News Briefs 2007

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  • Dr. Hugo Dooner elected to the National Academy of Sciences - posted May 1, 2007
  • Dr. Zinati receives grant from the North East Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education - posted April 30, 2007
  • Dr. Tumer receives NIH grant to study ricin - posted Apil 30, 2007
  • Graduate Students conduct hands-on training in Tanzania for GIBEX - posted April 10, 2007
  • Congratulations to department faculty on reappointments and promotions - posted April 24, 2007
  • Department Faculty honored with SEBS 2007 Celebration of Excellence Awards - posted April 17, 2007
  • Ilya Raskin receives grant to expand GIBEX in Tanzania - posted March 29, 2007
  • Turf Bowl Team places ninth at 2007 Turf Bowl Competition at the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America Education Conference and Golf Industry Show in Anaheim, California. - posted March 29, 2007
  • Brad Majek named Fellow of the Weed Science Society of America - posted March 28, 2007
  • Nilgun Tumer invited to serve on NIH and USDA Panels - posted March 28, 2007
  • Jim Simon receives USA-AID Grant - posted Feb. 15, 2007
  • Student Exchange Programs begins with Trip to Brazil - posted Feb. 15, 2007
  • Elwin Orton receives the American Society for Horticultural Science's (AHS) Luther Burbank award - posted Feb. 15, 2007
  • Bruce Clarke becomes Fellow of the CSSA - posted Feb. 15, 2007
  • Dr. Hugo Dooner elected to the National Academy of Sciences - posted May 1, 2007
    Dr. Hugo Dooner (member of Dept. Plant Biology & Pathology and the Waksman Institute) has been elected to membership in the National Academy of Sciences. Dr. Dooner's research relates to developing an understanding of meiotic recombination in plants using transposons. He and collaborators have developed some novel approaches to tracking transposition events (see below research description).

    Dr. Dooner and Dr. Joan Bennett (both in PB&P) are among a select few scientists at Rutgers University that hold the national distinction as members of the National Academy of Sciences. Seventy-two scientists were elected to NAS membership this year and these included Dr. Hugo Dooner and Dr. Paul Falkowski of the Inst. of Marine and Coastal Sciences and the Dept. of Geological Sciences at Rutgers.

    Dr. Zinati receives grant from the North East Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education - posted April 30, 2007
    Gladis Zinati, Extension specialist, John Dighton (Biology), Rich Obal, Monmouth Count Agricultural Agent, Jim Johnson, Cumberland County Agricultural Agent, Jerry Frecon, Gloucester County Agricultural Agent, and Carl Nordstrom, New Jersey Nurserymen & Landscape Association, received $106,562 from North East Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (NE-SARE) for an integrated approach to developing nutrient management schemes for container-grown nursery crops.

    Dr. Tumer receives NIH grant to student ricin - posted Apil 30, 2007
    Nilgun Tumer (Plant Biology and Pathology), Wendie Cohick (Animal Science), and Xiao-Ping Li (assistant research professor, Tumer lab) received a five-year, $1.9 million award from NIH. Their research will focus on the mechanism of cytotoxicity of ricin, a plant toxin and ribosome-inactiviting protein that has been classified as a Category B priority for biodefense. They will work with yeast and mammalian model systems to understand the molecular basis for the role of ricin in inhibiting protein synthesis and cell death. Identification of the ribosome binding sites of ricin will have a major impact on targeted drug development and can lead to the development of effective therapeutics against ricin.

    Graduate Students conduct hands-on training in Tanzania for GIBEX - posted April 10, 2007
    Albert Ayeni, assistant director for international programs, traveled with two graduate students to Tanzania in mid-April to initiate field screening activities as part of Ilya Raskin's new pharmaceutical bioexploration project, funded by the National Collegiate Innovators and Inventors Alliance. Students Georgie Fear from Ilya Raskin's lab and Sasha Eisenman from Lena Struwe's lab conducted a seven-day hands-on training course for scientists from the University of Dar es Salaam. Partners in Tanzania will collect and screen at least 300 plant samples over the next 18 months. At the end of this period, a workshop will be held in Tanzania with potential industry partners to develop strategies to follow up on promising pharmacological leads and to support ongoing collections. The project is one of the activities of the Global Institute for BioExploration, established by Raskin to facilitate pharmacological bioexploration that promotes human health, sustainable economic development, and biodiversity conservation in developing countries. The University of Illinois is a partner in the Institute and the Tanzanian project.

    Congratulations to department faculty on reappointments and promotions - posted April 24, 2007
    In the recent round of tenures and reappointments we had some important successes. Drs. A.J Both and Lena Struwe were awarded tenure and promoted to Associate Extension Specialist and Associate Professor, respectively. Dr. Stacy Bonos was reappointed to Assistant Professor.

    Department Faculty honored with SEBS 2007 Celebration of Excellence Awards - posted April 19, 2007
    Several department faculty are recipients of the 2007 Celebration of Excellence Awards, sponsored by the School for Environmental and Biological Sciences. Please congratulate Bingru Huang for receiving the Research Excellence and Impact Award, Lena Struwe for receiving the Abraham Weisblat Award (overall excellence in teaching, research and outreach), Bruce B. Clarke for receiving the Dennis M. Fenton Distinguished Graduate Alumni Award, and Professor Emeritus William J. Roberts in Bioresource Engineering for receiving the Recognition for Lifetime of Distinguished Leadership.

    pictures of winners

    Ilya Raskin receives grant to expand GIBEX in Tanzania - posted March 29, 2007
    Ilya Raskin (Plant Biology and Pathology) has received a new award from the National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance (NCIIA) for a project titled "Enabling pharmaceutical bioexploration in Tanzania." This $40,700 pilot-year award will fund the expansion of the Global Institute for Bioexploration (GIBEX) into Tanzania through a partnership with the University of Dar es Salaam. Team members will train Tanzanian counterparts in the use of screens to identify plants with pharmacological potential and to set up a natural products database. High school and university students will assist in plant collection and screening. A workshop will be organized to develop partnerships with representatives from the pharmaceutical, nutraceutical, food, and cosmetic industries to further economic development. Raskin's project was one of 10 selected from 85 submitted to the NCIIA's Sustainable Vision program.

    Turf Bowl Team places ninth at 2007 Turf Bowl Competition at the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America Education Conference and Golf Industry Show in Anaheim, California. - posted March 29, 2007
    Team photo The Rutgers Turf Bowl Team, composed of Tim Sibicky, Christopher Skvir, Justin Hughes, Danielle Skoba, and Zane Radenbush, finished in ninth place in the 2007 Turf Bowl Competition at the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America Education Conference and Golf Industry Show in Anaheim, California. The Rutgers undergraduate team competed against 80 other teams from colleges and universities throughout North America. The competition tested the students' knowledge of all facets of turfgrass science, including pest biology and control, physiology, species identification, soil science, and turfgrass management. Richard Hurley and Bruce Clarke, Rutgers Turf Club Advisers, helped to prepare the team last fall by conducting a special problems course in turfgrass science designed to provide a practical review of key subjects in turfgrass science. (Photo l. to r.: Bruce Clarke, Christopher Skvir, Danielle Skoba, Justin Hughes, Tim Sibicky, Zane Radenbush, and Richard Hurley.)

    Brad Majek named Fellow of the Weed Science Society of America - posted March 28, 2007
    Brad Majek, Extension Specialist in Weed Science, has been made a Fellow of the Weed Science Society of America (WSSA). The recognition was bestowed upon Majek at the 51st Annual Meeting of the Weed Science Society of America in San Antonio, Texas.

    Nilgun Tumer invited to serve on NIH and USDA Panels - posted March 28, 2007
    Nilgun Tumer was invited to serve on the National Institutes of Health's panel on Therapeutics and Diagnostics for Biodefense Toxins. She was also invited to serve on the Genetic Engineering and Transformation Panel of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Wheat and Barley Scab Initiative.

    Jim Simon receives UA-AID Grant - posted Feb. 15, 2007
    Jim Simon (professor in Plant Biology and Pathology, principal investigator) and Ramu Govindasamy (co-principal investigator) were awarded $1,600,000 from the United States Agency for International Development for two years to provide support for a program that promotes rural livelihood diversification in Southern Africa. The program is designed to strengthen and build partnerships between the public and private sector in the commercialization of natural African plant products by small farmers.

    Student Exchange Programs begins with Trip to Brazil - posted Feb. 15, 2007
    Biotechnology Center for Agriculture and the Environment Director Gerben Zylstra (Biochemistry & Microbiology) and Michael Lawton (Plant Biology & Pathology) traveled to Brazil November 29 to December 9 to kick off the Biotech Center's recently awarded grant for a Brazil?U.S. undergraduate student exchange program at Rutgers, Ohio State, University of Sao Paulo (ESALQ campus in Piracicaba), and Universidade Federal Rio Grande do Sul. During the trip, Zylstra and Lawton visited colleagues at both partner universities and attended the annual FIPSE/CAPES meeting in Sao Paulo. Discussions were held on student recruitment and student exchange between the two countries. Zylstra and Lawton also planned an upcoming workshop on biotechnology and bioenergy planned for April 2007 at Rutgers.

    Elwin Orton receives the American Society for Horticultural Science's (AHS) Luther Burbank award - posted Feb. 15, 2007
    Elwin Orton, professor in the Department of Plant Biology and Pathology, will be awarded the American Society for Horticultural Science's (AHS) Luther Burbank award. The prestigious award recognizes extraordinary achievement in the field of plant breeding and will be presented this summer at the AHS' 14th Annual Gala.

    Bruce Clarke becomes Fellow of the CSSA - posted Feb. 15, 2007
    Bruce Clarke, specialist in Turfgrass Pathology, was made a Fellow of Crop Science Society of America (CSSA) at the American Society of Agronomy-Soil Science Society of America-CSSA Annual Meeting in Indianapolis, November 2006. It is the highest honor the Society bestows on its members. Up to 0.3% of CSSA'membership base of 4,500 may be elected to Fellow each year, placing Clarke among an elite group of agricultural researchers around the world. Fellows are selected through an intense nomination and review process that analyzes nominees' achievements in education, research, service, and leadership.