Winter 2016

Top 10, Baby! At WSE

Johns Hopkins University climbed from 12th to 10th place in U.S. News & World Report’s 2016 Best Colleges rankings, released in September. Johns Hopkins tied for 10th with the California Institute of Technology in the Best National Universities category. A few more stat shoutouts: • #1 Johns Hopkins’ biomedical engineering program remains the top-ranked program…

Touchdown! At WSE

Baltimore Raven John Urschel is more than a punishing guard: He’s a mathematician whose work has been published in peer-reviewed journals. Urschel came to campus last spring to deliver a lecture to 150 faculty members and students, sponsored by the Hopkins Undergraduate Society for Applied Mathematics, on his most recent paper, “A Cascadic Multigrid Algorithm…

Nation’s First Minor in Computational Medicine At WSE

The Johns Hopkins Institute for Computational Medicine, acclaimed for its groundbreaking research, has launched the nation’s first undergraduate minor in the growing field of computational medicine. The minor course of study exposes students to the fundamentals of computational medicine—a discipline devoted to the development of quantitative approaches to understanding the mechanisms, diagnosis, and treatment of…

Geman Named to National Academy At WSE

Donald Geman, professor of applied mathematics and statistics with appointments in the Institute for Computational Medicine and Center for Imaging Science, has been elected to the National Academy of Sciences. Geman develops computational methods for solving multidimensional, complex problems in machine learning. His research group is teaching computers how to interpret images the way humans…

Nagahara Named Associate Dean of Research At WSE

Larry Akio Nagahara, the former associate director in the Division of Cancer Biology at the National Cancer Institute/National Institutes of Health, has been named the Whiting School’s new associate dean of research. At NCI/NIH, Nagahara directed and coordinated program and research activities related to the expanding role of the physical sciences in cancer research, including…

Investing Locally for a Better National Future At WSE

An innovative partnership is transforming one Homewood area public school into a flagship that provides engineering-focused education from pre-K through eighth grade. The 10-year, multimillion-dollar partnership including Barclay Elementary/Middle School, the Whiting School of Engineering, Baltimore City Public Schools, Strong City Baltimore, the Abell Foundation, and an anonymous donor aims to prepare students for 21st-century…

An Online Option for Biomedical Engineering At WSE

Johns Hopkins Engineering for Professionals is now offering an online option for its Applied Biomedical Engineering program. “The online program is identical to the face-to-face program, from the modern courses it offers, to the expert Johns Hopkins instructors,” says Eileen Haase, MS ’86, PhD ’91, chair of the Applied Biomedical Engineering program at EP. “We’ve…

New Leadership At WSE

The Whiting School announces two new department chairs and an interim chair: Yair Amir began as the new chair of the Department of Computer Science, succeeding Gregory Hager, on July 1. Director of the Distributed Systems and Networks Lab at WSE, Amir joined Johns Hopkins in 1995.     Lori Graham-Brady became the new chair…

Making Surgery Smarter and Safer Impact

For years, Google has been hard at work on a smart car that promises to eliminate human error through technology, stemming both fender benders and deadly accidents without drivers needing to consciously act. It’s high time that surgeons had a similar system, says Jin Kang, the Jacob Suter Jammer Professor of Electrical Engineering and director…

Trending Impact

“The number 4 million is hard to get your head around. That’s a lot of people whose data has been compromised.” 6/5/15, Fox45 News Avi Rubin, director of the Johns Hopkins University Information Security Institute, on a major breach of the U.S. government personnel office that put federal workers’ personal information at risk. “It was…

Spray Paint to Soak Up the Sun Impact

Imagine a clear solar paint that you could spray onto windows to capture the elusive energy of the sun. Or bright neon paints that could coat sports cars to convert unharnessed solar rays into electricity as the vehicles cruise along the California coast. These 21st-century products of the future are the visions of Susanna Thon,…

Better Than Intuition Impact

To design a stronger building or lighter, more aerodynamic aircraft wings, engineers typically rely on trial and error. They start with a known design and tinker with it until they get the traits they want. But engineers in the aerospace, automotive, and structural industries are increasingly using computer-based tools that let them create, from scratch,…

New Tools for Tapping Data Impact

Vladimir Braverman likens the algorithms that he and his team are inventing to deal with massive amounts of streaming data to the hammers and picks that miners use to remove precious metals from the Earth. “In order for us to extract patterns and valuable information that are hiding in all that data, we need to…

Rare Variants in the Crosshairs Impact

Ever since the first draft of the human genome was published nearly 15 years ago, researchers have been working hard to make sense of the information encoded in the 3 billion base pairs that make up our genome—most importantly, for those that might have implications for health. Thus far, they’ve linked thousands of genes to…

The Power of Plastic Impact

Cars and computers spew a lot of heat into the atmosphere. A family of materials known as thermoelectrics can turn that waste heat into electricity. But thermoelectric materials developed to date have been expensive and contain rare or toxic elements. So Howard Katz, professor of materials science and engineering, is developing plastic thermoelectrics instead. Because…

UPSTARTS Impact

Metallic Lattices A trio of engineering researchers—from the mechanical, materials science, and civil engineering departments—has invented a new architecture for 3-D woven metals that appears to hold great promise for aerospace parts, defense weapons, and other manufactured components. Think: A strong, pliable fabric in 3-D (not 2-D, like your typical cotton shirt) made of metal…

Tech Tools: Dialing in a Diagnosis Impact

Chlamydia has become one of the most common sexually transmitted disease in the United States, generating an astounding 4 million to 8 million new cases each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. If only there were an app for diagnosing chlamydia over the phone so patients wouldn’t have to leave home….

Can You Hear Me Now? Features

Those best positioned to do research to help the deaf are the deaf themselves, contends Tilak Ratnanather. As a role model and mentor, he’s made it his mission to bring more deaf and hard-of-hearing students into STEM fields— giving voice to a new generation of young scientists. By Joe Sugarman Photos by Chris Hartlove “In…

The Need for Speed Features

By Andrew Myers Illustrations by Andrew Colin Beck In November 2014, a new sort of high-rise emerged on a grassy, 3-acre plot in East Baltimore, directly across from Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center. This high-rise was not like any that had gone before. Its units, stacked upon one another, do not soar into the sky….

Data Downlink Features

Alumnus Chris DeBoy oversees New Horizons’ Radio System, and its daily downloads from Pluto promise to shed new light on the worlds at the edge of our solar system.  By Greg Rienzi NASA’s New Horizons wowed the world last summer when it snapped and sent home stunning high-resolution images of Pluto’s icy surface, captured by…

Behind Prison Walls Students

When Nikhil Jois was a first- semester freshman at Johns Hopkins, a friend advised him to get outside the “Hopkins bubble” and interact with people he might not otherwise encounter. So Jois, a junior studying biomedical engineering, became one of the 50 Johns Hopkins undergraduates who volunteer with the Johns Hopkins Jail Tutorial Project, a…

Still in It Students

It’s been a nail-biting time for members of Aezon Health, the team of undergraduate students from the Whiting and Krieger schools. The 19-member team is one of seven still in the final round of Qualcomm’s $10 million Tricorder XPRIZE competition. The three-year contest challenged teams across the globe to develop hand-held, consumer-friendly, Star Trek- style…

Minuscule Marvels Students

To most people, spider crickets are pesky insects that leap crazily out of dark corners in basements and garages, making the heart race with surprise. To Emily Palmer (above left), the tiny creatures with bodies that curve like an archer’s bow and limbs as long and delicate as a prima ballerina’s are minuscule marvels of…

Better Brain Surgery Students

Neurosurgeons have a tough balancing act when removing brain tumors: Fail to remove the entire tumor, and the cancer will almost certainly return. But if they remove too much healthy brain in the tumor margins, patients can suffer a host of neurological deficits. Complicating their task even further: Healthy and cancerous brain tissues are often…

The Cells Don’t Lie Students

You may look younger than your years, but your cells won’t lie about your age, according to researchers in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering. “Being able to determine an individual’s biological age as determined by measurements on the cellular level allows us to gain a better understanding of aging, both as a function…

Driving Force Students

Anna Goodridge ’17 didn’t spend time in high school peering under the hoods of cars or debating the benefits of automatic versus manual transmissions. Times have changed. Today, the 20-year-old mechanical engineering major can discuss the finer points of everything from cylinders to spark plugs with knowledge and authority. The first female captain of the…

‘Watch Bro’ Alumni

Zhifei Li (PhD ’10) believes that computers should be able to see, hear, feel, and move. But, he adds, mostly they need to be able to speak to us and respond intelligently to what we say. “Technology exists to make a positive impact on people’s lives, and to do that, we need to enable better…

Untangling Mental Illness Alumni

Not long ago, many scientists expected that schizophrenia might be associated with a small set of genetic variants with a straightforward inheritance pattern. Douglas Ruderfer, ‘04, MS ‘05, and his colleagues, however, have helped to dispel that model: The disease is actually associated with thousands of variants scattered across the genome. The vast majority of…

Calling the Plays Alumni

William J. “Bill” Stromberg ’82—arguably the best football player in Johns Hopkins University’s history—has been tapped to quarterback one of Baltimore’s largest employers. He took over as president and CEO of T. Rowe Price on Jan. 1. Stromberg had served as head of global equity at the money management firm since 2006. He succeeds James…

3-D Artist Alumni

When Rose Thun ’90 comes home from her day job managing software development in Maryland, she fires up one of the 3-D printers in her home studio. She spends evenings creating sculptures, bowls, rings, and other small objects—many of them with intricate mathematical designs that would be nearly impossible to carry off with traditional manufacturing…

Deep-Sea Dreamer Alumni

Ben Kinnaman, MS ’06, was raised in the port town of Morehead City, North Carolina. “I grew up in the water … diving, and surfing, and fishing, and everything else.” Twenty-five years later, Kinnaman’s life is still dedicated to the ocean—even though he lives and works in the mountains of Vermont. Kinnaman is the founder…

Why ‘Back Doors’ Are a Bad Idea Back Talk

… and why continued debate leaves us vulnerable. For the first time in history, the technology industry has achieved a longtime dream of restoring user privacy through widespread access to encryption technology. But the reaction from governments has been a near panic. FBI director James Comey recently took his case to Congress, arguing that this…

From the Dean From The Dean

Dear Whiting School Community, January marks my second anniversary as the Benjamin T. Rome Dean of the Whiting School of Engineering, and this puts me in a wonderful place in terms of my sense of the school and of the university. While I feel confident in my knowledge of the campus’ rhythms, traditions, and spaces;…