Fiddling with one fruit fly gene can change stem cells’ identity.
Story by Salma Warshanna-Sparklin • Illustration by David Scharf/Science Source
Working with the fruit fly Drosophila, scientist Erika Matunis—from the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine—and team discovered that testis cells have a nifty trick: the ability to switch from male to female. Turns out that Drosophila adult stem cells “know” their sex and can change it. For males that means no more sperm. Matunis will talk tiny testis at the JUNE 18-22 Annual Meeting of the Society for the Study of Reproduction. The Bloomberg School’s Janice Evans, PhD, co-chairs the annual meeting's advisory committee.
Why study Drosophila? 75% of the genes that cause disease in humans are also found in the fruit fly.
Waking Up to Sleep Research
Sleep scientists implicate bad sleep in a host of ills, from heart disease to Alzheimer’s disease.
Story by Jackie Powder • Illustration Adapted from Thanaphiphat/Thinkstock
Quality pillow time is increasingly seen as vital to good health. The inaugural Johns Hopkins Sleep and Circadian Research Day on JUNE 22 will highlight sleep research across the University.
“We’re finally recognizing that sleep is critical to a whole range of health outcomes,” says Adam Spira, PhD, associate professor in Mental Health and an organizer of the event. Spira and colleagues' research has linked shorter sleep duration and poorer sleep quality to higher levels of amyloid deposition—a hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease—in the brains of older people.
Catching Enough Z's?
50-70 million U.S. adults have chronic sleep disorders.
Sleep disorders increase the risk of heart disease, obesity, diabetes and other medical conditions.
40% of U.S. adults report unintentionally falling asleep at least once a month.
Partners in Service
If you want to work with the Baltimore community, go to the SOURCE.
Story by Jackie Powder • Photography by Will Kirk
Now in its 10th YEAR, SOURCE (Student Outreach Resource Center) serves as a conduit for matching volunteers from the Bloomberg School and the schools of Nursing and Medicine with an array of Baltimore partners that now number more than 100.
Opportunities abound to serve community-identified needs—from teaching health education to working with refugees to program design. In the classroom, more than 20 specialized courses feature SOURCE service-learning components, and the Center also offers interdisciplinary trainings for faculty, students and leaders in the community.
“Our partnerships are about working with the community vs. working on the community,” says Mindi B. Levin, MS, founder and director of SOURCE.
More Info: SOURCE
The Numbers: Source Volunteering
Volunteer hours from 2005 to 2015
Total volunteers from 2005 to 2015
Value of work between 2005 and 2015
SOURCE Service Scholars from 2012 to 2015
Baltimore community partners
ART FOR A CAUSE
MPH chair Marie Diener-West (right) and former students work at Art with a Heart, a SOURCE partner.
The Word on Wolfe Street
An APRIL 6 New York Times story reported that severe bacterial infection, which kills 630,000 newborns annually, can be treated with simple antibiotic regimens that are just as effective as hospital care—not a feasible option for many families in low-income countries. Findings from three large studies, including Abdullah Baqui’s Bangladesh research—led WHO to announce future revisions to its treatment protocol.
Read It: The New York Times
"There’s a lot of ongoing work in the lab to identify ways to ... genetically modify mosquitoes or the microbiome to try to interrupt transmission."
On the FEBRUARY 23 Diane Rehm Show, William Moss discussed threats to the fight against malaria and potential solutions, as the disease spreads in parts of Southeast Asia.
Stream It: The Diane Rehm Show
The short film Childhood Interrupted: Unraveling the Mysteries of Autism tells the story of two families coping with the challenges of autism. The piece, which was recognized with a Telly Award in APRIL, was created for the Wendy Klag Center for Autism and Developmental Disabilities to raise awareness about autism.
View It: WKC
Why I Love My Network
“The biology behind child eating behavior captivates me. But if I focus on one angle, I’ll never see the whole picture [so] I talk to everyone from epidemiologists to computer modeling experts.”
Stewards of Change Symposium
3 Questions for Pierre-Gerlier Forest, PhD
Interview by Salma Warshanna-Sparklin • Photography by Jean Marc Carisse
Tearing down the walls between health care and social policy is Forest’s mission as director of the Institute for Health and Social Policy—and the theme of the JUNE 22-24 Stewards of Change 10th anniversary symposium, co-sponsored by the Institute.
What is one way to build a healthier society?
Invest more in social policy. When we compare health outcomes across countries, we see that it works. The social determinants of health (SDOH)—employment, education and housing—really matter.
How can we get there?
Through interoperability—when different sectors can access and talk about the same information. It’s crucial that we integrate high-quality SDOH data into the medical data world.
Why is sharing data so critical?
Governments have tight budgets, so it’s important for them to know exactly where to invest resources and personnel to achieve their policy objectives.
More Info: IHSP