Published by the Students of Johns Hopkins since 1896
February 6, 2023

Science & Technology



COURTESY OF TEJA KAKANI
The student residence Charles Commons will be renamed for Frederick Scott and Ernie Bates, two Hopkins alumni.

A look at the four individuals giving their names to campus buildings

Future undergraduate students at Hopkins will know the Undergraduate Teaching Laboratories (UTL) and Charles Commons by other names. In an effort to recognize and elevate historically marginalized and underrepresented people in the institution’s history, Hopkins will rename these campus buildings and the Hopkins Outpatient Center in their honor. 


COURTESY OF MEG CHOW
Labyrinth Devices is developing an implant for patients experiencing vestibular dysfunction, which results from injury to the inner ear.

Hopkins lab advances research on vestibular implants to treat loss of balance

Labyrinth Devices, a medical device startup based in Baltimore, is the sponsor of an early clinical trial of implants for those suffering from ailments of the vestibular labyrinth in the inner ear, a complex and dynamic system made up of twisting canals and end organs that helps to maintain the body’s sense of balance and vestibulo-ocular reflex.


COURTESY OF KAWSAR TALAAT
Talaat's son was vaccinated on Saturday, Nov. 7. Talaat and Mendelson discussed the benefits of expanding the availability of the vaccine for children ages 5 to 11. 

School of Public Health faculty discuss benefits of COVID-19 vaccine approval for children

The pediatric COVID-19 vaccine for children from age 5 to 11 years old was approved by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Nov. 2 and has since been distributed in hospitals and pharmacies nationwide. The News-Letter interviewed School of Public Health faculty Dr. Kawsar Talaat and Tamar Mendelson to discuss the impact this will have on children's wellbeing.  



COURTESY OF EMMA ANDERSON
Women in Sub-Saharan Africa can face several particular health challenges when pregnant.

Bloomberg spotlights maternal mortality research in Sub-Saharan Africa

Childbirth is often associated with joy, but for women, pregnancy is often a time of vulnerability. A pregnant woman or newborn dies around the world every eleven seconds. Around 810 preventable deaths occur every day from pregnancy and childbirth, according to World Health Organization data from 2017. In Sub-Saharan Africa, maternal mortality rates are almost 50 times higher for women compared to in high-income countries. In 2020, Sub-Saharan Africa had a maternal mortality rate of 302 deaths per 100,000 live births, a stark contrast to the United States’ rate of 35 deaths per 100,000 live births. 


MDF / CC BY-SA 2.0
An adult male Baltimore Oriole. This was one of many bird species included in the bird urbanization study.

Urbanization is impacting the biodiversity of birds

Hopkins researchers suggest that increasing natural spaces and tree canopy while reducing impervious surfaces (hard areas that prohibit water dissipation) has significant effects on improving biodiversity, specifically of birds.




COURTESY OF SARAH SZANTON AND DARRELL GASKIN
Szanton (left) and Gaskin (right) are two of 10 Hopkins faculty members elected to the National Academy of Medicine.

Ten Hopkins faculty members elected to the National Academy of Medicine

The National Academy of Medicine (NAM) announced its election of 100 new members on Oct. 18, 10 of whom are Hopkins faculty members. Election to the NAM is considered one of the most significant awards in health and medicine, as it honors individuals for their professional achievements and commitment to service. This class is the NAM’s most diverse to date.



COURTESY OF AMANDA HAYS
Protesters from PETA on Keyser Quad passed out flyers and demonstrated barn owl experiments in costume.

PETA holds fourth protest against Hopkins owl lab, urges state and federal officials to ban lab

Protesters representing People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) gathered on Keyser Quad Nov. 3, the same day that PETA sent letters to state and federal officials in opposition of Shreesh Mysore’s barn owl experiments. This protest marks the thirteenth protest PETA has held at Hopkins, following protests at Commencement in 2020 and 2021 and during Orientation Week this year. 



NASA/CC BY-NC 2.0
As public interest in commercial space travel increases, space travelers’ health has become a greater concern. 

Hopkins study looks at preventing back pain in space travelers

Since Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first space traveler in 1961, space travel has become more and more popular. As more private companies, such as SpaceX and Virgin Galactic, plan on delivering commercial space flights in the future, the health effects of space travel on astronauts and others has become a concern. 


JOHN D'CRUZ/GRAPHICS EDITOR
People’s current trauma can affect the health of their children and grandchildren.

School of Public Health spotlights generational trauma in Indigenous communities

Melissa Walls is an associate professor of American Health at the School of Public Health and director of the Great Lakes Hub for the Center for American Indian Health. Being a direct descendant of Bois Forte and Couchiching First Nation Anishinaabe fueled Walls’ interest in bettering the health of Indigenous communities across North America. 



ROSIE JANG/CARTOONS EDITOR
Student athletes can face both physical and mental challenges due to their lifestyle.

It’s okay not to be okay: athlete perspectives on mental health

Suicide is the second leading cause of death among college students, and 33% of all college students experience significant symptoms of mental illness. Among that group, 30% seek help. Of college athletes with mental health conditions, however, only 10% seek help. Among professional athletes, studies have shown that around 35% of athletes experience a mental health crisis ranging from stress to eating disorders, burnout, depression and anxiety.



EMW/CC BY-SA 3.0
The Lacks family is being represented by Attorney Benjamin Crump, who represented the families of George Floyd and Trayvon Martin. 

Henrietta Lacks' family sues Thermo Fisher

On the 70th anniversary of her death, the family of Henrietta Lacks filed a lawsuit against the biotech company Thermo Fisher Scientific for the commercialization of her now-famous cell line. Lacks’ descendants argue that the company profited from the cell line long after its unethical origins were publicly known.


COURTESY OF JASON FISCHER
Jason Fischer and Sarah Cormiea studied the relationship between the scent of pumpkin spice and memory.

The science behind the appeal of pumpkin spice

Fall bears a distinct signature flavor: pumpkin spice. Pumpkin spice is a mixture of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves and sometimes allspice, ingredients traditionally used to flavor pumpkin pie. Come autumn, its scent permeates coffee shops, cafés and bakeries. The comfort felt by many people while drinking or eating pumpkin-spice-flavored things derives from a complicated network of senses, emotion and memory that make up our perception. 


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