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June 1, 2018
CONTACT: See individual news items below

Science and Health News Tips from Johns Hopkins: Cheaper, Better Fuel Cells; Quick Autopsies; Powerful Processing; Insect Inspiration; and More


These news tips come from stories in the spring 2018 issue of Johns Hopkins Magazine:

Cheaper, better fuel cells
Fuel cell vehicles no longer need to be the expensive solution to air pollution. Inspired by ancient Egyptians, Chao Wang has developed a fuel cell that cuts cost by reducing the platinum used. Instead of making cells entirely of platinum, he uses cheap cobalt coated with a fine layer of platinum – surprisingly creating a fuel cell that is not only low-cost but also more efficient. Read more.
Media contacts: Dennis O’Shea, Tracey Reeves or Jill Rosen, 443-997-9009

Quick autopsies can help future patients
One among at least 10 centers of its kind in the country supporting research for cancer, HIV, ALS and other diseases, the Legacy Gift Rapid Autopsy Program at Johns Hopkins gives scientists the opportunity to examine diseased tissue samples that can be hard to obtain from living patients. Families are consoled that taking part in the program may significantly advance research to save future patients. Read more
Media contact: Chanapa Tantibanchachai, 410-502-9433

Powerful processing
While computers are master processors, human brains one-up them when it comes to separating the wheat from the chaff. Rene Vidal, director of the Johns Hopkins Mathematical Institute for Data Science, is leading an international team of researchers to give computers the ability to assign importance based on context. Computers could then be programmed to understand the relationships between objects and people, and maybe eventually help analyze crime scenes, diagnose medical cases and develop better self-driving cars. Read more.
Media contacts: Dennis O’Shea, Tracey Reeves or Jill Rosen, 443-997-9009

Insect inspiration  
Cockroaches are survivors. With their agility, ability to crawl through the tiniest cracks and tolerate high levels of radiation, that’s no surprise. At Johns Hopkins, Chen Li is taking inspiration from roaches to develop robots that could scuttle over tough terrain, crawl through crevices and explore the unknown. Read more. See a related video.
Media contacts: Dennis O’Shea, Tracey Reeves or Jill Rosen, 443-997-9009

Seeing cancer as a physics problem
Most researchers have usually thought of cancer metastasis as dependent on a single cell moving to new ground in the body. Andrew Ewald’s physics background has helped him find new evidence that suggests otherwise; metastasis seems to be a communal process with leaders and followers. Read more. Media contact: Vanessa Wasta, 410-955-8236

How to deal with juvenile sex offenders
While a third of all child sexual abuse is perpetrated by children in their early teens, only 2 to 3 percent are likely to be convicted of a second offense. Elizabeth Letourneau’s research shows that imprisoning or registering juvenile sex offenders instead of educating them does little for community safety while increasing the likelihood of future crime. Read more.
Media contact: Robin Scullin, 410-955-7619, or Barbara Benham, 410-614-6029