March 14, 2011

University taps 17 as inaugural Gilman Scholars

Designation recognizes exemplars of Johns Hopkins University's highest ideals

Daniel Coit Gilman

President Ronald J. Daniels and Provost Lloyd B. Minor have tapped 17 eminent Johns Hopkins faculty and professional staff members from across the divisions to serve as the inaugural group of Gilman Scholars, a prestigious designation.

The honor is named for Daniel Coit Gilman, Johns Hopkins’ visionary first president, who was interested in establishing a university to promote the highest standards of scholarship and research in the sciences and in the humanities.

The 17 individuals, regarded as leading faculty or practitioners within their divisions, were confirmed by the president upon recommendation from the provost and nomination by their deans or directors. The university’s board of trustees approved the nominations last week.

“The newly created designation recognizes individuals who are exemplars of the highest ideals of the university, demonstrated through a record of distinguished research, artistic and creative activity, teaching and service,” said Minor, noting that the inaugural list includes Nobel laureates, award-winning teachers, world-renowned experts and the heads of departments and centers.

Daniels said that in creating this designation, “we wanted to be able to honor and celebrate those colleagues from across the campus who embody the very best of Hopkins. We recognize—and are delighted with—the pre-eminence of our inaugural cohort of Gilman Scholars,” Daniels said. “We know we have an embarrassment of riches in this regard and look forward to welcoming future colleagues as Gilman Scholars.”

Gilman Scholars will retain the title as long as they remain at Johns Hopkins, or until retirement. The existing

group of scholars will help select up to five new members annually. The total number of Gilman Scholars will be strictly limited.

The honor is open to faculty members in the academic divisions and to professional staff at the Applied Physics Laboratory.

The inaugural 17 designees are John Sommerer, from the Applied Physics Laboratory; Charles Bennett, Adam Riess and Gabrielle Spiegel, from the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences; Peter Agre, Diane Griffin and Alfred Sommer, from the Bloomberg School of Public Health; Lisa Cooper, Andrew Feinberg, Carol Greider, Solomon Snyder and Bert Vogelstein, from the School of Medicine; Jacquelyn Campbell, from the School of Nursing; David Lampton, from the School of Advanced International Studies; Andrew Talle, from the Peabody Institute; and Joseph Katz and Michael Miller, from the Whiting School of Engineering.

John Sommerer is head of APL’s Space Department, which is responsible for executing, among other projects, NASA’s Messenger mission to Mercury, New Horizons mission to Pluto, Radiation Belt Storm Probes mission to explore the Van Allen Belts and Solar Probe Plus mission to explore the sun’s outer atmosphere.

Prior to his current assignment, Sommerer was director of Science and Technology and chief technology officer. He has been with APL since 1980, holding technical and management positions in five of its departments and leading development of the Lab’s strategic plan.

Sommerer has established an international reputation in nonlinear dynamics, making both theoretical and experimental contributions to the field. His research has been featured on the covers of both Science and Nature.

Charles Bennett, a professor of physics and astronomy in the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences, is widely recognized as one of the leading astrophysicists of his day.

He oversaw the Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe space mission, which precisely determined the age, curvature, composition and history of the universe. Using WMAP, Bennett and his team took the first-ever detailed full-sky “baby picture” in the microwave light from 379,000 years after the Big Bang.

His groundbreaking work in cosmology has earned him the 2010 Shaw Prize, the National Academy of Sciences’ 2009 Comstock Prize in Physics, the 2006 Harvey Prize, the 2006 Gruber Cosmology Prize and the 2005 Henry Draper Medal.

Throughout his career, Bennett has made significant contributions to the knowledge of cosmology through pioneering measurements of the cosmic background radiation, the oldest light in the universe and a remnant of the hot, young universe. In 2003, he and his team made international news with their announcement that the universe is less than 5 percent atoms, one-quarter dark matter and nearly three-quarters a mysterious dark energy, as well as that the universe is 13.7 billion years old.

Adam Riess is a professor of physics and astronomy in the Krieger School and a scientist at the Space Telescope Science Institute. He is renowned for his leadership in the High-z Supernova Search Team’s 1998 discovery that the expansion rate of the universe is accelerating, a phenomenon widely attributed to a mysterious, unexplained “dark energy” filling the universe. The discovery was hailed by Science magazine as “the Breakthrough Discovery of the Year” in 1998, and the researchers involved shared the 2006 Shaw Prize in astronomy.

Riess’ accomplishments have been recognized with a number of prestigious awards. In 2008, he won a $1 million John T. and Catherine D. MacArthur Foundation Fellowship Grant and was named a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 2007, he shared the Peter Gruber Foundation’s Cosmology Prize, and in 2006, he won the $1 million Shaw Prize, considered by some to be “the Nobel of the East.” In 2009, Riess was elected to the National Academy of Sciences. This year, he was awarded the Einstein Medal in recognition of his leadership in the High-z team’s 1998 discovery.

Gabrielle Spiegel is a Krieger-Eisenhower Professor in the Krieger School’s History Department. She was elected president of the American Historical Association in 2007.

A historian of the Middle Ages, Spiegel is the author or editor of four books and more than 40 academic articles. Her article “History, Historicism and the Social Logic of the Text in the Middle Ages,” which appeared in Speculum in 1990, has been hailed as one of the most important analyses of medieval historiography ever written, and as a critical intervention in debates over historians’ use of postmodern theory. The article has been widely reprinted, translated and commented upon, and won the article prize of the Berkshire Conference of Women Historians.

Spiegel has held fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation and the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, among many other honors.

Peter Agre is a professor in the Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology at the Bloomberg School of Public Health and director of the Johns Hopkins Malaria Research Institute, where he oversees 19 faculty members who concentrate on advancing basic science to develop new methods in prevention and treatment of the disease.

In 2003, Agre shared the Nobel Prize in chemistry for his discovery of aquaporins—channels that regulate and facilitate water molecule transport through cell membranes, a process essential to all living organisms. He holds two U.S. patents on the isolation, cloning and expression of aquaporins 1 and 5 and is the principal investigator on four current National Institutes of Health grants.

He was elected to membership in the National Academy of Sciences in 2000 and in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2003.

Agre was a faculty member of the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine from 1981 to 2005, when he joined Duke University Medical Center as vice chancellor for science and technology. He returned to Johns Hopkins in 2007 to join the Bloomberg School.

Diane Griffin is the Alfred and Jill Sommer Professor and Chair of the W. Harry Feinstone Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology at the Bloomberg School of Public Health and was the founding director of the Johns Hopkins Malaria Research Institute.

Griffin came to Johns Hopkins as a virology fellow in 1970 and became department chair in 1994.

She is the principal investigator on a variety of grants from the National Institutes of Health and the Bill & Melinda Gates and Dana foundations. Her research focuses on how viruses cause disease, especially alpha-viruses, acute encephalitis and measles. Alpha-viruses are transmitted by mosquitoes and cause encephalitis in mammals and birds.

The author or co-author of more than 300 scholarly papers and articles, Griffin is past president of the American Society for Virology, the Association of Medical School Microbiology Chairs and the American Society for Microbiology. In 2009, she was inducted into the Maryland Women’s Hall of Fame.

Alfred Sommer is dean emeritus of the Bloomberg School of Public Health and a University Distinguished Service Professor.

He is best known internationally for his long-term research and advocacy supporting the widespread use of vitamin A to prevent blindness and child mortality in developing nations. This work won Sommer recognition as the recipient of the 1997 Lasker Award for Clinical Medical Research. The World Bank has declared the vitamin A supplementation he pioneered to be one of the most cost-effective of all public health interventions.

Sommer is currently a professor of ophthalmology at the School of Medicine and professor of epidemiology and international health at the School of Public Health. He was the founding director of the Dana Center for Preventive Ophthalmology, which focuses on clinical epidemiology and the public health aspects of blindness prevention and child survival.

He has published five books and 250 scientific articles. His many honors include the Howe Medal of the American Ophthalmologic Society, the Duke Elder and Gonin medals of the International Council of Ophthalmology, Thailand’s Prince Mahidol Award for contributions to medicine and public health, and the Helmut Horten, Charles A. Dana and Pollin prizes for medical research.

Lisa Cooper is a professor in the Department of Medicine at the School of Medicine, a core faculty member of the Welch Center for Prevention, Epidemiology and Clinical Research, and director of the Johns Hopkins Center to Eliminate Cardiovascular Health Disparities. A faculty member since 1994, the Liberian-born internist and epidemiologist holds joint appointments at the schools of Public Health and Nursing.

Cooper is an internationally recognized expert on cultural, social, and economic barriers to equitable care and on the effectiveness of patient-centered interventions, such as physician communication skills and cultural competence training, patient shared decision making, and self-management skills training, for improving health outcomes and overcoming racial and ethnic disparities in health care. She was named a 2007 fellow by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, receiving what is known informally as a “genius grant.”

She was elected to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences in 2008 and the American Society for Clinical Investigation in 2005. She is also a member of the Delta Omega Honorary Society in Public Health.

She is the author of more than 100 research articles and several book chapters, and has been the principal investigator of 14 research grants from the National Institutes of Health and several private foundations.

Andrew Feinberg is the King Fahd Professor of Molecular Medicine in the School of Medicine and director of the Center for Epigenetics at the Johns Hopkins Institute for Basic Biomedical Sciences.

At Johns Hopkins since 1994, Feinberg is a pioneer in the field of epigenetics. He has been investigating how genetic factors outside human nuclear DNA are related to human disease, having done the first experiments on the epigenetics of cancer in the early 1980s. More recently, he has been leading a group in the study of the epigenetics of human complex traits with a Center of Excellence in Genome Sciences award from the Genome Research Institute of the National Institutes of Health.

His laboratory is studying the epigenetic basis of disease, including cancer, autism and psychiatric illness. Epigenetics involves changes in DNA and chromatin structure that are remembered by the cell when it divides. Feinberg’s work has led to a major cancer epigenetics translational study to introduce epigenetic testing for cancer risk into the general medical setting.

As an adjunct professor at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden, Feinberg contributed to its formation of an epigenetic profiling platform at its Center for Molecular Medicine.

Carol Greider is the Daniel Nathans Professor and director of Molecular Biology and Genetics in the Johns Hopkins Institute for Basic Biomedical Sciences at the School of Medicine. She joined Johns Hopkins in 1997.

One of the world’s pioneering researchers on the structure of chromosome ends known as telomeres, Greider shared the 2009 Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine. The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences recognized her for the 1984 discovery of telomerase, an enzyme that maintains the length and integrity of chromosome ends and is critical for the health and survival of all living cells and organisms.

Greider’s improbable discovery of telomerase catalyzed an explosion of scientific studies that, to this day, probe connections between telomerase and telomeres to human cancer and diseases of aging.

Solomon Snyder is University Distinguished Service Professor of Neuroscience, Pharmacology and Psychiatry at the School of Medicine. In 1980, he founded the Department of Neuroscience, which now bears his name.

Snyder’s research accomplishments range from the discovery of opiate receptors in the brain—work for which he shared the prestigious Albert Lasker Award in 1978—to proof that gases can serve as neural messengers.

He received the National Medal of Science in 2005 for his contributions to the understanding of neurotransmitters, their receptors in the nervous system, mechanisms of action of psychoactive drugs and pathways of signal transduction in the brain.

Snyder, who joined Johns Hopkins in 1965, continues searching for new neurotransmitters and receptors while increasing understanding of those that he and his colleagues have discovered throughout the years.

He is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a member of the National Academy of Sciences and a fellow of its Institute of Medicine, and a fellow of the American Philosophical Society. He is the recipient of six honorary doctorates and numerous awards.

Bert Vogelstein is the Clayton Professor of Oncology and Pathology at the School of Medicine and director of the Ludwig Center for Cancer Genetics and Therapeutics at the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center.

His research focuses on identifying and characterizing the genes that cause cancer and the application of this knowledge to the management of patients.

He received his medical degree from Johns Hopkins in 1974 and remained for an internship and residency in pediatrics. His first encounters with cancer-stricken children moved him to undertake a postdoctoral fellowship at the National Cancer Institute, where he could explore the latest techniques in molecular biology.

At Johns Hopkins, he led the team that discovered the genetic alterations responsible for the development of colorectal tumors, a dramatic breakthrough in cancer research.

He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the Institute of Medicine, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Philosophical Society and the European Molecular Biology Organization.

Vogelstein’s pioneering studies of the genetic causes of human cancer have placed him among the world’s most influential scientists. The Institute for Scientific Information has counted more than 170,000 citations of his work in the scientific literature, far more than for any other scientist in any discipline.

Jacquelyn Campbell, the Anna D. Wolf Professor in the Department of Community–Public Health at the School of Nursing, is a national leader in the field of domestic and intimate partner violence. Her studies have paved the way for a growing body of interdisciplinary investigations by researchers in the disciplines of nursing, medicine and public health, and her expertise is frequently sought by policymakers examining intimate partner violence and its potential heath effects on families and communities.

Campbell was elected to the Institute of Medicine in 2000 and has been recognized with the Institute of Medicine/American Academy of Nursing/American Nurses’ Foundation Senior Scholar in Residence award. She was named the Pathfinder Distinguished Researcher by the Friends of the National Institute of Nursing Research and received the American Society of Criminology’s Vollmer Award.

She was a member of the congressionally appointed Department of Defense Task Force on Domestic Violence.

Campbell is a widely published author with more than 150 articles and seven books, and holds a joint appointment in the Bloomberg School of Public Health.

David Lampton, the George and Sadie Hyman Professor of China Studies, director of the China Studies Program and dean of the faculty at SAIS, is one of the country’s leading scholars in his field.

From 1988 to 1997, he was president of the National Committee on United States–China Relations. He also was founding director of the China Policy Program at the American Enterprise Institute and of the Nixon Center’s Chinese Studies Program. He is currently a member of the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations and of the Council on Foreign Relations.

He has authored numerous books and articles on Chinese domestic and foreign affairs, has testified before congressional committees and is a frequent commentator on national talk shows and news broadcasts. His most recent book, The Three Faces of Chinese Power: Might, Money and Minds, was published in 2008 by the University of California Press and the following year in Chinese by Xinhua Publishing.

He holds an honorary doctorate from the Institute of Far Eastern Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences and is an honorary senior fellow with the Institute of American Studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

Andrew Talle, a renowned Bach expert who joined Johns Hopkins in 2004, is a faculty member in the Peabody Institute’s Musicology Department. As chair of the department from 2007 to 2010, he conducted a long-term study of the undergraduate musicology curriculum. He has taught courses on music history at both Peabody and the Homewood campus and has taught the Doctoral Colloquium at Peabody. In 2010, he received the Johns Hopkins Alumni Association’s Excellence in Teaching Award.

His many other honors include a Packard Fellowship and a Sheldon Traveling Fellowship from Harvard University, a Deutscher Akademischer Austausch Dienst Traveling Fellowship for research in Germany and a Blakemore Foundation fellowship for advanced study of Vietnamese.

Trained as a cellist at Northwestern University, Talle still performs. He is currently working on a book-length study of Bach’s suites and partitas.

Joseph Katz is the William F. Ward Sr. Distinguished Professor in the Whiting School’s Department of Mechanical Engineering.

His research focuses on experimental fluid mechanics and development of advanced diagnostic techniques for laboratory and field applications. His groups have been involved in the characterization of turbulent single and multiphase flows, such as bubble and droplet dynamics, and rapidly strained turbulence.

His work in the field of oceanography includes the examination of flow structure and turbulence in the bottom boundary layer of the coastal ocean. He also measures spatial distributions of plankton, particles and bubbles in the ocean, and has been involved in the development of optical instrumentation, including submersible holography and PIV systems.

Katz is a fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, technical editor of the Journal of Fluids Engineering and a recipient of the ASME Fluids Engineering Award, the National Science Foundation’s Presidential Young Investigator Award and several best-paper awards.

Michael Miller is the Herschel and Ruth Seder Professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering and director of the Center for Imaging Science in the Whiting School.

The biomedical engineer is a recognized leader and pioneer in areas of image understanding, pattern theory, computer vision, medical imaging/computational anatomy and computational neuroscience. He joined the Johns Hopkins faculty in 1998, returning to the Homewood campus 14 years after completing his doctorate there.

Miller has co-authored more than 100 peer-reviewed archival publications and is the co-author of two textbooks, Random Point Processes in Space and Time and Pattern Theory: From Representation to Inference.

He has received numerous honors for his work, including the national IEEE Biomedical Engineering Thesis Award first prize in 1982, the Johns Hopkins Paul Ehrlich Graduate Student Thesis Award in 1983 and the Presidential Young Investigator Award in 1986. In 2002, he was recognized by ISI Essential Science Indicators for garnering the highest rate of increase in total citations in the field of engineering, and in 2003 he received the International Man of the Year Award from the International Biographical Center in Cambridge, England.