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Capital Timing

Descending on D.C.: An aerial view of the Washington Monument.

Capital Timing

Global health experts descend on D.C. to take new president’s temperature.

Story by Rin-Rin Yu • Photo by Bill Ingall/NASA

Less than three months after the Trump administration takes office, global health experts will descend on Washington, D.C., for the eighth annual Consortium of Universities for Global Health conference. Good timing. “Because the advancement of global health requires a commitment from all governments, it is very important that we understand the new U.S. administration’s perspective on global health and its overall levels of interest and support,” says Tom Quinn, MD, conference co-chair and director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Global Health. Set for APRIL 6–9 and titled “Healthy People, Healthy Ecosystems: Implementation, Leadership and Sustainability in Global Health,” conference topics include noncommunicable and infectious diseases, women’s health and government influence. For the first time, the conference will be co-hosted by an American and African universities: Johns Hopkins University and Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda.

The Big C Q's

The Big C Q's

Top cancer researchers convene to discuss the most pressing questions.

Story by Rin-Rin Yu • Illustration by Vitanovski/iStock

How can the human papilloma virus (HPV) be stopped in its tracks before becoming cancerous? What can be done to reduce the severe side effects of lifesaving cancer drugs? The world’s top cancer scientists will explore these issues and a host of other topics at the 2017 meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) APRIL 1–5 in Washington, D.C. Immunotherapy and personalized medicine are also high on the agenda at this year’s gathering, expected to attract more than 18,000 researchers from 60 countries. Beyond the science, the meeting’s D.C. location raises AACR’s visibility in the nation’s capital, says John Groopman, PhD, Environmental Health and Engineering professor and a member of AACR’s program committee. “When AACR is in Washington, the opportunity often brings in not only the NIH and a lot of other government officials, it’s also a platform for dealing with the overall funding of the cancer research enterprise, which is quite substantial,” Groopman says.


Percentage drop in U.S. cancer death rate from 1991 to 2014


U.S. cancer deaths in 2017 (est.)


New U.S. cancer diagnoses in 2017 (est.)

Sources: National Cancer Institute, American Cancer Society, CDC

The Highs, Lows and Midpoints of Malaria

Malaria Crossing: William Moss’ team traced movement patterns—in green and blue lines—of people carrying GPS loggers. The image shows one month of human movement overlaid on a malaria risk map—red for high, blue for low—for an area of low malaria transmission in southern Zambia. The dark blue sections and increasing height of the tracks show more time spent at each location. Researchers can use the movement data to calculate the probability of malaria importation. Source: Kelly Searle

The Highs, Lows and Midpoints of Malaria

In the quest to vanquish the Plasmodium parasite, a one-size-fits-all strategy won’t work.

Story by Jackie Powder • Infographic by Don Foley

Whether its transmission rates are high or low, the malaria parasite has a tenacious grip on populations in Africa—a key issue to be discussed on World Malaria Day, APRIL 25. Working in three Southern African sites, Johns Hopkins Malaria Research Institute (JHMRI) researchers are trying to understand the malaria control challenges and potential solutions in each area. The goal, says Epidemiology Professor William Moss, MD, MPH, who leads JHMRI research in the region, is to develop targeted control and elimination strategies. “These sites provide a snapshot at different stages in that process,” says Moss. With more than a 95 percent reduction in pediatric hospitalizations for malaria in the past 15 years, southern Zambia is best positioned for malaria elimination, but low-level transmission persists. JHMRI researchers are using advanced molecular genotyping to identify asymptomatic individuals who still harbor the malaria parasite and may be spreading the disease to others. At the midpoint on the transmission spectrum is eastern Zimbabwe. Disease burden dropped almost 40 percent in 2015 after the switch to a different insecticide but has not declined further. GPS data show that population movement to and from Mozambique, a malaria hotspot, may be contributing to the malaria holding pattern. And in northern Zambia, high-level transmission “has not budged” for several years despite standard control efforts, says Moss. JHMRI research on the spatial and temporal patterns of two mosquito vectors could help in the development of more effective control strategies.

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