News Briefs 2013

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  • Chas Schmid, a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Plant Biology and Pathology, finished first in the graduate student paper competition (oral presentation) in the C-5 (Turfgrass) Division at the International Annual meeting of ASA-CSSA-SSSA on Nov. 3-6 in Tempa, FL.
  • Patrick Burgess, graduate student at the Department of Plant Biology and Pathology, was placed third in the graduate paper competition (oral presentation) in the Division of Crop Physiology and Metabolism at the International Annual meeting of ASA-CSSA-SSSA on Nov. 3-6 in Tempa, FL.
  • Brittany L. Graf, graduate student at the Department of Plant Biology and Pathology, received the Eileen Brennan Graduate Research Award on December 13, 2013 from the Department of Plant Biology & Pathology for her investigation of the pharmacological properties of phytochemicals from food crops and their role in human health.
  • Rutgers Turf Club is holding The Annual Turf Club Citrus Sale in November 2013.
  • SEBS celebrated its first Entrepreneurship Agriculture (EA) Day on the George H. Cook Campus.
  • Arati Inamdar, Joan W. Bennett, and scientists at Rutgers and Emory Universities have discovered that a compound often emitted by mold may be linked to symptoms of Parkinson's disease. See additional information here.
  • Lena Struwe was an invited speaker at The New York Botanical Garden on December 13, 2013. She presented a talk on "Why do we love or hate weeds? Digging into the biology, history and culture of unwanted plants."
  • Joseph Heckman was an invited speaker at the Weston A. Price Foundation Wise Traditions Annual Conference, Atlanta, GA on Nov 8 - 9, 2013. He presented a talk on "Practical Steps to Soil Fertility in Organic Farming" and "Human Contact with Plants and Soils for Health and Well Being."
  • Joan W. Bennett was an invited speaker at University of Idaho, Moscow, Idaho on October 2013. She presented a talk on "Science, sex, and success" for the Randolf lecture and "Horrible hurricanes and malodorous molds."

    1. Joan W. Bennett was an invited speaker at Syracuse University, Syracuse, New York on October 2013. . She presented a talk on "Science, sex chromosomes, and success," and "The making sense of fungal scents."
    2. Joan W. Bennett was an invited speaker at Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania on October 2013. She presented a talk on "Using genetic models to understand molds volatiles."
  • Lisa A. Beirn, a Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of Plant Biology and Pathology, received the 2013 Gerald O. Mott Scholarship for Meritorious Graduate Students in Crop Science, awarded by the Crop Science Society of America and the Agronomic Science Foundation. This prestigious award recognizes top students pursing advanced degrees in crop science disciplines, with selection based on academic achievements, research and teaching contributions, leadership, service activities and personal qualifications. Lisa will be honored at the Crop Science Society of America International Meeting on November 6, 2013 in Tampa, Florida.
  • Joan W. Bennett chaired a session titled "Fungal genetics and genomics" and gave the banquet address, "Fun fungi, mellow mushrooms, and molecular mycophiles," at the Asian Mycological Congress in Beijing, China, in August 2013. In addition, she gave three other invited lectures while in China. "The commercial application of fungi and fungal metabolism," First International Forum of Fungal Industry, Dongying, China, August, 2013. "Doing science with two X chromosomes," Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Hong Kong, China, August 2013. "Fungal volatile organic compounds," Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China, August 2013.
  • Rong Di attended The 10th International Congress of Plant Pathology, Beijing, Aug. 25-30. Di gave a presentation entitled "Detection of plant quarantine pathogens using surface plasmon resonance technology" in the "Molecular diagnostics of plant pathogens" specific topic session. Rong Di, as an invited speaker, participated in the "International Symposium on Quarantine and Identification Technology of See-borne Diseases" which was sponsored by the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine of the peoples' Republic of China and organized by the Shanghai Entry-Exit Inspection and Quarantine Bureau in Aug. 31-Sept. 2.
  • Nicholi Vorsa presented an invited paper entitled 'Influence of Degree-of-Polymerization and Linkage on the Quantification of Proanthocyanidins' at the 246th American Chemical Society National Meeting & Exposition in Indianapolis, IN September 8 -12, 2013.
  • Stephen J Miller a PhD student in Plant Biology and Pathology received the Clark T Rogerson award from the Mycological Society of America (MSA). The 2013-2014 award is for $1000 to assist in herbarium research.
  • Nicholi Vorsa received Inventor of the Year Award from the New Jersey Inventors Hall of Fame (NJIHoF) in recognition for: 'Scientific research and monumental contributions to disease resistant cranberries and the cranberry industry'.
  • Nicholi Vorsa received $500,000 USDA-NIFA grant/award for the project entitled, 'Genomic Regions and Genetic Constellations Associated with Agronomic Traits, Fruit Quality and Disease Resistance in the American Cranberry'. Project is in collaboration with co-PI's Dr. Juan Zalapa (USDA-ARS), University of Wisconsin-Madison and Dr. James Polashock (USDA-ARS), PE Marucci Center, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey.
  • Megan Muehlbauer, graduate student at the Department of Plant Biology and Pathology, has received 2013 North East Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Graduate Student Grant award of $8,376 for her project titled, "Optimization of adventitious rooting of hazelnut stem cuttings to expedite on-farm commercialization trials." Project duration is from August 2013 to August 2015.
  • Megan Muehlbauer, graduate student at the Department of Plant Biology and Pathology, has received 2013 Northern Nut Growers Association Research Grant award of $3,732.48 for her project titled, "Genetic characterization of new eastern filbert blight-resistant hazelnut seedlings from Turkey, Latvia, and Moldova." Megan Muehlbauer is studying under the mentorship of Dr. Thomas Molnar. Project duration is from September 2013 to September 2014.
  • Paul Meers, Plant Biology and Pathology, received Charles and Johanna Busch Biomedical Research Award, $25,000 for two years for his project titled, "Bacterial Outer Membrane Vesicles for Delivery of Therapeutic Small RNAs."
  • Philomena Chu, a graduate student in the Department of Plant Biology and Pathology, won two awards- Judges' Choice and Community Choice- in the 2013 NSF Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship Video and Poster Competition for her project entitled, "The Little Green Plant that Could: Duckweed as a Renewable and Sustainable Biofuel Feedstock."
  • Heckman, J.R. 2013. Soil Fertility Management a Century Ago in Farmers of Forty Centuries. Sustainability 2013, 5, 2796-2801; doi:10.3390/su5062796
  • Joseph Heckman was an invited speaker at Drexsel University, Department of History and Politics on July 11, 2013. He presented a talk on "Raw Milk & Informed Consumer Choice."
  • The following Departmental Personel gave invited talks or seminars posted on June 24, 2013.:
    1. Nilgun Tumer was an invited speaker at the International Conference on Nucleic Acid Enzymes and Enzymes in Human Diseases organized by the School of Life Sciences at the Chinese University of Hong Kong in Hong Kong on June 16-21, 2013.  She chaired the session on the "Ribosomal Stalk and rRNa N-glycosidase and presented a talk on "Ribosome interactions of ribosome inactivating proteins."

    2. Xiao-Ping Li was an invited speaker at the International Conference on Nucleic Acid Enzymes and Enzymes in Human Diseases organized by the School of Life Sciences at the chinese University of Hong Kong in Hong Kong on June 16-21, 2013.  She presented a talk on "The ribosome binding surface of ricin A chain is on the opposite side of the active site cleft and is blocked by the B chain."

    3. Shappell, L. J., Struwe, L., and J. G. Ehrenfeld. 2013. Japanese stiltgrass dominance as a reflection of flooding in headwater wetlands. Botany 2013, New Orleans, LA, July 27-31 2013.

    4. Struwe, L. and L. Joseph. 2013. Botanical accuracy and inaccuracy in commercial products – should botanists care? Botany 2013, New Orleans, LA, July 27-31 2013.

    5. Struwe, L., Calió, F. and K. Lepis. 2013. White-sand areas as ancestral habitats in Amazonia: Evidence from phylogenetics of Helieae and Potalieae (Gentianaceae). ATBC conference, San Jose, Costa Rica, June 24-28 2013.

    6. Lena Struwe gave an invited talk at the US Botanic Garden on the Mall in Washington, DC, titled: ‘The good, the bad, and the ugly facts about medicinal plants’. May 5, 2013.

    7. Lena Struwe gave an invited talk titled "Host niche conservatism or specialization? Evolutionary host patterns in /Ophiognomonia/ (Diaporthales: Ascomycota) and the relationship of species diversification to ecological vicariance and plant host niches’ at SUNY Stony Brook University, April 24, 2013.
  • Lena Struwe has been elected as a member of University Senate, as a representative of the Graduate School of New Brunswick, to serve a 3 year term. posted on June 24, 2013.

  • Lena Struwe organized an information event called WEEDS OF DESIRE, with Jennifer Blake on Rutgers Day 2013. Drinks made from weedy species were served (elderflower lemonade and rose hip soup), stickers handed out (I DRINK WEEDS, WEEDS ARE ALSO MADE FROM STARDUST, WEEDS ARE SUPEREVOLUTIONARY, etc.), potted weeds were demonstrated, and 450 free copies of a small newly designed field guide to weedy plants of NJ were handed out. During Rutgers Day, Lena Struwe led two guided tours for the public on weird and crazy plants in the greenhouse. posted on June 24, 2013.

  • Together with Beth Tracy in the Women in Science Office at Rutgers, Lena Struwe organized a workshop for graduate students in team building and DiSC working styles on May 7. The workshop was sponsored by Dean Rick Ludescher. posted on June 24, 2013.

  • Siobain Duffy and Lena Struwe organized a poster exhibit called Evolution in Action on May 3 on campus, where 70 student-designed posters were exhibited by the DEENR class Fundamentals in Evolution. posted on June 24, 2013.

  • Best Poster in Field-based Undergraduate Research/to undergraduate Lauren Palatini (advised by Lena Struwe), SEBS Poster Show April 2013, Rutgers. posted on June 24, 2013.

  • Rutgers launches Organic Land Care website - posted June 18, 2013
  • Dr. Molnar takes cuttings of Teaneck, NJ, centuried-old tree for clonal propagation and distribution around the state - posted on June 18, 2013
  • Dr. Jelenkovic and NJ Strawberry Breeding Program highlighted by SEBS - posted June 4, 2013.
  • Rutgers Helps Grow Community Apple Orchard in New Brunswick - posted May 30, 2013
  • Diana Roopchand received the Arthur Neish Young Investigator Award from the Phytochemical Society of North America in May 2013 - posted May 23, 2013.
  • David Byrnes, graduate student at the Department of Plant Biology and Pathology, has been named a Borlaug Research Fellow for 2013/2014.  This USAID funded fellowship will provide support for six months of field research at the Asian Vegetable Research and Development Center (AVRDC) in Arusha, Tanzania. This opportunity will allow David to get involved with field research and breeding in Africa, directly supporting his dissertation research in the selection of African leafy green vegetables for nutrition and food security. David Byrnes is studying under the mentorship of Prof. Jim Simon who serves as the Rutgers PI for a collaborative international HortCRSP project on African Indigenous Vegetables which is being conducted in Kenya, Tanzania and Zambia - posted May 23, 2013.
  • Plant Diagnostic Laboratory and Soil Testing Laboratory highlighted - posted on May 23, 2013.
  • Central Park turns to Dr. James Murphy for guidance - posted May 13, 2013
  • The IR-4 Project: Celebrating 50 Years at Rutgers - posted April 30, 2013
  • New Use Agriculture and Natural Plant Products Faculty to co-host 2013 Liberian Studies Association Conference. - posted April 24, 2013
  • Joseph Heckman to conduct second of two-part Beginner Farmers Workshop series on May 1 workshop and will feature “Suburban Organic Homesteading.” - posted on April 23, 2013
  • Joseph Heckman was invited to present "Tree Crops and Pasture in Organic Farming" at the joint meeting of Torrey Botanical Society and the New York Nut Growers Association on April 6, 2013. - posted on April 23, 2013
  • Lisa Beirn, a Ph.D. student in the Department of Plant Biology and Pathology, won second place in the graduate student competition for her talk entitled 'Putting to rest a 75-year-old controversy: The true taxonomic placement of the dollar spot pathogens of turfgrass' at the Potomac Division Meeting of the American Phytopathological Society on April 4, 2013 in Sheperdstown, WV. - posted on April 23, 2013
  • Rodale Institute invited Dr. Heckman to present a seminar on Silicon Soil Fertility, Exploring How This Nutrient Functions in Organic Systems on March 14, 2013. - posted on April 8, 2013
  • Department Members to Organize the Second International Conference on Duckweed Research and Applications - posted March 21, 2013
  • Agricultural Agent Jerry Frecon Retires After a Fruitful Career - posted March 12, 2013
  • Rutgers Turf Students Compete in GCSAA Turf Bowl in San Diego, CA - posted March 5, 2013
  • Rensa Chen and William Bartos, Biotechnology undergraduate students, participated in a poster presentation at the annual national meeting of The Biophysical Society, Feb. 3 in Philadelphia, PA. The poster is titled, "Studies on the Membrane-Active Behavior of Outer Membrane Vesicles from a Gram Negative Bacterium." Undergradute research advisors are Donald Kobayashi and Paul Meers. - posted March 5, 2013
  • Lena Struwe has accepted the positions as an Associate Editor for both PhytoKeys and the Botanical Journal of Linnean Society - posted February 27, 2013.
  • Nilgun Tumer organized the Gene Discovery and Engineering Resistance Session at the 2012 National Fusarium Head Blight Forum in Orlando, Florida on December 4-6, 2012. In this session, John McLaughlin and Anwar Bin Umer from her lab presented a talk entitled " Lipid transfer Proteins Confer Resistance to Trichothecenes" - posted February 27, 2013.
  • Joan Bennett was invited to present:
    1. “Natural products:  past, present and future,” at the Natural products symposium: from basic discovery to human disease, Health Science Center, Texas A & M, Houston, TX in October 2012.
    2. “Women in Science” at the Newcomb Institute, Tulane University, New Orleans, LA in October 2012.
    3. “The elusive etiology of building related illness:  the challenges of verifying the mold exposure hypothesis,” at Grand Rounds Seminar, Environmental Occupational Health Science Institute, in November 2012 - posted February 27, 2013.
  • Joseph Heckman was invited to present "Silicon Benefits to Crops and Soils in New Jersey" at the Soil Science Society America meeting in Cincinnati, OH, on Oct 24. - posted February 27, 2012.
  • Paul Meers was invited to present a lecture, “Liposomal Degradation”, AAPS Workshop on Predicting and Monitoring Impurities in API and Drug Products: Product Development and Regulatory Issues, at the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists National Meeting, Chicago, IL on October 13, 2012 - posted February 27, 2013.

  • Lisa Beirn (graduate student, Plant Biology) won first place in the Graduate Student Oral Paper Competition held on October 22, 2012,at the Crop Science Society of America International Meeting in Cincinnati, Ohio, for her presentation entitled "New Tools in the Pathologist's Tool Box: Diagnostic Assays for the Identification of Rhizoctonia and Rhizoctonia-Like Diseases of Turfgrass" - posted February 27, 2013.

  • Brittany Graf (graduate student, Plant Biology) won second place in the Graduate Student Poster Competition held on October 23, 2012,at the Crop Science Society of America Annual Meeting in Cincinnati, OH, for her poster titled "Biomedical Application of Secondary Metabolites from Quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa Willd.)" - posted February 27, 2013.

  • Rutgers Extension Faculty Play Key Role at NOFA-NJ Annual Conference - posted on February 26, 2013
  • SEBS Biotechnology Senior Awarded Gates Scholarship for Graduate Study at Cambridge - posted on February 26, 2013
  • Breaking New Ground with Rutgers Organic Land Care Program - posted February 12, 2013
  • Dr. Stacy Bonos research featured during a discusion panel at conference on stewardship of water resources in the golf industry - posted February 5, 2013
  • Professor Joseph Heckman Weighs-in on Pastured Poultry - posted February 5, 2013
  • Jo Messing to receive the Wolf Prize in Agriculture - posted January 15, 2012

Rutgers Turf Students Compete in GCSAA Turf Bowl in San Diego, CA - posted March 5, 2013

Three teams of undergraduate students (four students to a team - including Tyler Astor, Greg Benz, Michael Chikos, Ryan Daddio, Nicholas Delmar, Kyle Genova, Kenneth MacNish, Mike Monzon, Jianlong Sun [Jason], Yuanshuo Qu [Henry], Lingcheng Zeng [Aaron], Lorabeth West,) from the Rutgers Turf Club competed in the 2013 Turf Bowl Competition at the International Golf Course Superintendents Association of America Conference and Trade Show in San Diego, CA on Thursday, February 7, 2013.

The Rutgers Teams placed 6th, 14th, and 44th out of 68 university teams from throughout the United States and Canada. Rich Hurley (Adjunct Professor, Plant Biology and Pathology), Sabrina Tirpak (Principal Lab Technician, Plant Diagnostic Laboratory; Plant Biology and Pathology) and Bruce Clarke (Extension Specialist, Plant Biology and Pathology; Director, Center for Turfgrass Science) assisted the Rutgers teams prepare for this year's competition. This was the first time that a Rutgers Team has cracked the Top 10 of this prestigious academic competition. CONGRATULATIONS TO THE 2013 RUTGERS TURF BOWL TEAMS!!!!

group of students
Rutgers Turf Club Members at the GCSAA Turf Bowl Competition in San Diego, CA.