Published by the Students of Johns Hopkins since 1896
May 18, 2024

Science & Technology



NIH IMAGE GALLERY / CC BY-NC 2.0
Senior Saahith Potluri discusses his research with the Calabresi Lab in an interview with The News-Letter.

Just grateful: Saahith Potluri reflects on two years of research

For the past two-and-a-half years, Potluri has worked in the Calabresi Lab which studies possible treatments for Multiple Sclerosis (MS). MS is an autoimmune disease of the central nervous system, and as it progresses, it can result in extreme fatigue, muscle weakness, loss of motor skills, loss of vision and numbness, among other symptoms. It is the most common disabling neurological disease for adults ages 20–40, and there is currently no known cure.


NICK YOUNGSON / CC BY-SA 3.0
Tiwari argues that open-access publishing holds a myriad of benefits for both researchers and the general public. 

Breaking knowledge barriers: The need for open-access in science

The internet serves as a haven of scientific information, representing an era where the knowledge of anything we wish to know is available at our fingertips. Yet in many ways, accurate, firsthand accessibility to scientific research and comprehensibility of scientific knowledge is severely limited. A substantial overhaul is needed in the way that the general populace accesses scientific knowledge.


JULIO C. VALENCIA / CC BY-NC 2.0
A team of researchers recently developed a deep-learning algorithm capable of detecting the elusive origin of metastatic cancers. 

Science news in review: April 21

Although the semester is wrapping up at Hopkins, science endeavors around the world continue to yield exciting discoveries. This week’s Science News in Review covers new technology to identify the origin of metastatic cancers, the long-term effects of pregnancy complications, novel neural circuitry for food motivation and appreciation for a butterfly in the Amazon. 


ESO/L.Calçada / CC BY 4.0
A team of researchers recently found that the most energetic gamma-ray burst “brightest of all time” did not produce any heavy metals as previously expected. 

Science news in review: April 14

As the semester begins to slow down, scientific discovery has not. This week’s science news in review explores new findings from the James Webb Space Telescope, the discovery of a nitrogen-fixing organelle, an accident in molecular evolution and the legacy of Peter Higgs.


EUROPEAN MOLECULAR BIOLOGY LABORATORY / CC BY-NC-ND 4.0
The Bell Lab recently published a method to identify COVID-19 using AI analysis of ultrasound images.

AI breakthrough in COVID-19 treatment

Researchers at Hopkins have used AI to achieve a significant milestone in the battle against COVID-19. The team has developed an automated detection tool capable of identifying patients with the virus from ultrasound images of the lung. This work furthers the use of artificial intelligence in the healthcare professions.


DARRYL LEJA / PUBLIC DOMAIN
Pop, a professor at the University of Maryland, discussed the current computational challenges in microbiome research and shared how his lab developed a tool in response to those challenges. 

The new frontier of microbiome science: Computational challenges and solutions

The microbiome refers to the whole sum of microorganisms in a particular environment, such as the collective sum of gut bacteria in a human being. As the field of metagenomics matures, scientists are increasingly recognizing the need for sophisticated tools and technologies to decipher the complexities hidden within these microbial ecosystems. Professor Mihai Pop at the University of Maryland gave a talk on the analytical challenges of microbiome science and how they can be combated by computational methods. 


COURTESY OF ZACHARY BAHAR
Hopkins community members gather on the Beach to witness the total solar eclipse.

Hopkins community celebrates 2024 total solar eclipse

On Monday, April 8, hundreds of Hopkins students and community members gathered on the Beach to watch the 2024 total solar eclipse. Beginning at 2:05 p.m. and lasting until 4:33 p.m., the eclipse allowed viewers to see a rare sight: the moon passing between the sun and the Earth.


COSMIC TIMETRAVELER / PUBLIC DOMAIN
Dubey reflects on how her research experience as an undergraduate shares commonalities with her childhood experiences and shapes how she thinks today.

Growing roots: From backyard gardens to molecular biology

I came to Hopkins drawn to molecular biology and its incredible potential for growth and transformation. I am proud to say that my grandmother got me interested in biological development mechanisms. My lab — the Chatterjee Lab — studies the interactions between genes and various proteins involved in signaling pathways linked to cancer, inflammatory disease and cardiovascular disease.


PATORJK / CC BY-SA 4.0
Sangree, from the Hopkins Department of Civil and Systems Engineering, used her expertise to share reasons behind the collapse of Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore.  

The Key Bridge collapse: Engineering lessons and perspectives from the tragedy that shook Baltimore

On March 26 at about 1:30 a.m., the cargo ship Dali struck the Francis Scott Key Bridge, causing a disastrous collapse that sent shockwaves through the city of Baltimore and the structural engineering community nationwide. Questions arose about the safety of the bridge and how such a disastrous event occurred. My deepest condolences go out to the families of those lost in the collapse. Shedding light on what caused such a catastrophic disaster is critical to ensuring that such a failure doesn’t occur again. 


PHIL HART / CC BY-NC-SA 4.0
This week's most significant science news is the forthcoming total solar eclipse which will be seen across North America on Monday, April 8.

Science news in review: April 7

As the semester winds down, take a moment to learn about this week's breaking science news. We learned about scientists’ preparations for studying the total solar eclipse, the rediscovery of the world's first police crime lab, how AI can detect severe floods worldwide and the necessary re-evaluation of air pollution’s impact on public health.


WAYNE HSIEH / CC BY-NC 2.0
Friedman discussed his work earthquake-proofing buildings, including the California Memorial Stadium.

David Friedman gives talk on earthquake safety engineering

On Thursday, March 28, the Department of Civil and Systems Engineering hosted David Friedman, emeritus CEO and board chair of Forell Elsesser Structural Engineers. The talk, titled “The Practice of Structural and Earthquake Engineering Today and Three Unique Structural Engineering Projects," touched on Friedman’s projects and methodologies as well as the challenges posed by the constraints of the environment. Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering Jeremy Brown organized the event. 


DEVIANTARTS / CC BY-NC-ND 3.0
Liu shared her work on non-invasive optical imaging techniques that allow real-time visualization of neuronal networks and functions in free-moving model organisms. 

Biophotonics imaging transforms studies of neuronal activities

Yuehan Liu is a fifth-year doctoral candidate affiliated with the Biophotonics Imaging Technology Lab (BIT) advised by Xingde Li. She recently gave a talk at SPIE Photonics West BiOS entitled "Two-photon fiberscope with a proactive optoelectrical commutator for rotational resistance-free neuroimaging in freely-behaving rodents." Her talk focused on the recent progress of non-invasive imaging technologies that could revolutionize the study of brain function and diseases.


DEFENSE VISUAL INFORMATION DISTRIBUTION SERVICE / PUBLIC DOMAIN
Scientists recently advocated against a reduced budget for NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory.

Science news in review: April 2

In 2016, many U.S. diplomats at the U.S. embassy in Havana fell ill with mysterious symptoms. They reported feeling hearing loud noises or experiencing intense headaches.  The illness was dubbed Havana syndrome, though it is sometimes referred to as anomalous health incidents (AHIs).


WIKIMEDIA COMMONS / PUBLIC DOMAIN
Weisser shared how printers and booksellers contributed to distributing treatment for venereal disease in 17th- and 18th-century London. 

Medicinal practices of the past: Purchasing cures in 18th-century London

On Thursday, March 7, the Virginia Fox Stern Center for the Study of the Book in the Renaissance, situated at Hopkins Sheridan Libraries, hosted Olivia Weisser, professor at the University of Massachusetts Boston and a historian of medicine. Weisser’s research focuses on health in 16th- to 18th-century Britain, and her lecture titled “Shopping for Pox Cures in Early Modern London” analyzed the process of purchasing treatments for venereal disease, a term that encompasses what are today known as sexually transmitted diseases. 


DWIGHT SIPLER / CC BY 2.0 
A recent study from the Prasse lab analyzed contaminant levels in Baltimore-grown kale with positive results.

Green and clean: An investigation of contaminants in locally grown kale

In a recent study, a team of Hopkins researchers analyzed contaminants found in kale grown on Baltimore farms. The findings, published in Environmental Sciences & Technology, are a reassurance that local-grown kale is safe to eat, and the innovative approach used is paving the way for future research in environmental science. 


CMB IMAGES / PUBLIC DOMAIN
A recent analysis of the polarization of the Cosmic Microwave Background sheds light on the universe's development.

CLASS furthers understanding of the Cosmic Microwave Background

A recent paper published by a team of Hopkins physicists and astronomers has permanently changed the landscape of the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) — in this case, literally. The paper, published in The Astrophysical Journal on Monday, March 4, includes the most detailed observations of the CMB taken from Earth.


FLAVIO SERAFINI / CC BY-NC 2.0
Chung reflects on the iterative but reflective nature of research through which she learns important skills and obtains cherished moments in her research lab. 

Finding my place in the vast world of research

When I was younger, I had always imagined a research lab as the kind of fancy modern room that we see in sci-fi movies — full of scientists in pristine white coats operating sleek machines and furiously pipetting into empty beakers (without any aseptic technique). Thus, my perception of a research lab was completely renewed when, as a freshman last winter, I joined Dr. Peter Searson’s lab at the Institute for NanoBioTechnology.


ANDREW REDING / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
Gynandromorphism, a phenotypic trait where an animal has both male and female characteristics, is found in birds such as ducks, chickens and a green honeycreeper that was recently spotted in Colombia. 

Science news in review: March 10

As we approach the final stretch before spring break, let’s look beyond our class content and appreciate how scientists around the world have applied textbook knowledge to generate meaningful research findings. This week’s science news focuses on fascinating biodiversity in nature, humans’ impact on the environment and the potential to restore past lives on Earth. 


LARA JAMESON / PEXELS LICENSE
Michael Goldfarb shared his experiences developing prosthetic limbs during a recent lecture.

Revolutionizing prosthetics: Balancing power and passivity

On Thursday, Feb. 29, The Johns Hopkins Department of Mechanical Engineering hosted Michael Goldfarb, the H. Fort Flowers Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Director at the Center for Intelligent Mechatronics at Vanderbilt University. The talk shed light on novel perspectives regarding powered lower limb prostheses. 


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