Alumni News No. 022 | October 2013
School of Medicine Alumni News
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Starting November 1, 2013, the School of Medicine Development and Alumni Relations office will be located at:

750 E. Pratt Street
Suite 1700
Baltimore, MD 21202

Main line: 410-361-6561/888-546-1336


From education comes a better life
The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine has built a reputation of excellence. This is a place where the opportunity for higher education can transform a life, and in doing so, change our global community. If we fall short in this mission, we fail more than our students. We fail to create a healthy and sustainable society in which we want to live.

It is our hope that – with the partnership of our alumni, parents, faculty, housestaff, fellows, and friends – we can provide students and faculty the resources to learn, teach, explore, dream, and discover. The challenges we face are extraordinary and the uncertainty of sources of funding immense, but your support can make a crucial difference.

From education comes a better life. Help make sure our students have the resources to realize their potential and fulfill their dreams. With your support, we can ensure that our community, spanning across Baltimore and around the globe, remains strong.

You can participate in our mission today by making a commitment to the School of Medicine with a gift to the annual fund.

Make a gift online

Johns Hopkins Medical & Surgical Association (JHM&SA)

2012 eventSOM Evenings at the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
The Johns Hopkins Medical and Surgical Association is proud to, once again, sponsor the School of Medicine's Evenings at the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. These events provide a wonderful opportunity to not only enjoy the spectacular music, but connect with other alumni, faculty and current students.

At these events, guests will attend a concert and a dinner reception at the Meyerhoff Symphony Hall where they will also get to meet conductor Marin Alsop as well as some of the BSO's musicians.

There are three events scheduled for the upcoming months:

Saturday, Nov. 9, 2013 @ 7pm - Holst's The Planets

Saturday, Jan. 11, 2014 @ 7pm - Dvorak's New World Symphony

Saturday, March 1, 2014 @ 7pm - CSI: Mozart

JHU Alumni Association

rtc logo

Upcoming Events

Rising to the Challenge: Palo Alto
October 24, 2013 @ 5:45pm
Four Seasons Hotel, Silicon Valley at East Palo Alto

Join the Conversation: Boston
November 19, 2013 @ 6:00pm
Ritz-Carlton Hotel

School of Medicine

Combining Forces

M.D. & Ph.D. Students Partnering Toward Discovery

Article imageStudents of the M.D. and Ph.D. programs gathered on September 17 for the inaugural Partnering Toward Discovery: Conversations on Research and Medicine seminar to address one of the toughest problems in medicine: the cure and prevention of HIV infections.

The goal of this seminar series is create synergy between the student communities and contribute to their professional development that will ultimately enhance science and medicine.

“When chocolate and peanut butter collide, something magical occurs,” said Dr. Roy Ziegelstein, Vice Dean of Education. “Here at Hopkins, we have an unbelievable opportunity to connect chocolate and peanut butter: basic research and clinical medicine.”

Fifth-year Ph.D. student Deidre Ribbens was excited about the opportunity to meet with peers in the M.D. program. “We spend so much time with other basic scientists. Having someone to talk to about the same research problems really gives you a new perspective,” she said. “This is the type of atmosphere that’s going to foster collaboration and the exchange of ideas.”

Third-year M.D. student Kate Miele agreed. “While we can definitely change the world independently, the impact will be much greater if we work together. Being aware that so much is happening on similar projects in such close proximity helps us to do more.”

The Partnering Toward Discovery series is monthly and will continue to showcase the research and patient care challenges of other topics in medicine. The next seminar is Conquering Cancer Treatment Resistance through Genetics.

To watch a video of the inaugural seminar or hear what students had to say about it, go here.

Alumni Update

Bjornsson, Med '07, to receive prestigious Early Independence Award from NIH

BjornssonHans Tomas Bjornsson, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor of genetics and pediatrics in the School of Medicine, has been chosen to receive a prestigious National Institutes of Health grant allocated for biomedical research projects that face significant challenges, but could lead to major health care payoffs. Bjornsson is among 78 grant recipients announced on September 20, 2013 under the High Risk-High Reward Program supported by the National Institutes of Health Common Fund.

Based in the School of Medicine’s McKusick-Nathans Institute of Genetic Medicine, Bjornsson's research group studies genetic disorders with epigenetic consequences. These disorders often affect proteins known as histones, which associate with DNA and can affect whether genes are turned “off” or “on.” The group’s particular focus is a rare disorder called Kabuki syndrome, which causes intellectual disability, immunological problems and distinctive facial features. Bjornsson is looking for ways to treat the disease by correcting a problem with chemical groups added to the histone tails.

“I’m very honored to have my group’s work supported by one of the High Risk-High Reward grants,” Bjornsson said. “These funds will further our study of Kabuki syndrome, which we hope may lead to treatments for other causes of intellectual disability as well.”

More information on the NIH High Risk-High Reward Research Program can be found here.

Student News

2013 Stethoscope Ceremony and Reception

StudentsOn September 24, the Class of 2017 gathered to receive a welcoming gift - an engraved stethoscope. The ceremony, proudly sponsored by the Johns Hopkins Medical & Surgical Association (JHM&SA), sets the tone for the rest of their experience at Johns Hopkins. Alumni and faculty joined the celebration to share stories of their medical school experiences. One hundred nineteen students attended this event where they also had the chance to meet Paul Rothman, M.D., Dean and CEO of Johns Hopkins Medicine. Dean Rothman congratulated each student after receiving their stethoscope and they took that opportunity to share a few words and chat with him as well.

In addition to Dean Rothman, the other speakers for the event were Roy Ziegelstein, M.D., Vice Dean for Education; Ralph Hruban, Med '85, President of the JHM&SA; Eileen (Patti) Vining, Med '72, Immediate Past President of JHM&SA; and Iredell Iglehart III, Med '83, JHM&SA Councilor. Also in attendance were Matthew Gornet, Med '87, and Valerie Ratts, Med '87, who were able to present their daughter with her stethoscope.

Other News

4 M.D.-Ph.D. students write to the editor of The Sun

U.S. must restore biomedical research funding
Effects of the sequester are devastating for young researchers and delay life-saving medical advances

The federal government is the main financier of biomedical research in America, and Congress is reneging its obligation to its constituents by cutting research funds. What this means for you, the taxpayers, is that fewer researchers may be studying and curing the diseases that affect you and your families, not just now, but also in the upcoming decades. We encourage you to urge your representatives to restore federal biomedical research funding.

To read the full article by Bipasha Mukherjee-Clavin, Carolina Montaño, Neil M. Neumann and Wan R. Yang, all MD-PhD students in the Hopkins Medical Scientist Training Program, click here.

To support biomedical research at the School of Medicine during this time of financial need, visit

Copyright 2013. All rights reserved.

The School of Medicine Office of Development and Alumni Relations produces this e-newsletter for alumni, parents and friends.

Comments or Questions? Contact us at (410) 516-0776 or toll-free at (888) 546-1336. We also welcome your comments and feedback via email at You can also update your contact information here.