Published by the Students of Johns Hopkins since 1896
February 22, 2024

Science & Technology



CHAVAL BRASIL / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
Miao shares her discovery of the parallels between two of her interests, research and skiing. 

Hypothesis testing in lab and on the slopes

As I stood at the top of a ski slope in a terrain park, I looked down upon the 20-foot jump that my friends and I wanted to hit. One critical question arose in my head: How fast should we hit the jump? 


ESO/M. KORNMESSER / CC BY 4.0
Cosmologist Joseph Silk explores the role of supermassive black holes in the early universe in a recent paper.

New paper demonstrates link between black holes and early star formation

Supermassive black holes have long fascinated physicists and astronomers. Almost every large galaxy has a supermassive black hole located at its center, and with solar masses ranging from 100,000 to billions or even hundreds of billions, these structures bind galaxies. As gas falls onto its accretion disks, it heats up and releases powerful waves of electromagnetic energy. How do these cosmic maelstroms emerge? What could enable their formation?


ALEXAS_FOTOS / CC0 1.0
A new study reveals smoking’s long-lasting effects on immune system function and genetic activity even after individuals have quit smoking. 

Science news in review: Feb. 18

As the midterm season begins to pick up, we recommend taking a breather and reading about this week’s biggest headliners in science and technology: Smoking causes even more harm than previously anticipated, SpaceX is launching a spacecraft to reach the moon, scientists discovered a reason behind long-lasting allergies and newly engineered beef-rice may help address food insecurity.


THISISENGINEERING / PUBLIC DOMAIN
The Leading Change in Medicine series discussed the power of open-source software technology.

WordPress Founder Matt Mullenweg discusses innovation at Hopkins lecture series

Matt Mullenweg participated in a discussion discussion led by Professor of Radiology and Radiological Science Elliot Fishman on Tuesday, Feb. 13 as part of the Leading Change: Perspective from Outside of Medicine Conversation series. Mullenweg is the founder of WordPress, and he shared insights from his journey with open-source technology, his leadership style and his vision for a more inclusive and innovative future.


NATIONAL HUMAN GENOME RESEARCH INSTITUTE / PDM 1.0
New bioinformatics software allows researchers to investigate vertebrate genomes in an efficient, organizable and accessible way. 

Insights across species: Mapping the genomes of vertebrates

Michael Schatz, a Bloomberg Distinguished Professor of the Department of Computer Science, collaborated with the Pennsylvania State University, Rockefeller University and various other institutions to increase the efficiency of whole genome assembly. They developed a pipeline, a software that automates critical processes for genome assembly. It is now publicly available on Galaxy, a hub for publicly storing large datasets and software for data analysis. 



JAMIE MCGARRY / CC0 1.0 
Dr. Christopher Sogge, the current editor-in-chief of the American Journal of Mathematics, shared his experience working for the oldest journal published at the Johns Hopkins University Press. 

Most historical academic journal in mathematics started and continues at Hopkins

The Johns Hopkins University Press, established in 1878, is the oldest university press in the United States. It publishes academic journals and books, both online and in print, and advocates for the accessible distribution of various mediums of knowledge. The American Journal of Mathematics, the most historical mathematics journal in the Western Hemisphere, was founded and started publishing in the same year as the establishment of the press.



JEFF PANG / CC BY 2.0 
By harnessing cloud computing methods, Berke has turned existing data sets into new results.

Seth Berke transforms genomics research through cloud computing

Recent graduate Seth Berke didn’t expect to leave Hopkins interested in pursuing a research career but, after using cloud computing methods to analyze genomic data, that’s exactly what’s happened. Berke works with biostatistician Ingo Ruczinski where he develops more efficient methods of employing and gaining insight from preexisting data sets.



COURTESY OF SAIKAT DAN
Dan discusses his research into computational mechanics in an interview with The News-Letter.

The “realness” of computer simulation: A conversation with Saikat Dan

Saikat Dan is a research fellow affiliated with the Computational Mechanics Research Laboratory (CMRL) and is advised by Somnath Ghosh in the Civil Engineering Department. As a PhD student this past fall, he taught a HEART course titled Computer Simulations: How Real are They? in which he gave a high-level overview of the field as well as applications of his research.


Courtesy of Robert Johnston
The Johnston Lab employed organoids to establish a relationship between red/green cone development and retinoic acid.

Hopkins lab uncovers mechanism behind cone cell development

A recent paper published by a joint team of researchers from Hopkins and the University of Washington, Seattle used retinal cell organoids to establish that the human red and green cone cell development is regulated by retinoic acid. The paper, titled Retinoic acid signaling regulates spatiotemporal specification of human green and red cones, was published in PLOS Biology on Jan. 11, 2024.


NIH Image Gallery / CC BY-NC 2.0
In mice exposed to chronic stress, bacteria Lactobacillus in the gut microbiome reduces the differentiation of intestinal stem cells to intestinal epithelial cells with protective functions.

Science news in review: Jan. 28

A new semester has begun as we returned to a snowy campus. This week’s science news reveals exciting new insights that can help transition our mindset from vacation to school.


JD HANCOCK / CC BY 2.0 DEED
A recent paper presented a novel spinal stimulator more efficient than traditional methods, like the one shown above.

Hopkins team develops new spinal stimulator

In a giant stride toward restoring mobility to those grappling with lower limb paralysis, Hopkins scientists have unveiled promising research on a novel spinal stimulator that could potentially transform the lives of approximately the lives of 1.5 million Americans affected by paralysis due to spinal cord injuries.


NASA JOHNSON / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
A former APL scientist, Koch shared her journey to the ISS.

Astronaut Christina Koch discusses career at APL

On Friday, Dec. 1, the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) hosted a colloquium presentation featuring astronaut Christina Koch. The talk, titled “Human Spaceflight: A Mission to the International Space Station,” discussed Koch’s journey to becoming an astronaut and life in space.


ECOLE POLYTECHNIQUE / CC BY-SA 2.0
Lee shared his view on defining biological and artificial intelligence and its implications for AI development and regulation. 

Defining intelligence: A talk with Daeyeol Lee

On Wednesday, Nov. 29, the student-led Artificial Intelligence Society at Johns Hopkins (HopAI) invited Daeyeol Lee, a Bloomberg Distinguished Professor of Neuroscience and Psychological Brain Sciences, to share his views on biological and artificial intelligence (AI). At the talk, Lee explored how intelligence manifests itself across biological boundaries and how the definition of intelligence can help developers and users gain a deeper understanding of AI.


LIZ WEST / CC BY 2.0
Yang discussed her work on MRI contrast agents used to detect cancers in a Nov. 29 lecture.

Jenny Yang improves methods to detect cancer progression

On Wednesday, Nov. 29, the In-vivo Cellular and Molecular Imaging Center (ICMIC) hosted a seminar featuring Regents' Professor of Chemistry at Georgia State University Jenny Yang. The talk, titled “Noninvasive Precision Imaging of Microenvironment of Cancer and Metastasis,” discussed biochemical approaches to improving magnetic resonance imaging of cancers.


DEFENSE VISUAL INFORMATION DISTRIBUTION SERVICE / PUBLIC DOMAIN
Parallel Learning seeks to transform special education with virtual classroom spaces.

Diana Heldfond offers techniques to improve special education

While many first graders eagerly jump into reading, this was not the case for Parallel Learning CEO and Forbes’ 30 Under 30 Education Entrepreneur Diana Heldfond, who spoke in a Nov. 30 installment of the Leading Change: Perspectives from Outside of Medicine talk series titled "Neurodiversity and Leadership."