Rutgers Microbiology Professor Wins SIMB Waksman Outstanding Teaching Award

L-R: Leonard Katz, president of the Society for Industrial Microbiology and Biotechnology, Max Häggblom and Keith Bostian  of the Waksman Foundation for Microbiology.

L-R: Leonard Katz, president of the Society for Industrial Microbiology and Biotechnology, Max Häggblom and Keith Bostian of the Waksman Foundation for Microbiology.

Max Häggblom, distinguished professor and chair of the Department of Biochemistry and Microbiology, is the winner of the 2014 SIMB Waksman Outstanding Teaching Award, funded by the Waksman Foundation for Microbiology. Häggblom, who was nominated for this prestigious award by his former undergraduate and graduate students, and postdoctoral fellows, received the award at the Society for Industrial Microbiology and Biotechnology’s (SIMB) Annual Meeting in St. Louis, July 20-24.

“Prof. Häggblom’s nomination was truly a team effort,” said Preshita Gadkari, a Ph.D. student in the Microbial Biology program at Rutgers, who spearheaded Häggblom’s nomination for the SIMB award. “Former and current post-docs, graduate and undergraduate students worked together to share their experiences in the Häggblom lab or in classes he taught, and wrote multiple letters of support.”

The students and post-docs were guided in their nomination efforts  by Prof. Douglas Eveleigh, who retired this year as the Fenton Chair in Applied Microbiology in the Department of Biochemistry and Microbiology. Eveleigh was the first recipient of the SIMB Waksman Outstanding Teaching Award, which was instituted in 1989. [Read more...]

Where the Weeds Are: Plant Biodiversity in Rutgers Parking Lots

Rutgers undergraduate Alisa Sharma and doctoral student Lauren Frazee examine weeds in a parking lot on the George H. Cook Campus.

Rutgers undergraduate Alisa Sharma and doctoral student Lauren Frazee examine weeds in a parking lot on the George H. Cook Campus.

The idea of investigating weeds in a parking lot may not look very exciting, but to a botanist –and especially to an urban ecologist interested in plants and biodiversity – this car-filled area represents an extreme, urban treasure trove of thriving and flowering plants. These are mostly the same species as those pesky weeds that spring up in the cracks of our driveways at home that we can’t wait to remove with the latest weed killer. Yes, those very weeds. Hundreds of species bear seeds, produce flowers and propagate in parking lots all over the country, but not much is known about their survival and persistence.

In the spring of 2014, Lauren Frazee, Ph.D. student in the graduate program of Ecology and Evolution, found herself taking on a project investigating the biodiversity of weeds in Rutgers parking lots that was launched in 2012 by Lena Struwe, associate professor in the departments of Ecology, Evolution and Natural Resources as well as Plant Biology and Pathology, and her other graduate student, Jennifer Blake-Mahmud. A global botanist, Struwe is one of two co-advisors to Frazee in her doctoral program, along with Steven Handel, professor in the Department of Ecology, Evolution and Natural Resources.

Frazee’s interest is in urban plants and how urbanization affects plant life. “Parking lots are fascinating, since they can serve as a proxy for answering many questions about extremely disturbed urban ecosystems.” [Read more...]

Butterflies and moths get their day (and night) at the Meadowlands

What’s the difference between a moth and a butterfly? Mostly the time of day. Other than what shift they work, there’s not all that much difference between the two insects, experts explained recently at DeKorte Park in Lyndhurst…What separates the two creatures is one of the most-asked questions about the insects, said Elana Tartaglia, an expert on moths from Rutgers University, who holds a Ph.D in ecology. "I’m asked that all the time," she said, "and the answer is quite simple: Very little."

Read the entire article at NorthJersey.com »

Rutger the Rutgers Garden cat reunited

It was grilled salmon that caught the attention of Rutger, the 19-year-old Rutgers Gardens cat. Thanks to Rutger’s good taste and strong sense of smell, Monica McLaughlin, horticulturist at Rutgers Gardens, can report a happy ending for the saga of the stolen feline. "He’s home," she said. "I was crying. Everyone was crying. I think if Rutger could cry, he’d be crying. He looked at me like he had been wondering if I was ever going to find him. I’m so happy. I really thought we were never going to see him again."

Read the entire article at MyCentralJersey.com »

What Is It?

My two girls were digging under the tree on the side of our house while I furiously attempted to remove tangles of creeping charlie from our yard. And I heard my older daughter shout, "MOM! You’ve GOT to see this!"…And then I did what any red-blooded American would do: I took a picture of it with my iPhone and posted it on Facebook with the caption "What is THIS?"…I also got a bit of useful advice which was to call the Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Mercer County, a research-based educational program based in Lawrenceville. The "Extension" helps residents make informed decisions regarding quality of life, community and environment.

Read the entire article at mercerme.com »