Cerebrum Spring 2021


The Johns Hopkins Connection

BY BILL GLOVIN Editor-in-Chief


I t’s no coincidence that two features in this issue are written by Johns Hopkins School of Medicine neuroscientists. The institution, which has been crucial to the evolution of neuroscience, has helped save countless lives, been crucial to educating many of the nation’s top scientists, and provided Cerebrum with many of it authors and advisers over the years. As a lifelong New Jersey native, I never expected such a personal connection. My first encounter occurred in 1999, when I traveled by train to Baltimore to write a Hopkins Medicine cover story about my cousin Michael’s experience in a pioneering outpatient transplant program to treat leukemia. So, I already had a connection with the institution when I became editor of Cerebrum in 2012 and inherited an advisory board that included Don Price and Kay Jamison—Hopkins’ professors and giants in their fields. My advisers, today, include three who passed through the Hopkins pipeline: Harvard professor Joe Coyle, who joined the Hopkins faculty in 1975 and was a former Distinguished Service Professor of Child Psychiatry; Helen Mayberg, a renowned neurologist at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, once a Hopkins post-doctoral fellow; and Dana’s senior consultant Carolyn Asbury, who also trained there. I also worked closely with another giant, Dana scientific adviser Guy McKhann (now retired), founding director of Hopkins’ Zanvyl Krieger Mind/Brain Institute. Over the years, we’ve published articles by a number of Hopkins professors: the late John Freeman on epilepsy, Ellen Silbergeld on drinking water and the brain, Michael Kim and Christopher Jackson on glioblastoma, Susan Magsamen on neuroaesthetics, and Frank Lin on the link between dementia and hearing loss. Writing for us in this spring issue are two more Hopkins professors, Mark Shelhamer on spaceflight’s connection to cognition and mental health (page 12), and Peter Campochiaro on macular degeneration (page 18). Many of our other Cerebrum authors were trained at Hopkins, including Fred “Rusty” Gage (stem cells), John Ioannidis (research study validity), Michael Miller (heart and the brain), and Paul Worley (memory). And with this issue, we welcome new Dana Foundation President Caroline Montojo, former director of Life Sciences and Brain Initiatives at the Kavli Foundation. Guess where Caroline completed her M.A. and Ph.D. programs? Hopkins loomed again for me in a big way in 2018, when—20 years after his transplant—my cousin Michael developed an even more lethal form of leukemia and was admitted into the program for a second time. I returned to the hospital to shadow Michael again for Hopkins Medicine —and wrote about how the technology and experience had drastically improved for patients. This second transplant bought Michael another two-and-a-half years of life, but all of the improvements in the world couldn’t save him a third time. Michael S. Billig, 64, a professor of cultural anthropology at Franklin & Marshall in Lancaster, PA, passed away in January at the hospital. But thank you Johns Hopkins, for extending Michael’s life and doing what you could to help him, for making the world a better place, and for making Cerebrum a better magazine. We couldn’t have done it without you. l

Bill Glovin Editor-in-Chief Seimi Rurup Assitant Editor

Brandon Barrera Editorial Assistant

Carl Sherman Copy Editor

Carolyn Asbury, Ph.D. Scientific Consultant

Bruce Hanson Art Director

Cerebrum is published by the Charles A. Dana Foundation, Incorpo- rated. DANA is a federally registered trademark owned by the Foundation. © 2020 by The Charles A. Dana Foundation, Incorporated. All rights reserved. No part of this publica- tion may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, record- ing, or otherwise, without the prior written permission of the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in articles. Letters to the Editor Cerebrum Magazine 505 Fifth Avenue, 6th Floor New York, NY 10017 or cerebrum@dana.org Letters may be edited for length and clarity. We regret that we cannot answer each one.


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