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W. Harry Feinstone Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology

In the News

July 25, 2015
The Baltimore Sun

Is Science in Crisis?
The short answer: No. Spacecraft are exploring Ceres and Pluto, the Higgs boson was found, numerous genomes are decoded, AIDS is now a treatable disease, and new miracle drugs are on the horizon. Nevertheless, not all is well with the scientific enterprise. The writers, Arturo Casadeval and Ferric Fang (University of Washington) call for renewed societal investment in science.

July 24, 2015

Why a Vaccine That Works Only A Third Of The Time Is Still A Good Deal
On Friday, the European Medicines Agency recommended for approval a malaria vaccine that has been in the works for three decades. Despite limitations – the vaccine’s efficacy rate is low, between 26 and 36 percent – researchers see it as considerable progress in the fight against malaria, which kills up to 500,000 a year.
Peter Agre and William Moss are interviewed.

July 22, 2015
The Verge
Mutations that make bacteria resistant to antibiotics might also make them deadlier
The battle against antibiotic resistance just got worse
Bacteria that are immune to antibiotics might actually be deadlier than bacteria that aren't, according to a study published in Science Translation Medicine today. If verified by other researchers, the finding means that simply changing the way humans use antibiotics might not be enough to get rid of certain common, resistant bacteria.
Doctoral student Philip Salvatore is quoted. He was not involved in the study.

July 6, 2015
Washington Post
Your summertime guide to mosquitos: Why they bite and what to do about it.
They weigh a fractional percent of an ounce and live only a few weeks. But they are astoundingly disruptive.
Doug Norris is quoted.

June 25, 2015
Live Science
Here's What Went Wrong with Last Year's Flu Vaccine
Americans got little benefit from last season's flu shot — the vaccine was only about 19 percent effective, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That's largely because one of the flu strains that was used to make the vaccine did not match well with the actual flu strains that were circulating. Now, new research shows that a single mutation in that strain is what caused this poor match.
Andrew Pekosz is quoted.

June 25, 2015
Asian Scientist
Crystallizing A New Approach to Malaria Vaccination
Researchers have uncovered potentially transmission-blocking epitopes of the mosquito midgut protein AnAPN1, spurring the design of mosquito-based vaccines.  The crystal structure of a protein found in the midgut of malaria-transmitting mosquitoes has been solved to a resolution of 2.65-Å. These findings, published in Nature Structural & Molecular Biology, could aid the design of a new type of vaccine that aims to reduce malaria transmission instead of boosting host immunity.
Rhoel Dinglasan, study lead, is quoted.

June 18, 2015
Vaccine Daily News
Targeted protein may modify malaria vaccines
Experts recently discovered that a new kind of vaccine that blocks parasite transmission may be crucial to eliminating malaria. The scientists recently conducted a study that focuses on AnAPN1, a specific protein found in the Anopheles mosquito midgut.
Rhoel Dinglasan is quoted.

June 10, 2015
Tech Times
How Microsoft's Mosquito-Catching Flying Drones Could Prevent Disease Outbreaks
Microsoft researchers are employing the latest technology to capture and analyse the insects in a bid to stop the spread of infectious diseases. Project Premonition aims to catch mosquitoes by using drones carrying specialized traps and then use cutting-edge molecular biology and cloud-based data analysis to detect infectious diseases before they become widespread.
Douglas Norris is quoted.

May 12, 2015
U.S. News & World Report
Florida Teen Explores Using Proteins to Block Viruses
Work by Carly Crump, 18, could impact vaccine development.
The Florida high school student reached out to JHSPH professor Rhoel Dinglasan after she saw an article in Popular Science featuring his use of proteins to block malaria transmission. When she emailed him, he surprised her by volunteering to mentor a project in his lab but her schedule wouldn’t allow it so he connected her with a researcher at the University of Florida, St. Augustine. Crump was a semifinalist in the 2015 Intel Science Talent Search, and will attend the University of Florida in the fall.

April 20, 2015
Baltimore Sun

Building local capacity to fight epidemics
The  Global Virus Network (GVN), a Baltimore-based non-profit, believes that the most effective way to combat a global epidemics – including Ebola, SARS, MERS, Chikungunya, influenza and of course HIV/AIDS – is to start at the local level with support and training for medical virologists in every country.
Diane Griffin is one of the op-ed's authors.

April 8, 2015
The Guardian

Nobel prize winners join call for charities to divest from fossil fuels.
Laureates argue that investments by charities conflict with their aims of improving public health.
Peter Agre is quoted.

March 31, 2015
New Chair of Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology
Arturo Casadevall, MD, PhD, MS, named as a Bloomberg Distinguished Professor as the new Alfred and Jill Sommer Professor and Chair of the W. Harry Feinstone Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology.

March 19, 2015
Good Morning America via Yahoo! News
These Terrifying Parasites Turn Shrimp Into Zombies That Eat Their Young
A tiny parasite invades a species of Irish shrimp, turning them into zombies who voraciously eat their own babies, a new British research study found.
Clive Shiff is quoted.

March 12, 2015

Is genetic engineering the answer to Ebola?
The idea for immunoprophylaxis by gene transfer, or IGT, has emerged from the search for ways to fight HIV/AIDS. In a few people, it turned out, some antibodies can be very potent. So-called broadly neutralising antibodies can latch onto many different strains of a virus.
Gary Ketner is quoted.

March 11, 2015
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health Researchers Receive Grant to Evaluate Malaria Detection Test
Hopkins team will work with biotech firm Ceres Nanosciences on saliva test that could detect parasites in asymptomatic individuals.

March 11, 2015
WYPR [Sheila Kast]

Exploring New Ways to Fight HIV, Ebola
Scientists around the country are developing a new way of making sure the body produces the right antibodies: "immunoprophylaxis by gene transfer.” It could be used to treat HIV, Ebola, or malaria.
Gary Ketner discusses the promising potential treatment.

March 9, 2015
The New York Times
Protection Without a Vaccine
Researchers are testing an artificial antibody approach of protection against H.I.V., Ebola, malaria, influenza and hepatitis.
Gary Ketner is quoted.

February 18, 2015
The Independent

Measles makes its mark all over again: Once of humanity's oldest foes is back on the increase
As an outbreak in the US renews debate about this silent killer, Leigh Cowart puts the virus under the microscope
Since al-Razi – the great Persian physician often described as the grandfather of pediatric medicine – first carefully documented measles (in about 900 AD), this little strand of RNA tucked in a protein envelope has enjoyed a rare kind of notoriety, even in the shock-and-awe world of infectious diseases. In 1529, the Spanish introduced it to Cuba, killing two out of three natives. Over the next decade or so, the virus ravaged Central America, decimating many populations and killing up to half of all Hondurans. And, in 1693, in colonial America, Virginia governor Edmund Andros issued a proclamation for a "day of humiliation and prayer" in the hope of waylaying the virus.
Diane Griffin comments.

February 10, 2015
WRCB TV (Chattanooga)

7 Vaccine Myths Debunked by Doctors
Note: This piece originally appeared on
Delaying vaccines is not only a waste of time, it could be dangerous to your kids. And no, foreigners aren't bringing most measles cases into the U.S. Experts on measles vaccines say they're frustrated by the wide array of rumors being fed by websites, organized anti-vaccine groups, and the media. They debunked many of the myths at a seminar Monday organized by the Johns Hopkins school of public health.
Neal Halsey, Diane Griffin, and Daniel Salmon are quoted.

February 2, 2015

After 70 years, why aren't we better at developing flu vaccines?
Flu viruses are constantly changing, and scientists around the world are in a constant race to keep up.
This year’s influenza season is a serious one. Thousands of Americans — including 56 children — have died from the flu since last fall. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has labeled the outbreak an epidemic, and we’re barely into February, the month that typically brings the peak of the season. Part of the problem is this year’s flu shot has been one of the least effective in a decade, and it may account for why we are seeing the flu reach epidemic levels so early this season. The current flu vaccine is only 23% effective, compared to between 50% and 60% efficacy for a typical seasonal flu vaccine, according to the CDC.
Andrew Pekosz is quoted.

February 2, 2015
Inside Science

There Are 3 Types Of Potential Malaria Vaccines And 2 Might Be Bad Ideas
A team of researchers, working with a computer model found that could be true in the fight against malaria, one of humankind's greatest scourges. Combining anti-mosquito netting with a certain type of potential vaccine for the disease, they found, could lead to more illness and deaths. They published the results in January in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Clive Shiff is quoted.