Published by the Students of Johns Hopkins since 1896
September 28, 2023

Science & Technology

NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS / CC BY-NC 2.0
Among this week’s science news, the Curiosity Rover reached the Gediz Vallis Ridge, the suspected location of an ancient debris flow.

Science news in review: Sept. 26

Just as the seasons change, bringing rain with them, so too does scientific learning fall upon us. This week‘s scientific highlights include new insights into European Neanderthal populations, assumptions on one of Leonardo da Vinci‘s hypotheses proving false and a new phase for the Curiosity Rover.

The impact of COVID-19 on this year’s respiratory virus season is an ongoing topic of public interest and attention. 

The state of COVID-19 and influenza

Three years. Three years have passed since the emergence of the COVID-19 virus. Three years since “quarantine” and “mask-up” became a part of our daily vernacular. New coronavirus variants have been making headlines every day. A world of COVID-19 surges, masks and routine vaccinations is still settling as the new normal.

Hu shares her experiences as an undergraduate researcher in a lab studying neurotransmitter receptor function and synaptic transmission. 

Overcoming fears: Jennifer Hu discusses her research experience

Sophomore Jennifer Hu expected that research would be part of her Hopkins experience, but that didn’t mean it came without surprises. Through the Bloomberg Distinguished Professorships summer fellowship program, Hu began working with the Huganir Laboratory, which investigates neurotransmitter receptor function and synaptic transmission.

NASA announced the results of its UAP independent study team, depicted in a May 31 meeting, this week.

Science news in review: Sept. 17

Although we are only three weeks into the semester, science has continued to progress as usual. Read on for details about machine learning in medicine, using ecstasy (MDMA) to treat post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), scientific fraud and NASA’s new approach to Unidentified Anomalous Phenomena (UAP). 

U.S. ARMY / CC0 1.0
A team of Hopkins researchers examined the neurosurgical application of a navigation system used in self-driving cars.

Brain surgery visualization with navigational technology found in self-driving cars

Prasad Vagdargi and his team from both the Department of Computer Science and the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Hopkins invented a real-time endoscopic guidance method for neurosurgeries that resembles navigational technologies in self-driving cars. Their findings were recently published in IEEE Transactions on Medical Robots and Bionics.

GDJ / CC0 1.0
Zhu shares how her research experience as an undergraduate connects to a personal life story and facilitates her learning and growth in her academic life. 

Cognitive cartography: Reflection from a traveler en route to research

An eight-year-old in Shanghai who did not accurately communicate pick-up time with my parents, I once managed to walk two miles from school to home without getting lost in the city traffic. However, I could not summon up the courage to do so until I mentally mapped the route I would take with great precision. In doing so, I created a cognitive map where external landmarks provided me with spatial directions that guided me home. 

A team of researchers from École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne in Switzerland discovered bioengineered E. coli’s ability to generate electricity and consume organic waste at the same time. 

Science news in review: Sept. 10

This week’s news highlights work from researchers around the world whose focuses range from sleep deprivation to flexible robots. We invite you to take a moment to appreciate endeavors and advances in a variety of science fields made by experts around the globe. 

A study published by the University of Groningen this week determined that the germline mutation rate in baleen whales is not responsible for their low cancer rates.   

Science news in review: Sept. 3

Welcome back, Blue Jays! As the semester begins, The News-Letter’s Science and Technology section invites you to take a moment each week to learn about the exciting developments in STEM. Part of doing research is noting the research done by others, and we hope to provide you with a resource to do just that.  In the news this week are the impacts of ancient climate change on early humans, a new species of deep-sea bacteria, the discovery of new exoplanets and a survey of whale mutation rates.

One article published last week connects graying hair to decreased movement of regenerative stem cells which rejuvenate hair follicles. 

Science news in review: April 26

With the semester coming to an end, we bring you The News-Letter’s final look of the year at some of the incredible science news from this past week. From nanowire brains to the origins of gray hair, we hope you enjoy this rundown, and we can’t wait to return with more science news in August!

Hatice Gunes delivered a seminar on the emotional potential of artificial intelligence (AI) technology.

Hatice Gunes describes research on emotionally intelligent AI at LCSR seminar

The Laboratory for Computational Sensing and Robotics (LCSR) hosted Hatice Gunes, a professor in the University of Cambridge’s department of Computer Science and Technology, on April 12. Her seminar was titled “Emotional Intelligence for Human-Embodied AI Interaction” and covered Gunes’ work at the intersection of psychology, computer science and robotics.

Former Senator Barbara Mikulski discussed women's healthcare advocacy following a documentary screening featuring her work.

Senator Mikulski discusses women’s healthcare advocacy following film screening

Former U.S. Senator Barbara Mikulski, the longest-serving senator in Maryland history and a faculty affiliate at the SNF Agora Institute, visited Homewood Campus on April 12 for a discussion with the Hopkins community following a screening of the mini-documentary Women’s Health Advocacy: Saving Lives A Million at a Time. The film was directed by Marnie Hertzler, a local documentarian, and Emma Hannaway, her producing partner. 

Among other science news, a study published in Nature last week showed that octopuses have taste receptors on their tentacles. 

Science news in review: April 16

With only two weeks left this semester, let us pause for a moment amid the flurry of exams and projects to explore the fascinating scientific breakthroughs from the past week. Recent advances provide further insights into areas of cancer biology, geoscience, zoology, physics and astronomy.

Students participate in a Brain Bingo Social Night on April 4 as part of Nu Rho Psi's Brain Awareness Week.

Brain Awareness Week celebrates neuroscience at Hopkins

Brain Awareness Week (BAW) seeks to highlight recent developments in neuroscience and increase the Hopkins community’s awareness of neuroscience and behavioral biology. This year’s program, which ran from April 3–7, is focused on “Emotions and Personality” and was organized by the University’s Undergraduate Society for Neuroscience, Nu Rho Psi.