Skip Navigation

W. Harry Feinstone Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology

In the News

May 12, 2016
Fox 45
Doctor: Olympics Should be Moved or Postponed Due to Zika
An opinion published in the Harvard Public Health Review said the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro this August should be postponed or moved.
Andrew Pekosz is interviewed

May 12, 2016
Smithsonian Magazine
Mice Show How the Zika Virus Can Cause Birth Defects
A new study offers the first experimental evidence of the virus crossing the placenta and damaging fetal brains.
Andrew Pekosz is quoted.

May 11, 2016
The Verge
Zika-infected mice gave birth to babies with brain damage
The first experimental proof that Zika causes birth defects. Andrew Pekosz is quoted.

May 5, 2016
Inside the Fight Against the Zika Virus
A Brazilian writer visits Vanessa van der Linden, M.D., the 46-year-old pediatric neurologist who was the first to make the connection between the sudden surge in microcephalic babies and the mosquito-borne virus sweeping across Brazil and the Americas. Andrew Pekosz is quoted

April 13, 2016
If We Can Make a Zika Vaccine, Why Can't We Make One for Malaria?

The challenge of developing a malaria vaccine, an effort that’s been underway for many years, starts with the fact that malaria is caused by a parasite. We have a lot of vaccines for bacterial and viral infections, but no vaccines for human parasitic infections. At least not yet.The Malaria Research Institute’s Fidel Zavala is quoted.

April 5, 2016
The Philadelphia Inquirer
Could this mosquito bring Zika to Philadelphia?
The Asian tiger, predominantly an urban-dweller, is the most likely U.S. species to spread the virus, but it's a long shot.

Viruses and the mosquitoes that carry them move in a sort of evolutionary dance, changing over time in ways that benefit each. And that is what's causing some scientists to view the Asian tiger mosquito — a.k.a. Aedes albopictus — with more concern.
George Dimopoulos is quoted.

April 3, 2016
The Greenwich Free Press
Global Lyme Alliance’s Time For Lyme Gala in Greenwich Draw Crowds to Honor Marla Maples and Award Dr. Brian Fallon

The event raised awareness, and funds, for Lyme disease.
Ying Zhang appears in one of the event photographs.

April 1, 2016
The Huffington Post
We Don’t Need a Zika Czar. We Need a Women’s Health Czar.
“We need a U.S. women’s health czar — someone who will take a longer view and prioritize sustained research on infectious diseases in pregnant women, writers Sabra Klein in this opinion piece. “Only with this type of focus and effort will we be able to acquire the tools and know-how to manage and advise pregnant women during the next outbreak, which we know is a matter of when, not if.”

March 24, 2016
The Verge
The 2014 World Cup isn't to blame for the spread of the Zika virus in Brazil
Scientists estimate the virus arrived in Brazil in 2013.
Andrew Pekosz is quoted.

March 5, 2016
The Philadelphia Inquirer
Zika mosquito carries memories of Phila.'s 1793 yellow fever
The same mosquito that is now spreading the Zika virus through Latin and South America once carried yellow fever to this part of the U.S. But the insect species no longer thrives anywhere near Philadelphia. A look at what has changed.
George Dimopoulos is quoted.

February 29, 2016
The Verge

Zika virus can cause severe neurological disorder, scientists say
Scientists say they’ve confirmed that the Zika virus can cause Guillain-Barré syndrome, a rare but severe neurological disorder that kills 5 percent of people who develop it. Authorities in countries with a Zika outbreak should make sure they have enough intensive care beds to deal with an increase of patients with Guillain-Barré.
Andrew Pekosz is quoted.

February 23, 2016
The Baltimore Sun
The low-tech approach to Zika

In an op-ed, David Bishai and Clive Shiff, write that “history shows that controlling epidemics is possible though low-tech means when we work together and trust each other.” Building pubic trust in public health officials could begin with accreditation, the writers opine.

February 18, 2016
The Scientist
NIH Grant Reviews Don’t Predict Success

Peer reviewers’ assessments of funding proposals to the National Institutes of Health don’t correlate well with later publication citations, a study shows.
Story about research done by
Arturo Casadevall.

February 18, 2016
Athletes Voice "Major, Major Issues" With Rio Olympics
In a matter of months, Zika has gone from an afterthought to a World Health Organization-designated global emergency that threatens the competition and attendance of this summer’s Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil—and it’s female Olympic athletes who have the most to be concerned about.
Douglas Norris is quoted.

February 16, 2016
India News
Zika: WHO announced an increase in cases of Guillain Barré syndrome

The Zika virus is spread by the Aedes mosquito and is being linked to cases of microcephaly in babies as well as to neurological conditions such as Guillain Barre syndrome (GBS).
Andy Pekosz is quoted.

February 15, 2016
The Baltimore Sun
Baltimore consortium forms global task force to study Zika, find vaccine
Baltimore-based research consortium is forming a task force of leading scientists from around the world, including renowned AIDS researcher Dr. Robert Gallo, to better understand the Zika virus and quickly develop a vaccine. Diane Griffin is quoted

February 10, 2016
The Verge
Strongest evidence yet found for Zika’s role in birth defects
A woman who was infected passed the virus to the fetus, a case study shows

Zika virus was found in the brain of a fetus, the strongest evidence yet that the virus causes abnormally small heads and incomplete brain development, according to an article in The New England Journal of Medicine. This is the first documented case of virus transmission from mother to child, though it is not a definitive link between Zika and fetal abnormalities—a connection first suggested by the Brazilian minister of health. Andrew Pekosz is quoted.

February 4, 2016
If you fail to reproduce another scientist’s results, this journal wants to know
A new journal aims to track irreproducible research results, in light of the growing number of retractions, several of which were linked to fraud. Arturo Casadevall is quoted.

January 20, 2016
A study led by Sabra Klein that was published online last week in the American Journal of Physiology – Lung Cellular and Molecular Physiology continues to receive media coverage. The study found that estrogen dramatically reduced the amount of flu virus that replicated in infected cells from women but not from men. (To learn more, please see the JHSPH news release.)

January 18, 2016
New York Magazine
Estrogen Protects Women Against Flu, Men Left Sick, Weak, Begging for Soup
According to a new JHSPH study, estrogen helps to reduce the replication of influenza A virus in women. The research, which was led by Sabra Klein, is featured, with a link to the study.

January 11, 2016
Web MD
The Truth Behind Mom's Cold and Flu Advice

A rundown of advice dispensed by mothers – what has scientific merit and what does not. 
Andrew Pekosz is quoted.

January 04, 2016
NPR Goats and Soda
Global Health Forecast For 2016: Which Diseases Will Rise ... Or Fall?

Four infectious disease experts predict the biggest global health stories for the coming year. Some relatively unheard-of diseases could emerge from the shadows. Peter Agre and William Moss are quoted

January 04, 2016
Scientific Computing
Pioneering Green, Dirt-cheap Storage for Life Sciences Research
When the data storage rent became cost prohibitive, Dr. Fernando Pineda, Associate Professor of Molecular Microbiology & Immunology and director of JHPCE, developed an innovate storage strategy.

December 11, 2015
The Washington Post
Don't forget about vaccines, even if you think you're too old for them.
It’s impossible to know how many people contract vaccine-preventable diseases while traveling internationally each year,but anecdotal evidence suggests it’s common.
International travelers, especially older ones, should get them. Andrew Pekosz is quoted.

November 23, 2015
New York Times
Engineering Mosquitoes' Genes to Resist Malaria
In a basement on the Irvine campus of the University of California, behind a series of five protective doors, two teams of biologists have created a novel breed of mosquito that they hope will help eradicate malaria from the world. George Dimopoulos is quoted.

November 15, 2015
Fox 45 News
Health Watch: Flu Vaccine
Maryland has already seen this year's first confirmed case of the flue. Andrew Pekosz, a Professor at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, came in to tell us about this year's vaccine, and why it is important.

November 3, 2015
Huffington Post
Mushrooms May Really Be Magic After All
New study suggests mushroom spores can make it rain.
A new study published in PLOS ONE last week suggests that mushrooms can help make it rain. The research shows that in humid environments drops can form on the surfaces of spores, even after the spores are airborne.
Arturo Casadevall is quoted.

October 21, 2015
The Washington Examiner

Feds Battle Doubts on Flu Shot
Federal health officials are scrambling to spread the word that this season's flu shot will be much more effective than last year's. Last season's shot was only 18 percent effective against the most prevalent strain of influenza. Health experts say that the shot should be effective for the upcoming season and that everybody should get protection.
Andrew Pekosz is quoted.

October 4, 2015
The New York Times
Nobel Prize Winning Scientists Reflect on Nearly Sleeping Through the Life-Changing Call
How eight scientists learned about their Nobel Prizes, which are announced at about noon Swedish time, including Peter Agre, who tells the Times that the call came about 5:30 a.m. He was awarded the Nobel in 2003 for his discovery of aquaporins, the plumbing system for cells.

September 10, 2015
Yale Environment 360
Rachel Carson's Critics Keep On, But She Told Truth About DDT

Putting Rachel Carson’s legacy in perspective, the piece corrects misperceptions about the DDT ban, mosquitoes and malaria.
Clive Shiff is quoted.

September 9, 2015
Becker Hospital Review
National Foundation for Infectious Diseases announces 2016 award winners

Two faculty members have been selected as winners of The National Foundation for Infectious Diseases' 2016 awards.
Diane Griffin was chosen to receive Maxwell Finland Award for Scientific Achievement.

August 31, 2015
The Baltimore Sun

Flu research could bring better vaccine for old and young
Research conducted by Andrew Pekosz is featured.  Still in early stages, Pekosz's work involves retooling the existing FluMist vaccine so it would be effective, and with fewer side effects, on elderly patients. Pekosz hopes to begin testing the vaccine in people within the year.

August 20, 2015
The Chronicle of Higher Education
Quest to Put a Value on Medical Research Illustrates the Difficulties of Trying

The science management community reacts to a recent article that suggests the ROI of biomedical research has diminished due to shifting and misdirected priorities. The article appeared in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Commenters note the challenges of measuring the productivity of biomedical research, including major uncertainties about measuring both the inputs and outputs of the medical research process.
Arturo Casadevall and visiting scholar Anthony Bowen, who co-wrote the article, are mentioned.

August 17, 2015
The Washington Post

Scientists are trying to figure out the best way to spend more money on science
A provocative new study by two biologists appears at first glance to highlight a worrisome paradox: As the nation's investment in the science that underlies new therapies has increased over the past half century, the output that we actually care about most -- advances in health -- appears to be slipping.
The study's co-authors, Arturo Casadevall and Anthony Bowen, are mentioned.

August 17, 2015
Bloomberg Business
Biomedical productivity falling, study finds

Biomedical research has steadily become less productive over the last half-century, according to a new study. Since 1965, the number of researchers has increased more than nine times, and the budget of the National Institutes of Health has quadrupled. But the number of new drugs approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has slightly more than doubled during that time, according to the study.
Arturo Casadevall, study co-author, is quoted.

August 17, 2015
Agence-France Presse via
More money, fewer cures: US medical research faces hurdles

More money is being spent on medical research but fewer new drugs are being approved and people are not living much longer than they did in the 1960s, said a US study on Monday. Among the multiple reasons suspected for the stall in medical progress: too much focus on getting published in prestigious journals and excessive red tape and regulation, said the findings in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Arturo Casadevall, study co-author is quoted.

August 12, 2015
Consumer Affairs
Researchers develop a better flu vaccine

Creating stronger and weaker versions will allow them to more safely treat infants and the elderly
Researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health created the new method after studying and creating varying versions of the flu virus. By controlling how strong each virus is, the researchers concluded that they can weaken or strengthen it depending on the needs of those who take it.
Andrew Pekosz is quoted.

August 11, 2015
The Nasal Spray Flu Vaccine May Soon Be Available for Infants and the Elderly

Flu shots may soon be a lot less painful for young children and older adults. Researchers say they’ve found a way to modify the nasal spray version of the vaccine to make it work for those two groups.
Andrew Pekosz, study lead, is mentioned.

August 5, 2015
Inside Higher Ed
Ending All-Male Panels
The piece unpacks an article by Arturo Casadevall on the need for associations to be committed on the issue and steps that worked. Writing in mBio, he describes how the American Society for Microbiology achieved gender parity at its annual meeting this year, with 48.5 percent of presentations coming from female scholars. As recently as the 2012 annual meeting, the percentage of women speakers was 25.9 percent.

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.