Published by the Students of Johns Hopkins since 1896
September 20, 2020

Science & Technology



COURTESY OF ERICA SCHOENBERGER  
Schoenberger research investigates how powerful capitalists influence the public’s commitment to environmental protection. 

Professor Schoenberger awarded Guggenheim Fellowship

Why do humans fail to act in their own interest when it comes to the environment, despite knowing what ought to be done? This is the guiding question that Erica Schoenberger, a professor in the Department of Environmental Health and Engineering, will explore as a Guggenheim Fellow. 


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Director of the Hopkins Pediatric Sleep Center Dr. Laura Sterni expressed her concern that digital learning will disrupt student sleep.  

How online learning can affect student health

As the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic rapidly spread across the country, schools have shut their doors and classes have moved online in order to slow the spread. The transition to online learning has impacted not only teachers, who have had to amend their courses, but also students who have had to adjust to a new learning environment. 


WILDLIFE ALLIANCE / CC BY SA-2.0
Pangolins are believed to be the intermediary host of COVID-19 between bats and humans.

What is the role of animals in communicable illnesses?

As nations across the world grapple with the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, conservationists and environmental organizations are calling on policymakers and the public to address the root cause of the pandemic and other outbreaks: the wildlife trade and habitat destruction. Evidence increasingly suggests that increased contact between humans and wild animals is contributing to the emergence of novel communicable illnesses. 


Racial disparities persist even during a pandemic

As an individual afforded the luxury of staying home, the ever present screen in front of me oscillates between the news, the Netflix show I’ve chosen to binge-watch and the assignment I’m avoiding. My obsessive review of coronavirus (COVID-19) updates usually leads to one of two outcomes: If I’m feeling hopeful, the assignment suddenly doesn’t seem so bad, especially with an encouraging friend on FaceTime.


Wrap up: The latest in technology

Some of the biggest stories in tech this week are the launch of entertainment app Quibi, and the creation of a new U.S.-focused COVID-19 map by the Hopkins CSSE. The newest version of the game Animal Crossing was banned in China due to its use by Hong Kong protesters, and Apple teamed up with Google to work on contact-tracing apps to help combat COVID-19. 


COURTESY OF KIRSTEN HALL
As a Schmidt Science Fellow, Kirsten Hall will shift her focus to climate change.

PhD candidate Kirsten Hall named a Schmidt Science Fellow

Kirsten Hall, a PhD candidate studying Astrophysics, was recently named to the 2020 cohort of Schmidt Science Fellows. The program, which works in partnership with the Rhodes Trust, seeks to recognize future leaders among doctoral candidates across all scientific disciplines. 


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Levels of DNA methylation can be used as a marker of disease risk factors. 

Understanding COVID-19 through the lens of epigenetics

The prefix “epi” typically connotes being above or at the surface level of something. However, research at the intersection of epigenetics and epidemiology probes our understanding of the interaction between genes and environmental factors to the deepest levels.


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In the 1970s and 1980s, Sommer found that vitamin A supplements reduce childhood and maternal mortality. 

Dr. Alfred Sommer offers insight into containing COVID-19

Epidemiologists and medical professionals argue that the risk of a second wave of infection of the coronavirus (COVID-19) could outweigh any prospective economic gains. Dr. Alfred Sommer, dean emeritus of the Bloomberg School of Public Health, gave a webinar entitled “Do You Really Want to Hear From an Epidemiologist at a Time Like This?” on this very topic last Thursday.


FILE PHOTO
Hopkins Medicine received approval to conduct clinical trials of a blood plasma therapy for COVID-19.

Hopkins tests blood plasma therapy to treat COVID-19

As the number of coronavirus (COVID-19) cases surge, so do treatment options. A new solution proposed by Dr. Arturo Casadevall, an immunologist at the Hopkins School of Medicine, has recently moved into clinical trials after fast-track approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).


How a Charm City Science League mentee became a mentor

Hopkins is known for the strength of its STEM curriculum and for the number of undergraduates immersed in some kind of scientific research on campus. Outside of the Homewood Campus, institutions like the Baltimore Underground Science Space, the Maryland Science Center and the National Aquarium make Baltimore an exciting place for scientific exploration. 


JAMES HEILMAN, MD / CC BY-SA 4.0
Companies like Tesla, Ford and Dyson are helping manufacture ventilators to address the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Wrap up: The latest in technology

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is looking at the earth’s closest celestial neighbor as potential real estate for its newest telescope. In a press release on April 7, NASA announced that the NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) program would be awarding a total of $7 million to 23 “potentially revolutionary concepts” in early-stage tech development. 



Experts from Bloomberg School of Public Health create podcast on COVID-19

News about the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic can seem like a hotbed of paradoxical information, lacking in clear answers because there is still so much to learn. While it is important to stay informed and aware about what exactly is going on, knowing what questions to ask can be just as hard as finding the right answers. 


Hopkins faculty and students develop 3D-printed ventilator splitter

A team at Hopkins is working to develop a ventilator splitter that will allow hospitals to maximize the utility of their existing ventilators. As the number of cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) rapidly increases, hospitals across the nation are struggling to manage the influx of patients with insufficient supplies. 


How to avoid feeling overwhelmed by COVID-19

My fellow Quaren-teens, Hopefully by now you are all becoming situated in your new normals and finding new ways of surviving and thriving in whichever corner of the globe this madness has flung you into. If you’re at all like me, your mind has probably gone absolutely bonkers at some point over the past four weeks. 



CREATIVE COMMONS 
Social distancing is meant to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

How to stay healthy while social distancing

For many of us, social distancing — forbidding large gatherings and keeping six feet away from others — is quickly becoming the new normal. As leaders in public health suggest that this may be the best way for us all to survive the pandemic, “flattening the curve” has become a mantra that unites us all. 


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A 2017 ethical framework for medical rationing developed by Hopkins researchers has gained new relevance during the coronavirus pandemic. 

When there are too many patients, what's ethical?

As the number of people with the coronavirus (COVID-19) rises steadily, hospitals contend with a possible overflow of patients and face difficult decisions. With the lack of adequate medical supplies, how do health-care workers choose between patients when distributing limited life-saving treatment?


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Dr. Anthony Fauci has played a central role in disseminating information about COVID-19.

How is information spreading about COVID-19?

As the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis intensifies across the U.S., now accounting for 20 percent of global cases, the American people heavily depend on the actions of the government for their health and safety. At the center of this response are two individuals — President Donald Trump and Dr. Anthony Fauci. 


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