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

Science & Technology



WIKIMEDIA COMMONS / CC BY 2.0
The viral strain of new cases in the recent monkeypox outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo is sexually transmissible. 

Science news in review: Dec. 3

As we are approaching finals season, let’s take some time to acknowledge the hard work of scientists around the world and learn from their commitment to their work. This week’s science news covers new insights into the monkeypox virus in Congo, robots made of human cells, archaeological preservation in Ukraine and an AI-robot that can predict and synthesize new materials.


COURTESY OF YUCHEN YANG
Yang discusses the exploitation of AI safety systems in a conversation with The News-Letter.

SneakyPrompt: Revealing the vulnerabilities of text-to-image AI

In the rapidly evolving field of artificial intelligence (AI), understanding and improving AI security is increasingly crucial. Yuchen Yang, a third-year doctoral student advised by Yinzhi Cao, employed an automated attack framework to reveal the vulnerabilities in text-to-image generative models such as DALL·E 3 and Stable Diffusion. The paper, “SneakyPrompt: Evaluating Robustness of Text-to-image Generative Models' Safety Filters,” formerly titled “SneakyPrompt: Jailbreaking Text-to-image Generative Models,“ will be presented at the 45th Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Symposium on Security and Privacy.


KATHERINE E. WARREN / CC BY 3.0
MRI images of a brain affected by diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma, an aggressive pediatric brain cancer and a focus of Craig-Schwartz’s research as an undergraduate at Hopkins.

Everything downstream: Reflections on two years of cancer research

Craig-Schwartz works in a pediatric oncology lab under Dr. Michael Koldobskiy, whose research focuses on diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG), an aggressive and fatal form of brain cancer that occurs almost exclusively in children. The lab is currently working on developing new drugs to combat the tumor as well as studying the epigenetic mechanisms of how the development of the tumor is regulated. 


RAWPIXEL.COM / CC0 1.0
Peng Jiang from the Cancer Data Science Laboratory at the National Cancer Institute shared three computational models that can advance studies in cancer research. 

Peng Jiang shares the role of computational models in studying cancer

On Tuesday, Nov. 7, Peng Jiang, a Stadtman investigator for the Cancer Data Science Laboratory, held a talk discussing the role of big data approaches in studying intercellular signaling — specifically, how cancers evade immune system function in humans. The talk was titled “Big Data Approaches to Study Intercellular Signaling During Tumor Immune Evasion” and was hosted by the Institute for Computational Medicine and the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Hopkins. 


PXHERE / PUBLIC DOMAIN
In this week's news, Chinese researchers announced the birth of the first chimeric monkeys created with stem cells.

Science news in review: Nov. 13

With Thanksgiving approaching, we can all take a moment to be grateful for the beauty of scientific discovery. This week has brought images from the Euclid Space Telescope, biological chimeras and yet another superconductivity controversy.


DEFENSE VISUAL INFORMATION DISTRIBUTION SERVICE / PUBLIC DOMAIN
Hopkins alum Tom Polen discussed the state of the medical device industry in a Carey Business School Forum.

Tom Polen discusses state of health care industry in public forum

On Tuesday, Nov. 7, the Johns Hopkins Health Policy Forum invited Chairman, CEO and President of Becton, Dickinson and Company (BD) Tom Polen to share his insights into the current state of global health care and BD’s role in it. Polen was joined by Dean of Carey Business School Alex Triantis.


COURTESY OF AIMON RAHMAN
Rahman discusses the importance of applying deep learning neural networks to the medical industry in a conversation with Annie Huang.

Revolutionizing medicine: Aimon Rahman on enhancing health care with deep learning

Aimon Rahman, a third-year doctoral student in the Vision & Image Understanding (VIU) Lab in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department, is making significant contributions to the field of medical artificial intelligence (AI). In her Hopkins Engineering Applications and Research Tutorials (HEART) course titled "Introduction to Deep Learning for Medical Imaging," Rahman introduces students to the practical applications of computer vision in medical image analysis.


COURTESY OF DEBOJYOTI BISWAS
A team of Hopkins researchers discovered mode-switching while studying weakly electric glass knifefish.

Hopkins lab proposes novel solution to the explore/exploit trade-off

In everyday life, we all make choices based on the information available to us. These decisions range from life-changing acts to the minutiae of existence. The question we answer, consciously or not, is whether or not we have enough data on which to act, or if we need to gain more information before doing so. This question is called the explore/exploit trade-off.


NIAID / CC BY 2.0
A new drug can treat patients with the antimicrobial-resistant strain of N. gonorrhoeae, a bacteria that causes the sexually transmitted disease gonorrhea. 

Science news in review: Nov. 5

As we enter the November stretch of the semester, researchers around the world are also working hard to advance efforts that can be beneficial to human health. This week’s science news highlights endeavors to understand various health challenges and identify treatments to combat them. 


Chemical engineer Jean Tom offers guidance for a successful career

On Friday, Oct. 27, the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering hosted a seminar featuring Executive Director of Development Engineering and Chemistry Process Development at Bristol Myers Squibb (BMS) Jean Tom, an accomplished chemical engineer with a distinguished career in the pharmaceutical industry. The seminar provided students with insights into entering the workforce and addressing challenges in their careers.


COURTESY OF ZACHARY BAHAR
The PHSF aims to facilitate student discussion of public health issues in a low-stakes environment.

Creating space: The Public Health Student Forum discusses sustainability in Baltimore

The Public Health Student Forum (PHSF) held an open discussion on environmental safety and sustainability in Baltimore on Oct. 29. The event featured a conversation on the efficacy of Hopkins composting, water safety in light of the recent Cryptosporidium contamination, how institutions can build trust with the Baltimore community and the importance of engaging in local politics.


SCOT NELSON / CC0 1.0 DEED
Alex Dong reflects on his experience as an undergraduate researcher studying Bradyrhizobium Diazoefficiens, a bacteria that is important for nitrogen fixation in legume plants. 

The complexity of Brady Diazoefficiens

I opened the incubator door, and a familiar whiff of an earthy, repulsive odor attacked my nostrils. I held my breath and slowly took out a stack of yellow gel plates covered with small white dots. This could be the day, I hoped to myself. This was just another round of mutation screening, trying to find that one special bacterial colony with that one specific mutation that could prove our hypothesis.


COURTESY OF ABIGAIL TUSCHMAN
By activating Gq-GPCR signaling pathways, Xie was able to produce an analgesic effect in mice.

Alison Xie describes analgesic effects of glial-neuron interactions

The Department of Biology hosted a seminar on Thursday, Oct. 26 featuring Alison Xie, an assistant research professor of surgery-urology at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus. The talk, titled “Glial-Neuron Interactions in Sensory Ganglia Alleviate the Symptoms of Chronic Pain in Mice,” discussed Xie’s research on how Gq-GPCR activation in satellite glial cells (SGCs) of the sensory ganglia can produce analgesic effects in mouse models.


PIXABAY / CC0
CT-SLEB is a new machine learning model that can generate polygenic risk scores with higher predictive ability for non-European populations. 

More accurate genetic risk assessment for people of non-European ancestries by new machine learning model

Nilanjan Chatterjee, a professor of biostatistics and genetic epidemiology at the School of Medicine and also recognized as a Bloomberg Distinguished Professor, collaborated on a machine-learning model that would improve the predictive ability of polygenic risk scores in non-European populations. This research, a collaboration with the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Haoyu Zhang from the National Cancer Institute, was recently published in Nature Genetics.


GRID-ARENDAL / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 DEED
Research shows that there is little humans can do to stop the melting of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet. 

Science news in review: Oct. 29

It’s spooky season, and the following scientific findings sure are a treat! Scientific news this week ranges from as microscopic as gut microbiome to as macroscopic as Mars. 


NOIRLAB / CC BY 4.0 DEED
This week brought a new breakthrough in LIGO's ability to detect gravitational waves, enabling even more precise measurements.

Science news in review: Oct. 27

As we hop back into school after Fall Break, let’s review some of the biggest headlines in science. This week features stories about malaria vaccines, weight loss drugs, gravitational wave observations and lithium-ion batteries.


ZEISS MICROSCOPY / CC BY-SA 2.0 DEED
A team of Hopkins researchers in collaboration with London Women’s Clinic in the U.K. identified a strong association between chromosomal abnormalities, developmental arrest and low morphological rating in preimplantation human in vitro fertilized embryos. 

Study on chromosomal abnormalities sheds light on in early embryo development in human reproduction and IVF

Rajiv McCoy, an assistant professor in the Department of Biology, and his collaborators at London Women’s Clinic in the U.K. discovered a strong correlation between chromosome abnormalities, embryo arrest and low blastocyst morphological grading of the in vitro fertilization (IVF) of human preimplantation embryos. Their results were recently published in Genome Medicine.