Names In The News

September 30, 2005

AWARD

Nathan D. Wolfe

Nathan D. Wolfe, an epidemiologist at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, has received a five-year, $2.5 million Director's Pioneer Award from the National Institutes of Health to support his research into emerging infectious diseases.

Wolfe, one of 13 scientists who received the award yesterday, is trying to devise a system to forecast deadly infections before they leap from animal to human populations.

To do this, he is collaborating with hunters in central Africa, monitoring their blood and that of their prey for signs of new viruses. The hunters are trained to use filter paper to sample the animals' blood.

"As a researcher, this is something you really only dream of -- the possibility to pursue the things you think are most important," said Wolfe. He said his research could take him to other regions with rich biodiversity such as Borneo and the Amazon.

The prize, announced by NIH Director Elias A. Zerhouni, supports projects that could have a significant impact on human health but, because of their novelty, also have high risks of failure.

Wolfe was featured this month in Popular Science magazine's annual "Brilliant 10" list of innovative scientists.

GRANTS

Dr. Kathy J. Helzlsouer

Dr. Kathy J. Helzlsouer, director of the Prevention and Research Center at the Weinberg Center for Women's Health and Medicine at Mercy Medical Center, has received a $250,000 grant from the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation to study ways to relieve fatigue among breast cancer survivors.

At least a third of breast cancer survivors report disabling symptoms of fatigue, even if the disease does not recur, Helzlsouer noted. Her trials will involve a 10-week combination of "mind-body" therapies.

Dr. Andrew Feinberg

Dr. Andrew Feinberg, professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins University, will head a project that has secured a five-year, $2.25 million grant from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. He and colleagues from Hopkins and several other institutions will seek to develop a practical test to predict a person's risk of colon cancer by looking for a particular biological marker in the blood that is genetically influenced. Other key investigators at Hopkins are Frank Giardiello, Elizabeth Platz, Christine Iacobuzio-Donahue and Hengmi Cui.

A separate part of the research, to be led by Holly Taylor, an assistant professor of health policy and management at the Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, will evaluate effectiveness of the informed consent process and attempt to improve it. "We're going to try something new and see if we can facilitate understanding," said Taylor, who is also research director at Hopkins' Phoebe R. Berman Bioethics Institute.

Barbara Landau

Barbara Landau, professor of cognitive science at Johns Hopkins University, has received a five-year, $1.7 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to support research into the cognitive problems experienced by people with a rare genetic disorder known as Williams syndrome.

Victims have difficulty with tasks such as assembling simple puzzles, copying basic patterns and navigating their bodies through the physical world.

"We are specifically looking into the hypothesis that certain areas of the brain -- the parietal regions, in particular -- are the key to those deficits," said Landau.

BOOK

Dr. Mark S. Myerson

Surgeon Dr. Mark S. Myerson of Mercy Medical Center has announced the publication of his latest text, Reconstructive Foot and Ankle Surgery. An accompanying DVD-ROM, narrated by Myerson, features clips of every surgical procedure discussed in the book, which is published by W.B. Saunders Co. Myerson is medical director of the Institute for Foot and Ankle Reconstruction at Mercy.

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