About Johns Hopkins
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Research Highlights

Researchers at The Johns Hopkins University have:

  • Learned that the brains of plain-tailed wrens in the cloud forests of Ecuador are wired for cooperation, a result that has implications not only for better
    understanding human social behavior, but also for engineers interested in designing teams of robots that can work together. Learn more here.
  • Are studying the brain of an artist who suffered brain-damaging encephalitis in order to shed light on creativity and the brain. Learn more here.
  • Learning how people who are adept in social situations also seem to be more proficient at spatial skills, such as navigating. Learn more here.
  • Investigating how a drug already used to treat seizures is improving the memory and brain function of adults with a form of cognitive impairment that often leads to full blown Alzheimer's disease. Learn more here.
  • Found that mice who are forced to work harder for their food — even lower calorie food — like that food more: a result which could lead to improved anti-obesity strategies. Learn more here.
  • Developing a took that is a cross between a powerful electron microscope and the Hubble Space Telescope, which allows scientists from disciplines ranging from medicine and genetics to astrophysics, environmental science, oceanography and bioinformatics to examine and analyze enormous amounts of data from both "little picture" and "big picture" perspectives. Learn more here.
  • Unlocking the mystery of how our body "clocks" work Learn more here.
  • Studying how the brain processes the multitude of sensations that come in through our fingers and hands, which will assist in the development of a prosthetic limb that allows the wearer to "feel" sensation. Learn more here
  • Investigating what kind of programs are most successful in encouraging people coming out of inpatient rehabilitation programs for substance abuse to continue in their recoveries. Learn more here.
  • Are unraveling how number sense — a person's ability to quickly assess how many objects or people are around them — changes and develops throughout the human life cycle. Learn more here.
  • Immigrant blacks more likely to attend elite colleges Learn more here.
  • Johns Hopkins survey reveals hidden dimension of health care crisis Learn more here.
  • Studying welfare's treatment of single vs. married mothers Learn more here.
  • Recession taking toll on nonprofit workers and programs Learn more here.
  • How is Baltimore's housing holding up in the Great Recession? Learn more here.
  • Taxes exact the highest toll from the poorest Americans Learn more here.
  • Created dust-particle-size devices to grab and remove living cells from hard-to-reach places without the need for electrical wires, tubes or batteries. In lab tests, they performed a biopsy-like procedure on animal tissue. Learn more here
  • Launched a multi-year effort to coax human stem cells to turn into networks of new blood vessels that could someday replace damaged tissue in people with heart disease, diabetes and other illnesses. Learn more here.
  • Invented a "lab-on-a-chip" method to help figure out how cancer cells break free from neighboring tissue, an "escape" that can spread the disease to other parts of the body. Learn more here.
  • Concluded that in regions that have been devastated by hurricanes and other natural disasters, public officials should pursue a new direction in infrastructure projects, one that focuses on more durable designs and a greater sensitivity to the surrounding environment. Learn more here.
  • Discovered that, under the right conditions, newly developed nanocrystalline materials exhibit surprising activity in the tiny spaces between the geometric clusters of atoms called nanocrystals, from which they are made. Learn more here.
  • Developed a noninvasive infrared scanning system to help doctors determine whether pigmented skin growths are benign moles or melanoma, a lethal form of cancer. Learn more here.
  • Devised a new formula to obtain the best spacing for a large array of wind farm turbines. Learn more here.
  • Developed a low-cost health kit to screen pregnant women in developing countries for life-threatening conditions. Learn more here.
  • Invented a system to significantly boost the number of stem cells collected from a newborn's umbilical cord and placenta, so that many more patients with leukemia, lymphoma and other blood disorders can be treated with these valuable cells. Learn more here.
  • Found that sifting through millions of Twitter posts could yield important information about public health trends. Learn more here.
  • Devised a protein "switch" that instructs cancer cells to produce their own anti-cancer medication. Learn more here
  • Led a study that determined that efforts to reduce the flow of fertilizers, animal waste and other pollutants into the Chesapeake Bay appear to be giving a boost to the bay's health. Learn more here.
  • Developed a jelly-like material and wound treatment method that, in early experiments on skin damaged by severe burns, appeared to regenerate healthy, scar-free tissue. Learn More here **********************
  • Determined that a modified version of the popular Atkins diet reliably cuts seizures in adults with epilepsy (2008). Learn more here.
  • Use the first functional MRI images of artists' brains performing jazz improvisation to study the neurological underpinnings of creativity and spontaneity. (2008). Learn more here.
  • Developed a prototype for the first fully integrated prosthetic arm. It can be controlled naturally, provide sensory feedback and allows for eight degrees of freedom- a level of control far beyond the previous state of the art for prosthetic limbs (2007). Learn more here.
  • Demonstrated that genetically engineered malaria-resistant mosquitoes could outcompete their natural counterparts in the laboratory when fed malaria-infected blood (2007). Learn more here.
  • Engineered new, completed, fully functioning motor-neuron circuits in paralyzed adult animals. The neurons stretch from the spinal cord to specifically targeted muscles and restored almost full function to the previously useless limbs (2006). Learn more here.
  • Discovered during an archaeological expedition in Luxor, Egypt, a life-sized statue, dating back nearly 3,400 years, of Queen Tiy, one of the queens of the powerful king Amenhotep III (2006). Learn more here.
  • Determined that adult male circumcision significantly reduces a man's risk of acquiring HIV. Plans are in motion to provide safe circumcision and post-op care in southern Africa (2006). Learn more here.
  • Demonstrated that graduated driver licensing programs reduced the incidence of fatal crashes of 16-year-old drivers by an average of 11 percent. This confirmed, among other things, the earlier Johns Hopkins study that showed that as the number of passengers increases in a car driven by a teenage driver, so does the likelihood of fatal injury to the driver (2006). Learn more here and here.
  • Devised self-assembling cubes, no larger than dust specks, to deliver medicine and cell therapy (2005). Learn more here.
  • Determined that SSRI antidepressants rewire areas of the brain that are important to the autonomic nervous system as well as for thinking and feeling. Where the drugs had long been thought to exert their clinical effects by increasing synaptic concentrations of serotonin and norepinephrine, the finding offers a better explanation as to why antidepressants are effective and why they take time to work (2005). Learn more here.
  • Showed in animals that adult bone marrow stem cells can be used to repair post-heart attack damage to cardiac muscle and tissue (2005). here.
  • Mapped the location of invisible "dark matter" in unprecedented detail, lending support to the theory that galaxies form where dark matter is most dense (2005). Learn more here.
  • Determined that massive, mature, fully formed galaxies existed more than 8 billion years ago, far earlier than expected, necessitating a re-examination of the dominant theory of galactic evolution (2004). Learn more here.
  • Sent a spacecraft to Mercury to orbit the planet and see, for the first time the majority of Mercury's surface (2004). Learn more here.
  • Discovered that hurricanes, by churning up nutrient-laden water deep below the surface, can transform "desert" areas of oceans into areas teeming with life (2004). Learn more here.
  • Created a new class of artificial proteins that can assemble themselves into a gel and encourage the growth of selected cell types (2004). Learn more here.
  • Discovered an important link between two main inherited forms of Parkinson's disease. Also discovered that nitric oxide, a chemical messenger involved in body functions from erections to nerves' communications, also shuts down a protein involved in Parkinson's (2004). Learn more here and here.
  • Discovered the channels that regulate and facilitate water molecule transport through cell membranes, a process essential to all living organisms (2004). Learn more here.
  • Linked disparities in the rates of referral and subsequent enrollment in outpatient cardiac rehabilitation to income and race (2004). Learn more here.
  • Identified a complex series of proteins that enable HIV to bypass the natural defenses of human cells and replicate, a discovery that increased understanding of how HIV overcomes host defenses (2003). Learn more here.
  • Drew national attention to the potential for security breaches in electronic touch-screen voting systems (2003). Learn more here.
  • Engineered a way to determine if digital video has been tampered with and is, therefore, unusable as evidence in court (2003). Learn more here.
  • Played a leading role in the creation of a landmark map detailing the way proteins interact within fruit fly cells. The map provides a model for future studies in humans that should lead to a better understanding of genetic disorders and infectious diseases (2003). Learn more here.
  • Discovered a "twinning" phenomenon in a nanocrystalline form of aluminum that was plastically deformed during lab experiments. The finding will help scientists better predict the mechanical behavior and reliability of new types of specially fabricated metals (2003). Learn more here.
  • Joined two proteins in a way that creates a molecular "switch," using a lab technique called domain insertion. The result is a microscopic protein partnership in which one member controls the activity of the other (2003). Learn more here.
  • Developed a way to protect buildings from deadly biological pathogen attacks using a unique filtration system (2003). Learn more here.
  • Discovered that the injection of human stem cells into fluid around the spinal cord of paralyzed rats improved the animals' ability to control their hind limbs. This research was an important early step in analyzing the potential of various types of stem cells in disorders of motor neurons (2003). Learn more here.
  • With an instrument on the Cassini spacecraft, discovered a massive gas cloud surrounding Jupiter (2003). Learn more here.
  • Developed a novel form of gene therapy that delayed symptoms and almost doubled life expectancy in mice with the equivalent of Lou Gehrig's disease (2003). Learn more here.
  • Demonstrated that a multidisciplinary team intervention program works better to reduce blood pressure in urban African-American men (2003). Learn more here.
  • Identified depression as a likely barrier to high blood pressure control in African-American men (2003). Learn more here.
  • Identified risk factors for the murder of women in abusive relationships (2003). Learn more here.
  • Reported that treating young children with zinc in addition to standard antibiotics greatly reduces the duration of severe pneumonia, a leading cause of death among children, particularly in the developing world (2002). Learn more here.
  • Produced a form of pure copper metal six times stronger than normal and yet no more likely to fracture when stretched, an achievement important to the development of microelectromechanical systems (2002). Learn more here.
  • After first discovering, that knocking out particular muscle gene results in "mighty mice," reported that the procedure also softens the effects of a genetic mutation that causes muscular dystrophy (2002). Learn more here, here and here.
  • After discovering that stress and surgery may increase the growth of cancerous tumors in rats (1999), found that giving the rats the anti-inflammatory drug indomethacin after cancer surgery reduced tumor growth (2002). Learn more here and here.
  • Landed the first spacecraft on an asteroid (2001). Learn more here.
  • Invented a globe-shaped motor that is capable of rotating in any direction. The device, which uses electromagnets controlled by a computer, could give robotic arms greater flexibility and precision and might even allow the lowly computer mouse to guide the hand of the computer user, instead of the reverse (2001). Learn more here.
  • Demonstrated that a specific enzyme is essential to production of a hallmark of Alzheimer's disease, the amyloid plaques that collect and surround brain cells (2000). Learn more here.
  • Revealed that Korean Americans have hypertension at rates much higher than other Americans or their counterparts in Korea (2000). Learn more here.
  • Pinpointed areas in the brain that may generate mice mothers' violent response to protect their babies, an accomplishment that could help scientists better understand aggression's origins in humans (2000). Learn more here.
  • Restored movement to recently paralyzed rodents by injecting stem cells into their spinal fluid, raising hope for improved treatment of paralyzing motor neuron diseases such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (2000). Learn more here.
  • Isolated and identified human stem cells and proved them capable of forming the fundamental tissues that give rise to distinct human cells such as muscle, bone and nerve (2000). Learn more here.
  • Discovered a family of genes that contributes to the process of malignancy, shedding new light on the abnormalities that give rise to lymphoma, leukemia and prostate, ovarian, lung and breast cancer (2000). Learn more here.
  • Developed a modified form of vitamin D that helps delay the onset and reduce the number of skin cancers in lab mice without causing vitamin D-induced loss of bone calcium (2000).
  • Co-developed a DNA vaccine that protects against measles, the most conclusive work to date demonstrating that DNA vaccines may be useful in the fight against human disease
  • Dramatically improved the accuracy of blood tests for colon cancer predisposition, to the point where genetic mutations associated with certain hereditary diseases can be detected nearly 100 percent of the time (2000).
  • Linked the ability to "pay attention" to one particular occurrence among a flood of incoming sensory information to the sudden firing of a brain cell "chorus" amidst the cacophony of normal brain cell activity (2000). Learn more here.
  • Demonstrated that, as the number of passengers increases in a car driven by a teenage driver, so does the likelihood of fatal injury to the driver (2000). Learn more here.
  • Invented a micropump powered by the repeated growth and collapse of a single bubble. Because the bubble is generated by heat, it is easy to control, and because the bubble-powered pump has no moving mechanical parts, it is unlikely to wear out too quickly (1999). Learn more here.
  • Demonstrated that virtually all cases of cervical cancers were connected to transmission of HPV. The initial discovery led to the development of the HPV vaccine (1999).
  • Guided the NEAR spacecraft to the first-ever orbit around an asteroid (433 Eros), allowing close-up scientific study of a body still composed of primitive material from the time of the formation of the solar system (2000). Learn more here.
  • Identified a single gene variation that may explain some of the key individual differences in pain sensitivity (1999). Learn more here.
  • Invented a micro-pump powered by the repeated growth and collapse of a single bubble (1999). Learn more here.
  • Showed that vitamin A supplements can reduce malaria and maternal death, and that zinc supplements reduce infant mortality, pneumonia and diarrhea in developing countries (1999). Learn more here.
  • Identified a drug that stops the growth of abnormal blood vessels in the eye, an advance that could have sight-saving implications for millions of people with complications of diabetes (1999). Learn more here.
  • Participated on a team that discovered that the first alphabet — from which modern alphabets all evolved — is centuries older than previously believed (from the 1900s B.C.) and was probably invented in Egypt (1999). Learn more here.
  • Showed that children as young as 6 months begin to comprehend words, linking sound patterns with specific meanings (1999).
  • Isolated and cultivated human embryonic stem cells, the undifferentiated cell from which an entire human being eventually develops (1998). Learn more here.
  • Provided the first reliable evidence of genetic susceptibility to schizophrenia (1998). Learn more here.
  • Identified broccoli sprouts as an especially rich source of the cancer-fighting compound sulforaphane (1997). Learn more here.
  • Discovered a protein 'chaperone' to superoxide dismutase enzyme, responsible for transporting copper within a cell. The discovery raised important questions about copper's role in ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease) (1997).
  • Identified the first genetic mutation known to cause familial colorectal cancer, and invented a simple blood test to allow carriers to detect the mutation and take measures to guard against the disease (1997). Learn more here.
  • Led a team that was the first ever to detect fluorine in interstellar space (1997). Learn more here.
  • Hopkins researchers have flown the space probe NEAR to within 750 miles of 253 Mathilde, the closest-ever human encounter with an asteroid (1997). Learn more here.
  • Invented the first all-plastic battery (1996). Learn more here.
  • Mapped the first specific prostate cancer gene to chromosome 1 (1996). Learn more here.
  • Discovered a genetic basis for violent and excessive sexual behavior in mice (1995). Learn more here.
  • Helped develop the first effective treatment for sickle cell anemia (1995).
  • Identified the gene that causes most forms of polycystic kidney disease, the most common inherited kidney disease (1995).
  • Identified a form of low blood pressure as a probable cause of chronic fatigue disorder (1995).
  • Presented the first conclusive physical evidence for the existence of supermassive black holes (1994). Learn more here.
  • Identified sulforaphane, a chemical in broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables that appears to inhibit the development of cancer (1993).
  • Identified a gene responsible for a widespread form of colon cancer (1993).
  • Announced findings expected to lead to simple urine test to aid in early detection of cancer (1991).
  • Synthesized a new form of Vitamin D, with possible future application as an anti-cancer drug (1990).
  • Conducted astronomical observations in the ultraviolet that discredited a widely circulated theory on the source of the missing "dark matter" in the universe (1990). Learn more here.
  • Induced apparently normal human brain cells to multiply in the test tube, opening the possibility that such cells could be used in treating neurological diseases (1990).
  • Discovered how the brain "hears" -- how bioelectrical signals from the inner ear to the brain are encoded -- findings with important implications not only for understanding the hearing process but also for how the brain operates (1989). Learn more here.
  • Created a new process for spray-painting cars, furniture, and appliances which reduces air pollution from that source by as much as 70 percent (1989). Learn more here.
  • Discovered that E. coli, a bacterium found in the human gastrointestinal tract, can repair its own DNA when damaged by ultraviolet light, thus providing a method for the investigation of DNA repair proteins in molecular and cell biology (1987).
  • Invented a pill-size ingestible electronic capsule to telemeter deep-body temperatures (1987). Learn more here.
  • Developed parallel processor technology, permitting the upgrading of existing computer installations by providing supercomputing capabilities at greatly reduced costs (1987).
  • Established techniques whereby the history of motion within fault zones can be traced and used to decide whether particular fault zones should be considered dangerous or inactive (1980s).
  • Studied the physics and chemistry of magma, leading to an understanding of the dynamics of molten rock within the earth and beneath volcanoes and advancing knowledge of how to alleviate volcanic hazards and extract geothermal energy from such reservoirs (1980s).
  • Developed the Multisensory Authoring Computer System which enables teachers to generate individualized instruction lessons for students with moderate to severe handicaps (1985).
  • Discovered that Oltipraz, a compound found in cruciferous vegetables (cabbage, brussels sprouts, cauliflower) offered protection for the body from the effects of radiation therapy for cancer (1983).
  • Discovered that pennies worth of vitamin A supplements administered to Indonesian children as part of a blindness prevention program were accompanied by a dramatic drop in infant death rates, leading to similar vitamin treatments for thousands of children in developing countries (1983-1986).
  • Developed the first magnetometer sensor to remotely locate regions of gas pipeline corrosion (1982).
  • Developed a heat-shrinkable polymer used as a sleeve, which took the place of sutures in vascular surgery (1981).
  • Showed how deposits of metallic ores are formed within the earth and under what conditions they can be located, work that was central to understanding the dispersal and collection of oil (1980s).
  • Conducted fundamental research on the crystal structure and general properties of asbestos which enabled physicians to understand why such material is harmful to mankind (1980s).
  • Identified a protein which controls the assembly and disassembly of the structures responsible for the shape and movement of living cells, a major contribution to understanding the fundamental mechanisms of cell motility, one of the most important problems in cell biology (1980).
  • Conducted basic research on the sea surface and problems of air-sea interaction, leading to an understanding of the generation of water waves, including highly destructive rogue waves which are a threat to ocean-going vessels (1970s-1980s).
  • With an experiment aboard the Voyager 2 spacecraft, discovered a 400-million degree plasma in the magnetosphere of Jupiter, a finding which challenged conventional understanding of some of the basic physics of planets and stars (1979).
  • Developed the first successful treatment to desensitize people against bee stings (1975).
  • Identified high rates of infant deaths in motor vehicle accidents, leading to the passage of child safety restraint laws throughout the United States (1979).
  • Discovered that ketoacids as a substitute for dietary protein were useful in forestalling dialysis in kidney failure and in treating protein depletion or intolerance (1976).
  • Invented the first microcomputer-controlled implantable medication delivery system (1975).
  • Provided the first successful demonstration of the effect of a planned health education program in decreasing morbidity and mortality from a chronic disease (hypertension) (1975).
  • Developed the first method for routinely visualizing the choroidal blood vessels of the eye (1973).
  • Showed that use of oral contraceptives by women was associated with increased risk of thromboembolism (1969) and of breast cancer (1973).
  • Identified the sites where heroin and other opiates act in the brain, a discovery which had important applications for the treatment of drug addicts and for the screening and development of new and potentially non-addictive pain-killing drugs (1972).
  • Invented the first implantable, rechargeable pacemaker for cardiac disorders (1972).
  • Based on research with the Framingham Heart Study, first directed attention to the importance of social factors in the etiology of heart disease (1970).
  • Devised the "Self-Directed Search," an inexpensive but accurate self- administered test providing occupational guidance for students and adults (1970).
  • Developed the first clinically useful Argon photocoagulator, providing ophthalmologists with a technique for repairing damaged retinal vasculature (1969).
  • Took the first color photograph of the whole earth from space (1967).
  • Discovered restriction enzymes, the so-called "biochemical scissors," which gave birth to the entire new field of genetic engineering (1960s). The discoverers were awarded the Nobel Prize in 1978 for their achievement.
  • Were among the first to warn of possible dangers to women who used oral contraceptives, indicating the need for further study of the effects of the pills (1965).
  • Developed the Limulus lysate test, a sensitive and inexpensive detector of the bacterial endotoxins associated with such diseases as meningitis and septicemia (1963).
  • Synthesized luciferin, the substance which lights the tail of the firefly, furthering research on ATP, the primary energy source in biological action (1962).
  • Described the structure and function of the complement system, a complex set of enzymes which play an important role in human immunological defenses against cancer, bacteria, and viruses (1961).
  • Conducted the first major, large-scale research study of conditions of inequality in American schools, which resulted in the landmark report, "Equality of Educational Opportunity" (1960).
  • Developed oral rehydration therapy, which replaces food and electrolytes lost from the body during attacks of diarrheal disease (1960s).
  • Invented cardiopulmonary resuscitation, the lifesaving first-aid technique, thanks to a chance observation during work on the defibrillating machine (also invented at Hopkins) that weight placed on the chest increases blood pressure. (1958).
  • Conceived and developed Transit satellites, the first navigation system operating on the principle of the Doppler shift and making possible navigational "fixes" of unprecedented accuracy (1957-1960).
  • Demonstrated that the spread of tuberculosis in hospitals could be inhibited by the use of ultraviolet light to kill airborne bacteria (1957).
  • Showed that retrolental fibroplasia, which causes blindness in premature infants, was related to high concentrations of oxygen used in babies' incubators (1954).
  • First established a link between chromates and lung cancer among factory workers, a pioneering step in the field of occupational health (1950s).
  • Developed the Lumicon, one of the earliest light intensification systems, which increased brightness as much as 50,000 times and proved of great value in improved fluoroscopy and x-ray therapy (1950).
  • Developed Hank's Solution, a defined salt solution to meet the needs of cells growing in tissue culture, dramatically extending the possibilities of in vitro cultivation of many types of cells (1949).
  • Confirmed the authenticity of the Dead Sea Scrolls, speeding acceptance as genuine of these earliest biblical manuscripts (1948).
  • Immunized chimpanzees with inactivated vaccines, essential to the development of the first widely used polio vaccine and a major step toward the prevention of poliomyelitis in human beings (1947-1952).
  • Discovered dramamine's effectiveness in alleviating motion sickness (1948).
  • Took the first images of the Earth's curvature, from a V-2 rocket (1946).
  • Developed the first supersonic ramjet engine (1944).
  • Developed the "blue baby" operation to correct congenital heart defects, ushering in a new era in open heart surgery (1944).
  • Found the causes and developed treatment and preventive measures for scrub typhus which afflicted American and Australian troops in the South Pacific during World War II (1943).
  • Produced the human serum needed to provide 1 million doses of yellow fever vaccine for U.S. troops during World War II (1942).
  • Put the chronology of Middle Eastern pottery on a firm footing for the first time, making possible the accurate dating of excavations in the Holy Land (1938).
  • Invented Hopcalite, a catalyst which converts carbon monoxide into carbon dioxide and reduces the danger from automobile exhaust fumes (1930).
  • Identified and described the most dangerous malaria carrier in Latin America, the Anopheles mosquito (1926).
  • Developed the system of water purification by chlorination which was eventually adopted by every major municipal and industrial water supply system in the country and many other parts of the world (1920s).
  • Developed a method of growing rickettsia in fertile egg membranes, thereby permitting the development of vaccines (1920s).
  • Discovered and developed the absorptive agent silica gel, which became a key ingredient in many industrial processes (1920s).
  • Discovered vitamin D and its role in preventing rickets, vastly extending scientific knowledge of nutrition and laying the groundwork for food enrichment and nutritional planning (1922).
  • Conducted spectroscopic investigations which contributed to the formulation of the quantum theory (1920s).
  • Developed mercurochrome, a widely used antiseptic (1919).
  • Discovered heparin, a drug used to prevent blood coagulation, now widely used in the treatment of thrombosis and in cardiac surgery (1916-1918).
  • Developed the first successful renal dialysis in an animal model (1913).
  • Isolated epinephrine (adrenalin), sales of which now exceed $6 million a year (1897).
  • Published the first modern edition of the "Gilgamesh Epic," making available to the world the most significant extra-biblical work of ancient Near Eastern literature (1891).
  • Introduced the rubber glove for use during surgery (1889).
  • Invented the ruling engine for making diffraction gratings, making possible spectacular advances in astronomy and laying the foundation for the modern sciences of atomic and molecular spectroscopy (1880).
  • Discovered the sweetening agent saccharine (1879).
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The Johns Hopkins University
June 2008
The mission of The Johns Hopkins University is to educate its students and cultivate their capacity for life-long learning, to foster independent and original research, and to bring the benefits of discovery to the world.