Monday, June 8, 2020 | Zoom WebinarIf the Medicine Fits: The Promise of Precision Medicine in Action About



Now in its 12th year, the Institute for Basic Biomedical Sciences gathers science reporters for an annual, daylong event focused on a single research topic. Journalists enjoy firsthand access to Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine researchers and physicians, getting the opportunity to learn about the latest advancements in health, medicine and science. Past events focused on topics ranging from sensory biology to epigenetics to pain and tissue regeneration and the brain to metabolism research and the immune system and immunology. Nearly 100 journalists and science writers from all regions in the U.S. and Canada have attended this exclusive event.

Who Can Attend

The Science Writers' Boot Camp is open to science communicators of all types including writers, journalists, bloggers and public information officers. To join our email list for information about our events, please contact us at [email protected].


  • James Berger, Ph.D.

    James Berger, Ph.D.

    Director, Institute for Basic Biomedical Sciences

    9 - 9:15 AM

    Welcome and Introduction - Watch

    • The Origin of the Promise: Basic as the Foundation of Precision Medicine
    • Where do the cornerstones of medicine come from? They don’t just magically appear or gel into a concrete research idea from nothing. They come from sound principles of the most fundamental concepts of human biology. Nobel Prize-winning discoveries of biologic mechanisms awarded in the past two years are the foundation from which scientists are building more precise treatments. James Berger will illustrate the path from basic science to clinical advancements.
  • Antony Rosen, M.B.Ch.B., M.S.

    Antony Rosen

    Co-Director of Johns Hopkins Medicine InHealth, Vice Dean for Research, Mary Betty Stevens Professor of Medicine, Professor of Cell Biology

    9:15 - 9:45 AM

    The Wonder of Precision Medicine - Watch

    In health care, patients are like the Galapagos finches and the tortoises, subjects that Charles Darwin wrote “struck him with wonder.” The existence of distinct subgroups can be visualized with both distinct features and through distinct biological behavior. The disease subgroup is the disruptive principle that, if harnessed, has the power to greatly impact the understanding and course of disease. Antony Rosen, co-director of Johns Hopkins Medicine InHealth, will discuss how Johns Hopkins Medicine works to achieve a new level of precision in health care.

  • Jeff Siewerdsen, Ph.D.

    Jeff Siewerdsen

    John C. Malone Professor
    Professor of Biomedical Engineering
    Professor, Department Computer Science
    Professor, Russell H. Morgan Department of Radiology
    Associate Faculty, Armstrong Institute for Patient Safety and Quality

    9:45 - 10 AM

    Imaging for Precision Medicine: From Surgery to COVID-19 - Watch

    Nearly a half-million patients undergo spine surgery each year, but not every patient receives the outcome they desire. Jeff Siewerdsen will talk about SpineCloud, a method that uses a patient’s medical images and AI predictive models to help guide decision path, surgical planning, rehabilitation and outcomes. The SpineCloud method is an example of how medical imaging plus AI can improve precision medicine, with examples in surgery, cardiology, cancer therapy and even COVID-19 detection, treatment and long-term outcomes.

  • Kenneth Witwer, Ph.D.

    Kenneth Witwer

    Associate Professor of Molecular and Comparative Pathobiology

    10 - 10:15 AM

    How the Body’s Postal System Informs Disease Diagnosis and Treatment - Watch

    The body has a unique postal system. Small packages bud off of the surface of cells carrying specific contents from one cell to the other. These packages can tell clinicians where disease cells are located and can be used to deliver drugs to a specific type of cell. Ken Witwer will speak about how we can use this system to better diagnose and treat diseases.

  • Netz Arroyo, Ph.D.

    Netz Arroyo

    Assistant Professor of Pharmacology and Molecular Sciences

    10:15 - 10:30 AM

    Right Medication. Right Dose and Time. - Watch

    Historically, drug-dosing has depended on inaccurate predictors of human metabolism, such as weight, height and gender. Now researchers are developing tools to empower clinicians to personalize drug dosing to a patient’s individual metabolism. Netz Arroyo will talk about the implantable biosensors that he is developing for this purpose.

  • Cynthia Wolberger, Ph.D.

    Cynthia Wolberger

    Professor of Biophysics and Biophysical Chemistry

    10:30 - 10:45 AM

    Molecular Interaction with Genome Tips the Balance Between Normal and Cancer - Watch

    When Cynthia Wolberger used cryogenic electron microscopy to make high resolution images — down to the atomic level — of an enzyme called Dot1L that aids how genes are turned on and off, she never expected to find a cavity in the enzyme that could be an Achilles’ heel that, if plugged up, could disable the enzyme. Since Dot1L is overly active in some forms of childhood cancer, a drug that acts on this cavity could be an effective new treatment. Wolberger will take the audience through the discovery and her work with clinicians to find a treatment that specifically targets the enzyme.


Panel Discussion: COVID-19 – Moving from the Bench to the Bedside

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