News Briefs 2012

  • View Current News Briefs.
  • Scientific Excellence Award Given to Jim Simon for Agricultural Research in Africa - posted December 14, 2012
  • Rutgers Plant Breeder Elwin Orton Inducted into NJ Inventors Hall of Fame - posted on December 3, 2012
  • Stacy Bonos is part of a $10 million USDA project to develop biomass supply systems in the Northeast - posted on December 3, 2012
  • Spotlight: Silicon: An Essential Plant Nutrient? - posted on December 3, 2012
  • Rutgers plant biologist Jim Simon wins prize for scientific excellence for African agricultural research funded by USAID - posted on December 3, 2012
  • Patent Award Caps Seven Decades of Asparagus Breeding at Rutgers - posted on December 3, 2012
  • Professor Emeritus C. Reed Funk Passes Away - posted October 8, 2012.
  • Patrice Crocevera (undergraduate student, Ecology and Natural Resources) spent the summer involved in a research project on campus that looked at arthropod diversity in raised beds as part of a larger project focusing on the effects of multi-species cropping in raised beds in urban gardening. Crocevera worked with Lena Struwe and Victoria Ferguson (graduate student, Plant Biology). - posted October 8, 2012.
  • Lauren Palatini (undergraduate student, Environmental Sciences) received a $3,000 Byrne Seminar grant from Rutgers University to do research on weeds on campus, under the guidance of Lena Struwe (Ecology, Evolution, and Natural Resources). Palatini is developing a research plan looking at campus parking lots as islands in an urban landscape and preparing an inventory of weeds in those parking lots for an island biogeography project. She also collected data on weeds in raised beds and compared raised beds with only solanaceous plants with beds planted with many more species.- posted October 8, 2012.
  • Lena Struwe (Ecology, Evolution, and Natural Resources) was invited to attend the Justin Morrill Symposium on “Higher Education in the 21st Century,” in Straffort, VT, on August 11-12. - posted October 8, 2012.
  • Joan W. Bennett chaired a session titled “Women in Industrial Microbiology” at Society of Industrial Microbiology and Biotechnology Annual Meeting and Exhibition on in Washington, DC, on August 14. - posted October 8, 2012.
  • Joseph Heckman was invited to present “Silicon and soil fertility in organic farming” and “Organic farming, culture, character, and landscape portrait” at the Northeast Organic Farming Association Summer Conference, University of Massachusetts., MA, from August 10-11. - posted October 8, 2012.
  • Joan W. Bennett was invited to present a lecture titled "Jokichi Takamine: Aspergillus oryzae from farm to pharma" at the American Society for Microbiology 112th General Meeting, San Francisco, CA, on June 17. The lecture was part of the special symposium sponsored by the Center for the History of Microbiology. She also presented a poster at the meeting titled "The Volatiles Produced by Trichoderma viride and their effect on Arabidopsis thaliana" with Richard Hung and Samantha Lee (graduate students, Plant Biology).
  • Zane R. Helsel received the 2011 Agronomy Journal Editor’s Citation for Excellence as a Reviewer. - posted Sept. 6, 2012
  • Two outstanding members of the school were honored with the Staff Excellence Award at the Celebration of Excellence event on April 25. The two inaugural Staff Spotlights are Peter Anderson and Barbara Fitzgerald. Barbara Fitzgerald is the Business Manager for both the Department of Plant Biology and Pathology and the Center for Turfgrass Science. She helps facilitate the submission of over $13 million in grants a year, as well as oversees a $100,000 scholarship program and a $1.7 million endowment. To maximize organizational and bookkeeping efficiency for her office and the faculty she supports, Barbara approaches her work with an innovative mind and motivated spirit. - posted Sept. 6, 2012
  • Michael Coscia (undergraduate student, Environmental Sciences) received 2012 award for the outstanding poster representing basic or laboratory-based research by an SEBS/NJAES undergraduate student. Coscia completed his George H. Cook Honors project in Joan W. Bennett’s lab (Plant Biology and Pathology). - posted Sept. 6, 2012
  • Emily Merewitz (graduate student, Plant Biology) was awarded the Graduate School Dean's Research Award on April 25 at the Graduate School Award Reception, for her outstanding dissertation research in turfgrass stress physiology. - posted Sept. 6, 2012
  • Whitney April Jackson (graduate student, Plant Biology) was invited to represent the U.S. contingent at a summit discussing state-of-the art theories and methodologies for analyzing governance in the context of Urban Forestry and Urban Greening in Copenhagen, Denmark, from April 23-27. The meeting was organized under NOVA University Network and Nordic-Baltic Centre of Advanced Research on Forestry serving Urban Societies (CARe-FOR-US). - posted Sept. 6, 2012
  • Dr. Thomas Molnar & Dr. C. Reed Funk are highlighted in article by the Rutgers Foundation - posted Sept. 6, 2012
  • Richard Hung (graduate student, Plant Biology and Pathology) received a Mentor Student Travel Award in the name of E. Butler to attend the Mycological Society of America annual meeting at Yale University, New Haven, CT, from July 15-18. -- posted May 3, 2012
  • Lena Struwe served as the chair for the committee that evaluated and awarded the OTS Outstanding Student Paper 2011 for The Organization of Tropical Studies (OTS). She presented the first prize to winner Amy Savage, a graduate student at Rice University in Costa Rica during the annual OTS meeting on March 9-10. In addition, Struwe hosted five speakers as part of the Spring 2012 Core Seminar in Plant Biology series: Christopher Williams, Franklin & Marshall College, PA (hosted with Ari Novy (Plant Biology and Pathology); Arthur Tucker, Delaware State University, DE; Allison Miller, Saint Louis University, MO; Yin-Long Qiu, University of Michigan, MI; and Damon Little, The New York Botanical Garden, NY. -- posted April 2012
  • Joan Bennett was invited to present the following talks:
    • "More than just a funky smell: Fungal volatile compounds" to the Department of Plant Biology and Pathology, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX, and the Department of Biology, Fairleigh Dickinson University, Teaneck, NJ, in February.
    • "Girl geeks: Pathways, pitfalls and promises" to the NSF ADVANCE program, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX, in February.
    • "Smelly fungi: Model systems for studying their bioactive volatiles" to the Department of Plant Biology and Landscape Architecture, University of Maryland, College Park, MD, in March. -- posted April 2012
  • Emily Merewitz (graduate student, Plant Biology and Pathology) won the Dissertation Research Award from the Rutgers Graduate School for her outstanding research on "Physiological, biochemical, and molecular mechanisms of turfgrass tolerance to drought stress." The award is chosen from candidates from all graduate programs at the university. -- posted April 2012
  • Laura Shappell (Ph.D. candidate, Ecology, Evolution and Natural Resources) was awarded the $5,000 Joan G. Ehrenfeld Memorial Award from the New Jersey Water Resources Research Institute (NJWRRI) for her proposal titled "Urban wetland plant assemblage species diversity and invasive species dominance as expressions of flood regime." Shappell's current advisor is Lena Struwe (Plant Biology and Pathology). -- posted April 2012
  • The Department of Landscape Architecture's Planting Design Class, instructed by Rich Bartolone, made a presentation of landscape designs for the Rutgers Visitor Center on Busch campus to potential project donors from the class of 1951 as well as Visitor Center and campus staff in March. The designs highlighted New Jersey native plants, particularly those plants developed by Tom Orton (Plant Biology and Pathology) at the Rutgers Gardens and those depicting the school color, "scarlet". -- posted April 2012
  • Bruce Clarke (Plant Biology and Pathology) was selected to receive the Fellow Award from the American Phytopathological Society (APS). Clarke was chosen as one of fewer than 12 individuals selected each year out of a membership of 5,000 plant pathologists. He will be presented the award at the opening at the annual APS meeting in Providence, RI, on August 5. -- posted April 2012
  • James White (Plant Biology and Pathology) had a genus of fossil sporocarp named in his honor. Jimwhitea circumtecta is named after White in recognition of his early work in fungal diversity of the Middle Triassic Epoch (228?245 million years ago). -- posted April 2012
  • Jim White (Plant Biology and Pathology) was selected to receive the Fellow Award from the American Phytopathological Society (APS). White was chosen as one of fewer than 12 individuals selected each year out of a membership of 5,000 plant pathologists. He will be presented the award at the opening at the annual APS meeting on August 5, in Providence, RI. -- posted April 2012
  • Don Kobayashi (Plant Biology and Pathology) gave a presentation, "Role of pathogenicity mechanisms during interactions between the bacterial biocontrol agent Lysobacter enzymogenes and fungal hosts," at the 5th Annual Rutgers Microbiology Symposium, "Cultivating Traditions, Current Strength and Future Frontiers" on February 2-3. Receiving honorable mentions in the research poster competition were Richard Hung (Plant Biology and Pathology), S Lee, K Pathak, P Klecha for "Trichoderma viride volatile organic compounds (VOCs) ameliorate toxic effects of Arabidopsis thaliana exposure to 1-octen-3-ol" and Qing Yan (Plant Biology and Pathology), X Li, and Nilgun E Tumer (Plant Biology and Pathology) for "Glycosylation affects transport of ricin A chain out of the endoplasmic reticulum." -- posted April 2012
  • Departmental faculty and staff presented cutting-edge research the 36th Annual New Jersey Green Expo -- posted April 2012
  • ISE Coordinator in Nigeria visits Rutgers -- posted April 2012
  • Nilgun Tumer (Plant Biology and Pathology) organized and chaired the session titled "Gene Discovery and engineering Resistance to Fusarium mycotoxins" at the 2011 National Fusarium Head Blight Forum in St. Louis, MO, on December 4-6. John McLaughlin from her lab presented a talk on "Activation tagging to identify novel genes for fusarium resistance" and Anwar bin Umer from her lab presented a talk on "Trichothecene mycotoxins inhibit mitochondrial translation." -- posted April 2012
  • Laura Cortese (Plant Biology and Pathology) was invited to present "Biomass Yield and energy characteristics of switchgrass cultivars grown In New Jersey" and a poster titled "Broad-sense heritability of bioenergy traits in 50 switchgrass clones grown on marginal land" at the ASA CSSA SSSA Annual International Meeting in San Antonio, TX, October 16-20. -- posted April 2012
  • Ari Novy (Plant Biology and Pathology) gave the invited lecture "Balancing agricultural development resources: Are GM and organic agriculture in opposition in Africa?" at the 5th International Conference on Coexistence of Genetically Modified Crops (GMCC-11), in Vancouver, Canada, October 26-28. -- posted April 2012
  • Jim White (Plant Biology and Pathology) gave a plenary presentation "Symbiosis-related reactive oxygen species and stress resistance in plants" at the International Congress of Biology, Chemistry and Agronomy at the Autonomous University of Guadalajara, Mexico, September 30. -- posted April 2012
  • Rutgers Plant Biology graduate students won awards for the following presentations at the Annual Meeting of the Crop Science Society of America held in San Antonio, TX: -- posted April 2012
  • The Department of Plant Biology and Pathology hosted the 71st Annual Meeting of the Northeastern Division of America Phytopathological Society at The Heldrich Hotel in New Brunswick, NJ, from October 12-14. The meeting was held in conjunction with the celebration of the 100th Anniversary of Plant Pathology at Rutgers University. -- posted April 2012
  • Bruce Clarke (Plant Biology and Pathology) received the Visionary Leadership Award from the Epsilon Sigma Phi National Extension Society at its annual meeting in Syracuse, NY, on October 12. This award is presented to an Extension professional whose visionary leadership has enabled Extension to anticipate emerging needs and develop relevant programs to support stakeholders in the state, region, or nation. -- posted April 2012
  • William Meyer (Plant Biology and Pathology) was awarded the Breeder's Cup Award for developing Mallard Kentucky bluegrass by the Turfgrass Breeder's Association at the Crop Science Society of America meeting in San Antonio, TX, on October 19. -- posted April 2012
  • Jim Simon (Plant Biology and Pathology) has been selected to receive the Natural Products Association's (NPA) 2012 Burton Kallman Scientific Award, which honors individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the field of human nutrition. Simon's work with new crops, aromatic and medicinal plants, and nutraceuticals was cited as the basis for the award. He will receive the award at the 19th annual NPA meeting on June 14-16, 2012. -- posted April 2012
  • Gene Varney (emeritus professor, Plant Biology and Pathology) received the first Lifetime Service Award of the New Jersey Mycological Association (NJMA) for his contributions in the development of the Association, initiated some forty years ago. NJMA is a group of amateurs and professionals dedicated to the study of mushrooms, ranging from gastronomy and ecology to applications (e.g., sources of medicines, dyes, toxins, etc.). Varney, who was recognized especially for his teaching on identification of mushrooms during field forays, continues to have a central role in teaching about mushrooms at Rutgers (course 11.015.257) and short courses through NJMA. Varney was recognized during the 100th Anniversary Celebration of Plant Pathology at Rutgers University at the Northeast Regional Meeting of the American Phytopathological Association held in New Brunswick, NJ, on October 14. -- posted April 2012
  • Anwar Bin Umer (graduate, Microbiology and Molecular Genetics in Nilgun Tumer's lab (Plant Biology and Pathology) won this year's Graduate Student Presentation Award for his presentation titled "Trichothecene mycotoxins inhibit mitochondrial translation: Implication for the mechanism of toxicity. -- posted April 2012
  • James Hempfling (Plant Biology and Pathology) received 2nd place in the Graduate Student Oral Paper Competition at the 71st Annual Meeting of the Northeast Division of the American Phytopathological Society in New Brunswick, NJ. His presentation was titled "The effect of mechanical injury on anthracnose severity of annual bluegrass turf," co-authored with Jim Murphy and Bruce Clarke. -- posted April 2012
  • Dr. Bingru Huang named fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) -- Posted April 2012
  • Joan Bennett (Plant Biology and Pathology; associate vice president, Office for the Promotion of Women in Science, Mathematics and Engineering) was invited to give the following presentations: -- Posted April 2012
  • Bingru Huang Named Ralph Geiger Endowed Chair in Turfgrass Science -- Posted April 2012

Departmental faculty and staff presented cutting-edge research the 36th Annual New Jersey Green Expo -- posted April 2012

The 36th Annual New Jersey Green Expo?Turf and Landscape Conference?was held on December 6-8 at the Taj Mahal Resort in Atlantic City, NJ. This regional event is one of the top turf and landscape conferences in the country and attracted more than 1,200 turfgrass managers from Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania. This year?s event was jointly hosted by the New Jersey Turfgrass Association, the Golf Course Superintendents Association of New Jersey, the Rutgers Center for Turfgrass Science, Rutgers Cooperative Extension, and the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station. More than 70 presentations from world renowned authorities in turfgrass science were given at the three-day show. New Jersey Senate President Stephen M. Sweeney addressed conference attendees on December 6 and spoke about fertilizer and pesticide legislation and its potential impact on the turfgrass industry.

A wide range of Rutgers faculty and staff presented cutting-edge research, including Richard Buckley (director, Rutgers Plant Diagnostic Lab); Bruce Clarke (extension specialist in turfgrass pathology; director of the Center for Turfgrass Science; Joseph Clark (lab technician, Plant Biology and Pathology); John Grande (manager, Rutgers Snyder Research Farm); Stephen Hart (associate extension specialist in weed management); Bingru Huang (Plant Biology and Pathology; Ralph Geiger Endowed Chair in Turfgrass Science); Albrecht Koppenhofer (extension specialist in turf entomology); Carrie Mansue (field researcher, Plant Biology and Pathology); William Meyer (Plant Biology and Pathology); James Murphy (extension specialist in turf management); Stephanie Murphy (director, Rutgers Soil Testing Lab); Brad Park (lab researcher, Plant Biology and Pathology); and Sabrina Tirpak (lab technician, Plant Diagnostic Lab).

A two-day trade show, showcasing new turf products and equipment from over 70 companies, was another major highlight of the conference. Unlike many turf and landscape shows in the country that have seen their attendance dwindle over the last few years, the New Jersey Green Expo continues to grow and prosper, thanks to the close partnership between Rutgers University and the $3.2 billion turfgrass industry in the state.

ISE Coordinator in Nigeria visits Rutgers -- posted April 2012

At the invitation of Rutgers' International Science and Education (ISE) team, Dr. Victor Adetimirin, professor of Plant Breeding at the University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria, and coordinator of Rutgers' ISE program in Nigeria visited the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences from October25-28. Adetimirin's visit was in fulfillment of ISE's requirement to invite collaborators to Rutgers for academic interaction with faculty and students. Highlights of his visit included:

      Teaching of our International Ag: New Crops and New Uses class on "Vegetable Crops of West Africa: Diversity, Adaptation and Nutraceutical Values," meeting with the Director of Center for African Studies, Dr. Ousseina Alidou, a guided tour of Rutgers Gardens and Horticultural Research Farm II (Turfgrass Research Center) on Ryders Lane (October 25);
      Guided tour of Rutgers Agricultural Research & Extension Center (RAREC) at Upper Deerfield, RCE of Monmouth County office at Shrewsbury, and Rutgers Plant Science Research and Extension Farm in Adelphia (October 26);
      Meeting with ISE team, guided tour of faculty laboratories in Foran Hall, and the nut tree research plot at Horticultural Farm 3 on Ryders Lane (October 27), and
      Seminar presentation at the Plant Biology Graduate Program Seminar Series on Trends in Crop Improvement Research in West Africa: Perspectives from the University of Ibadan, Nigeria (October 28).

Adetimirin expressed satisfaction with the conduct of Rutgers interns Nicholas Greene and Syed Abbas whom he supervised in Nigeria in the summer of 2009 and 2010. He was pleased with the accomplishments of the students and has maintained contact since the students completed their internship. He assured the ISE team of his determination to explore the possibility of the University of Ibadan, Nigeria, also sending students to Rutgers to maximize the benefit of the ISE program as a fully interactive initiative for students and faculty. Adetimirin is also Rutgers' chief contact in Nigeria for the Excellence in Higher Education for Liberia's Development initiative, led by Jim Simon (Plant Biology and Pathology). The ISE program, which started in 2008, is jointly funded by USDA/NIFA and Rutgers NJAES, and managed by Michael Lawton, director and Albert Ayeni, co-director (Plant Biology and Pathology).

Rutgers Plant Biology graduate students won awards for the following presentations at the Annual Meeting of the Crop Science Society of America held in San Antonio, TX: -- posted April 2012

      David Jespersen - Turfgrass Stress Tolerance (Oral Presentations): Identification of proteins associated with heat-induced and genetically-controlled leaf senescence in coolseason grass species.
      Lisa Beirn - Turfgrass Pathology (Oral Presentations): What Is the true identity of the fungus that causes Dollar Spot on turfgrass?
      Emily Merewitz - Turfgrass Stress Tolerance (Poster Presentations): Identification of differentially expressed genes in Creeping Bentgrass with elevated Cytokinin content under drought stress.
      Katelyn Venner - Poster Presentation: Response of Tall Fescue cultivars to Mesotrione applied at establishment.
      James W. Cross - Poster Presentation: Responses of Tall Fescue Genotypes to heat and drought stress.

Joan Bennett (Plant Biology and Pathology; associate vice president, Office for the Promotion of Women in Science, Mathematics and Engineering) was invited to give the following presentations: -- Posted April 2012

      "Promotion of women in science" at the Gender Equality Symposium, National Agricultural and Food Research Organization, National and University of Tsukuba, Tsukuba City, Japan, in September.
      "Jokichi Takamine: Japanese father of American biotechnology" at the Sacred Heart School, Sapporo, Japan, in September.
      "Jokichi Takamine and the birth of biotechnology" at the International Union of Microbiological Societies, Sapporo, Japan, in September.
      "Promotion of women in science: USA and Japan" to the Support Office for Female Researchers at the Hokkaido University (FResHU) F3 Symposium, Hokkaido University, Sapporo, Japan, in September.
      "Model systems and fungal volatile organic compounds" at the University of Maryland's Department of Entomology in October.