Science & Technology

Mathematicians shed new light on spectral gaps

November 8, 2018

In physics, the spectral gap is the difference in energy between a material in the ground state and in the first excited energy state. A material is known as “gapped” if the difference in energy can be bounded below — in other words, if the difference ...

Rocky Acosta / CC BY 3.0 
A common math problem is whether a Turing machine will complete a program in a finite time.

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Five women who changed the field of medicine

November 8, 2018

Women physicians encounter discrimination from both inside and outside the medical field. A Medscape survey of over 60,000 doctors revealed that 2017 salaries for women physicians were nearly 30 percent less than those of their male colleagues. In some areas of the country, such as Charleston, S.C., the annual pay disparity approached closer to 40 percent. The percentage of women deans of American medical schools remains under 20 percent.

Noninvasive biomarker could identify autism

November 8, 2018

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by restricted interests and impaired social interaction and communication. Currently the diagnosis of ASD primarily relies on behavioral assessments, including the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders V (DSM-V) and the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS). 

Tareq Salahuddin / CC by 2.0
Annually, 2,000 donor kidneys are thrown away when many are still viable.

Changing guidelines would increase viable kidneys

November 8, 2018

At this moment in time, there are 95,307 people on the waiting list for a kidney transplant in the United States.  This number is especially harrowing when considered in combination with the fact that in 2017, a meager 15,218 kidneys were donated in the U.S. According to the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network, an average of 3,000 new patients are added to the kidney waiting list each month, and 4,761 patients died while waiting for a kidney transplant in 2014 alone. 

Lab spotlight: Professor Vincent Hilser

November 8, 2018

When a hurricane swept through Texas in 2008, biologist Vincent Hilser lost much of his lab and his research. But, in the years since, he has found his place at Hopkins and continues to do the work he enjoys while teaching hundreds of students along the way.

Courtesy of Vincent Hilser
Hilser began at Hopkins in 2010 and now studies the conformational fluctuations of proteins.

Researchers advise heart patients to move around every 20 minuttes.

Moving every 20 minutes can help you live longer

October 31, 2018

It is well known that physical activity is good for a person’s health but not many don’t know specifically how much physical activity is optimal. Recently, heart patients in Canada have been advised to move around every 20 minutes with the goal of prolonging their lives after a study was presented at the Canadian Cardiovascular Congress (CCC) 2018.


Siddiqui’s lab focuses on cross-disciplinary collaboration.

Lab spotlight: Sauleh Siddiqui’s MODL

October 31, 2018

With his background, Sauleh Siddiqui, an assistant professor in the Department of Civil Engineering at Hopkins, could have joined the Mathematics, Economics or Public Policy departments. But none of these fields satisfied all three of his interests: math, society and problem-solving.

A choice in treatment helps those with PTSD

October 31, 2018

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) affects about 7.7 million American adults every year, according to PTSD United, a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting and providing resources for sufferers of PTSD. Characterized by nightmares, flashbacks and frightening thoughts, PTSD is a disorder that develops in people who have experienced a shocking, scary or dangerous event. 

PTSD patients who pursue treatment preferences have better outcomes.

Treatment for resistant cancers found

October 31, 2018

Breast cancer is the second most common form of diagnosed cancer for women in the United States and is capable of affecting both men and women. In recent years, increasing breast cancer awareness has resulted in higher survival rates and lower death rates associated with the condition. 

The most massive organism on Earth is shrinking

October 31, 2018

The most massive organism on earth is not, as one might expect, a blue whale or a giant sequoia but a forest of quaking aspens. Pando, consisting of around 47,000 individual trunks spread across 106 acres, is a clonal colony whose source is a single male tree. The trunks are genetically identical and share a massive underground root system.

Pando, a colony of aspens with one massive underground root system, has been shrinking.

Scientists discover traces of world’s oldest sponge

October 31, 2018

From a cloud of dust came a planet, and on that planet came life. Life leaves its mark on Earth in the form of traditional fossils and trace fossils such as organic material, allowing scientists to study organisms that have been extinct for millions of years. A recent study has found evidence of multicellular life thriving on Earth up to 660 million years ago, 60 million years before what scientists previously believed.


Sponges are one of the simplest multicellular organisms found on Earth.


The UN predicts that current efforts cannot curb effects of climate change.

United Nations releases climate change report

October 25, 2018

The discussions surrounding climate change have been heating up, so to speak. A recent report from United Nations (UN) scientists predicts that current efforts to curb global warming are not enough to prevent climate change from reaching dangerous levels. Only drastic action might be able to prevent a global crisis that may occur as early as 2040. 

CRISPR technology can be used to relocalize DNA

October 25, 2018

At first sight, a cell’s DNA may look like a jumbled piece of string; however, it is actually highly organized. Through the use of clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR), a gene-editing tool, researchers have discovered that the location of DNA is as vital as the sequence of base pairs in regards to how parts of the genome work.

Genetic ancestry sites may help solve crimes

October 25, 2018

Your DNA report could help put your delinquent brother behind bars. The ability to utilize data in genetic ancestry databases to determine the identities of criminals is no longer something of science fiction. Investigators recently used DNA from a free online ancestry database to track down the infamous Golden State Killer, the man who killed 12 people and raped 45 women across California between 1976 and 1986.

Professor uses Tetris to study human vision

October 25, 2018

There is an old saying in Korea: If your body is worth a thousand, your eyes are worth nine hundred.  As this phrase implies, visual perception is a very important part of our daily lives, even more than we may know. Vision dominates how we perceive the world, taking up more parts of our brain than any other human function. Chaz Firestone, an assistant professor in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences at Hopkins, studies vision in the Perception and Mind Lab.


Chaz Firestone is the head of the Perception and Mind Lab at Hopkins.