Winter 2015

A Trio of New Chairs At WSE

Three new department chairs—in Applied Mathematics and Statistics; Electrical and Computer Engineering; and Materials Science and Engineering—started their tenures at the Whiting School on July 1. Laurent Younes, the new chair in Applied Math and Statistics, is an expert in the statistical properties of Markov random fields, image analysis, shape recognition, and deformation analysis.     Ralph Etienne-Cummings,…

FastForward Expands At WSE

FastForward, the program designed to move academic findings and translational research into the commercial marketplace, is expanding, with a second facility opening in East Baltimore to provide lab and office space for startups. The first accelerator, FastForward Homewood, at the Stieff Silver building, was opened by the Whiting School in June 2013, and today it houses nine startups from…

“Real Solutions” with Google At WSE

In an effort aimed at speeding technology’s path from development to the marketplace, Johns Hopkins University has entered into a partnership with Google’s Advanced Technology and Projects (ATAP) group, which focuses on product development and R&D. The new agreement, established as part of Google’s Multi-University Research Agreement, allows Google to draw on the expertise of…

Front Line Solutions At WSE

On the second floor of Clark Hall, a state-of-the-art BME Design Studio offers a resource-rich space for finding solutions to some of today’s most intractable problems. Funded with the university’s largest-ever Gateway Sciences Initiative grant from the Provost’s Office, and with support from the Whiting School, the 3,000-square-foot studio features write-on furniture and walls aimed…

Malone Hall: Hub for Discovery At WSE

On October 16, more than 300 alumni, friends, university leadership, faculty, staff, and students gathered in a tent on the Decker Quadrangle for the dedication of Malone Hall, the Whiting School of Engineering’s stately new 69,000-square-foot, red-brick-and marble edifice with a sleek, modern interior. The building, designed to advance cutting-edge collaborative and translational research, has set…

Pedal Power Impact

Bicycling is gentle on the environment and great for human health. Yet just one to two percent of Baltimore residents use pedal power to commute to and from their jobs in Charm City. Using a $25,000 seed grant from the Johns Hopkins University Environment, Energy, Sustainability and Health Institute (E2SHI), a Johns Hopkins team is collecting and analyzing…

Mapping Drosophilia’s Brain Impact

They would seem unlikely allies: a mathematician and a neuroscientist who studies fruit fly larvae. But from the moment that Carey Priebe, a professor in the Department of Applied Mathematics and Statistics at the Whiting School, met Marta Zlatic, a group leader at Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Janelia Farm campus, Priebe says that he knew…

Untangling Neural Traffic Jams Impact

Randal Burns, a computer scientist, and Joshua Vogelstein, PhD ’10, a biomedical engineer, are part of a multi-institution team using a $10 million NIH Transformative Research Award grant to decipher the structure of the brain’s trillions of synapses in hopes of solving the mystery behind many psychiatric illnesses. “It has been suggested that many psychiatric…

A New Breed of Catalysts Impact

The idea is simple: Capture the carbon dioxide spewed into the atmosphere by gasoline-and-oil-burning vehicles, factories, and power plants, and convert it into fuel, preventing the CO2 from contributing to climate change and creating a sustainable, eco-friendly cycle. But doing so is not as easy as it sounds. Why? Because it takes an enormous amount…

Kudos Impact

Jordan Green, an associate professor of biomedical engineering, was selected as one of Popular Science magazine’s “Brilliant Ten,” a list that recognizes young scientists who are revolutionizing their fields. Green uses tiny, biodegradable particles to teach the immune system to recognize cancer cells. Benjamin Langmead, an assistant professor of computer science, has received the National Science Foundation’s Early…

Need for Speed Impact

The Internet has revolutionized the flow of information beyond anyone’s prediction, but to Yair Amir, a professor of computer science and director of the Distributed Systems and T Networks Lab at the Whiting School, the web that we all rely on is already creaky, cranky, and much too slow. Amir is helping to pioneer the…

Getting Creative in the Face of Disaster Impact

Stemming the cascade of catastrophe that occurs when an earthquake, hurricane, flood, or other disaster strikes a community is the focus of a $2.5 million grant from the National Science Foundation to researchers from a trio of universities, including Johns Hopkins. “We understand how physical infrastructure fails in the face of disasters, and can provide…

Upstarts Impact

Tracking Epilepsy  Sridevi Sarma, an assistant professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering, was educated as an electrical engineer, and now she’s using that training to help doctors understand how the brain’s electrical activity changes during an epileptic seizure. Working with William S. Anderson and Nathan Crone, of the Johns Hopkins Department of Neurology, Sarma…

Modeling Metastasis Impact

It’s not the tumor, but cancer’s spread to other organs that kills. Fully understanding metastasis holds the key to halting cancer, and blood vessels are the primary conduit for the disease’s spread. Now researchers in the laboratory of the Whiting School’s Peter Searson, the Joseph R. and Lynn C. Reynolds Professor in Materials Science and…

Tech Tools Impact

Surer Probe Doctors use ultrasound to guide needles into the body. But the hand-eye coordination required to reach the target can challenge even skilled surgeons as they try to biopsy tumors, insert central lines, or deliver local anesthesia. Now, a new navigation system, called Clear Guide ONE, helps doctors by letting them “see” exactly how…

Deciphering the Data in Parkinson’s Impact

By the time symptoms arise in many neurodegenerative diseases, much of the damage has already been done. If only researchers had a better idea of the timeline—ideally, of the trackable markers that arise before symptoms become obvious—doctors might be more successful in battling many of these conditions. That’s where Bruno Jedynak comes in. An associate…

Pinpointing Cystic Fibrosis Severity Impact

Cystic fibrosis, an inherited chronic disease linked to the CFTR gene, affects some 30,000 Americans. Today, their average life expectancy is 37 years. In the United States, newborns are screened for the defective gene upon birth in order to begin early treatment. But there are some 1,700 rare mutations that can impact CF severity and…

Trending Impact

“I’m kind of expecting to see that they’ll be after our refrigerators once they go on the Internet.” 4/30/14, ABC2 News Joseph Carrigan, a researcher in the Johns Hopkins Information Security Institute, warning that hackers are likely to target any networked devices—from PCs and baby monitors to kitchen appliances.   “It takes a long time…

Adventure Under Ice Features

Louis Whitcomb makes it possible for remote controlled underwater robotic vehicles to explore the most extreme environments on earth—including the icy depths of the Arctic. “Of all the environments on earth,” he says, “this comes closest to science fiction.” Polarstern is no mere icebreaker, however: It is a floating scientific laboratory. Aboard was a team…

What in the World? Features

An innovative master’s program takes student engineers from Johns Hopkins Hospital to remote regions of the globe to find simple solutions to the world’s most vexing health problems. How long would it take you to reach quality health care? On the Homewood campus, you are a 10-minute car ride from Johns Hopkins Hospital, one of…

Getting Pumped Features

For Joe Katz, heading up the ambitious 10-year effort to build the Hopkins Heart, a permanent replacement heart, is just the latest challenge in a storied career. It was at a Whiting School of Engineering retreat in the fall of 2012  when Joe Katz, the William F. Ward Sr. Distinguished Professor in Mechanical Engineering, first…

New Life for the Jacobi Method Students

The 169-year-old math strategy called the Jacobi iterative method is widely dismissed today as too slow to be useful. But thanks to graduate student Xiang Yang and mechanical engineering professor Rajat Mittal, it may soon get a new lease on life. With a few tweaks, the duo says they’ve made the rarely used Jacobi method…

Google’s Global App Winner Students

Last winter break, Phani Gaddipati, a junior studying biomedical engineering, decided to make good use of his time by teaching himself how to build computer apps. Soon after, he stumbled across the Google AdMob Student App Challenge and decided to enter. The challenge: to build an app that uses Google’s mobile ad platform AdMob, which…

Solving Battlefield Blood Loss Students

Without prompt care, a badly wounded soldier easily can bleed to death while being transported to a distant medical station. Two traditional treatments—tourniquets and medicated gauze pads—often cannot stop the blood loss from a deep wound at the neck, shoulder, or groin. To give these soldiers a fighting chance, a seven-member student team has invented…

SPURed to Get a Better Grasp Students

When junior Farhan Damani arrived as a freshman at Johns Hopkins, he thought he wanted to study philosophy and political science. But a computer class introduced him to the beauty of programming. “It combined all the elements of philosophy,” he says. “I fell in love with it.” Last summer, Damani capitalized on his newfound passion…

A New Twist on Safer Helmets Students

“Better our head than yours” is the motto of an innovative testing apparatus for sports helmets—nicknamed “the guillotine”—that has been constructed by a team of mechanical engineering students at the Whiting School. The project was sponsored by HIP-TEC of Truckee, California, which designs and manufactures interior cushioning for protective headgear. “A lot of the current…

All Washed Up Students

A team of chemical and biomolecular engineering students is on a quest to improve world hygiene by ensuring that people wash their hands with soap after using the lavatory and before eating. Ryan Alvarez, Alex Abramson, and Parth Patel, all seniors, have invented and now hold a provisional patent on “Easy Suds,” a device that…

Social Media-Savvy Spaceman Alumni

Reid Wiseman’s stunning photos of everything from the aurora borealis and the snaking Nile River to massive glaciers flowing across Canada from space have earned him a reputation as the most social media-savvy spaceman ever.

A Little Motor that Could Alumni

A research team led by Donglei “Emma” Fan, PhD ’07, has created a nanomotor that’s tiny enough to fit inside a human cell—and powerful enough to run for 15 continuous hours at the speed of a jet airplane motor (18,000 rpms). Because the nanomotor can rapidly mix and pump biochemicals and move through liquids, it’s…

Material Man at Under Armour Alumni

Today’s athletes are hungry for the latest fabrics, shoes, and accessories that will boost comfort and performance—and so is Matt Trexler ’00. Inside the Innovation Lab of Under Armour, the $2.3 billion apparel and accessory company, Trexler is among about 40 researchers who are assessing the latest technologies in everything from sensors to heart monitors…

Rewind: Fun in Metals Alumni

For decades, it was easy to spot a faculty member in Materials Science at Commencement: He’d be sporting a shiny bow tie fashioned out of aluminum by Bob Pond Jr. ’65, who co-founded the Materials Department in 1983 with Bob Green. Pond was known to two generations of Hopkins students as the “Pied Piper of Metallurgy,”…

Move over, Flipper! Alumni

By the time Omar Ahmad ’99, PhD ’11, came to the Whiting School to pursue his doctoral degree in 2006—a homecoming of sorts, since he’d also completed his undergraduate degree here —he’d been tinkering with physics-driven character animation for years. But to Ahmad, his and others’ animations never looked quite right. The characters’ actions seemed…

Thread of Opportunity Alumni

As a biomedical doctoral student, Sarah Hemminger ’02, PhD ’10, had driven past the intersection of Caroline and Orleans streets hundreds of times on her way to Johns Hopkins’ East Baltimore medical campus. But while she was idling at a traffic light one early weekday morning in 2004, the surrounding scene suddenly flipped into new…

The Answer, My Friend, is Blowin’ in the Snow Alumni

While some may complain about Minnesota’s brutal winters, Jiarong Hong, PhD ’12, has made the state’s frigid weather a research ally. By observing how snow swirls around a spinning wind turbine, Hong has obtained the first-ever measurements of turbulent airflow around a utility-scale turbine. Understanding how air interacts with wind turbines is crucial for lowering…

Mining 21st-Century Chatter Back Talk

Why the apparent flotsam of Twitter and Instagram could actually be good for our health. In our era of big data, the fastest growing data sources are web-based: search engine queries, forums, and social media outlets such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Though social media postings about someone’s lunch or stressful day may appear to…

Dear Whiting School Community From The Dean

Dear Whiting School Community, My approaching one-year anniversary as Benjamin T. Rome Dean seems a natural time to share some thoughts on a top priority: ensuring that our students have an outstanding undergraduate experience. From before our students first set foot on campus until they cross the stage at Commencement and beyond, I am committed…