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A new gene-editing tool known as CRISPR has transformed the world of biomedical bench science, dramatically speeding up the time it takes to create “knockout” animals to study a wide range of human illnesses.
While the face of academic medicine has remained overwhelmingly white, the long-overdue move toward a more diverse faculty is accelerating, and the imperative is clear: It’s time for everyone to be welcomed in the door.
Meet four Johns Hopkins “greats” who made seminal contributions in the early years of the school of medicine—and their contemporary counterparts who have grabbed the baton to move their fields forward farther still.
Something to smile about, tarnished treasures, learning by Osmosis, promising alternatives to whole-liver transplants, unraveling pulmonary hypertension and more.
The Long and the Short of It
A tradition that’s been part of residency training at Johns Hopkins Hospital for generations will end in July, when the short white coat traditionally worn by first-year residents in the Department of Medicine gets permanently retired. The move came in response to a growing level of discontent expressed by today’s young doctors, who viewed the shorter coat as pejorative and worried that it potentially reduced patient confidence in the care they were providing.
“Today, [the short coat] does not promote the values that it was intended to promote,” wrote residency program director Sanjay Desai, in a memo explaining the change. “Instead, it represents a physical symbol of the past, and of an excessive rigidity and hierarchy … All institutions have to adapt to stay relevant and to ensure their traditions continue to uphold their core values. It would be a mistake for us not to.”
Kevin Shenderov, who donned his short white coat in June 2016, was among the last groups of interns to take part in the tradition.
Photo: Sherrie Lynne Fornoff
Face of the Future?
For people who rely heavily on visual communication—including the deaf and hard of hearing, children, and patients with limited English proficiency—surgical face masks can pose an isolating obstacle, making it impossible to communicate with doctors and nurses during crucial moments of a procedure and potentially leading to medical error.
Enter ClearMask, a transparent surgical mask that does its job blocking germs and fluids—without blocking faces. The brainchild of a Johns Hopkin team of graduate students and alumni (and an alum of Gallaudet University), ClearMask in April won the top funding prize of $25,000 from the Johns Hopkins Social Innovation Lab, a startup accelerator program. The team has engineered its product to be fog-resistant, breathable and more comfortable, it says, than the standard surgical mask. The team hopes to submit its final design for FDA approval in August and put its product through clinical trials early next year.