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

Science & Technology

Engineering, done marshmallow style

Theta Tau, Hopkins’s Professional Engineering Fraternity, held its sixth annual Tower of Power competition last Monday, Feb. 18. The event was a kickoff party for the Whiting School of Engineering’s E-Week, which is part of its 20-month-long celebration of 100 years of engineering at Hopkins.  Since the School of Engineering’s first year was from fall 1912 to spring 1913, Hopkins decided to start celebrating at the beginning of 2012 and keep celebrating throughout 2013.

Identity of placental mammal ancestor reconstructed

Have you ever wondered what the common ancestor of all placental mammals looked like? A recent study shows that we are descendants of a rat-like mammal that weighed no more than half a pound, displayed a long, furry tail and dined mostly on insects.

Nanosensors detect health of transplant cells

After the successful publication of his most research findings, associate professor of radiology at the Hopkins School of Medicine Mike McMahon, advises undergraduates based on his own personal experiences.

Depression found to have roots in genetics

Depression may sound like it is completely emotional, but some types are  actually linked to physical changes in the brain after traumatic events. While emotional causes can only be cured through therapy, there is a new discovery that shows promise in alleviating depression in people whose brains are physically affected.

Problems with animal production addressed

Animals in food production sites are literally living in a pigsty with no one to clean the mess up. According to a study conducted by the Hopkins Center for a Liveable Future at the Bloomberg School of Public Health, state and local health departments have not truly addressed the public concerns associated with food animal production sites.

Two-arm transplant achieved at Hopkins

The operation was a very rare, complex one performed by sixteen Hopkins surgeons over a span of thirteen hours, four times longer than a typical coronary bypass surgery. On December 18, 2012 veteran Brendan Marrocco, who lost all four limbs while serving in Iraq, received a double arm transplant surgery at the Hopkins Hospital.

Snake venom used in medicine development

The snake — the very creature considered a devil by some religions, feared as a resurrecting deity by ancient Egyptians and a cause for panic throughout the world — might just have a shot at public redemption.

SciTech Talk: Science behind heartbreak, sex and chocolate

Valentines Day gone wrong: Heartbreak sucks. The night your significant other shuts the door behind her, tote in hand, your feelings are tangled up in moments of angst, disappointment and sadness as you wrestle around in your bed, praying for the day to be a dream. But it’s not. And the next day proves to be another blow to your heart, as you find her shopping nonchalantly at Char Mar with her friends. All this confusion and the messy mixture of emotions mask what’s really going on in your body.

Environmental changes pressure viruses

We have all noticed that the temperature has been sporadically changing; one day it’s hot enough to put on our shorts, and the next, we would be freezing without our winter jackets. The random fluctuation in temperatures could turn out to have a larger impact than we thought. Recent studies showed that even viruses, which typically adapt more easily than mammals, failed to adapt when exposed to a random pattern of temperatures.

N.F.L and G.E. fund head injury research

Football injuries can sometimes seem like they’re just part of the game, but research has shown that repeated hits to the head can have severely adverse effects. With great concern for the toll of head injuries, the National Football League (NF.L) has joined with General Electric (G.E.) to help develop technologies that detect concussions.

Further health benefits of exercise explained

As if you weren’t beating yourself up enough already for taking that fourth “off day” of the week, now the stakes for athletic discipline have risen even higher as scientists have finally explained exactly why working out regularly will benefit your mind and body, aside from the killer abs.

New software reduces cost of genome analysis

We all have different hair, different skin colors, and other very different features. Surprisingly, despite all the disparities that make us a unique individual, the order of 99.9 percent of our nucleotide bases are exactly the same. We’ve come to know this through a burgeoning field of research called genomic analysis. Recently, in fact, an advanced software was recently designed by Knome Inc. that can analyze data locally without the use of the Internet, while reducing the price of analysis to an even lower price than other contemporary methods.

Chinese Hackers infiltrate The NYTimes

For the past four months, The New York Times has been attacked by hackers whose activities have been traced back to China. These attacks coincide with an exposé The Times ran about the vast wealth acquired by the family of Wen Jiabao, the Chinese prime minister, despite his claims that his family was very poor. Experts, who were hired by The Timesto track and expel the intruders, determined that the hackers used techniques that have been associated with the Chinese military, and that these hackers broke into the email accounts of Shanghai bureau chief David Barboza and the South Asia bureau chief, Jim Yardley.

Watching TV linked to reduction of sperm

Among the myriad of physical insecurities that already plague the male mind – flabby abs, receding hairlines, penile insecurities – it appears young men may have yet another biological fear to contend with – the quality of their sperm.

Evolution of proper protein folding explained

At the core of any life-sustaining process is a protein that must first fold itself from a chain of amino acids, its fundamental building blocks, in order to function properly. Sometimes this folding can go wrong, especially if the protein takes too long or lacks a some assistance.

Infection beats skin defense mechanism

Interestingly, USA300 now constitutes almost 98 percent of skin and soft tissue infections in hospitals, significantly surpassing the infectious rates of other bacterial strains. The sudden surge of USA300 in North America has puzzled scientists, as an increase in virulence could not fully elucidate the reason behind its vast replacement of other bacterial species. Instead, scientists looked into the reasons behind how this species was transmitted from community to community at an astonishingly efficient rate.

DNA explains hawksbill’s survival

Evolution may have finally caught up to one of the most magnificent and long-living creatures still existent in our world: turtles. These reptiles first made their appearance, as far as scientists agree today, approximately 220 million years ago. However, recently increasing numbers of species in the Testudines order are qualifying for the “Critically Endangered” and “Endangered” conservation statuses.

Ozone holes affect ocean patterns

Hopkins scientists found that the thinning of ozone in our atmosphere has been responsible for changes in the ocean circulation, bringing “old” water to the surface of the ocean. This has had a significant impact on the amount of carbon dioxide in the air.

SciTech Talk: Fish thoughts, oil spills and health care

Do fish think?: The vacuous stare that a goldfish gives as it swims around in a tank may belie a false impression that fish don’t have thoughts. However, a tool recently invented by researchers in Japan has paved the way for scientists to observe brain activities in real time and correlate them with complex behaviors of fish. The researchers have also devised a method to genetically incorporate the probe in order to monitor neuronal activity. Soon, fish feasting behaviors, decision-making and movements may be explained by examining their neural signals. For example, Akira Muto, the lead author of the study in Current Biology, studied the behavior and brain activity of zebrafish when they find something good to eat. So next time you assume that your goldfish is thoughtless, think again!