cheerios" means the pinky-finger side of the fists should face outward.

Three cheers for the coach, Ravens cheerleader Courtney Jarrett, who helped us with this list.CP

Return to November 2003 Table of Contents

  The Johns Hopkins Magazine | The Johns Hopkins University | 3003 North Charles Street |
Suite 100 | Baltimore, Maryland 21218 | Phone 410.516.7645 | Fax 410.516.5251