Published by the Students of Johns Hopkins since 1896
November 28, 2020

Science & Technology




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Tom Hanks was among the first high-profile celebrities to be diagnosed with COVID-19. 

White coats and A-lists: celebrities in the hospital room

Over the past eight months, COVID-19 has spared no one — including the rich and famous.  In early March, actor Tom Hanks was one of the first public figures to test positive. In spring and summer, Amanda Kloots utilized Instagram to document her four-month illness and decline of her husband, the Broadway actor Nick Cordero. 




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The Hopkins team competing in University of Toronto’s ProjectX will examine the relationship between infectious disease and climate change.

Hopkins students participate in ProjectX competition

A team of Hopkins undergraduate students is participating in ProjectX, a machine learning competition hosted by the University of Toronto Undergraduate Artificial Intelligence Group (UofT AI Group). Teams from 23 universities are competing in this three-month research-based competition for a prize of $70,000.


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A research team led by Melissa Walls and Sean Allen are collaborating with two Native American communities to address the impact of the opioid epidemic on indigenous communities.

From hidden hunger to cool roofs: Four projects addressing health equity commence

First launched by the Bloomberg School of Public Health in May 2019, the Support for Creative Integrated Basic and Applied Research (SCIBAR) initiative called professors and researchers to tackle health problems by financially supporting the four winning teams with $1 million each. Two of the awards are funded by the Bloomberg American Health Initiative, and the other two are funded by the office of the dean.  


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Around the world, countries are debating the government’s role in COVID-19 research.

What role should the government play in science communication?

Around the world, Hopkins has become a leader in communicating science to nonscientists during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Bloomberg School of Public Health has been applauded for its viral Instagram graphics, and the Whiting School of Engineering’s COVID-19 dashboard continues to receive heavy traffic. In addition, the School of Medicine sponsors an annual “boot camp” to connect science writers with University researchers.


COURTESY OF JOHNS HOPKINS UNIVERSITY 
Dr. Shmuel Shoham (pictured) and Dr. David Sullivan are currently recruiting for COVID-19 clinical trials.

Researchers prioritize wide and equitable recruitment for COVID-19 clinical trials

The National COVID-19 Convalescent Plasma Project is a group of physicians seeking to understand the potential role of convalescent plasma in the treatment of COVID-19. Dr. Shmuel Shoham, an associate professor of medicine at Hopkins, and Dr. David Sullivan, a professor of molecular microbiology and immunology at the Hopkins Malaria Research Institute, are members of the group.


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Freshmen have a lot of Hopkins life to look forward to. 

Online classes aren't the same, but there's so much to look forward to

Dear freshman, I’m sure you’ve already heard a lifetime’s worth of “We-are-so-sorry-we-can’t-be-together-in-person-but-welcome-to-Hopkins-we-are-so-so-so-so-excited-to-have-you!!! HAVE A GREAT FIRST SEMESTER! **INSERT CLOWN EMOJI HERE**” type messages, so I’ll just cut out the formalities and cut to the chase. 


COURTESY OF JOHN D’CRUZ
The definition of pain has been updated to include neurological pain like phantom limb pain or nociplastic pain.

Professor chairs task force to update official definition of pain

We all know the feeling of pain. It may be as small as a scrape or cut or as extreme as a broken bone. But pain is not simply an unpleasant sensation or symptom caused by damage to our bodies. Rather, pain is a complex condition that we do not yet fully understand and that is not simply physical.


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Firefighters put out a wildfire in Hidden Valley in 2013.

How the California fires led to red-tinted skies in Baltimore

The 2020 fire season on the West Coast has been reported to be the most disastrous of this decade. Wildfires stretching along California, Oregon and Washington have already killed over two dozen people, displaced thousands of individuals along the West Coast and burned over five million acres of land.  




COURTESY OF MIN JAE KIM
The team tested their prototype with a CPR dummy to simulate aerosolization.

Undergraduates develop a memory foam attachment for CPAP machines

As the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic continues, health-care professionals continue to face new challenges. In a time of need, some health-care professionals have suggested using continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machines in lieu of ventilators to treat seriously ill COVID-19 patients. However, one of the biggest concerns with placing an infected patient on this machine is the aerosolization of viral particles, which can infect others.  


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A camera captures an image of the ventilator screen and sends it to the operating tablet, which can be used to control the robot outside of patient rooms.

Hopkins researchers develop a robotic system to remotely control ventilators

The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has caused a surge of patients requiring mechanical ventilation in Intensive Care Unit (ICU) rooms. Consequently, the units now require increased staffing of trained respiratory therapists in addition to more ventilators. Every small change on a ventilator requires staff to enter a patient room, which risks potential exposure, and to frequently change personal protective equipment. 


COURTESY OF MARCELO LEAL
A Hopkins study revealed several factors that might indicate why COVID-19 rates are higher for dialysis patients.

Hopkins finds dialysis patients at greater risk of COVID-19

Ben Bigelow, a fourth-year medical student, is part of a crew of health-care workers bringing coronavirus (COVID-19) testing to the community. He and his team began noticing a worrying trend at nursing homes — patients on dialysis in nursing homes contracted COVID-19 at higher rates. This highlighted the need to examine how the virus could be spreading in care facilities and how that transmission chain could be eliminated.


COURTESY OF THE JOHNS HOPKINS TECHNOLOGY INNOVATION CENTER 
The Prodensity app has expanded upon its original goal of helping labs social distance. 

Prodensity app created through five-month collaboration

The Prodensity app was created through a collaboration between the Johns Hopkins Technology Innovation Center (TIC); Geraldine Seydoux, the vice dean for basic research at the School of Medicine; and George Economas, the executive director of security for Hopkins Medical Institutions.  


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Although undergraduates can not participate in in-person research, there are still ways to get involved with remote opportunities.

Tips to secure remote research

Although undergraduates are not permitted to join in-person research projects, there are many opportunities for students, even freshmen, to achieve their research goals.


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Researchers hope to understand the long-term mental effects of psilocybin, the hallucinatory component of “magic mushrooms.” 

Hopkins launches clinical trial for psilocybin mushrooms

According to a press release by EurekAlert, the Hopkins Center for Psychedelic and Consciousness Research (CPCR) is partnering with Unlimited Sciences, a psychedelic research nonprofit, to conduct a new research study on the use of psilocybin mushrooms, commonly known as "magic mushrooms," outside of the laboratory environment. The study, which was announced on August 12, hopes to survey people around the world to create a registry of information about psilocybin usage and resulting experiences.


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