Juggling may sound like mere entertainment, but a study led by Johns Hopkins engineers has used this circus skill to gather critical clues about how vision and the sense of touch help control the way humans and animals move their limbs in a repetitive way, such as in running. The findings eventually may aid in the treatment of people with neurological diseases and could lead to prosthetic limbs and robots that move more efficiently.
Recent news from The Johns Hopkins University
This section contains regularly updated highlights of the news from around The Johns Hopkins University. Links to the complete news reports from the nine schools, the Applied Physics Laboratory and other centers and institutes are to the left, as are links to help news media contact the Johns Hopkins communications offices.
When an MRI scan uncovers an unusual architecture or shape in a child’s brain, it’s cause for concern: The malformation may be a sign of disease. But deciding whether that odd-looking anatomy is worrisome or harmless can be difficult. To help doctors reach the right decision, Johns Hopkins researchers are building a detailed digital library of MRI scans collected from children with normal and abnormal brains. The goal, the researchers say, is to give physicians a Google-like search system that will enhance the way they diagnose and treat young patients with brain disorders.
Fifty-nine Johns Hopkins freshmen from an introductory mechanical engineering course will compete. Twenty student teams of two or three students have built devices that must be able to transport an uncooked chicken egg from a platform six feet off the ground to a target below—without breaking the egg.
MEDIA ADVISORY: How Secure is Personal Data on HealthCare.gov? Johns Hopkins Expert Available for Interviews
Avi Rubin, a Johns Hopkins professor of computer science and director of the university’s Health and Medical Security Lab, testified Nov. 19 before the U.S. House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology at a hearing titled, “Is Your Data on Healthcare.gov Secure?” In a prepared statement submitted to the panel, Rubin said, “HealthCare.gov does not collect nor store Electronic Medical Records, but it does collect whatever personal information is needed for enrollment. This information, in the wrong hands, could potentially be used for identity theft attacks.”
Engineering students at Johns Hopkins are primary organizers and volunteers for “Ready Set Design!” The program aims to cultivate girls’ interest in engineering and engineering careers. About 30 girls from middle schools in Baltimore city and neighboring communities are expected to participate.
Johns Hopkins Students Win Inventors Contest’s Top Prizes for Heart Treatment Device and Cancer Test
A Johns Hopkins undergraduate biomedical engineering student team that devised a two-part system to improve the way life-saving shocks are delivered to hearts earned first-prize in the undergraduate division of a national Collegiate Inventors Competition. In the graduate-level competition, Isaac Kinde, a Johns Hopkins medical student, received third-place honors for developing a test to detect ovarian and endometrial cancers as part of a team at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center.
Johns Hopkins engineers and cardiology experts have teamed up to develop a fingernail-sized biosensor that could alert doctors when serious brain injury occurs during heart surgery. By doing so, the device could help doctors devise new ways to minimize brain damage or begin treatment more quickly. In the Nov. 11 issue of the journal Chemical Science, the team reported on lab tests demonstrating that the prototype sensor had successfully detected a protein associated with brain injuries.
A quirk of nature has long baffled biologists: Why do animals push in directions that don’t point toward their goal, like the side-to-side sashaying of a running lizard or cockroach? An engineer building a robot would likely avoid these movements because they seem wasteful. So why do animals behave this way? A multi-institutional research team, led by Johns Hopkins engineers, says it has solved this puzzle.
In response to industry’s growing need for engineers with the specialized skills and expertise to design and deploy advanced robotics systems, The Johns Hopkins University’s Whiting School of Engineering now offers a Master of Science in Engineering in Robotics (MSE Robotics) degree program.
Two Johns Hopkins faculty members–Natalia Trayanova and Hans Tomas Bjornsson–have been chosen to receive prestigious National Institutes of Health grants allocated for biomedical research projects that face significant challenges but could lead to major health care payoffs. The Johns Hopkins researchers are among 78 grant recipients nationwide announced Sept. 30 under the High Risk-High Reward Program supported by the National Institutes of Health Common Fund.
Five Johns Hopkins graduate students, recently named to the 2014 class of Siebel Scholars, are pushing the boundaries of medical technology to develop new and improved ways to diagnose and treat cancer, heart disease and other serious health problems. The students are trying to turn stem cells into healthy blood vessels, are testing biological reactions within microscopic droplets and are using advanced imaging techniques to detect disease at an early, treatable stage.
In recognition of their research skills, academic achievements and leadership qualities, the five PhD candidates are being honored as Johns Hopkins’ 2014 Siebel Scholars. The merit-based Siebel program provides $35,000 to each student for use in his or her final year of graduate studies.
Recent news reports stated that the National Security Agency has pursued new methods that have allowed the agency to monitor telephone and online communication, encrypted information that was thought to be virtually immune to eavesdropping. What steps can and should computer scientists take in response to this privacy threat? How will the recent revelations affect the future of cryptography—the field of encoding and decoding electronic communication and transmissions for the purposes of privacy, reliability and efficiency?
To address these questions, the Johns Hopkins University Information Security Institute will host an hour-long roundtable discussion Wednesday, Sept. 18, at the university’s Homewood campus.
In a move that will give financial mathematics students increased exposure to strategic internships and to experts working in today’s ultra-competitive financial services field, The Johns Hopkins University’s Whiting School of Engineering has entered into a partnership with Baltimore-based Campbell & Company, one of the oldest and largest investment management firms in the world.
When a beating heart slips into an irregular, life-threatening rhythm, the treatment is well known: deliver a burst of electric current from a pacemaker or defibrillator. But because the electricity itself can cause pain, tissue damage and other serious side-effects, a Johns Hopkins-led research team wants to replace these jolts with a kinder, gentler remedy: light. In a paper published Aug. 28 in the online journal Nature Communications, five biomedical engineers from Johns Hopkins and Stony Brook universities described their plan to use biological lab data and an intricate computer model to devise a better way to heal ailing hearts.
MEDIA ADVISORY: Huge Shake Tables Will Replicate an Earthquake Beneath a Two-Story Test Building in Buffalo
On Friday, Aug. 16, a team led by Johns Hopkins University researchers will conduct final tests to see how a Southern California earthquake could impact a two-story office building. Inside a lab at the University at Buffalo in New York, two massive shake tables will be use to reproduce the strongest seismic forces recorded during the catastrophic Northridge earthquake in 1994.
Earthquakes never occur when you need one, so a team led by Johns Hopkins structural engineers is shaking up a building themselves in the name of science and safety. Using massive moving platforms and an array of sensors and cameras, the researchers are trying to find out how well a two-story building made of cold-formed steel can stand up to a lab-generated Southern California quake.
About 115 high school students will compete in the annual Spaghetti Bridge Contest, marking the culmination of a four-week summer course called Engineering Innovation. Using only dry spaghetti and epoxy, the students have designed and built bridges that the contest will test.
Johns Hopkins Receives Grant From Medtronic for Student Engineering Program Focused on Medical Devices for Developing Countries
Medtronic, one of the world’s largest medical technology companies, has entered into an innovative partnership with The Johns Hopkins University, agreeing to provide $200,000 a year for up to three years and skilled mentoring to help biomedical engineering students design new healthcare solutions for underserved patients in developing countries.
It’s suspenseful and nervewracking as students who’ve spent days designing and building bridges put their brittle creations to the test, gradually adding weight, kilo by kilo. Prizes and bragging rights go to the bridges that support the most weight – the record stands at 132 pounds. The event caps the university’s Engineering Innovation summer program for young people likely to become the next generation of scientists and engineers.
Imagine millions of jigsaw puzzle pieces scattered across a football field, with too few people and too little time available to assemble the picture. Scientists in the new but fast-growing field of computational genomics are facing a similar dilemma. In recent decades, these researchers have begun to assemble the chemical blueprints of the DNA found in humans, animals, plants and microbes, unlocking a door that will likely lead to better healthcare and greatly expanded life-science knowledge. But a major obstacle now threatens the speedy movement of DNA’s secrets into research labs, two scholars in the field are warning.
When a breast tumor is detected, many women opt to have a lumpectomy, which is surgery designed to remove the diseased tissue while preserving the breast. But during this procedure, doctors cannot learn right away whether all of the cancerous tissue has been removed, with no microscopic signs that cancer cells were left behind. Because of this delay, one in five of these women—up to 66,000 patients annually in the U.S. alone—must return for a second surgery to remove remaining cancer. These follow-up operations boost healthcare costs and can lead to delays in receiving other treatments such as radiation and chemotherapy. To reduce the need for these second surgeries, four Johns Hopkins graduate students have designed a device to allow pathologists to quickly inspect excised breast tissue within 20 minutes, while the patient is still in the operating room.
The Johns Hopkins University is set to unveil FastForward, a groundbreaking business accelerator that promises to spark cutting-edge technology companies and then keep them in the city to bolster the local economy. The university’s Whiting School of Engineering launched FastForward to help turn the best ideas born on campus into moneymaking ventures. The university’s first accelerator is located in the historic Stieff Silver building on the north side of Baltimore near the Homewood campus.
Johns Hopkins student-built devices—a blood clot detection system and a concealable, hands-free breast pump—have won two of the top three awards in a national contest that recognizes innovative biomedical engineering designs that have high commercial potential and social impact.