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an online version of the magazine Winter 2007
Circling the Dome
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Swallow for the Camera
Gerald Mullin could read an urgent PillCam report from any roadside rest stop. Photograph by Keith Weller.
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Swallow for the Camera

With the latest “PillCam” technology, Gerard Mullin can diagnose GI problems from anywhere—and in real time.

 

IF HE HAD TO, Gerard Mullin could diagnose an active GI bleed from a remote roadside rest stop, even as his patient lay on an emergency gurney miles away. The distressed patient would swallow a pill the size of a multivitamin—but armed with a fancy camera at one end—and within minutes Mullin could begin tracking what the camera-equipped pill “sees” on its journey through the patient’s digestive tract. He could even receive an urgent page while sitting in the cheap seats at Yankee Stadium, then log onto the unfolding images via his smart phone.

Pill Camera

“These cost about $450 each,” says Mullin, clasping one such “PillCam” device between his thumb and forefinger. The tiny gadget sports a see-through “cockpit” at one end, stuffed with electronics.

It’s an ingestible camera that any patient can swallow, and it can transmit images from any point during its eight-hour journey through the GI tract. Most patients feel nothing as the capsule is naturally propelled through their system via peristalsis.

Though capsule endoscopy has been around for a couple of years, its makers have only recently configured the capsules to transmit in transit. Previously, the images were gathered into an external device after the pill’s exit through the tract, viewable only in retrospect.

Mullin, director of capsule endoscopy here, has presided over 252 capsule endoscopies in the last year alone. His new twist is to log into a system based here in Hopkins’ computer servers even when he’s traveling. If one of his patients suffers a problem, Mullin instructs an associate to begin a PillCam procedure, then whips out his remote viewing device. He has done it from his vacation home in New Jersey, and from a scientific gathering in Puerto Rico. “I can read them from anywhere,” he says.

He describes a recent case in which one patient was suffering from anemia. Physicians on site couldn’t detect any bleeding, so they tried the PillCam procedure and paged Mullin to review the images via remote. “Two hours into the study,” says Mullin, “I spotted an AVM (arterial venous malformation) in her small bowel. I was able to tell my colleague to go in and cauterize it.” Mullin has become especially enamored of capsule endoscopy’s unprecedented diagnostic capacity. Though the current images are not quite high-resolution, Mullin believes they routinely detect GI bleeding that might otherwise be missed. Traditional endoscopes have limited reach, especially in areas such as the serpentine curves of a 22-foot-long small bowel.  Mullin likes capsule endoscopy’s ability to find conditions such as celiac disease and Crohn’s.

So what’s next for capsule endoscopy? “Navigation,” says Mullin.  “They’re now trying to steer these miniature cameras by remote control, via waves from ultrasound.”

And it could get even better, Mullin says. Some researchers are looking at ways to engineer the capsules to administer therapies. If a PillCam spots a bleed, it could pause and patch it up. It could administer a site-specific medicine. It could mark a site for surgical resection.

“This stuff is cool,” he says. “Very James Bond.” 

 

Ramsey Flynn


Overcoming the "Disconnect" of Disparity

> Good mentoring is key to improving the diversity picture among physicians, says Cooper. Photograph by Keith Weller.

For Lisa Cooper, it will be hard to beat the year that’s just ended. In 2007, the Liberian-born physician who has made an international name in health disparities research was promoted to professor, the first black woman ever to achieve that rank at the School of Medicine. A few months later, she learned she’d won a MacArthur “genius” Fellowship—$500,000 in no-strings-attached funding. Oh, and last August, she got married.

We sat down with Cooper, who chairs the school’s Diversity Council, to talk about her work, the climate for diversity at Hopkins, and the childhood events that shaped her.

 

What role did your childhood play in your career?

It played a huge role. Although I grew up in a privileged household, I saw a lot of poverty and many children who were sick. I always thought I’d be a pediatrician and I went to medical school with that in mind. But I didn’t like pediatrics, watching children suffer so much. I did like the variety of internal medicine. I also knew I wanted to do something that wasn’t just clinical practice, so I got a master’s in public health. I didn’t think I was going to be a researcher, frankly.

 

What events prompted you to leave Liberia?

It was my 17th birthday and I was home from school on Easter break. I awoke to what sounded like firecrackers, but it was gunfire. There was a military takeover of the government that day. It felt surreal, almost like Sept. 11 felt here—you can’t believe this is happening. Someone called my father, who was the president’s personal physician, in the middle of the night and told him the president’s life was endangered. The next morning we found out the president had been assassinated. Within a couple of weeks, they rounded up the Cabinet and shot them by firing squad on the beach. Many of them were my friends’ parents. It was the most horrendous thing. I left for the States to be with my older brother. Later, my parents did make it out safely.

 

When did you become aware of racial and ethnic barriers in health care?

When I got to Baltimore for my residency [at the University of Maryland], where most of our patients were minorities, I noticed that there was mistrust of the health care system in the surrounding community. Patients would say, some doctor told me to take this medicine, but he didn’t tell me how much it would cost or where I’d get it, then I couldn’t afford it and I didn’t know what it was for anyway. Patients would use vernacular language and I was expected to interpret, because most of the people delivering the care were not minorities. The differences between the patients and the staff were pronounced and, while I think most people were well meaning, there just seemed to be a disconnect.

 

And this led to your research?

As I talked to the faculty about research, I realized it was a way I could make a difference.

My mentor during my fellowship was Dan Ford, now the vice dean for clinical investigation, and he helped me formulate my first research project. We discovered that minorities are more likely to seek help for depression from a primary care doctor than from a mental health professional. Later, we found that African Americans viewed depression as a spiritual illness and, therefore, were less inclined to take medication for it. Also, we found that African Americans rated their relationships with primary care physicians as the most important factor in their decision to get help for depression.

This led me to pursue my next line of inquiry, the patient-physician relationship. We found that when patients see doctors of the same race, they feel more involved in decision-making. We published those results in JAMA in 1999, which was a pivotal point for my work in the area we now call disparities research.

 

What are you working on now?

The Right Direction

 

From his perch in a ninth-floor office that overlooks the medical campus here, Mike Weisfeldt may be sitting atop the best diversity story in medicine. His department’s a national pacesetter: One out of every five residents in his internal medicine program now qualifies as an under-represented minority, he says, compared to a national average of 13.5 percent. “Twenty percent is very high,” he adds. “It was 3 percent when I arrived in 2001.”

The picture for women has also brightened. Nearly half of the 460 medical students at Hopkins are women, and half of the Osler House staff members are women. “This means that over 40 percent of our assistant professor pool are now women,” Weisfeldt says. “I’d like to think this clearly reflects our efforts in recruitment of women for faculty development.”

But priming the pipeline is only half the battle, he says. The next frontier is to ensure that female faculty excel in scholarship and national leadership so they can fill out the senior ranks. Weisfeldt is working on that.

The department’s percentages of female faculty are up at all three academic ranks. Just within Weisfeldt’s six-year term, the percentage of female assistant professors has grown by six points: 43 percent of the 180 assistant professors are women. Female associate professors are up by 10 points: 30 percent of the 92 associate-level faculty are now women. The top rung is even showing progress, with a five-point boost: 17 percent of full professors are now women.

The diversity campaign is also looking strong in a parallel house staff program at Bayview, which has 35 members. Weisfeldt says the Bayview group is comprised of 25 percent under-represented minorities. If it were a stand-alone institution, Bayview would eclipse the mother ship on the East Baltimore campus.

In either case, Weisfeldt says none in the system are resting on their laurels. “We’ve still got a long way to go,” he says, “but it’s obviously going in the right direction.” — RF

 

I’m the lead researcher on two randomized controlled trials. One examines whether teaching communication skills to doctors and patients with hypertension affects adherence to treatment. The other is looking at how teaching doctors patient-centered care affects African-American patients with depression.

In addition, I chair the Diversity Council at the school, a group of about 30 faculty members who are volunteers. We provide advice to the chairman of the department on issues that relate to diversity—mentorship and career development; climate; collecting data to track progress and uncover problems.

 

What are the challenges in diversifying the physician workforce?

I think our biggest challenge right now is transitioning people from residency to fellowship and fellowship to faculty. What we see is that even though we’ve made success among the medical students (see “The Right Direction,” above), when you get up to the house staff level, it drops off to more like 10 percent; fellowship is 7 percent and faculty is 5 percent or less.

 

What steps are key to improving diversity here?

Connecting people with good mentors, making sure they’re part of a network, making sure they feel valued and are contributing to the clinical, research, and teaching missions. Leadership behaviors are important, as well. People in decision-making roles need to be made more aware of how they set the tone for others.

 

Interview by Mary Ellen Miller

 


Business Makes the Rounds

Lessons abound when corporate comes calling.

 

FOR YEARS, MEDICINE has faced pressure to take lessons from business. Now, a corporation seeking to emulate medicine has come knocking at Hopkins’ door. Duke Corporate Education (CE), an offshoot of Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business, creates custom training for clients as wide-ranging as Boeing, LexisNexis, and the United Nations. Searching for creative teaching alternatives, Duke CE executives had considered multiple vocations—from architecture to circus performance—before deciding that the methods used to train medical residents could prove most valuable.

Duke CE was especially attracted by the Department of Medicine’s long-running practice of placing its youngest physicians at the front of patient care teams, without putting patients at risk. In the corporate world, managers often worry that their clients will be uncomfortable trusting their money and projects to less experienced hands. But at Hopkins, “the physicians are really spectacular at preparing residents for taking care of patients,” says Stephanie Scott, a program manager at Duke CE.

Both Scott and Jared Bleak, Duke CE’s executive director, spent several days in the Hospital studying the interactions between residents and attending physicians. What struck them, says pulmonary fellow Eric Schmidt, is the residency program’s use of team-based learning and continuous feedback.

“[They] were really intrigued with how we allow residents to think through problems, instead of just handing them the answers,” Schmidt says. “They felt like in the corporate world, people spend too much time dictating instead of enlightening people. Here, people learn by doing. As a result, residents develop a sense that they’re surrounded by people with an unselfish interest in their success.”

Duke CE took these lessons and constructed a mock rounds program so that client companies could try out interactions like those between physicians and residents. They also brought Osler residents and faculty into various client headquarters for roundtable discussions. “It’s amazing,” says Bleak, “how putting people in different situations helps them learn and draw parallels.”

 

Lauren Manfuso

 


How a Bad Boy Fooled His Fellows

Illustration by Neil A. Grauer

Saint or sinner? William Osler was a little of both.

One of the most memorable gifts Anastas Saliaris received when he matched at Hopkins for his residency was Michael Bliss’ biography, William Osler: A Life in Medicine. He tore through the 600-page tome (recently out in paperback) in a matter of days, gobbling up the story of the man who laid the groundwork for bedside teaching and who, in the 1890s, wrote the book on being a modern physician.

Saliaris was impressed by Osler’s sleuth-like dedication to understanding disease—and surprised by his lifelong penchant for wild antics. “He was quite a practical joker,” says Saliaris, who went on to do his cardiology fellowship here.

Saliaris can rattle off a good yarn about the man who coined the gentle motto Aequanimitas, and the anecdotes he shared at a recent house-staff reunion drew belly laughs from the generations of residents who gathered in Hurd Hall.

The stories “don’t fit with the personality you’d expect of the father of modern medicine,” he acknowledges.

Expelled from grammar school for unscrewing the desks from the floor, Osler grew into a notorious troublemaker who locked a gaggle of geese in a common room, played hooky from boarding school, and took pride breaking church windows with rocks. In later days, he and a friend answered a lonely farmer’s singles ad in the paper, and met the farmer at the train station dressed in drag.

Long after he’d chosen his life’s course, the irreverent physician took pokes at a journal editor he disdained by submitting fake articles about patient cases under the pseudonym Egerton Yorrick Davis. (The articles by “Davis,” long since exposed, have been discussed, annotated and picked apart in several modern medical journals.) Even Osler himself must have been mystified by the inconsistency in his life. After being knighted, he commented, “It is wonderful how a bad boy may fool his fellows if he once gets to work.”

For Saliaris, the “bad boy” anecdotes don’t tarnish Osler’s lofty image, but instead bring the saint closer to home. “Here’s a guy we hold up as the perfect physician,” Saliaris says, “but he wasn’t a perfect person. For people going through a Hopkins residency, often frustrated by their own shortcomings, [the stories offer] a good reminder that even Osler was a human being.” 

 

Kate Ledger



Oxford Comes to Hopkins

John Flynn and colleagues put an American spin on a British classic.

 

Photo by Keith Weller

During the many nights, weekends, and vacation days he spent working on the new Oxford American Handbook of Clinical Medicine, John Flynn would look out the window of his office and gaze reflectively at the Billings Building’s iconic dome. In that building, Flynn knew, was the office where William Osler, Hopkins’ first physician-in-chief, wrote his masterful Principles and Practice of Medicine more than a century ago—creating a classic that guided countless physicians for decades.

Flynn and the 25 other members of the School of Medicine faculty he recruited to update and Americanize the Oxford University Press’ bestselling physicians’ handbook aimed to produce a text on both the science and art of patient care that would make Osler proud. The Oxford University Press believes they have.

Originally published in 1985, the British edition of the Oxford handbook has sold more than 1 million copies and now is in its sixth reprint. An Americanized version, prepared mostly by Tufts University faculty, was produced in the mid-1990s but was overshadowed by similar texts here and has long been out of print.

“We felt we needed a strong U.S. ‘name’ author from a major institution to help get the book noticed in the U.S. market,” says William Lamsback, the Oxford Press’ executive editor in New York. “I immediately thought of Hopkins and the director of general internal medicine, John Flynn.”

The handbook is designed for medical students, residents, and interns, as well as for practicing physicians, says Flynn, an associate professor of medicine who came to Hopkins in 1986 for his own residency, then completed a fellowship in rheumatology before joining the faculty in 1991.

The 760-page text, designed to fit in a lab coat pocket, contains 20 sections—all written by Hopkins faculty members. It covers everything from cardiovascular medicine and epidemiology to emergency medicine, rheumatology (the section Flynn wrote), surgery, oncology and hematology. To “Americanize” it, Flynn and his colleagues took two years to rewrite and add to the text. For example, the British version did not have a chapter on geriatric medicine, which the Hopkins physicians felt was essential; the British section on post-operative care required expansion; and the radiology section needed to be completely rewritten, Flynn says.
Flynn is particularly pleased that as editor of the book, he “didn’t have to go far to get help” in the revision. “The collaboration of my colleagues, all of whom are invested in patient care, was remarkable,” he says.

The book’s other writers include John Bartlett, Ari Blitz, Jonathan Buscaglia, Arjun Chanmugam, Michael Choi, Colleen Christmas, Susan Gearhart, Benjamin Greenberg, Mark Hughes, Lisa Jacobs, Sanjay Jagannath, Mathew Kim, Daniel Laheru, Katarzyna Macura, Jeffrey Magaziner, Alison Moliterno, Albert Polito, Gregory Prokopowicz, Stuart Russell, Lisa Simonson, Stephen Sisson, C. Matthew Stewart, Rosalyn Stewart, Neel Vibhaker and Clifford Weiss. 

 

Neil A. Grauer

 


All Rise! Class Is In Session

 

Separating junk science from real is one mission of the Judges’ Science School.



VIOLETTE RENARD OPENED up a life-size model of the brain, then passed it around the class. The students, many in suits, peppered the neurosurgery resident with questions that seemed a tad out of line for a neuroanatomy lesson at Hopkins. Are some people genetically programmed to be violent? To what extent does behavior modification work? Can brain imaging prove that someone is lying?

Richard Eadie was curious about the amygdala, a part of the brain linked with negative feelings and violent behavior. “What do you make,” he asked, “of a young girl who says, ‘I get this angry feeling that just comes over me and sometimes I just get the urge to hit somebody!’ Could that be organic? Would that have to do with damage to the amygdala?”

Perhaps, Renard replied, adding that a predisposition to violent behavior does not mean it’s uncontrollable.

Frowning in concentration, her listeners scribbled away. Although these students might flunk a test about the parts of the brain, they will remember the greater message: Knowledge of the brain is still evolving. Beware experts bearing neuroscientific proof of innocence or guilt.   

At least that was the take-home lesson for Eadie, a superior court judge in King County, Washington. He was among roughly 200 judges taking part in the National Judges’ Science School, a three-day educational conference at Hopkins designed to help adjudicators better understand courtroom applications of neuroscience and biobehavioral technologies.

The School of Medicine, the Johns Hopkins Brain Science Institute, and the Judicial Institute of Maryland served as co-sponsors of the program held in October. It was created in collaboration with the Advanced Science & Technology Adjudication Resource Center (ASTAR), a national program that prepares judges to preside over high-tech cases involving complex scientific issues.

Renard was among more than a dozen Hopkins faculty members, fellows and residents who joined scientists from around the United States and Europe in presenting lectures geared toward the legal audience—on topics ranging from the antisocial personality to the addicted brain.

To prepare for the event, Valina Dawson, co-director of the Institute for Cell Engineering, helped a group of post-doctoral fellows and graduate students enliven highly technical material in a workshop about brain disease, embryonic stem cells, and neural regeneration.

“The judges are very smart people, but the last time they had science was in high school, maybe,” she warned. “They are coming here to understand what scientific evidence they can allow in court and what they can’t.”

As the young scientists practiced their talks, Dawson offered suggestions. Say “insulators” rather than “lipids” … Instead of talking about sonic hedgehog instructing motor neurons, describe the process as plugging a lamp into an outlet … Make sure the judges understand that what stem cells can do right now is very limited, but very important to the future … And don’t be afraid to repeat yourself!

Such advice paid off for participants like Judge Eadie, who said he was impressed by the knowledge and enthusiasm of Hopkins researchers. The jurist returned to Seattle better prepared to tell junk science from legitimate research, thanks to a better understanding of the brain. 

 

Linell Smith

 


Old Drugs, New Tricks

Could taking a second look at existing drugs hold the key to fighting emerging diseases?



THE BUZZ HAD barely died down by the time Curtis Chong set foot in Zambia last summer. He and two senior colleagues here had published findings that an old and neglected drug could knock out a particular form of malaria. It was an exciting development, of course, but needed a larger human study. Broad use in the world’s malaria hotspots might still be years away.

But amid his summer visit to a pharmacy in rural Zambia, Chong stumbled onto a delightful surprise: His team’s celebrated antimalarial agent, astemizole, lay packaged on the shelves in generic form, priced at 10 cents per pill. The pharmacist reported the drug was a popular antihistamine, widely available throughout the African continent. Since its conversion to a generic form in 1999, an Indian manufacturer now produced the pills in vast quantities and at low cost.

Distributing astemizole in remote locations was not going to be an obstacle, Chong recalls. “We can’t wait to get this into clinical trials,” he says.

Yet the Zambia find only amplifies a potentially much bigger story. Chong and his colleagues—David Sullivan of the Bloomberg School’s Malaria Research Institute and Jun Liu with Medicine’s pharmacology program—found the old drug’s new promise while screening a database of existing drugs. The team has launched an ambitious effort to build a library of nearly all of the existing 9,000 known drugs, with an eye toward testing them for new uses.

The move stems from a long-standing frustration: New drugs take too long to approve and cost too much for wide distribution to poor populations. In fact, according to a study conducted by the team, it now takes about 15 years and $1 billion to bring a single drug to market—not the most attractive system for fighting rapidly emerging diseases.

Taking a second look at the older drugs poses an enormous savings of time, money, and human lives. Some of the most costly stages in the development of new compounds include animal and human safety trials. Since the older drugs have already passed muster, researchers can cut to the chase when trying them for new conditions. Phase two trials alone typically take two years and cost $17 million, Chong notes.

Already, scientists here are investigating potential new uses for existing drugs through experiments involving HIV, cancer cells, tuberculosis, and new blood vessel formation.

Armed with a growing conviction that the vast stores of existing medicines are an underplayed resource, Chong and Sullivan published a clarion call in an August 2007 issue of the journal Nature. “We challenge the scientific community,” they wrote, “to create a comprehensive clinical drug library to screen every neglected disease by 2011.” They’ve even offered their database here as a starting point. The Johns Hopkins Clinical Compound Library, says Chong, has 1,500 available compounds, the world’s largest publicly accessible collection of existing drugs.

Labs have begun responding, says Chong. Larger collaborations will soon be in the pipeline. 

 

RF

 


Overheard

Spend enough time on patient rounds here and certain phrases begin cropping up that can’t be found in medical textbooks. They are the shorthand terms of harried young physicians, describing patients and procedures that recur with shopworn frequency. Some are particular to Hopkins, others universal. Some evoke gallows humor. Some are in bad taste. Herewith, our first modest sampling of terms (in no particular order) heard around the Hopkins dome … .

  • Acute Lead Poisoning. Slang for gunshot wound.
  • Retrospectoscope. The proverbial device through which physicians look back at a case and revise their diagnostic conclusions.
  • Rock. Term applied to a patient who stays on the wards for lengthy periods.
  • Rock Garden. A group of patient rocks, disproportionately assigned to the same ward. Usage example, when one intern has too many of them: “I’m growing a rock garden.”
  • Full Metal Jacket. Term applied to a patient’s cardiac artery with many metal stents to prop it open.
  • Celestial Discharge. Slang for “my patient died.”
  • Doughnut of Truth. Term for the giant ring of a CT scanner, which confirms or rules out a physician’s diagnosis.
  • Win the Game. Phrase applied to interns who successfully discharge all of their patients before they are assigned new ones.

To submit your own nominations for Overheard, send emails to rflynn@jhmi.edu

 

 


ALPHA DOCS

Building Bridges

The new director of Biomedical Engineering aims to connect students, faculty, and campuses.

 

Chi Dang in his office, flanked by a 1967 photograph of his brother and him with their new American family. (He’s front left.)
>McVeigh: “Hooked” on BME.

Elliot McVeigh was an undergraduate physics major at the University of Toronto in the early 1980s when he picked up an issue of Scientific American that talked about the first commercially available magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machines. “I was hooked,” recalls McVeigh, the inventor of eight MRI devices that give physicians real-time views of what’s going on inside patients’ bodies.

Last August, McVeigh was named the new director of the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Johns Hopkins. The program bridges the School of Medicine and Hopkins’ Whiting School of Engineering at Homewood and encompasses an undergraduate training program with close to 500 students, a graduate program with more than 100 master’s degree and doctoral candidates, and a research mission led by 25 faculty.

For McVeigh, the appointment is a coming home of sorts. Though he has spent most of the last eight years as a senior investigator at the NIH in the Laboratory of Cardiac Energetics (publishing more than 100 papers), he launched his professional career at Hopkins in 1988—with a young radiologist in body MRI named Elias Zerhouni. The two met by chance when McVeigh, a freshly minted Ph.D. in medical biophysics, came to Hopkins for a job interview and ended up talking instead with Zerhouni, today director of the NIH. “He showed me some very early images of myocardial tagging—and, again, I was hooked,” McVeigh recalls. He settled in Baltimore and joined the Hopkins faculty, first in radiology, later adding biomedical engineering. “It became a wonderful home,” he says.

Since then, he has helped develop the research program in cardiac MRI at Hopkins and directed Hopkins’ Medical Imaging Laboratory, which works to develop new imaging techniques and advance existing ones. He retained a part-time appointment at Hopkins, even after joining NIH in 1999, and says he’s excited to be returning full time to head BME.

“You couldn’t not be interested in directing the premier biomedical engineering department in the country,” says McVeigh, adding. “It’s a great honor to follow in the footsteps of Medicine’s Dick Johns and Engineering’s Murray Sachs [BME’s former directors]. They created an environment for their faculty and students that’s unique and wonderful, and I’m humbled to try and continue that.”

McVeigh aims to maintain the department’s growth and excellence and says he’s eager to hire faculty “who will integrate wholeheartedly into the scientific mission of Johns Hopkins Medicine—which is to build research teams that include clinician scientists, basic scientists, and engineers.” NAG

 

 


AN AUGUST ACHIEVEMENT

Celebrating the man whose discoveries have dramatically advanced immunology.

 

Dr. David Hellmann

They came from across the country and over the sea to honor J. Thomas August, former director of the Department of Pharmacology and Molecular Sciences—and to discourse on a subject he loves: discoveries in immunology and vaccine development.

Still an active member of the department he headed from 1976 to 1999, August was praised by speakers from as far away as Oxford University and the La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology at last October’s Charles E. Dohme Memorial Symposium. An annual gathering, the symposium in the School of Medicine’s 232-seat Cancer Research Auditorium was dedicated this year to celebrating August’s career and scientific contributions.

Following the daylong symposium, which featured six lectures on an exciting, emerging discipline in pharmacology—harnessing aspects of the body’s own immune system to prevent viral infections—142 of August’s admirers gathered at Baltimore’s Harbor Court Hotel for a testimonial dinner.

A 1954 graduate of Stanford University’s School of Medicine, August served on the faculties of Stanford, NYU, and the Albert Einstein College of Medicine before coming to Hopkins to take the helm of what then was known as the Department of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics. Under his direction, molecular biology and virology became the department’s new focus, and his teaching and mentorship influenced several generations of faculty and students.

August’s research has centered on developing vaccines against such viruses as HIV, dengue, influenza, and West Nile. In 1980, he discovered lysosome-associate membrane proteins (LAMP), which act with other immune system proteins to activate immune responses by delivering antigens to helper T cells. This discovery prompted an explosion in immunology and led to the development of DNA vaccines that target and enhance the delivery of the antigens to the helper T cell pathway.

August’s achievements have earned him appointments as a Markey Foundation Scholar in Medical Sciences; a Health Research Council of New York Career Scientist; a Fellow of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation and of Balliol College, Oxford; an adjunct professorship of medicine at the National University of Singapore; and a Merit Award from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases for HIV vaccine research. NAG

 


More Alpha Docs

Deborah Armstrong, associate professor of oncology, gynecology and obstetrics, has been awarded the first annual Health Breakthrough Award from the Ladies’ Home Journal. The award recognizes her work on delivering chemotherapy through a catheter directly into the abdomens of ovarian cancer patients.

 

Deborah Armstrong, associate professor of oncology, has received the Rosalind Franklin Excellence in Ovarian Cancer Research Award from the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance.
 
Kenneth Brady, professor of pediatric critical care and anesthesiology, has received the Hartwell Foundation award for biomedical research.

 

Peter Burger, professor of pathology, oncology, and neurosurgery, has received the Distinguished Pathologist Award from the United States-Canadian Academy of Pathology.

 

Richard Chaisson, professor of medicine, epidemiology, and international health and director of the Center for Tuberculosis Research, has received a $4.4 million grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for the Hopkins-led Consortium to Respond Effectively to the AIDS-TB Epidemic (CREATE), which he also directs.

 

Charles Cummings, distinguished service professor of otolaryngology–head and neck surgery and vice president of clinical and medical affairs for Johns Hopkins International, has become interim director of the Department of Dermatology.

 

Stephen Desiderio, director of the Institute for Basic Biomedical Sciences, has been appointed by Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley to the state’s new 15-member Life Sciences Advisory Board.

 

Linda Fried, professor of medicine, epidemiology, health policy and nursing, as well as director of the Division of Geriatric Medicine and Gerontology, has received the David H. Solomon Award for her outstanding leadership in geriatric medicine.
 
Carol Greider, professor and director of molecular biology and genetics, has received Columbia University’s Louisa Gross Horwitz Prize for outstanding contributions to basic research in biology and biochemistry. She shares the prize with Elizabeth Blackburn of the University of California, San Francisco, and Joseph Gall of the Carnegie Institution.
 
William B. Greenough III, professor of medicine and international health, received an Outstanding Service Award from the Bangladesh-American Foundation Inc. The award recognizes his assistance during the War of Independence of Bangladesh against Pakistan and his work at the Cholera Research Laboratory, which included the discovery of how cholera caused illness and death, and the refinement of oral rehydration therapy (ORT).
 
Richard Huganir, professor and director of neuroscience and an investigator for the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, is the co-winner of the first annual Julius Axelrod Award from the Society of Neuroscience. He shares the award with David Julius of the University of California San Francisco.

 

J. Brooks Jackson, professor and director of the Department of Pathology, has received the Herman and Gertrude Silver Award from the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia for his internationally acclaimed work in preventing the transmission of HIV from infected mothers to their newborns.

 

Barry Marx, assistant professor of pediatrics, has been named senior pediatric advisor to the federal Office of Head Start in Washington, D.C.
 
Julia McMillan, professor, vice chair of pediatrics, and director of the pediatrics residency program, has received the Walter W. Tunnessen Jr., M.D., Award for the Advancement of Pediatric Resident Education from the Association of Pediatric Program Directors.

 

Three School of Medicine faculty members have been elected to the National Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Medicine. They are: Frederick M. “Skip” Burkle, a research associate in the Department of Emergency Medicine and director of the Center of Excellence in Disaster Management and Humanitarian Assistance; Aravinda Chakravarti, professor of medicine, pediatrics, molecular biology and genetics and biostatistics and director of the Center for Complex Disease Genomics; and Andrew Feinberg, the King Fahd Professor of Medicine, Molecular Biology and Genetics and Oncology and director of the Center for Epigenetics.

 

 
 
 
 
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